Over the past few days Sussex Police signs have been appearing along Seaside in Eastbourne saying “No Cycling On The Pavement”
“Cycling on the pavement or any pedestrian area where a dedicated cycle lane is not present is against the law. A fine of £50 may be issued to those who cycle in these areas.”
The A259 Seaside Is Dangerous For Cyclists
We are very disappointed to see these signs on Seaside. Pavement cycling is a symptom of a far greater problem and that is that the road is quite simply not safe for many of those who want to cycle.
It is ironic that Seaside, also known as the A259, is used for this campaign – Seaside was the site of 19 collisions between cyclists and motor vehicles resulting in the cyclist Killed or Seriously Injured (KSI) over 5 years (source Sussex Safer Roads, 2013) and includes the Tesco roundabout which is confusing and dangerous for cyclists and major collisions have occured there.
Government And Police Advice Is NOT To Fine Where Possible
Transport Minister Robert Goodwill’s 2014 guidance on Fixed Penalty Notices reiterated the 1999 stance. Advice is currently 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 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.”
We would urge Sussex Police to look at enforcing laws on obstructing the highway, and making the road safer, so there is no need for cyclists to use the pavement.
We would also urge East Sussex County Council to look at the provision of dedicated, segregated cycle lanes, especially on the widest parts of the A259. If a safer route is provided, there is no excuse to cycle on the pavement, and Bespoke would welcome stronger enforcement measures.
Whilst there is no exception for children cycling on the pavement, Bespoke feel that children should not be expected to cycle on the A259. Children under the age of 10 are under the age of criminal responsibility so can’t be prosecuted or issued with a fixed penalty notice if they cycled on the pavement. Children under 16 although criminally liable, can’t be issued with a fixed penalty notice.
The signs put up by Sussex Police also appear to be misleading.
We certainly don’t dispute that riding on the pavement is illegal, but we do dispute that is illegal in any pedestrian area where a dedicated cycle lane is not present.
The 1835 Highways Act – Section 72 states it’s illegal to ride upon a footpath or causeway by the side of a carriageway made or set apart for the use or accommodation of foot passengers. Case law has shown that a cycle is a vehicle so is subject to this law.
However, many of the paths where cycles are allowed in Eastbourne are not dedicated cycle lanes, but shared space, such as the publicly maintained quayside paths in Sovereign Harbour, as recently confirmed by East Sussex County Council.
We would urge Sussex Police to look at rewording these posters to correctly reflect the law as it currently stands.
We would like to remind all cyclists that East Sussex County Council run cheap/free courses on cycling with confidence on the roads. If you don’t feel safe riding on the road, these courses can be very beneficial.
We’d also like to remind motorists to treat cyclists better on the road: give them space and time (as you would a horse-rider) and look before turning, or opening a door.