There was an item on Monday’s (20th June) APC agenda concerning a person who broke his collarbone while riding in ASW. He did not fall whilst cycling on the path at a moderate speed, he went over the edge and apparently tumbled about 20 feet down the hillside.
The parish council do not owe him-or anyone else in a similar situation- a duty of care for the following reasons: Pedal cyclists no right to use footpaths unless use is by permission. A cyclist who rides on a footpath commits trespass against the holder of the land over which the path runs.
Are all footpaths rights of way?
No. There are many paths that the public is able to use but that are not legally rights of way and do not enjoy the same protection. Paths crossing public parks and open spaces, commons and other sites to which the public has access may not necessarily be rights of way, though some of them are.
Who owns the paths? The surface of the path is for most purposes considered to belong to the highway authority (RMBC). What this means is that the authority owns the surface of the way and so much of the soil below and the air above as is necessary for the control, protection and maintenance of the highway. The rest normally belongs to the owner of the surrounding land.
Cycling in a SSSI site is frowned on.
The Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 (CRoW Act 2000) The Act provides for public access on foot to certain types of land, amends the law relating to public rights of way, increases measures for the management and protection for Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).
Schedule 9 of the Act amends SSSI provisions of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, including provisions to change SSSIs and providing increased powers for their protection and management. The provisions extend powers for entering into management agreements; place a duty on public bodies to further the conservation and enhancement of SSSIs; increases penalties on conviction where the provisions are breached; and introduce a new offence whereby third parties can be convicted for damaging SSSIs. To ensure compliance with the Human Rights Act 1998, appeal processes are introduced with regards to the notification, management and protection of SSSIs.
Schedule 12 of the Act amends the species provisions of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, strengthening the legal protection for threatened species. The provisions make certain offences ‘arrestable’, create a new offence of reckless disturbance, confer greater powers to police and wildlife inspectors for entering premises and obtaining wildlife tissue samples for DNA analysis, and enable heavier penalties on conviction of wildlife offences.
It is accepted not all cyclists are uncaring but the footpaths around the parish hall and through Anston Stones Wood are there for walking not cycling however I understand councillors are looking at this problem.
One suggestion could be to dedicate a cycle trail through the parish grounds and local area but this requires;
- community involvement
- public rights of way
- non-statutory negotiations with landowners
- land assembly and planning
- Traffic Regulation Orders
- introduction to town planning
- planning permission, making a planning application and planning conditions
- Listed Building Consents
- flexibility of Planning Permissions and Non planning consents
- Local Development Framework process.