Vegetation and hedge trimmings

Cherry Allan's picture
Mending a puncture
Debris from trimmed vegetation often leads to punctures
Headline Messages: 
  • Cyclists encounter problems if vegetation along the routes they use is not well trimmed. Overgrown branches can obscure visibility and road signs, or get in the way, for instance.
  • Cyclists also suffer when debris is left strewn about following careless or incompetent hedge trimming practices. 
  • Debris has the potential to cause punctures or – worse – it may get caught in wheels sometimes with serious, even fatal, consequences.
Key facts: 
  • It is illegal to obstruct the public highway without legal authority/excuse, or leave debris on it.
  • Trimming back vegetation is usually the duty of the landowner or occupier, although sometimes the local highways authority is responsible for it.
  • As a work activity, hedge trimming is subject to the provisions of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.
  • A highway authority in England & Wales has a legal duty to assert and protect the public’s right to use and enjoy any highway for which it is responsible; and it must ensure that it is safe for users. As such, authorities have powers to oblige landowners/occupiers to remove obstructions/debris etc.
Cycling UK View (formal statement of Cycling UK's policy): 
  • Those responsible for trimming vegetation should do so regularly and in accordance with best practice
  • Local authorities and the police should actively pursue and, as necessary, prosecute offenders
  • Overhanging vegetation and debris along routes used by cyclists, both on and off-road, should be regularly and attentively cleared.
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Publication Date: 
May 2017

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