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Police threaten to fine cyclist - as he rides on shared-use path

Campaigners say police need better awareness of where people are allowed to ride

A man who featured in a campaign to promote cycling in Edinburgh has made an official complaint claiming that police officers tried to fine him for riding on the footway, even though he was on a signed shared-use path.

The Edinburgh Evening News reports that Benjie Bateman was cycling on the off-road path between Leith Links and Portobello when a police van pulled up alongside him, with one of the two officers insisting he had committed a “ticketable offence.”

Mr Bateman said: “I was cycling along the cycle path next to Seafield Road when a police van pulled up beside me and an officer barked ‘Just what do you think you’re doing?

“That’s a pavement you’re cycling on, which is a ticketable offence’.”

“I said ‘This is a cycle path’ and she [the police officer] said ‘No it’s not, it only becomes a cycle path further on’.

“I pointed to a sign about 15 metres back along the cycle path from the way I’d come and said ‘There’s a sign there stating that this is a cycle path’.

“When I turned back round to the officer, her male colleague hit the gas and they sped off, taking a right turn towards the McDonald’s drive-thru. No apology, nothing.”

The 40-year-old said it was the first time he had encountered such a situation when riding on the path, on which cycling has been permitted for three years now.

A spokeswoman for Police Scotland told the Edinburgh Evening News: “Our professional standards department have received a complaint relating to the conduct of officers in the Seafield area and inquiries are ongoing into this.”

Ian Maxwell of the Edinburgh and Lothian cycling campaign group Spokes called for police officers to be better informed about where cyclists are allowed to share the footway with pedestrians.

 “This sounds like an unusual incident,” he said. “I’m very surprised because it’s been signposted for some time and one would think it would be fairly clear where the cycle path begins.

“It sounds like there’s a bit of awareness needed from the police, especially where there’s an off-road path which is used by both pedestrians and cyclists.”

Last year, Mr Bateman appeared on flyers promoting Edinburgh City Council’s ‘On Foot By Bike’ campaign which encouraged active travel and was funded by the Scottish Government.

Cycling on the footway is an offence under section 72 of the Highways Act.

However, under Home Office guidance issued in 1999 that was confirmed as still valid by transport minister Robert Goodwill in 2014 and ratified by the Association of Chief Police Officers, cyclists may ride on the footway as long as they do so considerately, and officers are required to exercise discretion when issuing fines.

> Minister confirms responsible cyclists CAN ride on pavement

Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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18 comments

Avatar
PhilRuss | 7 years ago
0 likes

[[[[[ Is Benjie saying the police woman committed the barking? Are we sure it wasn't a dog----a police dog? Benjie's view was obscured, perhaps....hard to tell one kind of dog from another, so to speak, the way some of them (dogs or bitches) like to bark at cyclists.

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Ramz | 7 years ago
2 likes

Mr Bateman should stop moaning. Typical cyclist who should pay road tax. That's what they tell me anyway...

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Mungecrundle | 7 years ago
2 likes

Very many years ago I was taken to task by a Policeman for the unsafe, loose condition of my disk brakes (don't worry, no controversy, they were on a motorcycle). I was so tempted to let him write the ticket before explaining that they were new fangled full floating type, but bottled out. After a quick call to his Sergeant he was most apologetic. No harrasement.

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the infamous grouse | 7 years ago
1 like

Section 1 of the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 would permit such use, even if it weren't a shared-use path.

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bendertherobot replied to the infamous grouse | 7 years ago
3 likes
the infamous grouse wrote:

Section 1 of the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 would permit such use, even if it weren't a shared-use path.

Subject to section 6 restrictions and the Roads Act provisions were never repealed by the LRA. So the prohibition is still in place.

Avatar
the infamous grouse replied to bendertherobot | 7 years ago
2 likes
bendertherobot wrote:
the infamous grouse wrote:

Section 1 of the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 would permit such use, even if it weren't a shared-use path.

Subject to section 6 restrictions and the Roads Act provisions were never repealed by the LRA. So the prohibition is still in place.

"To further complicate matters, Section 7(1) of the 2003 Act states that the restriction on access
rights described above does not apply where land has been designated as a “core path” under the provisions of the 2003 Act. This means that cyclists may be able to cycle on a footpath, or even a footway, designated as a core path without committing an offence.
"

 

it's academic. if PCs Dumb & Dumber weren't astute enough to observe the sign without being directed to it, i question their hopes of understanding the distinction between a footway and footpath.

Avatar
bendertherobot replied to the infamous grouse | 7 years ago
2 likes
the infamous grouse wrote:
bendertherobot wrote:
the infamous grouse wrote:

Section 1 of the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 would permit such use, even if it weren't a shared-use path.

Subject to section 6 restrictions and the Roads Act provisions were never repealed by the LRA. So the prohibition is still in place.

"To further complicate matters, Section 7(1) of the 2003 Act states that the restriction on access
rights described above does not apply where land has been designated as a “core path” under the provisions of the 2003 Act. This means that cyclists may be able to cycle on a footpath, or even a footway, designated as a core path without committing an offence.
"

 

it's academic. if PCs Dumb & Dumber weren't astute enough to observe the sign without being directed to it, i question their hopes of understanding the distinction between a footway and footpath.

Let's face it, they are far from alone in that. At least in Scotland it's way easier to deal with. Whereas we in England and Wales still have the old, complicated systems. That might change in Wales mind............

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severs1966 | 7 years ago
4 likes

...and people disagree with me when I suggest that the police are institutionally hostile to bike riders.

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Bikebikebike | 7 years ago
10 likes

One of the Met's finest accused me of cycling on a one way street.  I pointed out to him that this was true, but that I was cycling along it the right way. I can't remember an apology, but there might have been one.

I do despair when I can't cycle for ten minutes without seeing someone driving and using their phone, and yet the police choose to harass people on bikes. 

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robertoegg replied to Bikebikebike | 7 years ago
3 likes
Bikebikebike wrote:

One of the Met's finest accused me of cycling on a one way street.  I pointed out to him that this was true, but that I was cycling along it the right way. I can't remember an apology, but there might have been one.

I do despair when I can't cycle for ten minutes without seeing someone driving and using their phone, and yet the police choose to harass people on bikes. 

 

I've never been harassed by the police. No-one I know has every been harassed by the police. Just to help you put it all into context you poor little victimised thing. 

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nowasps replied to robertoegg | 7 years ago
0 likes
robertoegg wrote:

I've never been harassed by the police.

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srchar replied to robertoegg | 7 years ago
2 likes
robertoegg wrote:

I've never been harassed by the police. No-one I know has every been harassed by the police. Just to help you put it all into context you poor little victimised thing. 

Oh OK then.

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jonathing | 7 years ago
2 likes

Don't ride on on-footway paths, they essentially function as a premeditated trap.

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Simmo72 | 7 years ago
9 likes

Just like any job, you can't naturally assume the person is competent.  We all have our fair share of blunt tools in the box.

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hawkinspeter | 7 years ago
19 likes

So, was he wearing a helmet or not?

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whizzzz replied to hawkinspeter | 7 years ago
11 likes
hawkinspeter wrote:

So, was he wearing a helmet or not?

 

I think they changed the law so they just had to have their warrent card or something, besides them tall hats would be a right pain in the car.

Ahhhh, sorry I see where your going now....

 

blush

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Jem PT replied to hawkinspeter | 7 years ago
3 likes
hawkinspeter wrote:

So, was he wearing a helmet or not?

 

Who? The cyclist or the policeman?  1

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Dnnnnnn replied to Jem PT | 7 years ago
13 likes
Jem PT wrote:
hawkinspeter wrote:

So, was he wearing a helmet or not?

Who? The cyclist or the policeman?  1

laugh

But Scottish polis don't wear helmets. How there aren't mass fatalities as a result has yet to be investigated.

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