East Dulwich (Mobile) Forum

To the man that asked my 6 year old to cycle on the road

To the man that asked my 6 year old to cycle on the road:
I’m not sure what the law says about children age limit to cycle on the pavement, but I won’t allow my 6 year old on any London roads. I do apologise if my 6 year old interrupted you while on your mobile when he politely said: Excuse me
This is an area with dreadful law and still developing public sympathy for the safety of all road and pavement users. Your 6 year old should be on the pavement and I for one welcome him.

[www.cyclelaw.co.uk]

In all things cycling The Netherlands should inform us

[www.holland-cycling.com]
[www.google.co.uk]

Thanks for making your child a cyclist

The driving public refers to their payment of "road tax" as giving them preference and in fact ownership of the roads. In fact what is paid is Vehicle Tax based on car pollution.
The www.cyclelaw.co.uk URL above says this:

"Cycling on the pavement is currently illegal in UK law."
I think that an important part of the original poster's concern was that her child was 6.

The Association of Chief Police officers' guidance says this regarding the introduction of the fixed penalty for riding on the pavement:

"The introduction of the fixed penalty is not aimed at responsible cyclists who sometimes feel obliged to use the pavement out of fear of the traffic, and who show consideration to other pavement users.

“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.”

The then transport minister said the same thing here: [road.cc]



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit was june 08, 07:06am by Sally Eva.

Interesting opinions.

Is it illegal as stated in the cyclelaw reference?
My friend is blind and was hurt by a child cyclist riding on the pavement. Personally I think the park is the place for children to ride bikes. Many ED pavements are pretty narrow. However I agree with the OP that the child should not ride on the road.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit was june 08, 07:56am by singalto.

I was walking near ED station, where the pavement is pretty wide, and the way was completely blocked by a man and his 3 children cycling on the pavement. I have also often had to take evasive action when a child veers towards me, cycling way ahead of its parents. Cycling on pavements is often dangerous. Let the children use their bikes in parks until old enough to have taken a proficiency test to be safe on the roads. If the original poster wouldn't allow her children to cycle on London roads she needs to think again about her decision to have bought them bikes.
You really think a 6 year old should be cycling on the road?! Get real.

We don't have a car. I've got two kids, one of whom is 7. She loves riding her bike in the park. Tell me, how do we get the bike to the park? Should we just carry it?
I'm with you on this JoelLeg.

Cycling Uk make a more balanced and nuanced statement about pavement cycling -[www.cyclinguk.org]’s-legal-–-what’s-bike
Pavement cycling:

Firstly, the legislation doesn't refer to pavements, and neither does it refer to cyclists. That's important because there are tracks and shared use paths where cycling is not illegal.

It's an offence to drive a carriage on "any footpath or causeway by the side of any road made or set apart for the use or accommodation of foot passengers", essentially a footway next to the highway (different but equivalent legislation applies in Scotland).

The law also applies to children, but as those under ten are below the age of criminal responsibility they can't be prosecuted (watch out in Scotland however, where criminal responsibility starts at eight, though the Scottish Government has announced plans to increase this to twelve). Being too young to prosecute unfortunately didn't stop a policeman in Lincolnshire threatening to confiscate a four year-old's bike after he spotted her cycling along the pavement in 2015.

Fortunately, when FPNs were introduced for pavement cycling in 1999, Home Office Minister Paul Boateng issued guidance saying that: "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".

The Home Office guidance was re-affirmed in 2014 by the then Cycling Minister Robert Goodwill, who agreed that the police should use discretion in enforcing the law and recommended that the matter be taken up with the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO). ACPO welcomed the renewed guidance, circulated it to all forces, and issued a statement referring to "discretion in taking a reasonable and proportionate approach, with safety being a guiding principle".
To summarise, cycling on the pavement is still an offence, but there is clear guidance that the police are supposed to exercise discretion.

And finally on pavements, remember that on segregated cycle tracks the pedestrian side remains a footway, so if you cycle into the pedestrian side to pass a pedestrian in the cycle lane you technically commit a pavement cycling offence. There's an anomaly because cyclists have to ride on their side, but pedestrians are only advised to use theirs.

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Regards cllrjamesbarber@gmail.com
07900 227366
Liberal Democrat Councillor for East Dulwich Ward
Skype cllrjamesbarber
[www.jamesbarber.org.uk]
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So, it is illegal.

Thanks for the clarification Mr Barber.
edhistory Wrote:

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> So, it is illegal.
>
> Thanks for the clarification Mr Barber.


Children have to learn to cycle somehow, and they have to learn to be around other members of the public somehow. The idea that a child should have to go from only cycling on a park to taking a proficiency and going straight on the road seems devoid of all common sense.

Properly supervised (and I do mean properly supervised, not followed 20 metres behind by a parent staring at their phone), they do not pose any more of a danger than most other pavements users.

Adolescents and of course adults are a different matter.
edhistory Wrote:

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> So, it is illegal.
>
> Thanks for the clarification Mr Barber.

There are all manner of things that are illegal but permitted by custom - I believe it's still technically illegal to drive over the pavement to enter one's driveway, isn't it? Some people have even suggested that technically prams and pushchairs are illegal on the pavement as they are wheeled vehicles...sometimes the police and other authorities are permitted to employ a little common sense as to the application of the law.

JoeLeg puts his finger on it - properly and closely supervised, small children cycling on the pavement do no harm. The idea that a six-year-old should cycle in the road is absurd, until they can see over, and be seen over, obstacles such as parked cars it's madness.
edhistory Wrote:

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> So, it is illegal.

As rendelharris says whoever enforces the law is allowed to use discretion, I once went through a 30mph speed trap at 32mph and wasn't prosecuted. Makes me sweat still thinking about it. Anyway, sounds like you have a binary view of the law edhistory and want to prosecute 6 year olds, I think that's a bit cruel.
Of course kids should be allowed to cycle on the pavements.

Anyone injured through no fault of their own has my sympathy, but accidents do happen... it's not necessarily grounds for saying that we shouldn't do something.
I think people are being a little harsh towards edhistory here. He is just clarifying what the law states. No more no less. Of course common sense should prevail amongst those who enforce the laws, and I don't believe at any point he has suggested otherwise.

Lots of elderly and disabled people use the pathways, and it's important that they feel comfortable doing so without fear of being knocked over. No one is suggesting prosecuting children for goodness sakes.

Louisa.
He made three posts where he focused on the issue of it being illegal, with no other comments. The thread is about very young children on bikes. If he has further opinions on the issue he should probably say, because it looks a little bit like he thinks the legality of the matter is his main concern.
I got the impression EDH was simply clarifying the legal status, following-on from the previous poster's point that the law was dreadful.
I think everyone agrees small kids cycling on pavements is OK.
Anyway the point is that paths are for everyone*, there are laws and common sense to guide us to make sure they're safe and usable for everyone. Based on what's been written by the original poster the guy who asked your kid to cycle in the street is a bit of a nob and should learn to compromise a little bit of his space for a few seconds for a child on a bike.

*except motor vehicles, horses, airplanes, submarines etc
I will not let my son cycle on the road not because he isn't a proficient rider but because, regardless of how he cycles, the roads are too dangerous due to the driving of many vehicle drivers. It is dangerous for adults to ride on the road, why would I put him at the same risk?

We do not have a car and cycling to school is a much healthier way to get to school anyway so I don't want to put him off.

Making cycling safer should be the priority not berating kids who are trying to travel in a healthy and environmentally neutral way.
As the one or two of all those of you who could turn up to your local Safer Neighbourhood Team meetings will know, the police exercise discretion on this and many other matters where discretion is a common sense thing to use.

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Humanist Funeral Celebrant
I was always told the road was for bikes and the pavement for pedestrians, and that pedestrians always had right of way. It is very annoying when a cyclist aged 15+ is on the pavement and doesn't give way.

But I won't have my little one on the road just yet - she's still using stabilisers! Expecting a child under 10 to use an urban road without close guidance of an adult seems a little reckless to me. Once they're 12 however, the road should be the priority.
A 6 year old on a bike is not exactly cycling, it is more like playing with a toy, or a scooter. Young children are too small to stand a chance on the road until they are on a full size cycle imo
I agree that it is dangerous for children to ride on the road, but I have some sympathy for those who have been knocked by child cyclists. My old aunt who wore surgical boots as had one leg shorter than the other, was knocked down by a child (around 10 yrs) on the pavement outside what is now Sainsbury's Local. The child had said he had rung his bell but my aunt being hard of hearing did not hear. Fortunately did not sustain a fracture but was very reluctant to go out unaccompanied for the rest of her life.

I park my car in my front garden and have a dropped kerb, I always ease out very slowly as pavement is always busy- I am also very near a bend in the road, the times that children charge pass on their bikes worry me as the parent is usually several yards behind.

Also a danger to child cyclists, are people who walk their dog on very long leads - as these can get caught up in wheels
Seems there are more mean spirited people in ED than I imagined.
I agree with Mark and his 'bit of a nob' comment.
Pugwash - I feel bad for our aunt but today most people will be willing to go "ah, that's bad" and then do exactly the same thing that caused her suffering simply because the rules only apply to others.
The worst kind of parent is the one that cycles two or three abreast with offspring on pavements as if it were the most natural and acceptable thing - again, an example of "it's OK because I am me".
Under 12s on pavements is fine as long as they are told to be alert and considerate. Under 12s with oafish and self-entitled mum or dad riding alongside, not. We live in a big, crowded and often aggravating city - why make it more unpleasant?
[www.roadsafetygb.org.uk]




Minister confirms it’s OK for cyclists to ride on pavement

Robert Goodwill, road safety minister, has confirmed that cyclists are permitted to ride on the pavement, as long as they do so considerately, according to an article on the road.cc website.

Road.cc says the confirmation came in an email sent to the cycle campaigner Donnachadh McCarthy, in which the minister said that original guidance issued by the Home Office 15 years ago when Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs) were introduced was still valid.

Mr Goodwill said: “Thank you for bringing the issue of cycling on the pavement around dangerous junctions such as Vauxhall Cross to my attention.

“I agree that the police should be using discretion in enforcing this law and would support Paul Boateng’s original guidance."

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.”

In response, Donnachadh McCarthy said: “Fining vulnerable cyclists for cycling responsibly on the pavement at extremely dangerous junctions is a bedroom tax on two-wheels as there is no safe alternative for them to cycle on.”
A simple rule that would remove much of the angst surrounding this: Pedestrians always have right of way on a pavement. Any other vehicle using the pavement should give way to pedestrians, even if the vehicles are faster or bigger. This includes cycles, scooters, skateboards, pogo sticks, etc. I really wouldn't care if those vehicles used the pavement if the users showed consideration and did not expect me to to leap out of the way for their convenience.
I think I'd add joggers to your list Mugglesworth . And that I have sometimes felt that although the words spoken were "excuse me " the sentiment being expressed was " coming through "
If you don't mind me asking where were you when this happened? Cycling with him on the pavement? walking beside him? Cycling on the road next to him?

Just curious

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