Riding on the pavement is an offence under section 72 of the Highways Act 1835 and Section 129.5 of the Roads (Scotland) Act 1984. Both these laws apply equally to drivers and cyclists and prohibit the 'driving or riding of a carriage on the part of the highway set apart for traffic on foot' (the footway).
For cyclists, this is set out in Rule 64 of the Highway Code, which states that 'you MUST NOT cycle on the pavement.' This also applies to children, although as those under 10 years old are below the age of criminal responsibility, they cannot be prosecuted.
However, Ministers have issued guidance to the police to use discretion when issuing fines or fixed penalty notices (FPN) for riding on the pavement. When the FPN was introduced for pavement cycling in 1999, the then Home Office Minister issued the following statement: “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 2014, Transport Minister Robert Goodwill, reiterated this view in a letter to a cycling campaigner saying "I agree that the police should be using discretion in enforcing this law and would support Paul Boateng’s original guidance."
If you have been given a FPN for riding on the pavement but believe the police should have exercised discretion because you were considerate to others and felt compelled to do so to protect yourself, please get in touch with CDF to see if we can assist you in contesting the fine.
Note in 1888 the bicycle was recognised as a carriage for the purpose of enforcing highway laws, and in 1903 the motor car was defined as a carriage in the Motor Car Act 1903.