25 signatures reached
To: The Transport Ministers (Westminster and Edinburgh)
Claim Back our Pavements and Footways from the Wheel
Recognise that pavements are for foot traffic, and NOT for the operation of fast wheeled vehicles, regardless of how those vehicles are powered.
Cease showing blatant favouritism towards cyclists, and introduce stricter controls including powers of on-the-spot confiscation in respect of a range of cycling offences which create pedestrian hazards or nuisance.
Why is this important?
In January 2014, Transport Minister Robert Goodwill issued a memo to police to the effect that pavement cycling should not attract an automatic penalty so long as it is done 'responsibly.'
This has already resulted in an observable increase in the number of cyclists riding on pavements, and especially doing so in unacceptably close proximity to pedestrians. In some cases this is taking place even where separate cycling facilities exist alongside.
The key issue is that allowing cyclists to operate on the pavement creates an extremely unpleasant environment in which to walk to your destination, or to browse goods in shops, with the need to keep a constant lookout for speeding bikes approaching from both directions taking precedence over all other activities.
The requirement for pavement riders to 'show consideration' is of little value. Even if 90% of pavement riders do show consideration, that does not make the practice safe, not does it allow the pedestrian to relax his or her guard at any time, being that the next blind corner may conceal one of the 10% who do NOT show consideration.
From personal experience, I have been knocked unconscious by an illegal cyclist in a park. I have also been struck twice on the pavement, the second time resulting in a nasty gash to my hand from a brake lever. In all three such incidents the illegal cyclist hit and ran.
The Highway Code is perfectly clear on this matter. Article 64 states, "You MUST NOT cycle on a pavement."
We do not allow motorists to drive at 150mph so long as they 'show consideration.' A speed limit is a speed limit. It is there to protect against reckless driving, and it applies to everyone. We do not allow motorists to drive whilst drunk provided they 'show consideration.' Or, to drive with bald tyres provided they keep to 20mph. And, so on. The Law should be applied with equality. Cyclists who are intentionally flouting the Law should NOT be made a special case.
The road is for wheels, and the pavement is for foot traffic. Cyclists already have more than their fair share of this space, being allowed to use the general road carriageway AND special cycle lanes, AND tracks separated from roads, AND various shared paths. Now, they want to take over general footspace as well. What next, I ask? The right to cycle through your hallway and out the back door instead of going around your house? I may jest, but there are already problems with cyclists taking shortcuts through private gardens where small children are playing.
It is quite likely that pavement cycling induces a great many people to drive to work or the shops when they would otherwise have walked. If the number of people driving to avoid this hazard exceeds the number of pavement cyclists, then pavement cycling is not benefiting the environment. On the contrary it is contributing to city pollution and the wastage of fossil fuels.
If a cyclist considers a given stretch of road unsafe to ride on, then there are generally no objections to the bike being walked on the pavement. This will take a little longer than riding it on the pavement, of course. The real issue here is not one of cyclist safety but of expedience for the cyclist, at the expense of others. In a word, selfishness.
It is also notable that the Segway self-balancing scooter has been completely banned from UK pavements, in spite of its lower top speed and arguably more pedestrian-friendly nature than a pedal cycle. Taking this precedent into consideration, it is hard to see how 'turning a blind eye' to pavement cycling infringements can be justified.
Therefore, we the undersigned petition the respective Transport Ministers at Westminster and Edinburgh to cease their blatant favouritism and to treat cyclists no differently from any other operator of a wheeled vehicle.