Cycling on Pavements

Cycling on Pavements -

Is it Illegal to cycle on Pavement?

Yes, it is illegal to cycle on the pavement, unless there is a sign indicating a shared use cycle path. Cycling on footways (a pavement by side of a carriageway) is prohibited by Section 72 of the Highway Act 1835, amended by Section 85(1) of the Local Government Act 1888.(Highway Code)

Penalties for Cycling on Pavement

This is punishable by a fixed penalty notice of £30 under Section 51 and Schedule 3 of the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988.

Can Children Cycle on Pavements?

Officially, no. The law on pavement use applies to all on bicycles, irrespective of age. However, children under 16 would not get prosecuted.

Enforcement of Law

Cycling on pavements is often a significant local issue. In response the government passed law enabling fixed ticket penalties to be issues. The then home minister,r Paul Boateng issued a letter stating that: issues a letter about enforcement:

“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.” [1. bike hub]

Similar advice has been giving to police and community support officers that tickets should be given with a considerable degree of discretion, bearing in mind there is a large practical difference between a young children cycling slowly along a road to avoid a dangerous crossing, and an older person riding aggressively on pavement putting people at risk.

Cycling on Footpaths.

Fixed penalty notices for cycling on pavements is intended for pavements by the side of a highway. For footpaths away from roads, e.g. in parks, it is less clear an offence is being made, unless the path is clearly marked as non-cycling.

Personal View about Cycling on Pavements.

As a cyclist I want to cycle on the roads not pavements. It’s that simple. (Even though roads are quite dangerous, and at times you feel like putting your life on the line). Unfortunately, people on bikes (I won’t call them proper cyclists) do sometimes ride aggressively on pavements, which can be quite off putting to other pedestrians. It can also lead to accidents.


But, I’m not a pavement fundamentalist. Occasionally, I can empathise with people who ride on pavements.

  • If necessary to get from one road to another.
  • To miss dangerous junctions where a cyclist would be forced to take a risky crossing.
  • When I see very young kids learning to cycle on the pavement I can understand why they are avoiding roads. However, I feel a better solution is to make roads safer, rather than avoid roads. A 20 mph speed limit in urban areas should help make roads safer.

However, if a cyclist is forced to use the pavement, they should go at walking speed and be willing to give way to pedestrians. Often they don’t.

People will see it is illegal and therefore should never be done. They have a point. But, how many cars stick to legal speed limit? There is a difference between a young kid cycling slowly on pavement and someone riding aggressively expecting people to jump out of the way.

Pavements / Cycle Paths.

I am usually suspicious of cycle paths made out of narrow pavements. They satisfy neither pedestrians who have to share a small pavement with cyclists. Cyclists are left with the worst of both worlds. They have to be very cautious on the ‘cycle path’ because of pedestrians. But, if they don’t use these useless ‘cycle paths’ they get criticised by motorists for being on the road. They are kind of left with a no win situation. It is this kind of cycle path that is often worse than nothing.

  • Unless it is path on a pavement designed to avoid an awkward junction.
  • See: shared use paths

Dangers Of Cycling On Pavement

I regularly reverse my car out of the drive. I also frequently see kids (often teenagers) cycle bikes very fast on the pavement. This is actually very dangerous. Many motorists are not expecting cyclists on the pavement, they expect people to moving at walking pace. By cycling on pavements, cyclists put themselves at greater danger from collisions. and crossing junctions.

Cycling on a pavement is several times more dangerous than on a road. (William Moritz, 1998) Another study says it’s twice as dangerous. (Bicycling Life, 1985-89)

Dangers to Pedestrians.

If a cyclist cycles furiously on the pavement, I can understand why pedestrians get annoyed. If they went at walking pace and were willing to give way to pedestrians then it wouldn’t be such a nuisance. Cyclists can cause injury and even death in rare cases.

Many cyclists use the pavement at this junction because there is quite a long wait at the lights. However, it can’t be justified on the grounds of being safer. Here using the pavement does not help cyclists.

Legalising Cycling on Pavements

Should it be legal to cycle on pavements? Probably not. Though, where appropriate pavements can be made shared use cycle paths.

Many cyclists will abuse the law and cycle faster than is prudent.

Cyclists need to fight for the right to use roads in a safe way, not be moved onto walkways and inferior cycle paths.

On the other hand, there are times when the common sense thing is to use the pavement, so the law should make allowances. A cyclist travelling slowly, short distances on pavements and who gives way to pedestrians is not causing any real problems.

Should Cyclists be Fined for Cycling on Pavements?

Cycling on the pavement, could in theory leave you with a fixed penalty charge of £30. If the police did this in Oxford, they could make a nice profit.

If the cyclist is riding fast and if there is no real necessity for cycling on the pavement, Fining is  a good thing.

I wouldn’t mind seeing cyclists fined for this kind of action. (Although I would love to see motorists similarly fined for much more dangerous driving manoeuvres they usually get away with.)

Although cycling on pavements is a real nuisance, it’s not actually the worst offence on our roads (as the Daily Tabloids may have us believe) It’s certainly not the cause of the 2,300 road deaths every year (though isolated serious accidents can occur with bikes involved in collisions with pedestrians)

I would love to see people on bikes be more considerate and not give ‘cyclists’ a bad name. Though have you noticed when people drive a car inconsiderately, we don’t label all ‘motorists’ as bad. But, when a person on a bike rides inconsiderately all ‘cyclists’ tend to be tarred with the same brush.

But, I would also love our roads to be made safer, so that people can cycle on the road without risk of being run over by careless and negligent driving.

I would also like to see better road planning, so more proper cycle lanes are provided which provide safe routes for people to cycle into town.

22 Responses to Cycling on Pavements

  1. shirley August 17, 2010 at 4:15 pm #

    Well, if you ever cycle past me on a pavement, I’ll do my best to push you right back into the road, where you belong. Pavement cycling is dangerous, anti-social and the people who do it tend to be thick and aggressive. It’s not just the elderly, young, disabled and infirm who are vulnerable of the actions of these evil people; i’ve suffered a broken shoulder and arm from one of these morons – who didn’t even stop.

    I loathe them with every fibre, and at least try to hit them with my bag now, whenever they go riding past me, or head to me, on the pavement.

    Oh, and more thing – its illegal.

    It also doesn’t matter that you only do it ‘when you have to’ – there is no have to – you have legs, you can dismount. Perhaps I should claim I only drive mycar along the pavement ‘when I have to’.

  2. GHJ STOKES July 19, 2010 at 6:58 pm #

    I’m 12 and I walk to school every morning in the place Pedestrians are suppossed to walk, the pavement and when I cycle somewhere I cycle in the place cyclists are supposed to cycle, the road. And if you’re the unfortunate person that breaks the law in front of me (cycling on pavements) then so help me I will push those handle bars until you fall into the place cyclists are supposed to cycle. I’ve often been hurled abuse by kids my own age and above and when I point out to them its illegal in the UK one of them actually rammed into my legs. I’ve passed my cycle proficiency so I can cycle on the roads but they haven’t so they can WALK.

    You wouldn’t expect to see me walking on the roads so why should people cycle on the pavements.

    You should only cycle on pavements if you are 6 and under (and make way for pedestrians) or have a child under 6 (and you are making way for pedestrians).

  3. clive July 5, 2010 at 7:40 pm #


    Those that cycle on the pavements where I live do get injured by the likes of me defending our right to walk safely on the pavement. If you cycle on the pavement, not only do you deserve to be knocked off big time, but also fined, should plod ever be awake.

    This wee to date I have forcefully removed 3 cyclist one of which was surely in pain…tough, follow the rules, car drives dont drive on the pavement and neither should you!!!!!

  4. Penny July 3, 2010 at 11:33 am #

    I would love to cycle rather than drive to various places, but it would mean putting my 3 year old in a child seat on the back. I feel by doing this whilst cycling on the road I would actively be putting her life at risk. Countless cyclists get killed every year on the roads and I don’t want myself and my daughter to join them thank you. In my opinion cycling on the pavement should be legalised in the same way cars are on the road, with due care and attention. If you catch me bombing down the pavement putting pedestrains at risk then by all means, fine me.

  5. martin May 27, 2010 at 2:34 pm #

    The point every bike rider is missing is that if the millions of people with bikes all ride correctly and keep on the road then they would have a very big voice in the control of driver conduct,but when they brake every rule that they dont like (red lights,pavments,no cycling zones,etc,etc,) they will be treated as AND DESERVE TO BE ,seccond class citizens..Look at Holland!!

  6. Wood Punk May 25, 2010 at 9:58 am #

    If you don’t feel safe cycling on the road and the pavement isn’t wide enough to ride then you walk and push your bike. I have had a rib broken by a collision with a bike today; not the first time I have been hit by a rider on the pavement.

    Road not safe? Push your bike on the pavement.

  7. Dave May 21, 2010 at 8:09 am #

    How many cyclists get injured and killed by cars each year? how many pedestrians by bikes? I think if people want to cycle on the pavements they should be allowed to in all places other than where foot traffic is high. I’m going to cycle on the pavement because although most road cycling is safe all it takes is one dumbass driver (an there are a lot) to knock you off your bike and you’re history. Anyone that tries to tell me I can’t go on the pavement can do one.

  8. clive March 3, 2010 at 8:35 pm #


    Please dont cycle on the pavement IN my neck of the woods or you might just find yourself lying on the pavement. I dont drive my car on the pavement, so please do not do the same, be warned this is a pedestrian only zone!!!!

  9. clive March 1, 2010 at 3:43 pm #

    I have on numerous occasions reported cyclists to the police for cycling on the pavement, but am met only by apathy, so can only assume that it will take an injury before they will take notice. I for one will NOT make space for illegal cyclist on pavements and if they fall off when passing, then so be it. if you dont like, then dont do it!!

  10. Ash January 26, 2010 at 6:23 pm #

    I’m 15 years old and usually cycle on the pavements. One day I thought I will go on the road. In the 300m of nearly straight road that I lawfully cycled on, I was within about 3 inches of 2 car mirrors and if I didn’t have a very, very loud air horn on my bike i would have smashed into a car which was pulling out of an adjoining road without even looking. I blasted my air horn at the car which then slammed its brakes on . I was about 5 meters from the car and I was travelling about 20 MPH. From his open window the driver was hurling abuse at me. Although his voice was drowned out by my air horn. I could still tell that he said F$%* you by his two fingers that he stuck up at me. With his other hand he was signaling as though I should have stopped and given way to him. I pointed to the stopsign that he sempt oblivious to. When I reched the bottom of the road at the traffic lights which were red I politly confronted the guy (who had since overtaken me very closely) about his abuse. Eventhough i was polite all i got back was an uncalled for “What the F*%$ do you think you are doing you stupid little T&£*” I mean come on “little” from a guy who could bareley see over the steering wheel against me 5′ 7″ tall. When the lights went to green the guy sped off leaving me talking to the road where he was. I was so outraged by this that i got the registation number of the car and reported it to the police over the phone this was 4 months ago. I have still got no reply. After this terryfying audial I have returned to cycling on the pavemets I do about 20 MPH maximum on the pavement when there is nobody else on it. As soon as I see somebody else in the distance or get near to shops then I rapidly decelarate to a meer 3.0 MPH and I always more than willingly give way to anyone else on the pavement. If I am approaching someone from behind then I do the same, but about 10 meters behind them I sound my siren. I never sound my siren when I’m any closer than 10 meters to pedestrians to avoid making them jump. I then cautiously procced past them thanking them as I do. If the space between the pedestrian and the road or wall is not big enough for me to pass through safeley then i dismount my bike and walk past them on the edge of the road. thanking them as i do. I will continue to do this until the roads are made a lot more safer for cyclists and until I recieve confirmation that my complaint has being followed up.

  11. sarah December 12, 2009 at 6:28 pm #

    im a 12 year old and im wondering if people mny age are aloud on the pavement as i have a small bike and even though ive done my cycling proficiency i still dontt feel safe mainly because my area is very unsafe and buisy. my friend says we are, depending on wheel size, as her brother use to work in a bike shop but my dad says your not, and he has websites to prove it.

  12. Dave Holladay November 29, 2009 at 5:25 pm #

    Studies across the world affirm that you are between 4 and 8 times MORE likely to crash cycling on the footway than cycling on the carriageway (both are pavements for the assigned uses). The Highways Act 1835 is a good piece of legislation, which recognises clearly the difference between making progress on foot and riding or driving an animal or carriage, with a great benefit in the way that Carriages can be redefined as the technology progresses (Cycles were included officially in 1880 IIRC, road locomotives around 1850 and the sub division to motor cars in 1903)

    The dangers of off-carriageway cycling are readily noted – the majority of child cyclist crashes occur riding on or off the footway, a third of A&E injuries for cyclists are related to riding on or off the carriageway at an official or unofficial point to join the footway or a cycle route, and John Franklin’s study of cycle crashes in Milton Keynes had 8 cyclist fatalities ALL on or relating to use of the Redway network despite the majority of cycling taking place on the main road network.

    There are several other factors in mixing 2 modes of transport with VERY different operating criteria, which further make the case that footways are generally totally unsuitable for cycling along – and for that matter the other and far bigger offenders in this respect motorists who regularly commit the offence under s.72 HA 1835 of driving their carriages on the footway, but never get booked!

  13. Nick November 12, 2009 at 8:43 pm #

    People’s comments are utterly ridiculous here.

    I drive and cycle on the roads on different days about 30 miles, and yes it’s sometimes awkward, but the fact of the matter is it’s the law. Anyone that thinks cycling on the pavement is not only a jerk for making walking space dangerous, but an utter wimp as they’re willing to risk other people’s injuries instead of their own.

    As per usual (usually chavvy sorts of) people are coming up with rubbish responses in some vain attempt to justify breaking the law. If you have to navigate a poor junction and think you can’t because you have no skill or are simply a wimp — you GET OFF the bike and WALK on the pavement like everyone else. You don’t skip the ‘walking bit’ because you can’t be bothered.

    Whilst we’re on the subject — cycling without lights is inexcusable, let alone whilst on the pavement. You just better hope I don’t photograph you doing it or get in my way as I WILL stand my ground and force you off the pavement and onto the road. Hopefully some others will follow suit — if you can’t stand cyclists illegally cycling on the pavement — get in their damn way. If they try to push past you — I can assure you they can be ‘disconnected’ from their bicycle in one easy push.

  14. Andy R August 27, 2009 at 11:11 pm #

    I’ve been hit twice by cars in the past 10 years, writing off the bikes and to my serious injury both times, but I still ride on the road. I’ve lost count of the number of near missies. However, I feel more insecure cycling on the pavement, in fact I hate doing it so I don’t.

    Bikes belong on the road and unfortunately so do cars. So, you can imagine how annoying cars parked on pavements can be. Besides to park on the pavement the car must have been driven on it. Anyway I digress.

    We cyclists should try to work with drivers, not against them. One of the biggest problems I think drivers have with cyclists is that they’re unsure of what we are going to do. So tell them, signal, make eye contact, take command of your position in the road and hold your line.

    Cyclists use the road. People on bikes who choose to use the pavement can’t expect pedestrians to signal their intended maneuver. How are you supposed to command a position on the pavement when you’re not supposed to be there.

    What about road junctions, driveways, shop doorways, dogs on leads, dogs not on leads, dog mess, litter – including broken glass. If you think that road furniture is bad look at all the furniture on pavements including signs outside shops which also have no right to be there.

    People on bikes who choose to use the pavement also promote negativity towards cyclists; as much as those who choose to run red lights and ignore other rules of the road.

    Trying to ride safely, predictively and courteously while obeying the rules of the road is no guarantee of not being hit by a car. I can speak with experience to that. But, in life the only guarantees are death and taxes, and it’s a good idea to try and avoid both as much as possible. So, ride your bike, be healthy, don’t pay car tax – don’t pay petrol tax not to mention parking fees after you’ve driven in circles for twenty minutes looking for a place to park.

    Have fun on your bike and I really look forward to seeing you all sometime… out on the road.

  15. Lesley Juson August 25, 2009 at 8:18 am #

    I have just bought a bicycle with 16inch wheels.
    Small bike for small lady of 4ft 10ins. I hope because of my size it will be ok to ride on pavements.
    I need the exercise and will always ride carefully, early morning before pedestrians start walking.

  16. Owen Jones August 10, 2009 at 12:04 pm #

    It is rubbish that cycling on pavements is dangerous. In Japan, there are probably more bikes in use than cars, and almost all cycling is on the pavement, not on the roads. I lived there for 9 years and never saw a serious collision between a pedestrian and a bike, but I have unfortunately seen several collisions between bikes and cars on roads in the UK. It goes without saying that a bike colliding with a car is far more likely to result in injury than any collision between a bike and a pedestrian. Overall it is much safer for all concerned to cycle on the pavement, whatever the law states (which dates from 1835, obviously long before the introduction of cars).

  17. Fraser June 7, 2009 at 1:31 pm #

    I agree with the last comment. I being a 15 year old living in a town with busy roads don’t feel at all safe riding on roads. It’s fine when I’m going straight on and can keep to the side of the road, but turning right is a different matter. Then there’s all the motorists that get annoyed because we might slow them down by a few fractions of a second. The other day I cycled home from a meeting, on the road, only to receive abuse and profanity from a van driver (who got the necessary abuse returned to him). I’ve passed loads of Police whilst riding on a pavement, and if anything, they just smile or say hello.

  18. claire April 21, 2009 at 3:32 pm #

    I do not feel safe riding on a road . I would much rather ride on a pavement because i do not trust other car drivers there would be much more damage done to me in a car accident than the car.That is why i think that predestrians should be allowed to ride on a pavement carefully.


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