Cycling on footpaths is illegal, but many are entirely suitable and form good links. Opening them up to cyclists would enhance the network of motor-traffic free routes...
CTC View (formal statement of CTC's policy):
- The public footpath network offers the only realistic option for providing significantly more off-road routes to meet current and future demands.
- The Scottish Land Reform Act (2003) gave cyclists lawful access to most countryside in Scotland. The success of this legislation suggests that public footpaths could be similarly opened to cyclists as a simple remedy to overcome the lack of off-road routes for cyclists in England and Wales and as a way of tackling the network’s fragmented nature for cycling use.
- Conflict on rights of way between cyclists and pedestrians is often more perceived than real. It can be mitigated by good design.
- In suitable urban situations and where footpaths would form convenient links for cyclists, councils should seek to revoke cycling restrictions and prohibitions.
- Councils should stringently assess the impact of ‘gating orders’ on cycling and prioritise alternatives where a public footpath forms a convenient through route.
- There is good evidence, although no direct case law, to support the view that pushing a cycle on a footpath is not illegal. The presence of obstacles such as stiles should not be considered a deterrent to a footpath’s use by cyclists.