Pavement cyclists under the spotlight in Wales as fines rise sixfold

Traders slam anti-social riders, but cycling campaigners say poor infrastructure to blame

by Simon_MacMichael   March 20, 2011  


Figures released in response to a request under the Freedom of Information Act have revealed a sixfold rise since 2008 in the number of fines given to cyclists for riding on pavements in Wales. While shop owners maintain that anti-social cycling is a menace that needs to be eradicated, cycling campaigners insist that the data highlight that greater provision is needed for cyclists on the principality’s roads.

In 2010, some 318 cyclists received £30 fixed penalty notices for riding on the pavement, against 54 in 2010, with two thirds of fines handed out to cyclists in the past three years being issued in the capital, Cardiff. The biggest rise, however, was seen in Gwent, where just three fixed penalties were issued in 2008, but 104 last year.

Sustainable transport charity Sustrans and national cyclists’ organisation CTC said that greater provision needed to be made for cyclists.

Catrin Parish, Wales policy advocate for transport charity Sustrans, told Wales Online that some less confident cyclists might be using pavements because they lacked confidence in cycling on the road. “We hope increased fines won’t discourage people from cycling,” she added.

Gwenda Owen from CTC also highlighted the problem of the lack of clarity between where cycling is and isn’t permitted, with cycle lanes on pavements leading to some cyclists becoming confused on the issue.

In Cardiff, however, pavement cyclists are seen by some as a threat to the safety of pedestrians. Sergeant Karen McNeil of South Wales Police’s city centre neighbourhood team told the website: “Our concern is the safety of all city centre users and we wish to remind cyclist this is a pedestrianised area where cycling can result in a £30 fixed penalty notice."

Local business owners too have expressed concern, with David Hughes Lewis of the Cardiff Retail Partnership highlighting that the issue regularly cropped up at meetings.
“They’re dangerous, particularly to elderly pedestrians,” he stated. “They can’t hear the cyclist coming and suddenly they’re on top of them. It is a nuisance.”

A spokeswoman for Cardiff City Council acknowledged that existing road infrastructure could cause issues for some cyclists, however, saying: “Cyclists using the pavements instead of roads are often indicative of wider problems such as a lack of confidence, high traffic speeds on the road, or the roads being perceived as unsuitable for cycling. The council is currently developing a strategic cycle network plan which will be implemented over the next five years.”

Referring to the increased number of fines given in Gwent, a Newport Council spokeswoman said: “Newport City Council’s community safety wardens tackle anti-social behaviour and in response to an increase in the number of cyclists using pavements in the city centre the council put additional wardens into the city.”


10 user comments

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Blaming the victims of poor cycling training provision and poor road law enforcement?

posted by a.jumper [832 posts]
20th March 2011 - 16:39


Don't make excuses for them, what they do is antisocial and sometimes dangerous.

Your attitude reminds me of the standard response given by young thugs and vandals who routinely bleat about "Nuffink for young people to do round 'ere."



mike the bike's picture

posted by mike the bike [375 posts]
20th March 2011 - 18:46


Some probably are irresponsible but a 600% rise in a year? That's incredible and makes me think they're probably slapping fines on people riding to bike parking spaces in paved areas and other things that don't do anyone any harm and are the result of bad infrastructure.

posted by a.jumper [832 posts]
20th March 2011 - 23:59


So just how many injuries are there resulting from pavement cycling in Wales? And how many cyclists are injured in accidents on the roads in Wales? A few statistics might bring everything into perspective regarding the real or imagined menace of pavement cycling.


posted by OldRidgeback [2554 posts]
21st March 2011 - 0:21


The large rise in Cardiff is probably largely linked to the ending of an experiment where the main pedestrian area was opened up to cyclists during commuting times. At the end of this experiment PCSO's rigorously enforced the new (old?) rules. I know several people who got out by this, due to a lack of knowledge.

Not me though, I'm a good boy Smile

posted by [168 posts]
21st March 2011 - 9:03

1 Like

One might photograph all the cars which have been driven on the footway and ask whether the same zeal will be applied in issue of FPN's for the same offence of driving a carriage on the footway. This is known to be more dangerous - in the UK even Police cars driven on the footway kill more pedestrians than cyclists.... What's good for the goose?

47 years of breaking bikes and still they offer me a 10 year frame warranty!

A V Lowe's picture

posted by A V Lowe [556 posts]
21st March 2011 - 12:22


Sounds like the result of particular focus on this.
I'm sure if the police near me had a crack down on use of hand held mobile phones while driving those figures would spike in a similar way.

Cyclists using the pavements instead of roads are often indicative of wider problems such as a lack of confidence, high traffic speeds on the road, or the roads being perceived as unsuitable for cycling

Most of the pavement cyclists I see don't look confident on a bike. Not surprising with the treatment of cyclists on the roads by motor vehicles

posted by thereverent [351 posts]
21st March 2011 - 13:46


Apparently (I can't find the source now) one in 30 pedestrians who is killed by a vehicle on the pavement is killed by a cyclist - or 29 out of 30 are killed by a motor vehicle ON THE PAVEMENT.

Stats given in reply to a parliamentary question ( show that over a decade, barely more than 0.3% of pedestrian deaths in collisions were due to cyclists, the rest being motor vehicles. Injuries by cyclists accounted for less than 1% of the total injuries.

None of this excuses pavement cycling, which in a few cases is pretty egregious, but it does suggest that the police should expend their resources more efficiently, elsewhere.

posted by Paul M [342 posts]
21st March 2011 - 14:51


Yes I know there are very few deaths from pavement cyclists, even very few injuries compared to other vehicle types.

The fact remains that cyclists who ride on pavements are doing themselves no favours. They are acting in an antisocial way even if they dont intend to do so.

If there is an issue with confidence then get advice. These cyclists should consider cycle training, a change of route, and if that doesnt fully help them out they need to get proactive and join the local campaigns, road safety groups and groups like British Cycling or the CTC.

There is also something to be said for staking your claim to the road. If every pavement cyclist took to the road in a sensible and legal manner it would undoubtedly aid the case for cycling in the UK. I know I, and other law abiding cyclists are not to blame for them, but more road cyclists means that drivers become more aware of cyclists as a result, we become more predictable and more visible.

downfader's picture

posted by downfader [204 posts]
22nd March 2011 - 22:01


Good. Cyclists should obey the highway code just like other road users.


PeteH's picture

posted by PeteH [159 posts]
9th December 2011 - 12:28