CityCyclingEdinburgh Forum » Questions/Support/Help

Pedestrians as road users

(9 posts)
  • Started 10 months ago by NiallA
  • Latest reply from wingpig
  • This topic is not resolved

  1. NiallA
    Member

    So, I should know better, but I got drawn into an argument on a local FaceBook group (I know, I know...)

    The argument revolves around a couple of local folk complaining about parents and children walking on a roadway to and from our local primary school. The section of road in question is not a through route - it is bollarded at one end, is quite narrow, and the pavement is only 1m wide at each side (Top of Silverknowes Road, approaching Main Street, if you know Davidson's Mains). The locals are complaining about not being able to drive past groups of peds spread out across the road.

    I've been arguing on the basis on patience and tolerance in view of the pandemic primarily (to very little effect), but it did set me thinking about the legal situation here. The Highway Code is silent on this, I think, although it does tend to assume pedestrians will usually be on pavements (sensibly enough for the most part, of course). In this situation though, where there is restricted space, I was assuming that peds are road users with all the rights that implies, and drivers are legally obliged to drive with due care and attention around them (that's in the RTA, I think?), but there is no legal basis for asserting priority of car over ped (just as there would be no priority of bus over car, or articulated lorry over bus)?

    Anyway, I wondered if wiser heads than I knew the contours of the legal position here?

    Posted 10 months ago #
  2. CocoShepherd
    Member

    I am no wise head but I was under the impression that pedestrians have right of way on UK roads. Not entirely sure where or when or why that impression was formed

    Posted 10 months ago #
  3. I were right about that saddle
    Member

  4. Roibeard
    Member

    Drivers require to be licensed (i.e. specially permitted) to use the public highway, whereas people and animals don't need special permission.

    But might makes right, as it always has done.

    Robert

    Posted 10 months ago #
  5. ejstubbs
    Member

    The current round of proposed updates to the Highway Code (previously discussed on this forum though I can't locate the thread just now) would establish a 'Hierachy of Road Users' based on the principle that those road users who can do the greatest harm have the greatest responsibility to reduce the danger or threat they may pose to other road users. Which sounds like a good idea, but may be undermined by the proposed wording which includes the following (my bold): "The objective of the hierarchy is not to give priority to pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders in every situation, but rather to ensure a more mutually respectful and considerate culture of safe and effective road use that benefits all users." Hmmm...

    But as Roibeard says, pedestrians (and cyclists and horse riders) have a fundamental right to be anywhere they like on the road - albeit tempered with certain responsibilities, such as not wilfully obstructing free passage along the highway (Highways Act 1980) - whereas drivers of motor vehicles are only granted a qualified privilege to use the road, which can be withdrawn if they fail to comply with the regulations which apply to the use of their chosen mode of transport.

    Posted 10 months ago #
  6. Morningsider
    Member

    A road is defined in the Roads (Scotland) Act 1984 as:

    ...any way (other than a waterway) over which there is a public right of passage (by whatever means and whether subject to a toll or not)

    The important bit here is "public right of passage". Pedestrians have a right to walk on any part of a road, including the carriageway. This right could be removed or limited through a Traffic Regulation Order, but I am not aware of any TRO ever being used to do this on a regular street.

    The only national regulations which specifically limit what pedestrians can do relate to the operation and use of zebra, pelican and puffin crossings as set out in The Zebra, Pelican and Puffin Pedestrian Crossings Regulations and General Directions 1997 and a ban on walking on a motorway (except in an emergency) as set out in The Motorways Traffic (Scotland) Regulations 1995.

    In most situations, walking on the pavement is a good idea - but there is no legal requirement to do so.

    Posted 10 months ago #
  7. miak
    Member

    A question about this .. and one I really have no idea how to deal with...one finds oneself in a car driving slowly and carefully at night and a group of 'pedestrians' step in front of you and slow your passage and then move around your vehicle and continue walking beside you, in front of you and behind you. You are alone ... what do you do .... and when does the priority change?

    Posted 10 months ago #
  8. I were right about that saddle
    Member

    @miak

    Get the Hell out of Dodge?

    Posted 10 months ago #
  9. wingpig
    Member

    Slow to a stop and wait until it's clear. I would count pedestrians inches from me in every direction as 'not safe to proceed'.

    Posted 10 months ago #

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