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Plenty of reasons to ride on the pavement, say Facebook users

 

The morning after cycling minister Robert Goodwill reiterated previous guidance to police to use their discretion and not fine responsible, considerate pavement cyclists, a Facebook page set up to complain about pavement riders in Worthing has been considerably toned down.

The page’s admin told road.cc “We changed the Facebook [page] to steer away from appearing to vilify cyclists and focus on the [situations] where it is acceptable for them to be on the road but they choose not to, and at the same time cause near misses and peeve pedestrians.”

Now known as ‘Cycling on the Pavement’ the ‘Shame on Cyclists’ page and accompanying Twitter account had as its original mission to go after the “irresponsible, inexcusable and brainless” act of riding on the pavement in Worthing.

The page kicked of on January 9 with a couple of pictures of riders on the pavement, but the anonymous creator was quickly pulled up by cyclists explaining why they sometimes decide to use the pavement instead of the road.

"Where can cyclists feel safe except on the pavement?"

According to The Argus, Pauline Greenfield said on the Facebook page: “This really irritates me as where can cyclists feel safe in Worthing except for on the pavement?

“I was cycling on the road in Worthing then got hit from behind by a careless driver. It’s now ten years later and I have had seven leg operations and I am now permanently disabled, all because of a driver not showing consideration to me. I know all too well how dangerous our roads are and would never go in the road again as I'm still terrified.”

Rebecca Frew said: “I cycle on the pavement as I have a four-year-old in a seat on the back.

“I’m not travelling at 30mph so I don’t see the problem; far safer than being on the roads.

“I haven't knocked anyone over or had any complaints. If cyclists show consideration to pedestrians and vice versa then there is no problem.”

However, those messages are no longer visible and the renamed page now says it’s “Simply highlighting the issue of cycling on the pavement in Worthing. Not knocking Cyclists, and no need to take offence either”.

[Update: the messages quoted by the Argus were made about an image from 'Shame on Cyclists' posted on the Worthing Facebook page.]

Twitter’s cycling community has also been quick to set the page and account owner straight.

‏@gnomeicide said: “why 'shame on cyclists' plural? You seem to be suggesting collective responsibility with that.”

@ShoestringCycle said: “any chance of changing your stupid nick and silly bio to something less offensive to most cyclists who aren't petty idiots?”

The account owner said: “We have changed the bio, if we could change the username without creating a new account then we would. Sorry”.

He was quickly given an explanation by @beztweets of how to change a Twitter username.

“Great,” @shameoncyclists said. “Now to come up with a usernane that isn't bound to offend a single person. Any suggestions? :)”

@ChrispLOL pointed out that there are two pedestrian fatalities per year involving collisions with cyclists (in fact the number is usually lower).

In his most recent tweet, @shameoncyclists said: “This account’s purpose is evolving but never intended to exaggerate fatalities.”

The account’s owner told us: “We are new to all this social media business, just wanted to make a start in getting local authorities involved in taking action in Worthing, enforcement from Police, cycle paths or what have you.

“As the purpose of the page and Twitter account evolves we will try and focus more on getting action taken and perhaps getting the community involved, and away from actually shaming cyclists.”

Pavement cycling & the law

What’s commonly referred to as pavement is known as the footway in road law, and an 1888 amendment to Highways Act made it illegal to ride a bicycle or tricycle on “any footpath or causeway by the side of any road made or set apart for the use or accommodation of foot passengers.”

Police were given the power to apply a fixed penalty notice to footway cyclists in 1999 and in 2002 that power was extended to police community support officers.

However, as Robert Goodwill reiterated yesterday, official advice to police is to use their discretion.

Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.

Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.

Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.

The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

24 comments

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Bez [599 posts] 2 years ago
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Looking at that sign in the top right, if I glue a load of £10 notes to my front tyre and £20 notes to my rear tyre then I could ride above the pavement because at any given point I'm cycling on £30. And the sign says that's fine. Am I right?

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Dizzy [68 posts] 2 years ago
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Ah My home town!
Have made several comments on this on Facebook & on the Argos's own article
As a town, we have some fabulous cycling lanes, but in other places it's a complete nightmare
I don't cycle on pavements, But I do understand why some folk feel it is safer & do it.
The problem I encounter daily is not the regular cyclists, it's a very small minority, who have no regard for anyone that are causing the probelm, but as usual we're all being tarred with the same brush

WE ARE NOT A COLLECTIVE!

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jezmellors [7 posts] 2 years ago
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I never cycle on the pavement, because it's illegal and i ride really fast, but you would be surprised at the number of motorists who shout at me as they pass telling me to "get out of the way, get on the pavement" or some such nonsense.

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jarredscycling [456 posts] 2 years ago
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I think I'll just stick to riding on the road surface and avoid the sidewalk

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studentcyclist [4 posts] 2 years ago
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Pavement cycling may be something that needs to be discussed, but does a random person in Worthing changing the name of a Facebook page really count as 'news'...?

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Guyz2010 [304 posts] 2 years ago
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jezmellors wrote:

I never cycle on the pavement, because it's illegal and i ride really fast, but you would be surprised at the number of motorists who shout at me as they pass telling me to "get out of the way, get on the pavement" or some such nonsense.

Quote the amendment to the highway act 1888 above to motorists.

We have a cycleway in Plymouth that sends you from the road onto a footway at traffic lights then back onto the road in the middle of a junction. Am I supposed to stop on the footway at the lights or carry on? Will plod FPN me once I'm off the ramp on the footway, its not marked for cycling, there are no dismount signs.

Ooh I feel like being reckless later, nah responsible.

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kitkat [375 posts] 2 years ago
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Dizzy wrote:

WE ARE NOT A COLLECTIVE!

But we often act like it  4

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pepita1 [176 posts] 2 years ago
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Nobody has mentioned the age of the amendment. Introduced in 1888 and applicable to bicycles and tricycles. The law needs to be looked at and brought into the 21st century, me thinks. What about the 4 wheeled electric scooters? How about the kids on skateboards or push scooters? Someone needs to get off their a** and work on a rewrite!

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No Sweat [11 posts] 2 years ago
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Beware.
As a cycling 'collective' we should be careful of voicing any support for allowing cycling on footways; if official policy changes, we may find ourselves one small step away from being confined to cycling (probably with strict speed limits) on footways and banned from the roads proper. This would please the very vocal 'apparent collective' of motorists no end.

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Leviathan [2064 posts] 2 years ago
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jarredscycling wrote:

I think I'll just stick to riding on the road surface and avoid the sidewalk

What's a 'sidewalk'? Is it for crabs?

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allez neg [497 posts] 2 years ago
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kitkat wrote:
Dizzy wrote:

WE ARE NOT A COLLECTIVE!

But we often act like it  4

WE ARE ALL INDIVIDUALS!

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userfriendly [568 posts] 2 years ago
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allez neg wrote:

WE ARE ALL INDIVIDUALS!

... I'm not.  22

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cyclingdave70 [33 posts] 2 years ago
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Shouldn't be hard to miss the pedestrians in Worthing, they all travel at a snails pace - unless they are in their motorised mobility scooters  21

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vbvb [606 posts] 2 years ago
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I quite enjoyed this story.

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TokyoByBike [1 post] 2 years ago
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All around Japan, cycling on specifically marked pavements has been legal since the 1970's. The laws aren't strongly policed so it is generally accepted that cyclists can legally cycle on any sidewalks.

Slower "everyday" cyclists, such as parents with kids, the elderly going to the supermarket, and businessmen cycling to the station can safely cycle on the sidewalks, while the lycra crowd can mix it up with the traffic on the roads.

The modal share for bicycles in Tokyo is 16%. Maybe sidewalk cycling is worth considering.

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WolfieSmith [1323 posts] 2 years ago
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Almost got knocked down by a woman cycling on the pavement this morning whilst I was putting the recycling out. No lights, empty road in both directions...

Adults on bikes on the pavement in general is an irritation. When I see burly Phil Mitchell types bowling along at 15-20mph on the pavement I wonder why they can't be a little braver and get on the road?

The more cyclists on the road the more motorists will have to slow down for them. Allowing motorists to continue speeding around unhindered and choosing to speed around on the pavements isn't the solution.

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dexradio [8 posts] 2 years ago
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So the @shameoncyclists Twitter account appears to have been suspended? Wonder why?

Dex.

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A V Lowe [576 posts] 2 years ago
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I always cycle on pavements but most of the time they are carriageways.

Let's shove this ambiguous fudge into the bin, it is I suspect a way that many drivers excuse the fact that they break the same law far more frequently and kill and injure pedestrians on a significantly greater scale. in a survey for RNIB 54% of UK drivers admitted to driving on the footway.

Perhaps the sign should show the 'all vehicles banned' roundel and the wording should read "Highways Act 1835 s.72 driving a carriage on this footway will result in issue of a fixed penalty notice fine and may also incur in other penalties"

Case law recognised cycles as carriages in 1876, and it was affirmed by statute in 1888. The Motor Car Act of 1903 defined the motor car as a carriage as distinct from a light road locomotive.

It would be considerably fairer if drivers were prosecuted with the same vigour as cyclists for breaking the same laws.

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A V Lowe [576 posts] 2 years ago
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PS remember that in Scotland its s.129(5) of Roads (Sc) Act 1988 (or 84?)

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ironmancole [322 posts] 2 years ago
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Tricky one this but ultimately my final take on it is this.

If I terrorise and kill in my car nobody actually gives a toss as I'm effectively the golden child exercising my apparent right to drive as I wish.

A death caused by the car is dumbed down with responsibility absolved from the driver and everyone seems to accept its ok to throw lives away as the car is this amazing thing we all love (despite everyone hating the MOT, congestion, associated waste of time in never ending queues, bad air for their kids, house depreciation if a road is too close, absurd road upkeep costs, incessant noise, widespread and imminently catastrophic obesity across the country, too scared to let their kids walk anywhere because of the traffic and all whilst hanging 'Baby on board' signs in the back window (which lets be honest petrolheads) is nothing short of a desperate plea to all the dick heads racing about to please not crash into me and ruin my life).

I would compare this utter refusal to acknowledge that the car is actually a rope around your neck to a cocaine addict laying in intensive care after being saved from an overdose who insists it's not that bad at all.

Utter denial of all reasonable fact and logic.

In contrast the whole concept of anyone being hurt by a human being on a lightweight bicycle, who is most likely just trying to avoid becoming the next statistic for ministers to laugh at, is chastised as abhorrent and unacceptable.

Kill with car = Whoopsie
Hurt with bike = How dare you

How has society become so tolerant of death and injury from one source but is happy to turn a blind eye and pick on what is comparably a non issue?

Bring on the congestion, obesity and misery. Our government will reap what it sows and will one day hang its head in shame at its absolute failure to do anything productive.

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carlosjenno [44 posts] 2 years ago
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MercuryOne wrote:

Adults on bikes on the pavement in general is an irritation. When I see burly Phil Mitchell types bowling along at 15-20mph on the pavement I wonder why they can't be a little braver and get on the road?

Something I've also always found amusing. These "hard" types will probably threaten to glass you in a pub for looking at them funny, but haven't got the bollocks to ride a bike on the road. Causes me to question their masculinity!

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Quince [382 posts] 2 years ago
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ironmancole wrote:

Our government will reap what it sows and will one day hang its head in shame at its absolute failure to do anything productive.

My concern is that people have forgotten the meaning of shame, or at least lost their respect for it.

But I do agree with you. Strongly. On everything. It's very well observed and very well put.

I'd just like to think there's a better way of dealing with this than waiting for shame to strike after it's all too late. Mainly because it'll be all too late. But also, people are very good at dodging shame.

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Yorkshie Whippet [537 posts] 2 years ago
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Ironmancole

Baby on board signs are not used as you state. There an unofficial way of saying impatient, inconsiderate an irrisponsible driver about. Whose only view is that they need to get where ever they are going at warp speed. May brake suddenly, be one the phone or looking in the back for the errant child. Mainly noted for parking as close to the school as possible and pulling out randomly. Or seen cutting across as many lanes of the motorway as possible at as shap an angle the car can handle when joining or leave. May also change lanes without warning for no apparent reason.

And why the hell is your child's life worth more than mine?

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ironmancole [322 posts] 1 year ago
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These signs are popping up everywhere. No-one would defend anyone being an idiot regardless of transport mode (other than the CPS and the courts where a car is involved naturally) but why are councils so good at picking on the least dangerous whilst continually playing dumb to the real issue...which as any sane mind will recognise are impatient over entitled and plain dangerous people in fast moving metal boxes?

It is a form of discrimination and persecution when the greater problem is continually side stepped and I'm repeatedly left wondering why vulnerable road users are unable to collectively mount a legal challenge against the plain obvious whilst repeatedly paying for lack of action with their lives.

When are we going to demand change?