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Have pavement cyclists got it right?

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  1. Dave
    Member

    I started replying to the 'rubbish cycling' topic. And it got longer, and longer, and eventually...

    http://mccraw.co.uk/are-pavement-cyclists-right/

    Posted 3 years ago #
  2. crowriver
    Member

    I agree with you. I refuse to condemn pavement cycling unless it is being pursued recklessly in a very narrow and busy space. In those conditions I think the person on the bike should dismount and become a temporary pedestrian.

    Incidentally that is how I get through red lights if need be: I turn into a temporary pedestrian. I don't ride through on red or the pedestrian phase.

    Posted 3 years ago #
  3. Nelly
    Member

    I agree that there are cyclists who utilise the pavement when the infra is poor or leads people to a pavement naturally (end of stenhouse path for instance) but there are also people who don't fit into this category or Dave's - we can't ignore that there are some people cycling on pavements in what i would deem a fairly anti social way.

    Posted 3 years ago #
  4. barnton-to-town
    Member

    Very good points. Cycling should be legally considered to be another form of pedestrianism; using road laws, derived in the main for motorised multi-tonnage vehicles, is just plain dangerous.

    And the one that forever gets my goat is expecting kids to ride on the road. The jokey "away and play with the traffic" takes on a whole new meaning when that's exactly what the law expects of children.

    Posted 3 years ago #
  5. Dave
    Member

    there are also people who don't fit into this category or Dave's - we can't ignore that there are some people cycling on pavements in what i would deem a fairly anti social way.

    Absolutely, there's a whole spectrum of behaviour for people on bikes, people on foot, people in cars, and in a nation of countless millions, there are people all over that spectrum in each category.

    However, to criticise pavement cycling just because some people cycle dangerously on pavements is, in my opinion, not easily defensible, just in the same way that I couldn't make a case against *all* drivers for the actions of a few. I mean morally there, BTW, obviously the legal position is clear.

    Posted 3 years ago #
  6. Morningsider
    Member

    Pavements are segregated infrastructure for pedestrians and I think they should stay that way. The fear that drives a very small minority of cyclists onto the pavement is equally felt by vulnerable pedestrians who encounter pavement cyclists - particularly the elderly, people with mobility or visual problems, people with small children. Thing is, these people don't have any other options for getting about - there is no "pavement" they can hop onto to alleviate this fear. Any increase in pavement cycling could lead to some of these people just choosing not to go out - not something I would want to see.

    CCE is full of people grumbling about the abuse of cycle infrastructure (myself included), whether that is technically legal or not. I can't remember anyone saying that it should be allowed for the convenience of the people abusing the facilities.

    Most pavement cyclists that I see aren't doing it through fear of traffic, they do it as it is quicker or more convenient - I give you Forrest Road as an example of where many cyclists go from the road and onto the pavement to avoid the one way system.

    I appreciate that there are countries where pavement cycling is almost the norm (e.g. Japan) - but the infrastructure and cycling culture are quite different to here and don't think there is any real comparison.

    Also - "establishment cyclists" - really? Am I (we?) really the bowler hatted toff of the cycling world - hosing down the great unwashed with my insistence on sticking to the law.

    Posted 3 years ago #
  7. bax
    Member

    Forrest Road as an example of where many cyclists go from the road and onto the pavement to avoid the one way system

    Its not necessarily merely a lazy avoidance of this one way system -- its an unwillingness to mix with the motons on the intimidating mini motorway on Bristo Place, where the unconfident bike rider is uneasily positioned in the middle of aggressive motoring on each side, speeding up from the previous traffic lights.

    Experienced vehicular cyclists will just deal with it as routine, but pedestrians on bikes will never make that leap, which is perfectly understandable.

    Posted 3 years ago #
  8. EddieD
    Member

    I agree with Morningsider on this issue - I harp on regularly about the confused immigrant cyclist who killed a pedestrian in Mansfield, on a stretch of pavement alongside the A60 that in the space of about 1.5 miles changes from shared use to ped only I think 5 times - the accident occurred in a pedestrian only area.

    I have no issues with children learning on the pavements, but I do feel that if people don't feel confident on certain roads, that they push their bike to areas that they do feel confident.

    If we take an inflatio ad absurdum - I know drivers who don't feel safe on certain bits of road - should they take to the pavements too? Okay, that's silly, I know. They drive 4x4s instead, to insure that in an accident they come of better.

    Regardless of my wandering into whimsy - pavements are for pedestrians. Bikes can inflict serious damage, and shouldn't be used where they're not meant to be used.

    Posted 3 years ago #
  9. Slug
    Member

    I appreciate your viewpoint Morningsider and agree with many points, but I am one of those who is positively terrified on fast/narrow/bendy roads. Now this may be due to the fact I'm a novice cyclist, but I don't think so: many roads are simply too dangerous, as the statistics suggest.

    You might be excused for thinking that I suffer from some kind of nervous disposition, but a lifetime spent mountaineering, diving, parachuting (at a serious level) suggests otherwise.

    I only decided a few weeks ago to start cycling to work - from Roslin to Gorgie - but this means negotiating the A703 to Hillend... it's a nightmare of a road! So, I went along the pavement (there are rarely ever pedestrians on it, but on the rare occasion I see one, get off the bike and push it) and then head up onto the Pentlands, over to Bonaly and down the Water of Leith. The only busy bit of road is through Colinton Village, but I get off and walk that bit.

    Then, all the stuff about the police crackdown on cyclists who ride on pavement and... well, I'm stuck. Can't go on the pavement and no way will I cycle along the 703. Luckily, I can get my bike in the back of my car, so have taken to driving to Flotterstone, Castlelaw or Hillend and riding the bike from there. It's just as well I've got the car because otherwise, it would be a simple choice or break the law or drive to work.

    I appreciate there are cyclists who run around pavements scaring pedestrians - I've experienced that myself - but surely we can find some compromise whereby irresponsible cycling on pavements can be classed as an offense but responsible cycling along 'ped-less' pavements is acceptable? 'Cycling without due care and attention', perhaps?

    Posted 3 years ago #
  10. Baldcyclist
    Member

    What I said on the other thread....

    I have to admit my views on pavement cycling have changed somewhat since I went back to Livingston for my infra blog.

    Livingston is the 2nd largest population centre in the Lothian's, and you can cycle more or less where you want without fear of prosecution. No-one seemed to be in conflict, and peds and cyclists seemed to interact seamlessly on the paths.

    It struck me then given the tiny size of our country, and low population density, that there are really only a dozen or so towns and cities in this country where pavement cycling could conceivably cause an issue. Of course Edinburgh is one of them, and I certainly wouldn't advocate pavement cycling in a busy built up area like Edinburgh.

    But on this road here (google street view link), with it's blind corners and 50mph speed limit, if any Policeman stopped me here (and I cycle on this pavement relatively often), well I'm afraid I'll be giving it the "This is a 'core' path officer, and my being here is perfectly responsible" speech...

    Posted 3 years ago #
  11. PS
    Member

    Almost all of the pavement cyclists I see round my way (apart from the under 10s) seem to be on the pavement simply to avoid cycling on cobbles.

    Posted 3 years ago #
  12. gkgk
    Member

    I appreciate that there are countries where pavement cycling is almost the norm (e.g. Japan) - but the infrastructure and cycling culture are quite different to here and don't think there is any real comparison.

    This line of Morningsider's leapt out at me. I was in Bordeaux this year and they have a terrific cycling city there - much more advanced than Edinburgh - where cyclists are treated as pedestrians on bikes, it seemed to me. They paddle around like big ducks on those upright bikes, mixing with people on foot without causing any upset, then merging with road traffic when convenient. I was struck by just how close the bikes got to the pedestrians without a flinch, a shout or a waving fist from those on foot. I don't think Bordeaux is so different from Edinburgh as Monrningsider has it. We just need two or three times the number of bikes and a decade of cycle infrastructure provision progress of the Leith Walk and beyond trajectory.

    Baldcyclist's description of Livingston sounds a bit like Bordeaux actually. Hope close to home! It was nice to read an example of how all our adversarial views on pavement cycling etc might ease with a change of context.

    Posted 3 years ago #
  13. wee folding bike
    Member

    I understand wee kids using the footpath but grown ups doing it gives the Daily Mail and their ilk ammo to fire at the rest of us.

    Posted 3 years ago #
  14. Instography
    Member

    That's it. They should grow up. Bairns.

    Posted 3 years ago #
  15. Slug
    Member

    Insightful comments, 'wee folding bike/Instography'. I really must strive to 'grow up'!

    Posted 3 years ago #
  16. davey2wheels
    Member

    The article here:
    http://www.bikehub.co.uk/featured-articles/cycling-and-the-law/
    puts the legislation in perspective and quotes
    “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 the context of the blog posting though, I echo Morningsider's comments and believe that most pavement riders are taking the shortest way between two points for their convenience and are abusing the spirit of the law.

    Posted 3 years ago #
  17. Dave
    Member

    Most pavement cyclists that I see aren't doing it through fear of traffic, they do it as it is quicker or more convenient - I give you Forrest Road as an example of where many cyclists go from the road and onto the pavement to avoid the one way system.

    On the other hand, I can't think of a single colleague who I could suggest rode from the top of Chambers Street to MMW going round the gyro the right way. They wouldn't even look at it, because you have to cross three lanes of fast moving traffic, starting on an uphill.

    We could test this out by closing Bristo Place to motorised traffic, and then seeing if people really bothered to dodge their way along the pavement when they could just zip around on the road.

    That said, I'm just cherry picking your example here. There are lots of places where there are no safety based reasons to break the law, such as the one way road where you come off the canal at the lift bridge?

    Posted 3 years ago #
  18. Instography
    Member

    I see I'm going to have to start using the <sarcasm> </sarcasm> tags again.

    Anyway, I think the weakness in Morningsider's argument is that it only considers two sets of fear - the car-induced fear of existing cyclists who opt for the pavement and the cyclist-induced fear of vulnerable pedestrians. That makes pavement cycling a zero-sum game where pavement cycling results in no overall reduction in cycling-related fear.

    Even if we assume that the vulnerable pedestrians would have fear induced by the presence of any cyclist (even a responsible one moving at walking pace), the equation would need to consider the fear of people who don't current cycle at all. Access to any segregated infrastructure - pavements or proper infrastructure - has the capacity to make cycling safer and significantly reduce fear for them.

    Posted 3 years ago #
  19. bax
    Member

    We could test this out by closing Bristo Place to motorised traffic

    This did of course happen for a week surrounding the Make Poverty History / G8 shenanigans and I was struck by how the road closure transformed the feel of the whole area.

    Posted 3 years ago #
  20. Roibeard
    Member

    @PS - cycling down towards, or back from, Stockbridge with the kids, the cobbles (probably setts) are most off-putting. The vehicular cyclist in me means we just occupy the entire carriageway and force all the 4x4s to either wait (im)patiently or overtake on the opposite carriageway.

    I would fully understand any cyclist that chose not to "run with the bulls" under these circumstances - the drivers seem unaware that cobbles can easily throw a cyclist off or off course, presumably because the cobbles barely trouble their suspension...

    Robert

    Posted 3 years ago #
  21. LaidBack
    Member

    Most pavement cycling in Marchmont is done to avoid crossing the road it seems. Often by parents with young children.

    I cycle through the barriers over pavement to access the lower part of Marchmont Crescent quite often although I probably have no right to.

    I did speak with one of the older residents when they came in to shop to complain about pavement cyclists. You understand these were not my customers but when you have a shop you are 'held responsible'!

    The other night I saw two young lads on BMX bikes riding on pavement. I didn't find anything particularly wrong with their behaviour. No lights of course. Also saw another lad skateboarding on the road.

    As pavements are often rough and narrow they tend to be used by slower cyclists. Slower doesn't always mean more considerate though!
    Many drivers have never heard about shared use paths so imagine some of the reported pavement cycling at (eg) Toucan crossings is wrong. Was out at Gyle today and not ideal with pedestrians and cyclists all squeezed at every crossing.

    Posted 3 years ago #
  22. Slug
    Member

    Interesting link, Dave2wheels, cheers.

    Point taken, Instography...

    Posted 3 years ago #
  23. Dave
    Member

    LB makes a good point about many (most?) drivers having little idea about official cycling pavements, AKA shared use facilities - possibly this extends to many pedestrians too, since having a detailed knowledge of legislation pertaining to the built environment is hardly a prerequisite of life in the 21st century.

    To take one example from my commute: click here. The google streetcar is accurate - there's no indication whatsoever that this is the junction between an official cycling pavement, a normal illegal cycling pavement, and so on and so forth.

    There are innumerable other examples. I find it hard to accept the line of reasoning about fear in pedestrians, bad PR image of cycling etc. when pavements are already haphazardly allocated to cycling according to political whim (rather than suitability for cycling) and the general onlooker will think it's a pavement whether it's an official cycling pavement or not...

    Posted 3 years ago #
  24. PS
    Member

    @Roibeard Oh, I know how hairy cycling down the hill on the road from Howe Street down to Stockbridge can feel, and I'm all for occupying the carriageway (last time I did I got a close pass and blast on the horn from some woman in one of those half-assed little Japanese 4X4s, my verbal retort to which I was a bit ashamed of as I stopped next to a respectable retired New Town couple...

    However, the cobble-avoiding I see is in such flat and unchallenging areas as Drummond Place and London Street.

    Posted 3 years ago #
  25. Morningsider
    Member

    Dave - fear felt by vulnerable pedestrians caused by pavement cyclists isn't a line of reasoning - it is a matter of fact. Living Streets, Guide Dogs for the Blind, the RNIB and others are all opposed to shared use paths in most instances for this very reason.

    Insto - I had thought about non-cyclists who are put off by the notion of cycling on the road. I didn't mention it as these non-cyclists are already exercising other transport options available to them. Generally, the vulnerable pedestrians have no other options. My concern was really that we would be improving the lot of cyclists (and potential cyclists) at the cost of the most vulnerable groups.

    My preference is to argue for proper cycling infrastructure, rather than allowing cyclists to use the pavement.

    That said, I do like Slug's suggestion about allowing cycling on inter-urban pavements. These rare beasts are very unlikely to be used by vulnerable people due to the long distances, lack of housing alongside and the high speed traffic on the adjacent roads. These is a handy legal definition of urban (restricted) roads already that could be used to identify pavements where cycling could remain an offence, with the remainder automatically allowing cycle use - which could be restricted by Order if necessary.

    Also, Slug - that is one heroic commute you have.

    Posted 3 years ago #
  26. nedd1e_h
    Member

    When I visited Grenoble in France recently, there were a lot of people cycling & plenty of pavement cyclists. There were both responsible (the majority) and moronic (the minority) cyclists on the pavements. Even a few motor scooters too!

    Pavement cycling seems completely acceptable/tolerated there.

    The city itself is compact & flat with a high student/placement worker/industry population.

    It seems to me that places that have good cycling culture, also allow (or tolerate) pavement cycling just about anywhere.

    Posted 3 years ago #
  27. Dave
    Member

    Dave - fear felt by vulnerable pedestrians caused by pavement cyclists isn't a line of reasoning - it is a matter of fact. Living Streets, Guide Dogs for the Blind, the RNIB and others are all opposed to shared use paths in most instances for this very reason.

    Well, OK. People who want to cycle on pavements instead of being run over don't have an association, but if they did it would probably be a matter of fact that it took the opposite position... ;-)

    I'm not sure where we go from there.

    Posted 3 years ago #
  28. PS
    Member

    The problem with inter-urban pavements is that they are narrow, badly laid, uneven, non continuous, unmaintained and largely unswept so are no good for cycling on, especially if you want to go above 10mph. They are also right next to roads where HGVs bomb past, given the pavements plenty of intimidating noise and side draughts. Other places where inter-urban cycling is taken seriously (like the Netherlands, Germany, Colorado) will lay some proper infrastructure away from the road.

    Posted 3 years ago #
  29. Greenroofer
    Member

    To Laidback's point above, I had a discussion with a colleague at work complaining about all the cyclists on the pavement on his walking route to work. I had to point out that it was a shared-used pavement, something he'd never noticed before...

    Posted 3 years ago #
  30. Slug
    Member

    "Also, Slug - that is one heroic commute you have."

    Ha! Thanks, Morningsider. For the first time in years, I actually look forward to my journey to work... mixed feelings about the (mostly uphill) journey home though!

    Posted 3 years ago #

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