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Cycling

Volume 715: debated on Monday 30 November 2009

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the penalty for cycling on pavements; when it was set; and what it would be if it had kept pace with the cost of living index and penalties for offences of similar gravity since its introduction. [HL92]

Cycling on the pavement, legally known as the “footway”, is an offence under Section 72 of the Highways Act 1835 as amended by Section 85(1) of the Local Government Act 1888, and in Scotland under the Roads (Scotland) Act 1984.

It is an offence in England and Wales punishable by a fine of level 2 on the standard scale, currently a maximum fine of £500, if pursued through the courts. In 1999 a fixed penalty notice was introduced with the standard penalty for a non-endorsable offence. This was increased from £20 to £30 on 1 November 2000.

The original penalty for the offence was a fine not exceeding 40 shillings. There is no accurate way in which to compare the value of money in 1835 and the present day. Most offences are punished in the magistrates' court with reference to the standard scale offences. When this is revalorised it applies equally to all offences affected.

The penalty levels associated with all fixed penalty offences are kept under review by the Home Office- chaired Fixed Penalty Procedures Working Group. In reviewing the level of fixed penalties the group takes account of many different factors. Inflation is only one of these. Others include the importance of traffic control and road safety, the over-all fixed penalty structure and effect of any changes in government policy, the level of court imposed fines for the same offences, the impact on low-income groups and the need to set penalties at levels which offenders will pay without contesting, but which will also act as a deterrent.

To date the group has not considered that there is a sufficiently strong case to recommend to Ministers that there should an increase in the fixed penalty level.