Thursday 20 September 2012 10.38am
James Hatts wrote (11 September)-
"The cycling-on-pavements debate has been well aired here on many occasions and we are unlikely to reach any happier conclusions by continuing this thread." The thread was then closed.
Sorry, James, but there's more to this particular case than meets the eye. As someone who is returning to cycling after more than 40 years off the road, I'm still exploring quiet routes, and haven't tackled the Bricklayers Arms roundabout, so I thought I'd have a look (on foot) at the scene of this accident, where a cyclist riding on the pavement knocked over a schoolchild who was running for a bus.
There are several stretches of pavement around the Bricklayers Arms junction that are marked as SHARED by pedestrians and cyclists - what the Highway Code calls 'unsegregated' cycle tracks. Look for the blue disc signs on the lamp-posts, showing a cycle and a mother-and-child figure.
If the accident happened at west-bound bus-stop BS, this is on a long stretch of 'unsegregated' pavement (leading eventually to the 'segregated' cycle track on the inner edge of the south pavement of the New Kent Road
as far as the Elephant). If it was here, then the cyclist had a perfect right to be cycling on the pavement - indeed, is advised to cycle on the 'unsegregated' pavement rather than the road.
If it was bus-stop BQ (Darwin Street) the situation is less clear, since this is the point that the cycle LANE marked on the roadway of the Old Kent Road
comes to an abrupt end and cyclists are expected to move onto the 'unsegregated' pavement route. I couldn't make out where exactly they are expected to mount the pavement.
These unsegregated stretches of pavement are dangerous for both pedestrians and cyclists - particularly if the pedestrians don't realise they have to share the right of way with cyclists. (I've walked along the pavement there and never noticed the blue cycle track signs before.) There seems to be nothing in the Highway Code to suggest pedestrians have priority - rule 62 (for cyclists) says 'Take care when passing pedestrians, especially children...' etc; but rule 13 (for pedestrians) says 'Take extra care...' on unsegregated routes.
The moral is, complain about cyclists riding on the pavement by all means (I do, loudly and often) - but don't assume they are 'breaking the law'. There are instances like this where cycling on the pavement is not only legal but encouraged - and the cyclist may know their Highway Code better than you do!