Is cycling on the pavement sensible?

Discussion in 'General Cycling' started by Tom Crispin, Jan 22, 2011.

  1. Tom Crispin

    Tom Crispin Guest

    This morning, as I was cleaning my bike, I saw a boy of about 12
    years, with a tennis racket on his back, cycle past my home on the

    The road is in Inner London and is moderately busy with traffic speeds
    typically 30mph. There are several pinch points at the frequent
    bollards, and regular bus stops. Most of the traffic is through
    traffic, accessing either the semi-orbital South Circular Road, or the
    A20 radial route into Central London.

    Clearly cycling on the footway is illegal under Section 35 of the
    1835 Highways Act (as is pushing a handcart such as a supermarket
    trolley on the footway). But legality aside, is it sensible for
    someone without the skills or confidence to cycle on the carriageway
    in busy traffic?
    Tom Crispin, Jan 22, 2011
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  2. Tom Crispin

    Simon Mason Guest

    By and large, the police seem to turn a blind eye to children on the
    pavement. Around here are 3 schools where many children make their way home
    cycling on the pavement and the local paper boys do so as well. Quite a few
    adults however have been fined for pavement cycling. I think if plod forced
    all kids onto the roads and one was killed they would be heavily criticised
    for it, so they tend to be lenient on children, but *will* fine adults.
    Simon Mason, Jan 22, 2011
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  3. Tom Crispin

    Simon Brooke Guest

    This comes straight back to your own line of business, Tom.

    No, in my opinion, cyclists - of any age - should not be on the
    footway. However, if they're not going to be on the footway it behoves
    the community - their parents, voluntary associations, the local
    council, national government or any permutation thereof - to provide
    adequate training, not only of the cyclists but also of other road
    users, to ensure safe sharing of the road.

    Obviously (as I'm sure you should agree) adequate cycle training needs
    to be offered as part of every ten to twelve year old's basic education
    in life skills. But I think also that consideration to other road users
    (including cyclists and pedestrians) should form a key part of a
    compulsory every-ten-years retesting of everyone who holds a license to
    drive a motor vehicle.

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    Simon Brooke, Jan 22, 2011
  4. Tom Crispin

    Paul - xxx Guest

    I think that's the same in many places, certainly is round here
    (Doncaster) except in designated pedestrian only shopping centres and
    even there they're pretty lenient.

    I doubt there'd be much of an issue for anyone if 'they' cycled on the
    pavement sensibly. The trouble comes when dickwads, mostly teens on
    BMX's it seems round here, speed about, practising wheelies, endoes and
    jumping off kerbs and drive ends .. ;)
    Paul - xxx, Jan 22, 2011
  5. Tom Crispin

    Tony Raven Guest

    I thought you were the expert on child cycling. What do you think?

    Tony Raven, Jan 22, 2011
  6. Tom Crispin

    Peter Clinch Guest

    A busy road is a Grown Up Place and you *need* to not only know the
    rules but be able to play by them. If you can then the road is the
    right place to be, if you can't then you're a liability to yourself
    and anyone else around.

    It's fair enough for beginners to use the pavement until they have
    the knowledge, confidence and skills /but/ they need to realise
    that they need to give way to anyone else who wants to be there and
    they (or those responsible for them) ought to do their best to make
    sure they get to know and be able to play by the rules as soon as
    is reasonably posisble and get off the pavement.

    Once you do have the smarts then the road is quicker and in most
    cases probably safer. Which should be enough of a carrot to get on
    it, rather than the stick of getting into bother.

    Peter Clinch, Jan 22, 2011
  7. Tom Crispin

    Tom Crispin Guest

    70 year olds on penny farthings seem to be as much of a liability as

    Tom Crispin, Jan 22, 2011
  8. Tom Crispin

    Marc Guest

    I think you are starting from the wrong end of the problem.

    The question shoudn't be " Is cycling on the pavement sensible?" because
    it obviously is not, it's far too dangerous for the cyclist.
    The question should be why doesn't a 12yr old not have the skills or
    confidence to use a road?
    Marc, Jan 22, 2011
  9. Tom Crispin

    Tom Crispin Guest

    Would you like to see Section 72 (not Section 35 as I erroneously
    suggested) of the 1835 Highways Act enforced equally for all banned
    transport modes: pensioners with zimmer frames, toddlers on tricycles,
    teenagers pulling toboggans, postmen with trolleys? Or is it just
    cyclists on the footway to which you object?
    That would indeed be a satisfatory solution.
    What do you suggest for children under your suggested age of ten? And
    does cycling on the road include all classes of road, or would you
    like to see off-road provision alongside roads with, for example, fast
    moving traffic?
    Tom Crispin, Jan 22, 2011
  10. Tom Crispin

    Tom Crispin Guest

    I was certainly pleased to see a young person clearly cycling to or
    from a sporting event, i.e. using a bicycle as a means of independent

    I did not consider the boy to be a nuisance to any other footway user.

    I did think that he would be more likely to suffer death or serious
    injury on the road than on the footway.

    I wondered if he had had any on-road cycle training, and if he had
    whether he would be using the road.

    I also considered the Level of cycle training the boy would need to
    have the skills and confidence to use that particular road. Being a
    road with complex junctions and traffic lights, it is not the type of
    road covered in Level 2 Bikeability cyclist training, it is, however
    covered at Level 3. That training is not usually offered to children,
    and when it is, it is usually only offered to children from the age of

    As I considered his manner of cycling on the footway to be courteous
    to other pavement users, and that he probably lacked the skills and
    confidence to ride on that road, I felt that he was right to be using
    the footway, and would certainly prefer him to be there than shuttled
    to and from his tennis game in his dad's car.
    Tom Crispin, Jan 22, 2011
  11. Tom Crispin

    Tom Crispin Guest

    Your double negative makes the question even more confusing.

    Given that the 12 year old either lacks the skills and confidence to
    use the road, or is following parental instructions, is he right to
    use the footway?
    Tom Crispin, Jan 22, 2011
    Hash: SHA1

    I reckon that if he lacks an appreciation of how to ride in traffic,
    he's likely to be equally in the dark about the hazards of pavement
    cycling, such as driveways, junctions and poor surfaces.

    I suppose if he was moving at not much more than jogging pace it could
    be described as not actively /un/sensible, but it would be vastly better
    if we could foster a culture where not only did people this age already
    have basic education in safe cycling, but also the road environment
    itself was less hostile.

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  13. Tom Crispin

    Simon Brooke Guest

    Pensioners using zimmer frames have a maximum speed lower than the
    median speed of footway users. The same is broadly true of toddlers on
    tricycles. Postmen pushing trolleys and teenagers pulling toboggans all
    have a speed similar to the typical speed of pedestrians not pushing or
    pulling things - although I agree they are less manoeuvrable than
    pedestrians not so encumbered.

    By contrast the minimum operating speed for a bicycle with an unskilled
    rider is probably higher than the median speed of footway users, while
    the maximum is faster by an order of magnitude.

    Of course here in Scotland only the postman and the teenager would be
    technically breaking the law. However, from a safety point of view a
    cyclist is much better suited to sharing space with motor vehicles than
    with pedestrians.
    There is not much point in training cyclists to use motorways.

    Below motorway class, fast dual carriageways are often exceedingly
    intimidating even to the experienced cyclist. The best solution to
    that, in my opinion, is education of all road users to the point that
    all such roads become safe and unintimidating - and I believe that that
    would be not only possible but also a heck of a lot less expensive than
    laying down thousands of miles of parallel cycle paths (even where
    there's physical space for the cycle paths).

    I'm not an expert on child development, but I gather that there's a
    process of development of perceptions of speed, distance and risk, and
    that some authorities feel that younger children do not have the
    cognitive equipment to adequately assess the risks involved in road
    use. I don't know at what age these abilities develop. But I'd argue
    that a child under that age should neither be cycling on the footway
    nor (unaccompanied) on the road.

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    Simon Brooke, Jan 22, 2011
  14. Tom Crispin

    Simon Brooke Guest

    Not sure I agree, Pete. Not only do cyclists on the footway make life
    more hazardous for legitimate users of the footway, according to US
    research it's also more hazardous for the cyclists themselves - a
    cyclist forced off the footway by, e.g., pedestrians or a dog joins
    the road unexpectedly and without warning for nearby motorists.

    In any case, this is an education issue - understanding how to use a
    public road is a key life skill.

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    Simon Brooke, Jan 22, 2011
  15. Tom Crispin

    Peter Clinch Guest

    Though I did say "give way to", not "get off the pavement for".
    That would need to be part of the education process too, of course.
    It should be drummed in alongside Green Cross Code that you
    *never* go on to the road without looking for it being clear.

    The road is only safer if you know the rules, and appearing on it
    suddenly and unannounced breaks those rules.

    Peter Clinch, Jan 22, 2011
  16. Tom Crispin

    alan.holmes Guest

    I haven't seen a penny farthing for years!

    alan.holmes, Jan 22, 2011
  17. Tom Crispin

    alan.holmes Guest

    I would cycle on the pavement in heavy traffic as the risks to my safety are
    greater on the road, with potholes and sunken drains which means you have to
    move out into the front of traffic which is not aware of the dangers to


    alan.holmes, Jan 22, 2011
  18. Tom Crispin

    Tony Raven Guest

    Well there are bits of the footway that councils (and the Highway Code)
    want them and us to use and those they and we are not supposed to use.
    So all your 12 year old needs to know is which are which. To see how
    easy a task that is for 12 year old kids, have a go yourself with this
    little test:[email protected]/sets/72157625534207236/detail/

    Tony Raven, Jan 22, 2011
  19. Tom Crispin

    alan.holmes Guest

    Nowhere near as dangerous as cycling on the road in some areas!

    alan.holmes, Jan 22, 2011
  20. Tom Crispin

    Martin Guest

    Photo 6 is interesting. It contains a bus lane which ends at a set of
    traffic lights, with sensors that detect when a bus approaches, letting
    the bus through, and stopping the rest of the traffic. They seem to be
    getting more common around Bristol.

    Another example, with a picture of marmite to
    the first person to get the cycling reference without adjusting the picture.

    I am undecided how to handle these when cycling in the bus lane.
    Currently I pull out into the standard lane, and continue with the cars,
    which involves crossing the solid white line. The other option is to use
    the bus lane, and hope the lights detect my bike, but don't go through
    the phase too quickly, so that I hit the red. I tried following a bus
    through on one the other day, and the green phase was so short the
    lights were red when I arrived.

    Martin, Jan 22, 2011
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