Journalist request – pavement cycling

We received a request for our position on pavement cycling by Jesmond Local. We obliged. Here’s the full reply:

REPLIES TO SPECIFIC QUESTIONS

Q1 : What’s the law on riding on pavements? (I understand it’s strictly prohibited in law with a £50 fine, but that there are common-sense exemptions)
A: it’s muddled. It’s not legal by the Highway Code rule 64, but is legalised by ministerial decree, more below in position statement (draft)

Q2 : What’s the NCC policy on people riding on pavements? )
A: we are developing a position statement (draft, see link below) – in essence: We’d ask anyone concerned about pavement cycling to join our call for better walking and cycling infrastructure, protected cycleways, and clear delineation of space, to reduce or even eliminate people’s need for cycling on the pavement in the first instance
We wook NCC to mean Newcastle Cycling Campaign.

Q3 : What are the practical realities for cyclists? What causes them to have to mount pavements?
A: see below links and commentary for describing the general / typical situation cyclists face, also including local situation. In short: aggressive motor traffic, most people are traffic-intolerant (a term coined by Pooley, Horton et al when researching cycling and walking) and hence find other ways (cycling on pavement, going the long way round on backstreets or indeed, not cycle at all (the majority))

Q4 : What can be done to rectify any problems cyclists have – in Jesmond particularly?
A: safe cycleways protected from motor traffic (Osborne Road, and near schools specially), clear space definition, better delineation of walking and cycling

Q5 : Do you see a reason, given the road layout, that a cyclist would have to mount the pavement at the Newbrough Crescent/Osborne Road junction?
A: see local situation summarised below

POSITION STATEMENT (DRAFT)
https://newcycling.org/news/20140830/position-statement-pavement-cycling

LOCAL SITUATION IN JESMOND

In Jesmond, Osborne Road is a big problem for cyclists, and acts as a barrier to cycling. The motor traffic often exceeds the 30mph speed limit and at the north end there are a number of blind corners. It is scary to cycle along and scary to cycle across at junctions. It is also not pleasant to walk along, and it can be rather frightening experience to cross on foot, especially if you have mobility issues or are with young children.

PERSONAL STATEMENT / QUOTE FROM SALLY WATSON, NEWCYCLING’S JESMOND BRANCH CHAIR

If you are cycling with children, there is very little choice but to cycle on the pavement. Side streets, like the location where Newbrough Crescent and Osborne Road meet, become a real difficulty then.

I have to do this every day when I do the school run. My six year old cycles to school and I accompany him, also on my bike. Where possible, I cycle on the road and he cycles on the pavement.

As a necessity, we also use the back lanes a lot – but these can be very indirect. And there are some places where it is not possible for me to cycle on the road, and Osborne Road is one of these. If I were to cycle on the carriageway on Osborne Road I would have to leave my son to cross side streets leaving me look on. Osborne Road, specially, does not at all feel safe. A six year old still has to be frequently get some instructions, be reminded to stop at junctions and to be careful and stop or slow down when meeting pedestrians on the pavement.

Dedicated, protected cycleways on both sides of Osborne Road, along with decent junctions design with cyclists in mind, would go a very long way to solving the problem of pavement cycling in Jesmond. If people are cycling on the pavement that is a pretty good indication that they don’t feel safe on that particular road. It shows there are wider problems with the infrastructure. There are other streets which would also benefit from protected cycle routes and places where shutting down rat-runs would create a safer environment for both cyclists and pedestrians