Naturenet: Cars and Vehicles in the Countryside

Cars and Vehicles
in the Countryside

Parking and going off the roadway

Angus the Ford AngliaIn general, where there is no parking place provided vehicles may park beside a road that they are legally using provided that parking is permitted there and that they do not cause an obstruction to the road or an access. Vehicles, including motorcycles, may be driven along byways such as BOATPages marked with this symbol are exclusively written for Naturenets, but see below about dangerous driving.

A motor or horse drawn vehicle may not normally be driven off-road (meaning off a highway, but be aware that some highways are very wide), even to park, whether or not the area is open to the public, without the express permission of the landowner or occupier. It is not true that you can park anywhere within 15 yards of a road. An invalid carriage is not for this or purposes of ROW definitionsPages marked with this symbol are exclusively written for Naturenet classed as a motor vehicle.

Department of Transport: pavement parking.

Unauthorised use of land by motor vehicles

Many laws can be used to address this issue. Two relatively recent changes are of particular importance, and have led to some very successful initiatives in some areas.

The Motor Vehicles (Compulsory Insurance) Regulations 2000, SI 2000 No. 726, amended s.143 such that the requirement for insurance was extended to include any "other public place". This means that every motor vehicle (and thus by extension probably every mechanically propelled vehicle) used in a public place, must have at least third party insurance that complies with the special requirements of the Road Traffic Act - which means proper motor insurance, not just public liability insurance.

The Police Reform Act 2002 section 59 and 60 provides uniformed police officers and police community support officers (but not rangers) with the power to seize a vehicle that is being, or has been, driven in a manner which contravenes section 3 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 (careless and inconsiderate driving) or section 34 of the Road Traffic Act (prohibition of off-road driving) and is causing, or is likely to cause, alarm, distress or annoyance to members of the public.

A very good report on illegal motorcycling in Manchester was produced in 2005 by Red Rose Forest. it includes practical solutions as well as a comprehensive review of enforcement and amelioration options.

Road Traffic Act 1988 (as amended 1991)

Extracts from the Act are below. Direct references are in double quotes. The 1988 Act was amended in 1991 to include the following very useful provisions:

Dangerous Driving
"A person who drives a mechanically propelled vehicle dangerously on a road or other public place is guilty of an offence... A person is to be regarded as driving dangerously if... it would be obvious to a competent and careful driver that driving in that way would be dangerous".
"A person is also to be regarded as driving dangerously if it would be obvious to a competent and careful driver that driving the vehicle in its current state would be dangerous..".
"Dangerous refers to danger either of injury to any person or of serious damage to property".

Careless and inconsiderate driving
"If a person drives a mechanically propelled vehicle on a road or other public place without due care and attention, or without reasonable consideration for other persons using the road or place, he is guilty of an offence"

MinimotoThis means that many unauthorised motorcyclists on countryside sites could be guilty of the new offences. The following circumstances, for example, are almost certainly careless and inconsiderate driving, and may well be dangerous driving:

Also there is no longer any need for a bike to be a road bike - i.e. all machines with engines, including mini-moto bikes, go-carts, go-peds, trials or motocross bikes, 4WD vehicles and even ride on lawnmowers (and possibly electric buggies) are included.

The Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000Pages marked with this symbol are exclusively written for Naturenet section 67, specifically extended the offence of unlawful driving on a public path, or land not being a road (RTA88 s.34) to all mechanically propelled vehicles. Note that this does not prohibit riders from a site, just from riding dangerously or carelessly whilst there.