Is scooting cycling?
Is scooting cycling?
Unfortunately, there is no direct case law that answers your question. Section 72 of the Highway Act 1835 states that a person has committed an offence if they ‘ride upon any footpath... any carriage of any description’. Carriage was later defined by Section 85(1) of the Local Government Act 1888 to include ‘bicycles, tricycles, velocipedes, and similar machines.’
In the case of Selby v DPP  R.T.R. 157 the court considered whether a defendant sitting astride a motorcycle and propelling it with his feet along an alleyway was riding it within the definition of the Act. Whilst this is different from ‘scooting’, it has some relevance.
Taylor LJ held that ‘riding is being carried out if a person is being carried on a motorcycle (my emphasis) as it moves on its wheels, whether propelled by engine, or by his feet or by gravity.’
A further case which is of some relevance to the question is the case of Crank v Brooks  R.T.R. 441. Again the facts of this case provide a different scenario from ‘scooting’. In this case a cyclist, who was on foot pushing her bicycle on a zebra crossing, intending to cross the road, was knocked down by a motor car. The defendant driver was charged with failing to accord precedence to a foot passenger, contrary to regulation 8 of the Zebra Pedestrian Crossing Regulation 1971 and section 23(5) of the Road Traffic Accident Act 1967.
The court considered whether a cyclist should be considered a ‘foot passenger’ when wheeling their bicycle. The court held that a cyclist with both feet on the ground, pushing their bicycle is clearly a ‘foot passenger’. They differentiated this from a person who was using their bicycle as a scooter by having one foot on the pedal and the other pushing them self along, stating that in this situation the cyclist would not have been a ‘foot passenger’.
Whilst in the case of Crank v Brooks the issue of scooting was considered in a different context, I am of the view that this demonstrates that a court is likely to take the view that scooting is the same as riding.
This was first published in the June / July 2012 edition of CTC's Cycle magazine.