/ Biking on paths in the countryside?

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Frankie boy on 27 Dec 2018

I was looking at cycling in the countryside, and I was talking to a guy the other day who was very pedantic about footpaths being FOOTpaths, and not for bikes. I get his point on this, and I know there's certainly a reason behind it, god knows how many idiots I've seen come ploughing down through the plantation at Stanage on busy weekends.

Anyway, my question is: What type paths are OK for bikes and what are not? On the towpaths they promote a "share and care" attitude, and just wondered whether there were tracks that are a definite "nono".

I just cycle to get about so not too worried about finding that "awesome trail", but on the same note, don't want to be having punch ups with walkers either.

Thanks

Frank

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summo on 27 Dec 2018
In reply to Frankie boy:

The problem is a government telling people they should bike more and county councils operating within regulations from another century. Ie. Bridleways, most people aren't riding their horse to work or taking goods to market in a cart.

I say use them as you see fit and force a change. Many roads are simply dangerous to cycle on, again trying to build a busy road between two high hedge rows that originally contain horse and carts doesn't work. Better a grumpy walker than a dead or injured cyclist. 

Post edited at 08:14
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MJAngry on 27 Dec 2018
DaveHK - on 27 Dec 2018
In reply to Frankie boy:

The guy you spoke to was right with regards to England. You are not meant to ride your bike on footpaths, only bridleways and such like.

In Scotland you can ride your bike pretty much anywhere provided you are not causing damage or invading privacy.

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john arran - on 27 Dec 2018
In reply to summo:

> The problem is a government telling people they should bike more and county councils operating within regulations from another century.

I'd say much of the problem is deeper than that, which is that our society increasingly is one of implicit competition in almost all respects, rather than encouraging a more cooperative ethos. This inevitably leads to a dog-eat-dog or us-against-them attitude that sees road users and countryside users pitted against each other rather than coexisting respectfully.

 

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Yanis Nayu - on 27 Dec 2018
In reply to john arran:

That’s exactly it. 

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Sam Beaton on 27 Dec 2018
In reply to Frankie boy:

god knows how many idiots I've seen come ploughing down through the plantation at Stanage on busy weekends

The main path through Stanage Plantation is a Bridleway. But please ride it (and all other Bridleways) considerately when other people are around!

 

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TobyA on 27 Dec 2018
In reply to Frankie boy:

The Stanage Plantation path is a bridleway hence bikes have a right of way, it's also considered one of the best descents in the eastern Peak. 

I'm surprised so many people don't understand this, but bridleways and other non-footpath rights of way are ok for cycling, public footpaths aren't. Check any OS map.

Tow paths are interesting, there's not always a ROW there, but they are often used in long distance cycle routes so I guess SUSTRANS has a clear agreement with the relevant authority.

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Trangia on 27 Dec 2018
In reply to Frankie boy:

I would guess avoid soft and waterlogged ground, particularly grass because the surface area of a tire is generally smaller than that of boot soles so the impact will be greater. As you say yourself footpaths are just that, footpaths, and technically not open to cyclists.

If you are on a Byway, BOT or other mixed use track, remember that pedestrians have right of way (even on a dedicated cycle track assume that they are unaware of you and react accordingly).  Always use your bell when coming up behind pedestrians and slow right down. For people who are hard of hearing a bell is more audible than a voice, both are better than just one or the other, and if they don't hear you get off and walk past them. DO NOT startle them. I know this because I am hard of hearing. Even people with good hearing may not hear you if its windy, or they have their hood up in rain. Similarly show consideration to blind and poorly sighted people, don't hog the track, particularly where there are overhanging branches they may be unaware of.

Take care passing horses in either direction and don't spook them. If a horse is playing up, stop, dismount and stand to the side, still in view, while the rider takes them past you. Avoid lurking in bushes, trees etc beside the track because that can spook them even more. This also applies to walkers if they spook horses.

 

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DaveHK - on 27 Dec 2018
In reply to Frankie boy:

Confusingly the phrase 'right of way' is being used in a couple of different senses by different posters here:

1. A legal right of access

2. Priority over other users

I don't believe it is a matter of law that cyclists should yield to other users as Trangia seems to suggest but happy to be corrected on that.

Post edited at 08:55
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girlymonkey - on 27 Dec 2018
In reply to Frankie boy:

Just move to Scotland, it's much simpler!

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Trangia on 27 Dec 2018
In reply to DaveHK:

> Confusingly the phrase 'right of way' is being used in a couple of different senses by different posters here:

> 1. A legal right of access

> 2. Priority over other users

> I don't believe it is a matter of law that cyclists should yield to other users as Trangia seems to suggest but happy to be corrected on that.

Good point there is a difference between the Legal Right and the question of who has priority, and my post was ambiguous.

Here is an extract from advice given on Bike Hub

"COUNTRYSIDE ACCESS

There’s information here about access restrictions in the countryside. The most pertinent is the fact that, since 1968, cyclists have gained the right to cycle on bridleways (Countryside Act 1968, s. 30(1), (2)). However, it is very important to stress that such hard-won use is subject to an obligation on cyclists to “give way to pedestrians and persons on horseback.”

Also on Bike Hub:-

"Many cycle lanes can now be found on footways, with signage and markings telling cyclists and pedestrians the route is for ‘shared use’. Cyclists must not assume this means they have right of way on the cycle ‘half’ of the shared-use facility. According to this Code of Conduct from the Department of Transport, cyclists should “always respect pedestrians even if they stray onto the cycling side (if there is one); they are entitled to do so. Always thank people who move out of your way.”

Post edited at 09:23
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DaveHK - on 27 Dec 2018
In reply to Trangia:

Thanks for posting that.

No legal priority for walkers, just a general assumption that cyclists will give way is how I read it. Probably based on the idea that one should give way to slower and more vulnerable users.

Post edited at 09:42
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summo on 27 Dec 2018
In reply to john arran:

> I'd say much of the problem is deeper than that, which is that our society increasingly is one of implicit competition in almost all respects, rather than encouraging a more cooperative ethos. This inevitably leads to a dog-eat-dog 

I agree. Selfish society. On the subject of dogs the debate on here about owners happily walking pooing dogs on sports fields springs to mind. 

Urban UK is cramped, mainly the fault of council planning departments and poor planning regulations. Housing too close to roads, no green spaces, recreation area etc..

Walkers and cyclists just have to learn to share. Walkers should not be offended if someone rings a bell for them to move and cyclists can't expect everyone to yield as they blast along. 

 

Post edited at 09:56
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captain paranoia - on 27 Dec 2018
In reply to DaveHK:

> No legal priority for walkers

That is not my reading of this:

'However, it is very important to stress that such hard-won use is subject to an obligation on cyclists to “give way to pedestrians and persons on horseback.”'

I try to be courteous and accommodating to other users, whether on bike or foot. If I'm walking, I'll sort out gates for cyclists, and keep our of their way. If I'm on a bike, i won't plough past walkers without slowing.

I don't agree with the assertion that a bell is better for those who are hard of hearing: higher frequency loss is the most common form of hearing loss. A bell is higher frequency than most voices. My voice is louder than a bell, and can give instruction.

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jethro kiernan - on 27 Dec 2018
In reply to john arran:

Like so much else we seem to see everything in a zero sum way, someone else’s gain must automatically mean a loss for you? There are enough people on here that overlap in hobbies, I climb and walk in the hillls, I also MTB in the mountains. I drive a car I ride a road bike. This provides some good balanced arguments, however like the debate that I dare not name there is a significant number of people with no nuance who stick to entrenched views despite the potential harm this could cause others

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Bulls Crack - on 27 Dec 2018
In reply to jethro kiernan:

The Welsh Government consulted in 2017  recently consulted on a range of countryside/natural resource management   proposals including allowing cycling on footpaths: https://www.cyclinguk.org/press-release/2017-06-22/increased-welsh-footpath-access-cycling-%E2%80%9Clandmark-step%E2%80%9D-says-cycling-uk.

I don't think much has happened since but I think many English Highways Authorities wouldn't be too concerned if were to happen here at some point. It would  however, meet with fierce resistance for land-owning representative  bodies such as the NFU and the CLA (and no doubt their tame peers) 

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wintertree - on 27 Dec 2018
In reply to Frankie boy:

> I just cycle to get about so not too worried about finding that "awesome trail", but on the same note, don't want to be having punch ups with walkers either.

On the public footpaths where I used to live, you’d be more likely to have a run in with some arrogant horse riders (*) or some idiots on unlicenced motorbikes.  Once I had to sneak past a gang of blokes cutting up a previously un-thieved section of the railway line.   Also, once a year or so there’d be a stolen car, and perhaps 3 arsons.

Although no sane person would cycle on them anyway, what with all the dog mess everywhere. 

(*) We were once told off by a hoity toity type on a horse, half way along a public footpath.  We were reprimanded for scaring the horses because we’d been in some bushes picking berries and they startled at my voice - when I had no idea some idiots were round the corner on hordes.  I can’t even begin to imagine the mindset they must have as they trample about making the mud almost impassable with anything less than wellies.

Post edited at 14:46
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girlymonkey - on 27 Dec 2018
In reply to wintertree:

I once got told off by a horse rider while I was walking because I jumped off the path and ran into the woods. I did this because my dog wouldn't cope with passing a couple of big horses on a small path, so I assumed I was doing the right thing by moving away and playing with the dog so he wouldn't react to them. Apparently me doing this scared their horses. I felt a little hard done by as I know my dog is freaked easily, so I go places where I know I can take evasive action when needed. If her horse can't cope then surely it's her responsibility to go somewhere that suits her horses temperament rather than expect other people to work it out for her! 

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steveb2006 - on 27 Dec 2018
In reply to Frankie boy:

If its marked as footpath on the map (1:25000 or 1:50000) I generally avoid using it unless I know it'd be ok to cycle along. From a practical point it can be a bit of pain carrying your muddy bike over multiple stiles

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Deadeye - on 27 Dec 2018
In reply to Frankie boy:

Bridleways = ok for horses and pedal cycles

Footpaths = walkers only.  Please *don't* cycle on these; it's really not ok (even though some selfish folk will try to justify it)

Roads = anything with motors

Post edited at 15:13
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elsewhere on 27 Dec 2018
In reply to Deadeye:

> Bridleways = ok for horses and pedal cycles

> Footpaths = walkers only.  Please *don't* cycle on these; it's really not ok (even though some selfish folk will try to justify it)

> Roads = anything with motors and without motors

 

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Trangia on 27 Dec 2018
In reply to captain paranoia:

 

> I don't agree with the assertion that a bell is better for those who are hard of hearing: higher frequency loss is the most common form of hearing loss. A bell is higher frequency than most voices. My voice is louder than a bell, and can give instruction.

You can take it from me that you are incorrect so far as some , including myself are concerned, when it comes to hearing the approach of a cyclist  from behind, which is why I recommend both bell and voice. As I said the important thing is not to startle someone who has obviously not heard you and moved over. 

 

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toad - on 27 Dec 2018
In reply to TobyA:

> Tow paths are interesting, there's not always a ROW there, but they are often used in long distance cycle routes so I guess SUSTRANS has a clear agreement with the relevant authority.

Tow paths are interesting and also a little concerning. Canal and river trust are in a tricky financial place and are trying to attract a wider membership. They cant charge for towpath access but are trying to attract membership and funding from walkers and cyclists ( not just membership, but funding for providing access).

This is fine providing everyone shuffles over and makes room, but its fundementally a narrow space with a dangerous drop to one side and crt have discovered  fast commuting cyclist don't fit the pr profile pics of happy family slow moving cyclists so they are having to run campaigns to discourage cycling, mostly because of a minority of selfish cyclists and vociferous fishing and boating interests who won't share space and play nicely

 

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Monkeysee - on 27 Dec 2018
In reply to Frankie boy:

My view is use them sensibly and there's no problem - some people forget how unimportant some issues are on the grand scheme of things !

FIRST WORLD PROBLEMS !

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ChrisJD on 27 Dec 2018
In reply to Deadeye:

> Footpaths = walkers only.  Please *don't* cycle on these; it's really not ok (even though some selfish folk will try to justify it)

And if a cyclist did ride on a footpath it would be a civil law matter between the landowner and the cyclist and nothing for you to get involved with (unless you were the landowner or their nominated representative).

 

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captain paranoia - on 27 Dec 2018
In reply to Trangia:

> You can take it from me that you are incorrect so far as some

I don't know whether you ride a bike or not, but using a bell or vocal warning isn't always the best thing to do; people react strangely and unpredictably to both. Regularly discussed here and elsewhere.

Post edited at 17:22
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twoshoes on 27 Dec 2018
In reply to Deadeye:

> Footpaths = walkers only.  Please *don't* cycle on these; it's really not ok (even though some selfish folk will try to justify it) 

Why is it 'really not OK'?

Rights of way designations are based on ancient land ownership, have nothing to do with ground conditions, fragility, trail width or any other conservation issue. So whether it's ok or not has nothing to do with the right of way itself.

Any rider should give way to other users. If they don't, they're a complete whatsit. But again, they'd behave the same on a bridleway, so it can't be that either. 

The difference in erosion between a bike and a walker is also negible. It's been studied, in conclusively. (sadly, no I don't have the names of the studies.) Bikes deepen puddles, walkers widen them. A bike track certainly looks uglier, no argument there. But again, see the first point. 

So why is it so not OK?This isn't a justification, it's a question. 

 

 

 

Post edited at 17:34
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Trangia on 27 Dec 2018
In reply to captain paranoia:

> > You can take it from me that you are incorrect so far as some

> I don't know whether you ride a bike or not, but using a bell or vocal warning isn't always the best thing to do; people react strangely and unpredictably to both. Regularly discussed here and elsewhere.

Do tell us then what cyclists should do as you seem to be so expert in this? 

Are you deaf or hard of hearing? I am.

Yes, I used to cycle.

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mrphilipoldham - on 27 Dec 2018
In reply to girlymonkey:

I had a horse spook on me whilst stopped on the steps leading down to the road from my house. I was out of sight but could hear it coming so thoughtfully decided to keep completely still, but it still s**t itself. Would have taken out anyone else on the road. I'm not anti-horse as such but if my driving was that unpredictable I'd have been banned by now!

Ps. The rider laughed it off and it wasn't a problem in the slightest, otherwise.

Post edited at 17:43
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Dave the Rave on 27 Dec 2018
In reply to Frankie boy:

Good advice below. My two penneth is I couldn’t give too much of a monkeys as long as people aren’t belting along, and slow to a considerate pace of less than 4mph as they pass. Live and let live. No need for any punch ups as long as people are considerate and give walkers good warning, say hello and thanks.

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Dave the Rave on 27 Dec 2018
In reply to Frankie boy:

Good advice below. My two penneth is I couldn’t give too much of a monkeys as long as people aren’t belting along, and slow to a considerate pace of less than 4mph as they pass. Live and let live. No need for any punch ups as long as people are considerate and give walkers good warning, say hello and thanks.

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Dave the Rave on 27 Dec 2018
In reply to Frankie boy:

Good advice above. My two penneth is I couldn’t give too much of a monkeys as long as people aren’t belting along, and slow to a considerate pace of less than 4mph as they pass. Live and let live. No need for any punch ups as long as people are considerate and give walkers good warning, say hello and thanks.

Post edited at 18:33
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Deadeye - on 27 Dec 2018
In reply to twoshoes:

 

> So why is it so not OK?This isn't a justification, it's a question. 

Because it's against the law.  If the law is wrong, then by all means take the necessary steps to get it changed - but don't just ignore it because it doesn't suit you.

Whilst it's a tort rather than a criminal offence, the fact that it has been the law for a very long time means that walkers have been able to use paths without having to worry about cycles and horses - and have got used to that and rather like it.  There are lots of bridleways where those can be used by horses and cycles just fine.  So those that say "just footpaths sensibly" are simply trying to justify their actions.

It's the same as cycling on pavements.  Please don't.

And, yes, I ride a bike on bridleways (though I don't have anyhting to do with horses).

Post edited at 18:51
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Dave the Rave on 27 Dec 2018
In reply to Frankie boy:

I did meet one absolute ‘rim’ on Helvellyn in 2000 though.

I was into the occasional cycle over the lakes hills back then, and went up Helvellyn via Sticks Pass and Raise.

On top of Lower Man, I encountered a group of five or six walkers descending to the flat ground before you bear southish for the shelter.

I waited to ride down but at the bottom, one walker remained facing me. I advised of my intention to cycle down and he said ‘I’ll move when you’re 3 feet away’. Whatever. Down I went at slow speed and the ‘tool’ did move. I couldn’t see the point of this myself?

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twoshoes on 27 Dec 2018
In reply to Deadeye:

> Because it's against the law.  If the law is wrong, then by all means take the necessary steps to get it changed - but don't just ignore it because it doesn't suit you.

> Whilst it's a tort rather than a criminal offence, the fact that it has been the law for a very long time means that walkers have been able to use paths without having to worry about cycles and horses - and have got used to that and rather like it.  

 

Are those walkers the same ones who broke the law on kinder, got access and now don't want to share it? 

Tried to change it. Walkers' voices are too loud. 

 

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Deadeye - on 27 Dec 2018
In reply to twoshoes:

> Are those walkers the same ones who broke the law on kinder, got access and now don't want to share it? 

> Tried to change it. Walkers' voices are too loud. 


Doubtful - and I have to confess to a bit of uneasiness about the mass trespass.  I'm aware that others feel the end justify the means in far more occasions than I seem to.

There are some sensible arguments for cyclists to use pavements ... but it's still illegal (and illegal use has resulted in at least one death).  I want to be able to let my kids run around without worrying; if I'm on a bridleway I know I need to manage them much closer.  If people want to use the footpath they can always, well, walk.

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twoshoes on 27 Dec 2018
In reply to Deadeye:

> Doubtful - and I have to confess to a bit of uneasiness about the mass trespass.  I'm aware that others feel the end justify the means in far more occasions than I seem to.

> There are some sensible arguments for cyclists to use pavements ... but it's still illegal (and illegal use has resulted in at least one death).  I want to be able to let my kids run around without worrying

I didn't literally mean the same walkers!

The rest of your post would be an argument for responsible use for all, everywhere. Same as on a bridleway. And riders screaming past kids is not reaponsible. 

It all seems to work in Scotland ...

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Dave the Rave on 27 Dec 2018
In reply to Deadeye:

When the ten ton truck and the double decker bus approach me cycling up from Loggerheads, I always nip onto the pavement as it’s safer. They always give me a thank you ‘toot’. It’s kept me safe and allowed them progress up a long, steepish hill. Pavements are emergency cycle lanes.

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captain paranoia - on 27 Dec 2018
In reply to Trangia:

> Do tell us then what cyclists should do as you seem to be so expert in this? 

There doesn't seem to be a right answer. See the previous discussions. I usually ride past carefully, without giving a warning. I haven't hit anybody yet.

> Are you deaf or hard of hearing? I am

Yes. I'm 55. I have both tinnitus and age-related high frequency roll-off.

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Deadeye - on 27 Dec 2018
In reply to twoshoes:

> I didn't literally mean the same walkers!

Neither did I.

> The rest of your post would be an argument for responsible use for all, everywhere. Same as on a bridleway. And riders screaming past kids is not reaponsible. 

I suppose this is the nub of it.  Not all users are responsible, so people get hurt.  As with many things in the attempt to protect we exclude soem "good" potential users.

However, that *is* the situation, so please don't ride on footpaths and pavements.

> It all seems to work in Scotland ...

It does - they've changed the law.

 

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twoshoes on 27 Dec 2018
In reply to Deadeye:

So it's about safety? A bicycle poses less 'threat' on a wide, open bridleway in the middle of a working week than on a narrow, twisty and overgrown bridleway on a sunny Sunday? Sorry, that doesn't follow! 

Scotland didn't change the law. It never had rights of way as England and Wales do. 

Anway, this is off the point and will go around in circles forever. Happy climbing/riding/walking! 

 

Post edited at 19:44
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Ben07 - on 27 Dec 2018
In reply to twoshoes:

What do you mean by a bike track looks uglier,? .It's impossible to tell the difference between a foot path and a bridle way a lot of the time.  Bikes do no more harm than walkers, certainly less than horses.  Most walkers, horse riders and bikers have no problem with sharing paths. The only people I've ever had abuse from are older walkers.  I ride a MTB.  

There are some OAP ramblers out there with serious anger issues.  I know people who have been hit with walking poles. They will stand there ground even when you slow right down and let them know you are there, and force you of the paths. Refusing to step aside for you to get past .  I'm talking about on bridelways here aswell.

Most people are sound though.

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twoshoes on 27 Dec 2018
In reply to Ben07:

I mean the track left by a bike. 

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Marek - on 27 Dec 2018
In reply to Deadeye:

> Because it's against the law...

I think it's a bit more subtle than this. As a cyclist you do not have the explicit 'right' to cycle on footpaths (like you do on bridleways) but that is not the same as cycling on a footpath being illegal (aka 'breaking the law'). Fortunately in the UK, not having an explicit right to do something does not make that activity illegal. The landowner (or rep) has the 'right' to ask you to leave by the most direct route and if you do not, then you are breaking the law (by denying the landowner his right). Note also that this is in the absence of any specific local byelaws which may make it an explicit offense to cycle on a particular path. So from a legal point of view you can cycle along a footpath until such time as you are asked by the landowner-or-rep to leave and then you should leave as directed.  Do that and you have broken no law (civil or criminal). I also believe (but can't substantiate) that a generic "No Bikes" sign is not equivalent to the landowner explicitly asking you to leave. 

Whether it is sensible or moral is another matter altogether.

 

 

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wintertree - on 27 Dec 2018
In reply to Marek:

> but that is not the same as cycling on a footpath being illegal

Although my understanding was that any damage caused by cycling on land without permission does fall foul of criminal law.  I may be wrong mind you.

I have a small piece of land with a footpath across it.  It’s a bit bog ridden and was hogweed, bramble and nettle infested.  I’ve dug and buried land drains, repeatedly pulled all the weeds/brambles and mowed until they’re gone, dug a ditch and worked on the drainage.  Occasionally someone cycles on it.  I can 100% state that on sodden, sloping grass a bike does far more damage than a walker.  My main problem however is with the subset of dog owners in the village who are feckless or awful people who take their dogs there daily to curl one out.  I’m minded to leave it to the brambles. 

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mbh - on 27 Dec 2018
In reply to Deadeye:

> There are some sensible arguments for cyclists to use pavements ... but it's still illegal (and illegal use has resulted in at least one death).  I want to be able to let my kids run around without worrying; if I'm on a bridleway I know I need to manage them much closer.  If people want to use the footpath they can always, well, walk.

In my town a whole network of pavements have been widened and designated by the council as shared spaces for pedestrians and cyclists. Sometimes there is a white line suggesting how the the two user groups should divide the space, but not always. 

So it can't be illegal for cyclists to use pavements, unless local councils have the power to remake the law. 

One consequence of this very welcome development here has been that I occasionally get shouted at by motorists if I use the road instead when on my bike. They clearly haven't read the "This is a shared Space: Please be considerate of all users' signs

 

 

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Marek - on 27 Dec 2018
In reply to wintertree:

> > but that is not the same as cycling on a footpath being illegal

> Although my understanding was that any damage caused by cycling on land without permission does fall foul of criminal law.  I may be wrong mind you.

Yes you are quite right - I just left out the 'damage' bit for simplicity's sake since it applies to any circumstance where you damage someone's property.

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Marek - on 27 Dec 2018
In reply to mbh:

> In my town a whole network of pavements have been widened and designated by the council as shared spaces for pedestrians and cyclists. Sometimes there is a white line suggesting how the the two user groups should divide the space, but not always. 

> So it can't be illegal for cyclists to use pavements, unless local councils have the power to remake the law. 

It's the other way round: Urban pavements (as opposed to footpaths) are usually covered by local byelaws which make cycling on them an offence. The local council can lift those restrictions if it so chooses and allow shared use. Also remember that a pavement is not necessarily a footpath (in the legal sense).

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elsewhere on 27 Dec 2018
In reply to Marek:

For twenty years the guidance has been that pavement cycling is largely OK. 

That guidance from Mr Boateng, issued in 1999 said: “The introduction of the fixed penalty is not aimed at responsible cyclists who sometimes feel obliged to use the pavement out of fear of traffic and who show consideration to other pavement users when doing so. Chief police officers, who are responsible for enforcement, acknowledge that many cyclists, particularly children and young people, are afraid to cycle on the road, sensitivity and careful use of police discretion is required.”

https://road.cc/content/news/108119-transport-minister-responsible-cyclists-can-ride-pavement

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Andy Gamisou - on 27 Dec 2018
In reply to Dave the Rave:

>  Pavements are emergency cycle lanes.

Wonder if the guy who rammed into the back of my 80 year old father whilst he was walking on the pavement close to his home, leaving him sprawled in a heap, then simply rode off (after swearing at him for being in his way) was of the same opinion.

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Marek - on 27 Dec 2018
In reply to elsewhere:

> For twenty years the guidance has been that pavement cycling is largely OK. 

> That guidance from Mr Boateng, issued in 1999 said: “The introduction of the fixed penalty is not aimed at responsible cyclists who sometimes feel obliged to use the pavement out of fear of traffic and who show consideration to other pavement users when doing so. Chief police officers, who are responsible for enforcement, acknowledge that many cyclists, particularly children and young people, are afraid to cycle on the road, sensitivity and careful use of police discretion is required.”

> https://road.cc/content/news/108119-transport-minister-responsible-cyclists-can-ride-pavement

Ah, that depends on what is meant by "... Is OK" . In this case it means that the police will probably use their discretion and not pursue the byelaw-breaking pavement cyclist. What it doesn't mean is that the byelaw has been repealed and cycling on pavements is now legal. Although it would seem a sensible use of discretion, it does run the risk of creating a sense that laws can somehow be seen as 'optional' both in enforcement and observance. Tricky. 

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FactorXXX - on 28 Dec 2018
In reply to Frankie boy:

I walk my dog on a variety of paths - some are footpaths and some are shared use.
On a shared use path, I will keep the dog close to me so as not to cause a problem with cyclists getting tangled up with her extended lead, etc.  No problem there, it's a shared path and I understand how frustrating it must be for cyclists to have to continuously negotiate the trip wires caused by such leads.
However, on a footpath, I fully expect there to be no cyclists and therefore should be able to relax and either let the dog off the lead, or, let her run it out  to the max on the extendable lead without having to consider cyclists.
If cyclists use footpaths sensibly and slow down/stop where necessary, then I have no problem.  Unfortunately, my experience of cyclists on footpaths is that they do tend to treat them as a Cycle Lane/Strava Run/MTB Trail and are quite put out when they get slowed down by other users.
 
 

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summo on 28 Dec 2018
In reply to FactorXXX:

Shouldn't you be on a bridleway for the transportation of animals? ;) 

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mbh - on 28 Dec 2018
In reply to FactorXXX:

You also get runners on footpaths and they are just as entitled to be there as dog walkers. I'm one, and I meet lots of dogs off leads or on extendable leads that stretch right across the path. I put my runs on Strava, but that is by-the-by. I am not in the least worried about being slowed down by the people I meet. I do think it reasonable that dog walkers should be confident and see to it that their dogs won't bother other users of the path, and if that means keeping them on a short lead, so be it. I don't think it reasonable that I should find large dogs bounding towards me, off the lead, owner out of sight around the corner, as frequently happens. I very much appreciate the many dog owners who are friendly and considerate.

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Sam Beaton on 28 Dec 2018
In reply to Marek:

It is the 1835 Highways Act that makes it illegal to cycle on pavements, not byelaws. It's never been repealed despite almost never being enforced. Slightly more likely, although still vanishingly rare, is the offence of injuring someone due to the wonderfully worded "wanton and furious" cycling as defined in the 1861 Offences Against The Person Act.

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Somerset swede basher - on 28 Dec 2018
In reply to Frankie boy:

Does anyone know what the deal is with the main path through Burbage. Its marked as a footpath on the map but there are now stickers on the gates at both ends telling horse riders, cyclists and walkers to smile and say hi to each other. I don't ride down it as I always thought it was a footpath. 

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elsewhere on 28 Dec 2018
In reply to Somerset swede basher:

Footpath is legal right for walkers. Nothing to say landowner cannot welcome horses and bikes?

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TobyA on 28 Dec 2018
In reply to Somerset swede basher:

It's a permissive bridleway, as is the path a long the top of Froggat and Curbar now. The great people at Ride Sheffield negotiated it with the NT and Eastern Moors Partnership. In a perfect world with my mountain biking helmet on, they would get the same for the path from Burbage Bridge along the top of Stanage all the way to Cut Throat Bridge but I guess that's unlikely. We can but dream though! 

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Sam Beaton on 28 Dec 2018
In reply to TobyA:

The permissive BWs down the Burbage Green Drive and along the top of Froggatt/Curbar are there in part because the land is owned by Sheffield City Council and the Peak National Park authority respectively (although both areas are now managed on a day to day basis by the Eastern Moors Partnership). The owner of the northern half of Stanage is unlikely to voluntarily allow horse riders and MTBers to use footpaths on it's land.

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Marek - on 28 Dec 2018
In reply to Sam Beaton:

Ah, thanks for the correction. I sometimes think that politician should only be allowed to make a new law if they first repeal or update an existing one. A bad law is worse than no law.

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Howard J - on 28 Dec 2018
In reply to Frankie boy:

I have some professional experience of this. The law surrounding highways, which includes footpaths and bridleways, is incredibly complicated and fills thick textbooks. There isn't even a statutory definition of what a 'highway' is!  On top of the formal legal rights of way and CRoW rights, it is possible for a landowner to agree permissive rights ( a good chunk of the National Cycle Network is on private land where Sustrans has negotiated rights with the owner).  To complicate it even further, the same path may be a public footpath ie with a legal right of way on foot and also a permissive cycle path. The important difference is that a landowner can withdraw his permission, whereas a public right of way can only be changed through a legal process.

If you are cycling on a public footpath where there is no permissive cycle path or other express rights then you are a trespasser.  Whether or not that is 'ok' will depend on a lot of different factors, including how you behave and whether you are causing nuisance or annoyance to legitimate users of the land, and whether you are causing damage.  It might not just be you - if the path is regularly used by cyclists then the landowner may object even if you are behaving considerately.  The landowner is entitled to make you leave and to take steps to prevent cyclists from gaining access onto the land (provided that in doing so he doesn't obstruct a lawful right of way by others).  It is therefore sensible to avoid upsetting landowners and legitimate users, but in most cases you will probably get away with it.  You can expect some criticism from walkers, but why not if your unlawful use is adversely affecting their lawful one?

In many respects this is not dissimilar to climbing - we often have no right to climb on a crag, but it will usually be tolerated unless our behaviour starts to cause difficulties for other people.

 

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Marek - on 28 Dec 2018
In reply to Howard J:

You probably know more about this than me, so I could do with some clarification...

What do you mean by "unlawful"? Do you mean illegal (i.e., committing an criminal offence) or do you mean doing something that you have no explicit right to do (but is not of itself an criminal offence). My understanding is that cycling along a footpath (with no other restrictions and no interaction with the landowner) is the latter rather than the former.

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Trangia on 28 Dec 2018
In reply to Howard J:

> I have some professional experience of this. The law surrounding highways, which includes footpaths and bridleways, is incredibly complicated and fills thick textbooks. 

That's interesting because over the years I've had run ins with (different) landowners for a) Picking blackberries on one occasion, and sloes on another, which were overhanging and butting onto footpaths. On looking up the Law (By Laws) I learnt that you are permitted to pick wild fruit on a footpath provided that it is not for resale,

and b) stopping on a footpath to drink a flask of coffee and have a sandwich. The By Laws I looked up stated that you can stop on a footpath for a lot of purposes such as admiring the view, taking photographs, resting, reading (a book), picnicking, and similar lawful activities provided that you do not obstruct it for other users.

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Bulls Crack - on 28 Dec 2018
In reply to Marek:

Trespass is a civil tort but causing an obstruction would be constitute a criminal offence under the Highways Act 1980  - and there could also be a nuisance element at common law. 

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marsbar - on 28 Dec 2018
In reply to Frankie boy:

You have the right to cycle on bridleways.  

You don’t have the right to cycle on footpaths.  There may be occasions where it is fine to do so, it isn’t illegal as such.  

Trespass changes from a civil matter to a criminal matter if it becomes aggravated trespass.  Something as simple as swearing at a landowner (even a provocative one) can make it a criminal matter.  So should you trespass it is wise to be polite to landowners and leave immediately by the shortest route when requested.  Some landowners or others have been known to attempt to deliberately wind people up to create a situation where trespass becomes aggravated.  

 

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Dave the Rave on 28 Dec 2018
In reply to Andy Gamisou:

> >  Pavements are emergency cycle lanes.

> Wonder if the guy who rammed into the back of my 80 year old father whilst he was walking on the pavement close to his home, leaving him sprawled in a heap, then simply rode off (after swearing at him for being in his way) was of the same opinion.

Somehow I doubt it, and hope your dads ok. Emergency pavement escapes are subjective and still open to risk assessment. The pavement that I escape on is uphill and unfrequented by pedestrians and is handy to prevent me being hit by something big from behind. Everyone’s a winner. 

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Howard J - on 28 Dec 2018
In reply to Marek:

> What do you mean by "unlawful"? 

I was careful to use this term, rather than illegal. You're analysis is correct.  Cycling on a footpath is trespass - you have no legal right to be there, so what you are doing is unlawful, and the landowner could take legal steps to prevent you, including going to court.  However it's not illegal, you can't be arrested for it and the police won't get involved.

"Trespassers will be prosecuted" is an empty threat, you can't be prosecuted and any legal action would  be in the civil courts, not the criminal ones.  All a landowner could ask a court to do is make you pay damages (likely to be nominal unless he has suffered an actual loss) or grant an injunction to stop you going onto his land.  In practice legal action is very unlikely unless you make a real nuisance of yourself.

 

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Howard J - on 28 Dec 2018
In reply to Trangia:

The broad principle is that the purpose of a right of way is to allow you to cross someone else's land to get from A to B.  In theory you shouldn't linger.  However the courts have decided that all sorts of things can be considered to be reasonable behaviour while exercising a right of way, for example walking a dog.  It's largely common sense - stopping briefly to take a photo is probably reasonable, setting up an easel and spending all day painting the landscape probably isn't exercising a right of way, and is likely to obstruct others.

Of course, most people don't understand the nuances so there is always a risk of being challenged.  Usually courtesy is a better response than insisting on your rights, even if you can be fully confident you've understood them correctly.

 

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wintertree - on 28 Dec 2018
In reply to Howard J:

> Trespassers will be prosecuted" is an empty threat

Except on railway lines, ministry of defence property and various other property types.

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wintertree - on 28 Dec 2018
In reply to Trangia:

> That's interesting because over the years I've had run ins with (different) landowners for a) Picking blackberries on one occasion, and sloes on another, which were overhanging and butting onto footpaths. On looking up the Law (By Laws)

Its not a yer law.  In England and Wales its the Theft Act 1968. This defines picking fruit that is growing wild on private land as “not theft” so long as it’s for non commercial use.

In theory a bye law could extinguish that part of the Theft Act.  No idea if they ever do.

Picking wild fruit is I think also an offence in an SSSI.  Which is a real bugger when the best haul of alpine strawberries is slap bang in the middle of one.

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RobertHepburn - on 28 Dec 2018
In reply to Frankie boy:

My understanding is that in Scotland they had similar rights of way that predated cycling. A case came up where a cyclist had been on a footpath and the judge ruled that it was "an aid for a pedestrian" and thus legal via case law.

In England and Wales this has never been clarified in court and thus is unknown. There is a real chance if it came up that it would go the same way as Scotland.

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Toccata on 29 Dec 2018
In reply to Howard J:

> Cycling on a footpath is trespass 

As per the above poster, has this assumption ever been tested? Indeed has a civil case ever been brought against a cyclist for riding on a footpath? Genuinely interested as I though part of the reason bylaws making it illegal to cycle on certain Peak District footpaths was because the park authority didn’t think a civil case would be successful.

 

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John Stainforth - on 29 Dec 2018
In reply to Frankie boy:

As a cyclist of more than sixty years, I think that cycling on footpaths is an absolute no-no.  Cycles are one or two orders of magnitude more damaging to the environment than walkers. In places with fragile soil, this is obvious - e.g. in the Canadian Rockies cyclists are not allowed on footpaths. People who cycle on footpaths seem to have the same mindset as tailgaters who hog the overtaking lane on motorways and regard the law (such as speed limits) beneath their dignity. Recently I have seen a few 4WD buggies on footpaths doing tremendous damage. When they scream past you, they have a blank look on their faces and the only thing they appear to be enjoying is the noise of their deliberately noisy exhaust pipes.

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girlymonkey - on 29 Dec 2018
In reply to John Stainforth:

It's a long time since I lived in England, so things might be different, but I remember thinking it was an odd rule as some footpaths were very well surfaced and some bridleways weren't. 

There was also an interesting comment up thread (can't be bothered to trawl and find who it was, sorry) from someone who said that bikes make puddles deeper but feet make them wider. So wear is no worse, just different. 

Just ride sensibly, choosing your ground based on what condition it's in and there shouldn't be a problem! There are places I only ride in frozen conditions, for example, despite being allowed to ride any time I want. Other places I will ride year round.

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marsbar - on 29 Dec 2018
In reply to John Stainforth:

I’d agree in areas of fragile soil. In some places this isn’t the case, some footpaths are surfaced.  I’d go with common sense myself.  

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Howard J - on 29 Dec 2018
In reply to Toccata:

If you are on someone else's land without lawful authority then you are a trespasser.  Where there is a public footpath then you have lawful authority to pass on foot, but that does not extend to cycling so if you are on a bike you are there without lawful authority.

I don't know if there have been any court cases.  Going to court is expensive, even if you win, and all the landowner can usually expect is nominal damages (unless actual loss can be proved) or an injunction to prevent that individual from doing it again. Unless someone is especially persistent there is little point in most cases in taking it to court.  Where someone is causing damage there are probably other actions which could be taken, possibly including criminal charges for criminal damage or aggravated trespass.

Where there is a bylaw prohibiting cycling that can be enforced in the magistrates court or a fixed-penalty fine levied on the spot. This makes it quicker and more effective for local authorities than relying on the civil law, but that is not to say that a civil action would not succeed.

 

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DaveHK - on 29 Dec 2018
In reply to Howard J:

All of that is genuinely interesting but your response to Tocatta's actual question can be summarised as 'not to my knowledge'.

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bedspring on 03 Jan 2019
In reply to john arran:

> I'd say much of the problem is deeper[....] coexisting respectfully.

 

I would agree with this and I am a cyclist. However as walker one of the problems I have with MTBers is when they come towards you they make an agressive looking sight, probably unintentionally, but with the body posture and the arm position on the handlebars and the helmet it is intimidating. And much as cyclists may thank you and smile, the deal seems to be that walkers should stand to one side.

 

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MonkeyPuzzle - on 03 Jan 2019
In reply to bedspring:

I always get out of the way of an intimidating helmet coming towards me, wherever I am.

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didntcomelast on 03 Jan 2019
In reply to Frankie boy:slightly off the line of a ‘footpath’ but we have a shared use tarmac path for a section of national speed limit single carriage road between our village and the local town, great, except the shared use path ends where the road, a) becomes narrower, b) is the access and egress for a local supermarket distribution centre and c) steepens into a hill. I’m not one for breaking the laws of the land but it’s too dangerous to leave the path and start to ride on the road just because a person at county hall decided to end the shared use section at what is clearly the most dangerous section of the 2 mile road. Funny thing is on one occasion a pedestrian shouted at a cyclist battling up the hill on the road telling him “use the footpath, you expletive expletive!” Sometimes even pedestrians have common sense where a road is dangerous. 

 

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blackmountainbiker - on 04 Jan 2019
In reply to bedspring:

A couple of things.. '..they make an aggressive looking sight, probably unintentionally' - could you really imagine 'they' are intentionally aggressive looking for one second? And do you resent standing aside for a cyclist? Would you prefer to stand your ground and have the cyclist go around you when it is actually far easier for a pedestrian to step slightly to one side? I think you have a bit of a bee in your bonnet about mountain bikers. 

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bedspring on 05 Jan 2019
In reply to blackmountainbiker:

> A couple of things.. '..they make an aggressive looking sight, probably unintentionally' - could you really imagine 'they' are intentionally aggressive looking for one second? And do you resent standing aside for a cyclist? Would you prefer to stand your ground and have the cyclist go around you when it is actually far easier for a pedestrian to step slightly to one side? I think you have a bit of a bee in your bonnet about mountain bikers. 

This is my perception. I am not looking for a fall out. Walking is a pretty simple and maybe the most basic thing that is done in the countryside.
Maybe all other users should stop and move aside for walkers, that includes Motor Vehicles, Bikes and Horses. As I understand it there are Roads, Bridleways and Footpaths, with roads and bridleways giving permission for cars and horses and bikes to travel but not taking away the right of a walker.

It would be an odd thing to do, but if I chose to walk down a single carriage A Road, the traffic would just have to go at my pace. But the world we live in has very much made the pedestrian second class and I would not be surprised if a car did not bump into me, or I would get assaulted by an angry driver or a police officer would try to make me move, when I think infact I would actually be exercising my legal right of way.
Off for a walk now, then a Boulder, Ta ta

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blackmountainbiker - on 05 Jan 2019
In reply to bedspring:

That's a pretty odd point of view. I frequently ride on a shared use canal tow path in the Brecon Beacons as a link in one of my mountain bike rides. When I come across people walking I slow down, say hello and smile at them and they return the greeting and smile back then step out of my way and I continue on my journey. I down think I have any greater right to the path than them and I am grateful for their thoughtfulness, it is just a matter of practicality but it appears that this convention is an annoyance to you. Generally I have very positive encounters with people out walking but I was once on a bridleway with a friend in the Quantocks and we came upon a man and woman walking. We greeted them and the man stepped off the narrow singletrack to let us through, quite happily as it happens, but the woman refused to move, despite calls from her husband to do so. It was quite embarrassing for him and we ended up having to carry our bikes around her really awkwardly through the heather to get ahead. We remained polite and civil the whole time but I was really puzzled by her actions. Would she have behaved like that if we were runners or horses? Did she just have a hatred of mountain bikers? Hope you enjoyed your walk!

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bedspring on 06 Jan 2019
In reply to blackmountainbiker:

> That's a pretty odd point of view. [.....] Did she just have a hatred of mountain bikers?

Maybe as a pedestrian she was just brassed off at always being the one to stand to one side. As John said above and I agreed with that its best if we can all get along, I am just pointing out that the ones making the concession always seem to be the walker. 
In your example of the single track, I would have stopped to let you through, but is there any particular reason why you should not have moved to one side?

Hope you enjoyed your walk!

The walk was great, but the bouldering not so, I have forgotten how to climb and its Catalunya in 11 weeks, some serious training for me

 

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blackmountainbiker - on 06 Jan 2019
In reply to bedspring:

> In your example of the single track, I would have stopped to let you through, but is there any particular reason why you should not have moved to one side?

Yes, as I said, we had to carry our bikes awkwardly through the heather. It would have taken a tiny step to the side and a few seconds to move out the way. Her husband managed it and it was not heaving with bikes. Most people don't seem to have a problem.

> The walk was great, but the bouldering not so, I have forgotten how to climb and its Catalunya in 11 weeks, some serious training for me The winter seems to take its toll on me too, though I have been unwell with pneumonia but today managed to walk up Skirrid near Abergavenny OK - it was heaving with people but pleasant. Have fun in Catalunya.

 

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bedspring on 06 Jan 2019
In reply to blackmountainbiker:

As I say I would have moved

and I will have fun in Catalunya

I have had a stinker of a cold, normally shake off in a couple of days but this has been about 3 weeks get well soon.

 

Post edited at 19:38
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Timmd on 23 Jan 2019
In reply to John Stainforth:

> As a cyclist of more than sixty years, I think that cycling on footpaths is an absolute no-no.  Cycles are one or two orders of magnitude more damaging to the environment than walkers. In places with fragile soil, this is obvious - e.g. in the Canadian Rockies cyclists are not allowed on footpaths. People who cycle on footpaths seem to have the same mindset as tailgaters who hog the overtaking lane on motorways and regard the law (such as speed limits) beneath their dignity. Recently I have seen a few 4WD buggies on footpaths doing tremendous damage. When they scream past you, they have a blank look on their faces and the only thing they appear to be enjoying is the noise of their deliberately noisy exhaust pipes.

Hmmmn, I think it depends on the path, and the considerate nature (or not) of the person cycling along it. 

There's a path I have cycled along since my late teens, and I really like to use it because of the views on either side, and out of consideration of the reasons why it's a walkers only path, I don't cycle along if it's soft and muddy after rain, and I make sure to go out of my way towards making walkers feel un-bothered by my being there. If we're approaching head to head, I'll stop well in advance and fiddle with my bike or drink my water and look at the view, or some similar method of making them not feel they have to hurry, or feel like they're being crowded, and I'll stay quietly behind a walker and be patient until there's room for me to go past after saying hello to let them know I'm being them. If people use some thought and consideration, it's not impossible for the paths to stay in the same condition as when only used by walkers, and for walkers to feel un bothered by cyclists too. All it takes a little bit of thought and consideration. There's woods down one side, too, so it's possibly to go off the path and into the woods to give somebody walking some personal space to enjoy their walk. 

Post edited at 18:44
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Wren67 on 16 Mar 2019
In reply to John Stainforth:

> Cycles are one or two orders of magnitude more damaging to the environment than walkers.

There was a study done, by Aberdeen University (if my memory serves me correctly), that looked at this. Sadly I can't find the reference just now. The summary of their findings were that bikes caused more serious erosion than walkers under one set of circumstances; soft, wet, sloping ground, where the bike tyres formed 'micro streams'. Under all other circumstances your assertion is demonstrably false. (Obviously the study compared walkers and bikers exercising skill and care; to compare a careful walker with a reckless rider would not be a reasonable comparison.)

>People who cycle on footpaths seem to have the same mindset...

Nothing like gross generalisations! :-D

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Wren67 on 16 Mar 2019
In reply to bedspring:

> Maybe all other users should stop and move aside for walkers, that includes Motor Vehicles, Bikes and Horses.

Mmmm... ...let's look at a sailing analogy. You'll have heard that power gives way to sail? Care to try sailing a dinghy across Southampton Water in front of a bulk carrier? There is common sense to be applied too. I'd agree that in the event of a collision there should be a presumption of fault in British law according to the following hierarchy: pedestrians < cyclists < motor cyclists < cars (and larger vehicles), based upon their relative vulnerabilities and capacity to cause harm to others. Stating that everyone should move aside for walkers though is bonkers.

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timjones - on 16 Mar 2019
In reply to Wren67:

Surely fault and harm are 2 very different things and the one does not influence the other?

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Wren67 on 17 Mar 2019
In reply to timjones:

> Surely fault and harm are 2 very different things and the one does not influence the other?

They are different things, but perhaps there is a link? Someone who is more likely to be harmed is also more likely to be careful to avoid harm.

I believe a hierarchy similar to that suggested is in place in some jurisdictions. Note that a presumption of fault is subtly different from guilty until proven innocent; a pedestrian who stepped out in to the road without looking would be at fault if the rider or driver were exercising reasonable skill and caution. 

It's been suggested that the biggest improvements in road safety could be delivered if we removed drivers' seat belts and air bags, and mounted a dagger on the steering wheel pointing at their chest instead, but I feel that's a little bit extreme!  

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Wren67 on 17 Mar 2019
In reply to bedspring:

> However as walker one of the problems I have with MTBers is when they come towards you they make an agressive looking sight, probably unintentionally, but with the body posture and the arm position on the handlebars and the helmet it is intimidating.

I can perhaps see why someone who doesn't mountain bike themselves might think that, but the truth is that the effect is most unintentional. They are not being aggressive; they are adopting the correct body position to be able to handle the challenges that the trail presents. I'm sure you'd agree that riding in a manner that allows you to move your weight around on the bike, to react to the trail, to corner and brake effectively, whilst wearing the recommended safety gear is actually the sign of a competent rider, not an aggressive one. 

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Dr.S at work - on 17 Mar 2019
In reply to Wren67:

Very true - maybe we should rename it though?

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timjones - on 17 Mar 2019
In reply to Wren67:

The problem with your reasoning is that for careful drivers the vast majority of their near misses will have been caused by the other party regardless of their relative vulnerability.

It is however worth noting that if we had an addendum stating that in any incident involving a motorbike the biker should be presumed to be at fault it would look a lot more realistic ;)

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jethro kiernan - on 17 Mar 2019
In reply to timjones:

Actually accidents involving another party and motorbikes are nearly always the fault of the car driver and lack of attention at junctions.

most motorbike accidents are “failure to negotiate a bend” but no other party tends to be involved.

https://www.rospa.com/rospaweb/docs/advice-services/road-safety/motorcyclists/common-motorcycle-crash-causes.pdf

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timjones - on 17 Mar 2019
In reply to jethro kiernan:

Quite possibly but does that make it right to have a hierarchy of fault that presumes that even the carefullest of drivers is at fault if hit by a bike?

Is it ever right to discriminate against everyone for the actions of a few?

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fred99 - on 18 Mar 2019
In reply to Wren67:

> It's been suggested that the biggest improvements in road safety could be delivered if we removed drivers' seat belts and air bags, and mounted a dagger on the steering wheel pointing at their chest instead, but I feel that's a little bit extreme!  

Speaking as a cyclist and motorcyclist (as well as a car driver), it frequently doesn't seem extreme enough.

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fred99 - on 18 Mar 2019
In reply to timjones:

> It is however worth noting that if we had an addendum stating that in any incident involving a motorbike the biker should be presumed to be at fault it would look a lot more realistic ;)

Does that include the woman doing a 3-point turn in a hire car on a left hand bend  (between 2 great big long straights where you actually could see what was going on), in a queue of traffic on a main A-road, right outside West Mercia Constabulary headquarters, who stopped, waited till I was going past her (stationary) vehicle, and then went forward at high speed even though she was looking straight at me ?

Get real. If a motorcyclist hits a car they get seriously hurt. If a car driver hits a bike they get a dent in the bodywork. One of those 2 possibilities gives a damn, the other doesn't.

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Ramblin dave - on 18 Mar 2019
In reply to timjones:

The basic point here is that fault isn't absolute - we determine someone to be at fault if they don't meet some standards for what we'd consider to be normal, sensible and responsible behaviour. And we tend to expect higher standards of behaviour from people who are in a position to cause more harm - there are more stringent controls on HGV drivers than on car and van drivers, for instance, and even more so on airline pilots, whereas pedestrians occasionally doing something a bit dense is just something that we have to be prepared for.

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Bob Aitken - on 18 Mar 2019
In reply to Wren67:

> There was a study done, by Aberdeen University (if my memory serves me correctly), that looked at this. ... The summary of their findings were that bikes caused more serious erosion than walkers under one set of circumstances; soft, wet, sloping ground, where the bike tyres formed 'micro streams'. Under all other circumstances your assertion is demonstrably false.

> Nothing like gross generalisations! :-D

Agreed, we all need to be careful of gross generalisations, like "all other circumstances" - there are a lot of other circumstances to consider.  From working on mountain paths for more years than I want to remember, I've seen a number of localised circumstances where mountain bikes can cause distinctive and pronounced damage beyond walker impacts, perhaps the most frequent being where bikers go off-path on soft ground to circumvent big open stone-lined cross-drains or awkward rock steps.  A regrettable response to the cross-drain 'problem', which I've seen several multiple times, notably around Torridon, is the careful placing of big boulders in drains by persons unknown to give an uninterrupted run for bikes.  Doesn't do a lot for drainage of the path.

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Sean Kelly - on 18 Mar 2019
In reply to Frankie boy:

Not quite the same as cycling, but yesterday some turd roared past me and dog on his trials/scrambler bike at the top of Hameldown Tor. It is a bridleway so these bikers think they have access. It's so annoying especially the the tyres of the bike ripped up the very soft ground. This is to say nothing about the safety implications for walkers etc. My camera was in my sac at the time. Grrr.

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Ffat Boi - on 18 Mar 2019
In reply to captain paranoia:

> I don't agree with the assertion that a bell is better for those who are hard of hearing: higher frequency loss is the most common form of hearing loss. A bell is higher frequency than most voices. My voice is louder than a bell, and can give instruction.

However

People who have hearing aids and implants are more likely to pick up a bicycle bell than a persons voice.

It is often not a matter of volume (eg: shouting doesn`t make it clearer, especially when it is windy)

A sudden short sound, like a bell, is out of place and therefore easier to pick up.

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Monk - on 18 Mar 2019
In reply to Bob Aitken:

> Agreed, we all need to be careful of gross generalisations, like "all other circumstances" - there are a lot of other circumstances to consider.  From working on mountain paths for more years than I want to remember, I've seen a number of localised circumstances where mountain bikes can cause distinctive and pronounced damage beyond walker impacts, perhaps the most frequent being where bikers go off-path on soft ground to circumvent big open stone-lined cross-drains

But let's not mention all those cases where walkers widen paths or create new paths trying to avoid puddles... both are bad, but one is far more common than the other

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Bob Aitken - on 19 Mar 2019
In reply to Monk:

Naturally the bigger user group will produce larger and more widespread aggregate impacts on paths.  However the discussion was around whether mountain bike use creates more impacts per user than walking, or whether it creates distinctive kinds of impact and path spread.   I'd just contend - picking my words carefully! - that from my own observations on certain kinds of site and in certain conditions it does both of those things.

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summo on 19 Mar 2019
In reply to Monk:

> But let's not mention all those cases where walkers widen paths or create new paths trying to avoid puddles... both are bad, but one is far more common than the other

Why not just make paths a bit wider, those around towns and villages can have a bit of gravel on them, widen gates too. They'd be much more accessible to disabled users and withstand cycle wear too. 

The uks public footpath and bridleways set up belongs in previous centuries. It needs serious revision. 

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fred99 - on 20 Mar 2019
In reply to summo:

> Why not just make paths a bit wider ...,  widen gates too. They'd be much more accessible to disabled users and withstand cycle wear too. 

Most ways through hedges/fences are stiles. Gates are intermittent, and are only there when they coincide with farm access routes. If you change all the stiles to gates on any route between roads in order to enable bicycle/wheelchair access then you are talking about a lot of work. And then those gates will inevitably be left open by some kind soul. As for how much gravel you'd need .. the mind boggles.

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timjones - on 20 Mar 2019
In reply to Ramblin dave:

At the end of the day you either drove, rode or walked into something or you didn't. It is pretty absolute.

In the case of motorbikes you meet far to many recklessly dangerous dipweeds for the small propertion of road users that they represent. Without stretching my mind too much I can think of  multiple incidents across 34 years of driving where a biker has come close on hitting me whilst riding recklessly, if they hadn't got lucky the mental trauma would have been severe enogh without having to deal with the extra stress of being presumed to be at fault.

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Ramblin dave - on 20 Mar 2019
In reply to timjones:

> At the end of the day you either drove, rode or walked into something or you didn't. It is pretty absolute.

But if the "something" is "someone" then it isn't. If someone slams on the breaks to avoid a hazard and you run into the back of them then it's your fault - you should be anticipating that that that might happen and leaving a reasonable stopping distance. If someone randomly ignores a red light and pulls out in front of you and you hit them then it's not your fault - we don't expect people to anticipate something that out-of-the-blue. If someone steps off the pavement immediately in front of your bike with no warning then you can't really be blamed for hitting them, but if you can see well in advance that they're walking towards the kerb without having noticed you and don't shout or get ready to take evasive action then you're probably both being negligent.

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timjones - on 20 Mar 2019
In reply to Ramblin dave:

So why on earth would we move to any form of presumed fault?

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Ramblin dave - on 20 Mar 2019
In reply to timjones:

> So why on earth would we move to any form of presumed fault?

Because it shifts the expectation for what is sensible and normal behaviour around more vulnerable road users to something safer than it currently is.

I mean, I'm not sure it's the best and most important thing to do - I'd rather have stronger rules and more enforcement around close passing, speeding, tailgating, pavement parking etc to adjust peoples' behaviour before they cause accidents, but I can see the logic in it.

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