Why I Cycle on the Pavement

Bradley Wiggins, Britain's cycling champion (winner of the Tour de France, among many other accolades) is currently recovering in hospital after being knocked off his bike by a Vauxhall Astra van (see this link). I admire him enormously, and am horrified that this has happened. I hope he is soon completely better and winning cycling medals again.

I've been wanting to blog about cycling for a long time because it's something I'm passionate about. I discovered I loved it during a visit to Center Parcs about six years ago, and when my car died shortly after that holiday I chose not to buy a new one, but to invest (£25) in a second-hand bike with a child seat on the back, and cycle everywhere instead. (I'm now on my third bike, Dutchess, and actually bought this one brand new.)

For a while after I started cycling everything was fine, but then one day I was riding along Church Road after dropping little Ceri off at pre-school when a Dreams lorry (my family will understand the significance of that) passed far too close. I was fine, and it was very lucky that Ceri wasn't in the baby seat at the time, but I was badly shaken and since then I have refused to cycle on the roads. It's just too dangerous.

The problem is that it is illegal to cycle on the pavement. I've never been stopped by the police and challenged about it (possibly because I'm generally cycling along behind Ceri who is still only 8) but if I did it wouldn't change anything, I would still do it. The roads near where I live are narrow and busy. In a collision between me and a pedestrian on the pavement we'd probably both have some scrapes and bruises, but we'd both survive. In a collision between me and a car I'd probably be seriously injured if not killed.

I'm told that the law requiring cyclists to ride on the road was made in the 1960's (although I can't find an exact date) when there were far fewer cars on the roads but the pavements were crowded with pedestrians. Now the roads are crowded and busy with lots of impatient people who are hostile towards vulnerable cyclists, and the pavements are empty. I have been cycling to my gym almost a mile away for over two years and in all that time I have only passed about three pedestrians on that stretch of pavement.

I am a very slow cyclist (I always get overtaken by other cyclists, and occasionally by joggers) and I recognise that pedestrians have right of way. If I get stuck behind someone who is walking on a narrow section I don't ring my bell, I wait until I can safely overtake them. When there is a grass verge between the pavement and the road I will ride there instead. If there were cycle lanes I'd use them, but there aren't. I do all I can to make sure I am a safe pavement-riding cyclist, because I will not ride my bike on the road.


  1. I appreciate your post.While reading your blog it seems that you research on this topic very much. I must tell you that your blog is very informative and it helps other also.thanks admin
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  2. A sidewalk, or pavement, footpath, foot way, and sometimes platform, is a path along the side of a road. It is well for the general people to walk and also safe. Thank you for taking the time to publish this information very useful!
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  3. I usually use paths, unless I'm going a long small side roads that aren't usually busy. I'm always very careful not to put anyone at danger, and I'll always go slow when I'm riding down hills and what not, or if I feel I could possibly be at danger of hitting someone.

    I've never been in a collision with a pedestrian, but I do get very nervous when riding on busy roads. For one, you know that if you're holding up the traffic then cars do get frustrated, and I've had them overtake me where it isn't really safe, forcing me to cycle so close to the curb that I nearly fall off.

    I'm not putting anyone at risk, I feel like cycling on the road is more dangerous for both the cyclist and the drivers.

    1. Being a cyclist myself i appreciate not feeling safe on the road and why you use pavements BUT if a police officer wants to stick to the letter of the law under section 72 of highways act 1835 you can be fined a fixed penalty notice of £30 every time they catch you doing it so be carefull.


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