Opinion: Time to end pavement and park restrictions for cyclists - what do you think?

Transport minister Robert Goodwill has suggested cyclists to be allowed to use pavements. Transport minister Robert Goodwill has suggested cyclists to be allowed to use pavements.

Crawford Gillan
Wednesday, January 29, 2014
9:32 AM

I must admit I had never heard of transport minister Robert Goodwill before last week. Now I find myself as his No 1 fan.

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Why? For the simple reason that he offered the sensible solution to the problems of cycling in our busy streets when he called for cyclists to be allowed to mount pavements to escape dangerous sections of road.

He went on to say that enforcing laws that prohibit cycling on the pavement was a police matter but that discretion should be exercised.

He reiterated the guidance from 1999, when fixed penalties for cycling on pavements were introduced, which states that the goal is not to penalise “responsible cyclists”.

Elsewhere it was reported that, between November 25 and January 3, some 988 fixed penalties were issued, suggesting that discretion was a rather rare commodity.

As I enter the second half of my first year of retirement one of things I would love to savour as the weather warms up is the chance to pootle about on my bike. But to do so means risking life and limb. Riding along empty pavements is a sensible option – as happens in towns across Europe.

Of course this put the onus on cyclists to be considerate and treat pedestrians with due care and attention. But that should not be beyond the wit of man (or woman). It is no different from many aspects of our lives on this crowded isle when civilised behaviour is the glue that keeps our day-to-day activities functioning without animosity.

Clearly the thought of louts wreaking havoc on packed pavements, scattering pedestrians in every direction, would be an anathema, but there are long stretches of pavement that remain largely deserted except for a jogger or two.

And it is not only pavements. What is wrong with allowing cyclists to pedal through parks, provided they display consideration and courtesy to other people they encounter?

Restrictions on cycling through parks seem petty and totally illogical.

24 comments

  • NorfolkLassie, you state cyclists should be enforced to wear helmets - Is this is in your mistaken belief that it will save them injury? This is a very unenlightened view, and reveals the very reason they should NOT be enforced. Poor motorists will take even more risks overtaking a cyclist if they think he is "protected". Regarding insurance, the cyclist is still liable for damages, maybe some motorists would take more care if they were paying for damages, rather than the insurance? I add that I am a motorist as well as a cyclist, and my Road Fund Licence is still paid when my car is in the garage and I'm riding my bike!

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    Martin Scott

    Wednesday, January 29, 2014

  • If I encounter the female cyclist pictured above, I may well lose concentration and put my mobility scooter into overdrive !

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    blue tractor

    Wednesday, January 29, 2014

  • You could do a lot of damage to a person if you run into them on a bike. Even knocking them off balance could result in a fracture or worse.

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    Anthony Stead

    Wednesday, January 29, 2014

  • as a motorist and a cyclist i see no problem with this, i routinely ride on the pavement but when i see a pedestrian or a mother with a pram i stop to allow them to pass, what is the problem with that, there are a ever increasing number of mobility scooters that use the pavement and some of them travel at a incredible rate of knots along the pavement, so much so that one along my street has been labled "penelope pit stop " lol and the roads are becoming an ever increasing dangerous place for cyclists i went out on my bike a couple of weeks ago, and used the road went round two roundabouts,used all the appropriate hand signals with outstretched arms and was twice nearly knocked off, one chap was on his mobile at the time going round the roundabout and gave me a right mouthful notwithstanding the fact i had the "right of way " i know a lot of people will not agree with me, but like i said if you stop or give way to all forms of pedestrians what are the issues

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    Dave

    Wednesday, January 29, 2014

  • I'm a keen cyclist but think this is a really poor idea. All it would do is encourage a view among some drivers that cyclists shouldn't be on the road while at the same time causing conflict with pedestrians. If the road is dangerous for cyclists then we need to modify the road or the behaviour of people who use it.

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    DaveLakowski

    Wednesday, January 29, 2014

  • Agree Martin Cyclist have no right to ride on the pavement but still do and some think that pedestrians are in their way and if this is accepted then God help pedestrians, and yes I am a cyclist also.

    Report this comment

    turnover

    Wednesday, January 29, 2014

  • Absolutely incredible. Too many people breaking the law and not enough police to deal with it so let's do away with the law? Why not apply the same principle to bank robbers - not many people were caught for it last year and there aren't enough police to deal with it so let's decriminalise it? Ask the people who get mown down by cyclists if it is a good idea and your reporter should be ashamed to say that the person who suggested it should be worthy of any praise.

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    IT Man

    Wednesday, January 29, 2014

  • Do I want cyclists on the pavments? No. Do I want my wife and child to be safe? Yes. And there's the problem. I cycle 6k miles a year, I'm a confident, strong cyclist. I'm happy to deal with cars on roads. I follow the rules, have never cycled on the pavment, have never jumped a red light and am in every way the most law abiding cyclist you're likely to meet. And yet... Every dayweek I'll get bad overtakes, impatient drivers, I can be cycling at 30mph on a 30mph road and still drivers will try to overtake. And yes, every once I'm a while my life is placed in genuine danger. The issue here is very much the small minority of drivers who to many are a nuisance, but to cyclists are genuine life threatening danger. I don't want people to cycle on pavements, but at the same time I don't want people to die.

    Report this comment

    monkeynuts

    Wednesday, January 29, 2014

  • Crawford - you can't be serious!! Cyclists will just continue to flout the law anyway. I don't get out of the way for them, and regularly get expletives thrown at me, and I'm on the FOOTpath.

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    biglingers

    Wednesday, January 29, 2014

  • Agreed Dave mobility scooters are a menace. This is because many of the riders are relatively young who look as though they have eaten so much that they are no longer able to walk. I was nearly knocked off my feet as two mobilities roared out of Wilkos onto St Stephens. Whenever I go abroad I always check out the number of mobilities on the street. Of course there are hardly any.

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    Steely Dan

    Wednesday, January 29, 2014

  • Norfolk John - there is no such thing as road tax as hasn't been since before the second world war. What you pay is vehicle excise duty and is based on emissions. As cyclists create no emissions they would pay nothing along with other zero emission vehicles. As regards insurance I would be interested if you could find an incidence of a cyclist who could not pay for damage caused when on a bike. Car drivers require insurance as they can cause enormous damage. You would be hard pushed to do the same on a bike.

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    DaveLakowski

    Wednesday, January 29, 2014

  • I would agree with the proposal if I thought that there was the slightest chance of cyclists displaying 'consideration and courtesy' towards people they encounter. Unfortunately that is unlikely to be the case, as evidenced by cyclists who seem to think that it is perfectly ok to cycle through areas such as London Street, weaving in and out of pedestrians.

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    blue tractor

    Wednesday, January 29, 2014

  • A totally stupid and dangerous idea – Cyclists should on the road, not the paths, have to pay road tax and carry insurance.

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    Norfolk John

    Wednesday, January 29, 2014

  • Davelakowski. You think a cyclist can't cause much damage? Tell that to the cyclist that caused an accident that did £7000 Worth of damage to my motorbike, £2000 of damage to my father in law's bike, and also damaged my helmet and leathers that cost over £1000 to replace.

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    Lord Elf

    Wednesday, January 29, 2014

  • Do I want cyclists on the pavments? No. Do I want my wife and child to be safe? Yes. And there's the problem. I cycle 6k miles a year, I'm a confident, strong cyclist. I'm happy to deal with cars on roads. I follow the rules, have never cycled on the pavment, have never jumped a red light and am in every way the most law abiding cyclist you're likely to meet. And yet... Every dayweek I'll get bad overtakes, impatient drivers, I can be cycling at 30mph on a 30mph road and still drivers will try to overtake. And yes, every once I'm a while my life is placed in genuine danger. The issue here is very much the small minority of drivers who to many are a nuisance, but to cyclists are genuine life threatening danger. I don't want people to cycle on pavements, but at the same time I don't want people to die.

    Report this comment

    monkeynuts

    Wednesday, January 29, 2014

  • There are many sensible cyclists but there will always be a fine line between what's acceptable and what's not! This would make it uninforcable. As for mobility scooters I use one or my wheelchair and yes I'm overweight, but maybe the reason I'm overweight is because sadly my body is too ill to exercise and I'm on high dose steroids which cause weight gain, I also now have diabetes from damage to my pancreas. I'm sick of people looking t me like I'm too fat to walk! Before being disabled I jogged daily, cycled daily and rode horses daily even on the rds holding up traffic! I did however have my own insurance hich was through choice not necessaty and ended up buying a helmet cam because of the amount of threats and verbal abuse. I old advise cyclists to use one incase of accident, £40 well spent when the proof is all there! My other pet hate is people parking on pavements when. There Is no drop pavement nearby so I can't get past on my wheelchair as it don't bump up or down curbs! No one thinks of others anymore as the world is in too much of a hurry!

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    thumper327

    Wednesday, January 29, 2014

  • I appreciate that a fair percentage of cyclists are responsible, i acknowledge that riding on roads is becoming more dangerous, but i totally disagree with the concept of allowing cyclists free unrestricted access on pavements. Pavements are for pedestrians. Several times my mother has been hit by handle bars or ridden across her feet (breaking her foot once but didn't bother to stop, several times hit in the shoulder and shouted at to move out of the way or called a C***). Road improvements need to be made to enable Cycle safety - on the road where they belong. Enforced to wear helmets for their own safety and carry insurance. Bicycles are a mode of transport, transport is legally monitored and policed but cycling falls through the net at the detriment of both cyclist and other users. Cyclists need more protection but not at the detriment of pedestrians.

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    NorfolkLassie

    Wednesday, January 29, 2014

  • Norfolk John - there's no such thing as "road tax". There's a road fund licence which is based on the polluting emissions, which means cyclists and electric cars pay none, whereas a big diesel 4x4 would pay the top whack. Roads are maintained out of general taxation, so even those who use the bus are still paying for the roads. With regard to cyclists on the pavement, wheeled vehicles and pedestrians do not mix. Although there are plenty of responsible cyclists who obey the traffic laws, there are still a minority who ignore everything and expect everyone else to get out of their way. They already mount the pavement to take short cuts, despite the crowds, or to go round red traffic lights. No - the roads are there for all wheeled vehicles to use - cycles, motorbikes, cars, vans, lorries. The police should be able to enforce the law for all road users, so get rid of the cameras and free more police from the burden of overwhelming paperwork so they can patrol and keep the law. If more people were prosecuted for flouting traffic laws the roads would soon be safer for all users.

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    So_Many_Haters!

    Wednesday, January 29, 2014

  • I think this is a good idea, even if it is only for children. I would say it should be safe so long as there is a lot of publicity that pedestrians always have right of way and that cyclists should wait for pedestrians to move to one side if they have not shown awareness of the cyclist. Many people are deaf, hard of hearing or walk using ipods or iphones listening to music and are likely to be bowled over So perhaps a speed limit too, especially if pavements are not large enough to be segregated. Roads should be safe but they are not, lowered road metal works, pot holes, large lorries and parked cars make cycling nasty but most dangerous of all are drivers who do not wait until they are able to pass in the offside lane before overtaking.

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    Daisy Roots

    Wednesday, January 29, 2014

  • I concur with the sensible riding on quiet pavements but I believe that it is still a legal requirement for a bell to be fitted to each cycle.I have observed that many bikes appear to be devoid of this safety feature and cannot recall one having been sounded !

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    midnorfolkman

    Wednesday, January 29, 2014

  • Ridiculous idea. Roads aren't dangerous (except for potholed ones!) it's the manner in which people use them which may be dangerous. What about the pedestrian who gets knocked over? What about the cyclist who rides in the (so called) dangerous road - If the cyclist gets knocked over does the motorist say he (the cyclist) is at fault because he should be on the pavement? The cyclists should be on the road, and should be able to use them safely, with appropriate penalties for all road users who drive or cycle dangerously. Suggesting cyclists use pavements is NOT a good solution. I add that I am a cyclist.

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    Martin Scott

    Wednesday, January 29, 2014

  • If all cyclists had consideration for mums with pushchairs, elderly or frail people I can see nothing wrong with this. However, the cyclists I encounter every morning on London Street during the commuter times do not seem to have breaks - they appear to be unable to slow down or stop regardless of the people directly in their path meaning that we have to leap out of their way. Nor do they seem able to stop at pedestrian crossing or red lights such is the need to keep moving with no consideration for anyone else.

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    Fluffy Cat

    Wednesday, January 29, 2014

  • Do I want cyclists on the pavments? No. Do I want my wife and child to be safe? Yes. And there's the problem. I cycle 6k miles a year, I'm a confident, strong cyclist. I'm happy to deal with cars on roads. I follow the rules, have never cycled on the pavment, have never jumped a red light and am in every way the most law abiding cyclist you're likely to meet. And yet... Every dayweek I'll get bad overtakes, impatient drivers, I can be cycling at 30mph on a 30mph road and still drivers will try to overtake. And yes, every once I'm a while my life is placed in genuine danger. The issue here is very much the small minority of drivers who to many are a nuisance, but to cyclists are genuine life threatening danger. I don't want people to cycle on pavements, but at the same time I don't want people to die.

    Report this comment

    monkeynuts

    Wednesday, January 29, 2014

  • No offense aimed at you Thumper. I realise that those with medical problems or through ageing have every right to a mobility. If the scooters were limited to people like you then there would be no problem. There would be a hell of a lot less of them on the street as well.

    Report this comment

    Steely Dan

    Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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