Vegetation and hedge trimmings
- 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.