Vegetation and hedge trimmings

Debris from trimmed vegetation often leads to punctures
Cyclists have problems with overhanging vegetation or hedge trimmings left on the routes they use. Debris can cause punctures or even serious injury if it gets caught in wheels.

Headline message

  • 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.

 Policy 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

  • 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.

Download the full detailed campaign briefing