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Fines for riding on footpaths away from a highway.

Submitted by Fonant on Fri, 2010-10-15 09:11
Anthony Cartmell
Publication date: 
October 2010
£30 fines for “cycling on a footway” cannot be legally issued to cyclist riding on footpaths that aren’t beside a road.

A footway (as covered by s72 of the Highway Act 1835, as amended by s85(1) of the Local Government Act 1888) is a path for pedestrians that runs beside a road. A footpath that does not run beside a road is not covered by the Highways Act. This has been confirmed by case law (R v Pratt (1867) LR 3 QB 64, DC), and more recently in the House of Commons in April 2008 (Lord Hansard Text for 22 Apr 2008: Column WA275):
“Cyclists have no right to ride on a footpath away from the road but only commit an offence where local bylaws or traffic regulation orders create such an offence.” says:

“It is important to note that most legislation relating to ‘cycling on footpaths’ actually relates to the riding of cycles on a ‘footway set aside for the use of pedestrians’ which runs alongside a road. For example, the ‘fixed penalties’ brought in a few years ago do NOT apply to country footpaths where there is no road. Fixed penalty notices also cannot be applied to areas such as parks, shopping precincts etc. unless a byelaw has been passed making cycling such areas an offence, nor do they apply to anyone under 16. Many people (including police officers) seem to think that ‘a footpath is a footpath’ wherever it is and that the same laws apply. This is not the case.”

“The object of Section 72 Highways Act 1835 was intended not to protect all footpaths, but only footpaths or causeways by the side of a road, and that this is still the case has been ruled in the high court.”

The link the the Hansard text is:…
the information is about two thirds of the way down, under the heading “Cycling: Offences”.

It is already an offence under Section 72 of the Highways Act 1835, as amended by Section 85(1) of the Local Government Act 1888, to cycle on a footway (the pavement adjacent to the carriageway). The maximum fine is £500 or the police can issue a fixed penalty notice costing £30.

Cyclists have no right to cycle on a footpath away from the road but only commit an offence where local by-laws or traffic regulation orders create such an offence.

We have no plans to change the existing law relating to cyclists’ use of footpaths or footways.

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