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Cycling on Public Rights of Way

Information regarding which public rights of way cyclists can use

We often receive complaints from walkers about cyclists riding inconsiderately and too fast both on public footpaths and public bridleways.

A pavement at a side of a road is called a public footway (not a public footpath). It is illegal to cycle on a public footway. It is not illegal to cycle on a cycle track, which will usually have a sign at each end.

There is no legal right for the public to cycle on a public footpath but it is not a criminal offence to do so, unless done so unreasonably (eg: dangerously, or in a way that causes a public nuisance). However, it is a trespass (civil offence) against the landowner, unless they permit cycling along the route.

Cyclists do have a legal right to ride on public bridleways, providing that they give way to walkers and horseriders. Cyclists also have a right to ride on restricted bridleways and Byways Open to All Traffic (BOATs).

Please check the status of a right of way before cycling along it so you know if it is appropriate for you to be using it.

How Can I Identify a Public Right of Way or Footpath?

All Public Rights of Way are marked at the roadside with signposts. They are also marked at intervals along the route by signposts with small arrows.

Public footpaths in West Berkshire are marked with signs. Please do not cycle on these routes unless permitted to do so.

Cycling Along the Canal

The Canal and Rivers Trust permits the public to cycle along their towpaths, but pedestrians have priority over cyclists.

You can find more information on their website about The Towpath Code as well as some helpful answers to Cycling FAQs.

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