Shared use of footpaths

National Planning and Policy Context

National guidance on cycle planning is set out in Cycle-Friendly
Infrastructure (CFI), Guidelines for Planning and Design, produced in 1996 by
the (then) DoT, The institute of Highways & Transportation, The Cyclists’
Touring Club (the national organisation representing bicycle users), and
the Bicycle Association (the body representing bicycle manufacturers).
This sets out principles and details of cycle planning. Chapter 4,
Principles of Cycle Planning, requires the application of a Hierarchy of
Solutions, set out in section 4.3.2 as follows:
1. Traffic reduction
2. Traffic calming
3. Junction treatment and traffic management
4. redistribution of the carriageway
5. Cycle lanes and cycle tracks (last choice)

Cycle-friendly infrastructure 12.2, Conversion of Footways, has, as the
DTLR have confirmed in writing, updated the earlier DTLR guidance on
shared use (ie Local Transport Note 2/86). CFI 12.2 states:

12.2.1 “cycling on the footway in England is an offence…this is of
much concern to many pedestrians, particularly the elderly and people who are visually impaired.”

12.2.2 “A number of footways have been converted for shared use by
cyclists and pedestrians in the UK over the past 20 years. Few, however,
have created good quality routes for cyclists, particularly in urban
areas. Typically they suffer from inadequate width and sightlines…
Continental experience, particularly in Germany, has been similar.”

12.2.3 “In specific and limited instances where no on-carriageway
solution can be found, and where visibility is good, it may be appropriate to convert a section of the footway to shared use… Consultation with all local interests is essential…”

12.2.4 Organisations representing cyclists and pedestrians have
produced a joint position statement which explains their joint views on
design issues and stresses their common interests (CTC and Pedestrians
Association 1995).

(The 1995 PA/CTC joint policy referred to in 12.2.4 above states (section 4.3): “The shared use of urban footways (pavements) by cyclists and pedestrians should be seen as a last resort, where no other engineering
solution to a particular danger problem will work. …a level of
segregation should be provided…’)

Only allowing shared use of pavements as a poor last resort has been DTLR
policy for years, and this was forcefully reasserted in the March 2000
guidance to local authorities on Full Local Transport Plans, which states (12.1):
“The conversion of footways and footpaths to shared use by
cyclists and pedestrians should be regarded as a last resort measure,
where there is no opportunity to improve conditions on the carriageway.”

Please note that this guidance does not exempt novice or inexperienced
cyclists, leisure schemes, children, tourists, “segregated” schemes,
Promenades, the National Cycle Network project, (or Cornwall County
Council).

Cornwall County Council wrote to the local MP on 27 July 99 to assure him that the Cycle-friendly Infrastructure guidance would be followed, and that any shared use would be a last resort.

(Please note that “shared use” refers to both segregated and unsegregated schemes, and may refer to converted pavements or converted footpaths).

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