What is cycling really? From Law point of view

  • By Kuba on at 12:44pm 17 October 2013
  • Posted in: General
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Sorry if this was discussed and answered before but I couldn't find the thread or answer. :-(

I'm wondering what cycling is really. I was recently stopped by met police for cycling on pavement. I was not technically cycling. I was walking alongside my bike but when there were few yards of free space (no pedestrians) I stepped on one pedal and pushed myself forward (pretty much like this kid. Sorry for using google images. http://www.blogcdn.com/www.parentdish.co.uk/media/2012/06/child-on-scooter-alamy1.jpg ). I argued that I was not cycling - at most barely "scootering" but eventually - you know cops - had to accept the ticket.

This raised the question. What is cycling? Is there any kind of definition? I couldn't find. If the action of pushing myself forward is cycling, they should give ticket to every kid on the scooter?




  • By toby at 3:11pm 17 October 2013

This is balls. If you were actually cycling you could have made a dash for it and got away. I think you ask a very valid question.

It’s crazy how we are expected to ride on the crowded road with HGV’s and speeding vehicles when cycling is closer to running than driving IMO (no engine, human powered, individual, less space taken up than push chair!)

If the road is unsafe and there is no alternative and efficient route – which is often – I will ride on the pavement.

As far as I am concerned being safe comes above abiding by any laws, and that shouldn’t come at the expense of cycling being a viable and efficient form of transport.

  • By Stily1 at 3:18pm 17 October 2013

Except that of course bicycles on the pavement is unsafe for pedestrians. Hello? It's not only about *your* safety as a bicyclist.

And to be clear, I bicycle commute every day in London.

IMHO it really doesn't matter what the letter of the law or vehicle code says, or what some 'technical' definition of cycling is. The common law says in effect 'if you're being a tard and abusing the system, you may get hassled and ticketed'. Period. There is no hiding behind the letter of the law, because the common law is the law of precident and common sense.

Yes, being ticketed for scooting mildly along on one pedal is pretty damn lame. Cops must have been bored. Damn the luck.

Accept your lot and move on, there is nothing to see here.

Technically it is cycling but you might want to look here http://www.bikehub.co.uk/featured-articles/cycling-and-the-law and consider whether you wish to take it further? 

On 1st August 1999, new legislation came into force to allow a fixed penalty notice to be served on anyone who is guilty of cycling on a footway. However the Home Office issued guidance on how the new legislation should be applied, indicating that they should only be used where a cyclist is riding in a manner that may endanger others. The then Home Office Minister Paul Boateng issued a letter stating 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.”

  • By toby at 10:50am 21 October 2013

@Stily1 – just because I may ride on the pavement to avoid gridlock/dangerous trucks, does not mean I am not concerned with pedestrian safety. One should always practise responsible cycling and I find @CycleforFun’s post above very interesting.

Legally speaking, I believe the definition (formed by case law rather than the legislation from what I recall) is such that if you are fully dismounted and pushing a bike, you are simply a pedestrian pushing a bike, however if you are in any way on the bike (and that includes scooting along on one pedal as you describe), you are considered to be cycling.

I can't remember where I read all this though so might be worth trying to google it out, I thought it was either on the Cycling Silk blog or UK Cycle Rules blog, but I can't seem to find it right now.

Here's the details, from http://www.londoncyclist.co.uk/scooting-your-bike/ :

Crank v Brooks [1980] - "In my judgment a person who is walking across a pedestrian crossing pushing a bicycle, having started on the pavement on one side on her feet and not on the bicycle, and going across pushing the bicycle with both feet on the ground so to speak is clearly a ‘foot passenger’. If for example she had been using it as a scooter by having one foot on the pedal and pushing herself along, she would not have been a ‘foot passenger’. But the fact that she had the bicycle in her hand and was walking does not create any difference from a case where she is walking without a bicycle in her hand. I regard it as unarguable the finding that she was not a foot passenger"

  • By toby at 2:55pm 31 October 2013

Interesting article on the Japanese attitude to this.



I am sorry but I do not find you comparing yourself with a child on a 3 wheel scooter has anything to do with your question. When stopped you were not using a 3 wheeled childs scooter, I assume you were using a full size cycle.

I also dont know what you mean by a few yards free space. If it is actually a few yards free space on a crowded footpath then trying to scoot along for a few yards is dangerous and inconsiderate. It is not acceptable to get on and off your bike as and when a few yards are free.

Any use of your cycle as a cycle (or scooter) on a pavement is currently illegal. If you use your cycle as a cycle on the pavement when pedestrians are present especially in a busy area it is unacceptable and inconsiderate behaviour.

Perhaps you could let us all know exactly where this happened. If in any doubt you should get off your bike and push it.

This post was edited by raymondox at 9:05pm 31 October 2013.

  • By Stily1 at 2:02pm 15 November 2013

Turn it around. You certainly werren't walking, were you? Done. Dusted. Take your pill.

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