HC Deb 24 June 1968 vol 767 cc183-4


Lords Amendment No. 35: After Clause 26, in page 28, line 10, at end insert new Clause "E": Any member of the public shall, subject to any orders made by a local authority, and to any byelaws, have the right to wheel a bicycle, not being a motor vehicle, on any footpath.

Read a Second time.

10.15 p.m.

Mr. Skeffington

I beg to move, That this House doth disagree with the Lords in the said Amendment.

Perhaps I can take up the question about perambulators asked by the hon. Lady the Member for Plymouth, Devon-port (Dame Joan Vickers). The reason why we have suggested that we should not clutter up the Bill with this further provision is that, if the additional qualification is made that a bicycle can be wheeled along a footpath, the question arises whether a pram can be wheeled on a footpath or whether something else with four wheels can be pushed on a footpath, and so on. The position, broadly speaking, is that anyone can take anything on to a footpath, unless there is a byelaw saying that he cannot. How he behaves when he is on the footpath may be the subject of byelaws, or it may be the subject of Common law.

It has been held—I refer the hon. Lady to Pratt and Mackenzie's Law of Highways—that the wheeling of prams in normal circumstances—I am not exactly certain what that means—along a footpath is perfectly permissible. A pedestrian can take anything he likes. Although cyclists have often been prohibited, there is nothing to prevent a walker from carrying his bicycle.

For all these reasons, we get into ine-extricable complexities if we put a provision such as this into the Bill. I assure the hon. Lady that perambulators normally are perfectly in order. I am glad that she raised this example. It is for this reason that we do not advise the House to accept the Amendment.

Mr. Channon

A little reluctantly, I again follow the Government's advice. The new Clause was moved in another place by my noble Friend, Lord Brooke. I understand that the gist of the Government's argument is that disagreeing with the Lords Amendment will have little practical effect; the legal position will remain as it was; probably people are legally entitled to wheel bicycles on footpaths, anyway, and the new Clause is otiose. As this is the position, I would not advise my hon. Friends to vote against the Government.

Question put and agreed to.

Forward to