Following you report that an 11-year-old child was knocked off his bicycle while riding on the pavement, was clearly a most irresponsible and dangerous act by whoever did it but was is the law? My understanding of it is as follows.
The highways act of 1835 created the offence of wilfully riding on a footpath by the side of the road.
Enforcement of the law lies with chief police officers of each force.
The offence was modified by the Labour government in 1999 to include a fixed penalty notice of £50.
The Home Office issued guidance calling for careful use of police discretion particularly in respect of children.
The law is reflected in the Highway code which prohibits cycling on the pavement – rule 64 “You MUST not cycle on a pavement”.
A child riding on the pavement should exercise great care and be very wary of cars emerging from driveways particularly those who reverse out.
Children of 10 or under can clearly cycle on the pavement as they are under the age of criminal responsibility.
It is reasonable to suggest that children up to 16 years of age should also not be guilty of any offence save in exceptional circumstances.
Adults however I submit should not escape this law and they should be on the road not the pavement.
More than once, I have almost been knocked over by an adult riding a bicycle on the pavement approaching from behind silently and too fast,
On one occasion, a cyclist came round a corner, which I was approaching, and only just missed me. What if he had knocked me down causing me to suffer injury? Would he have stopped? Was he insured?
Should adult cyclists be insured. Some seem to think they own the road. A cyclist can cause an accident just as a driver of a car can.
C E Hutcheon
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