Sunday 30 September 2018

What are Roads?

[Click here to download this blog as a pdf file.]

People often quote from the Highway Code but,

in Scotland (where we don't have any Highways),
it is mainly based on the Roads (Scotland) Act 1984 [pdf] - R(S)A.
But what are Roads?

This is my understanding of some of the legal terms used in R(S)A.

I'm sharing it in the hope that it may be useful to others.
For some of the finer detail, that has been omitted, please refer to R(S)A.

Although  R(S)A terminology has been updated, some traps remain.

For example, a road in R(S)A gives a public right of passage.

But it's not a road in the normal sense.
In R(S)A a road may be a footway or a cycle track or a carriageway.

carriageway in R(S)A is what is normally called a road.

Although intended to give a right of passage for motor vehicles,
it also gives a right of passage for pedal cycles and pedestrians.

footway in R(S)A is what is normally called a pavement.

This is for exclusive use by pedestrians.

cycle track in R(S)A is what is normally called a shared used pavement.

Usually it is for shared use by pedal cycles and pedestrians.
In some cases it is for pedal cycles only.

A cycle track for pedal cycles only may sound like a cycle lane.

The distiction is that a cycle lane is part of the carriageway
but a cycle track is separate from the carriageway.
cycle track is a road in its own right.

As a result, R(S)A has a specific offence of parking on a cycle track.

This does not require the motor vehicle to be causing an obstruction.
There is no exception for loading, dropping off, taxis or Blue Badge holders.
Essentially, a cycle track is a 'no go' area for motor vehicles.

A More Detailed Explanation with References

R(S)A - Part XIII - Section 151. Interpretation

Sub-section (2) pages 101-102 : [pdf 109-110 of 202]

Plain English Summary of Definitions:

road gives a public right of passage and may be
footway or a cycle track or a carriageway.

Each category of road is associated with a category of user:

footway - passage is by foot only;
cycle track - passage is by pedal cycle only
                      or by pedal cycle and foot only;
carriageway - passage is by vehicle [but not exclusively].

Quoting Sub-section (2) (c):

[Where the public right of passage] includes such a right by vehicle,
other than a right by pedal cycle only, the road is a " carriageway ".

It follows from these definitions that:

1. The right of passage on a carriageway includes pedestrians and all vehicles.
2. The right of passage on a cycle track excludes motor vehicles.
    The way can be a cycle track or a carriageway but not both.

This second point is reinforced explicitly in two sub-sections of the R(S)A.

Part XI - Offences - Section 92 - page 129 - [pdf 92 of 202]

(5) Subject to section 64 of this Act,

     a person who, in a foot-way, footpath or cycle track,
     as the case may be drives, rides, leads or propels a vehicle
     or horse, or any swine or cattle, commits an offence:

(6) A person who parks a motor vehicle

     wholly or partly on a cycle track commits an offence.

n Plain English:

It is an offence to drive or park a motor vehicle on a cycle track.

Ann an Gàidhlig shìmplidh:

Tha e na eucoir dràibheadh no pàirceadh carbad motair air slighe rothaireachd.

Your comments are welcome.