Thanks Thanks:  1
Results 1 to 25 of 25

Thread: Off Road Access with a Motor Vehicle

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    North Wales
    Posts
    676

    Exclamation Off Road Access with a Motor Vehicle

    Whilst I'm aware we have many responsible members who actively use Motor Vehicles to access caches along Off Road Routes. Would all persons intending to do so please insure that they have access to up to date maps and legal status of the route they intend to take. And make sure that they understand the legal status of all routes they intend to use.

    Reason behind the request is that I have received a complaint regarding someone accessing a cache situated on a Restricted Byway using a Motor Vehicle. A route along which the usage of such vehicles is prohibited. It would appear that the person involved was using out of date access information [map]. This access has been brought to the attention of the local CC, who are looking into the issue.

    Please note I am not out to castigate anyone, and would request that no mention of the cache or person involved is mentioned [any mention will result in a request to the poster and Forum Moderators to delete the post, there is a very justified reason for this]. Rather this is a attempt to bring the issue to the attention of the community, hopefully allowing the experienced 4x4 Off Roaders somewhere to educate the rest of the community regarding legal and responsible access off road using Motor Vehicles.

    Deceangi
    My post is my personal opinion and as such you do not have my permission to quote me outside of these forums!

    Dave
    Brenin Tegeingl
    Formerly known as Mancunian Pyrocacher on GC

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Wiltshire
    Posts
    5,520

    Default

    As Deci has said, this incident seems to have arisen due to use of an out of date map.

    The status of many off-road tracks seems to have changed in recent years. Can any regular off-roaders advise about avoiding similar situations in the future?

    Also, if you own a cache which is on an off-road track which could be used by motor vehicles, or is likely to be visited by people who might drive on such a track nearby, you might want to check with your local rights of way authority whether or not use of motor vehicles is permitted there, and put a notice on the cache page if it isn't.
    ​​Do not go gentle into that good night.
    Rage, rage against the dying of the light. (Dylan Thomas)​


  3. #3

    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    here of course
    Posts
    640

    Default

    Many legal green lanes are now have TRO's (traffic restriction orders) and some have specific open dates. I offroad a fair bit but always try to make sure that its legal it will soon be illegal to drive "roads" that have been in use for hundreds of years

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Church Warsop, Notts
    Posts
    518

    Default

    Surely the complaint should have been ignored by Groundspeak, as it's nothing to do with their geocaching site, and merely passed on to the GAGB so that the cache owner can be advised (with a view to making the access situation clear)?

    It sounds like the "offence" was to drive down a lane which was believed to be legal (mistakenly, as it turns out), but was RECENTLY made out of bounds to traffic. The key point is whether there was prominent signage; it would be unreasonable to expect everyone to carry up-to-date access information with them at all times, when these things are so frequently changed. If the prominent signs were ignored, then the complaint should be considered by the responsible (CC) official and action taken as seen fit. But no signs, no case.

    The fact that the motive was to log a geocache is irrelevant. If they'd been going for a picnic having spotted a likely area on the map, you'd hardly expect the map makers to pay attention to a complaint about people using the road.

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Stoke-on-Trent
    Posts
    128

    Default

    Unfortuantly, most (if not all) cash strapped councils will restrict access to byways instead of maintaining them.

    I will only go 'green laning' if the routes have been properly researched and checked against the definitive map. OS maps can no longer be relied on for access rights to byways.

    TomTom has unpaved roads in it's database, but I do not know if any of them are restricted.

    As a repsonsible offroader, I belong to clubs which follow the 'Tread Lightly' code of practice. I also prefer to have my fun on specialised offroad sites.

    As a cacher, I prefer to park up and walk, so I can get some exercise and fresh air.

    Ivan
    Paved Roads: Another fine example of unnecessary Government spending!

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Shropshire
    Posts
    322

    Default

    Lol at being expected to throw all my old OS maps away to buy new ones,update tom tom, autoroute and memory map every so often.
    "If you can't be a good example, then you'll just have to serve as a horrible warning."

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    North Wales
    Posts
    676

    Exclamation

    Quote Originally Posted by markandlynn View Post
    Lol at being expected to throw all my old OS maps away to buy new ones,update tom tom, autoroute and memory map every so often.
    No your not expected to bin your maps Tom Tom and Memory Map every so often to keep up to date.

    But a couple of points need to be made clear. If your intending to travel down any byway in a Motor Vehicle, you can not rely on the status of that Byway being correctly shown on the map. OS Maps are not Definitive Maps and as such can not be relied on to show the correct status.

    As for signage at the start of a Restricted Byway

    bellow is a direct quote from someone involved in the issue which caused this topic to be posted.

    It is interesting to see the postings on the websites which already contains very positive messages coming from those responsible off road vehicular users. Just a quick point on signage, vandalism to Restricted Byway signage is a regular occurrence. If signage is not present due to vandalism (as in this case), this does not make driving the route legal.
    The situation is currently on going, once resolved the person involved will maybe make a post to explain the whole situation he/she has found him/herself in through a genuine mistake.

    Deci
    My post is my personal opinion and as such you do not have my permission to quote me outside of these forums!

    Dave
    Brenin Tegeingl
    Formerly known as Mancunian Pyrocacher on GC

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Church Warsop, Notts
    Posts
    518

    Default

    INAL, but I wouldn't expect any successful prosecution of someone who drives down a lane marked as a public road on a fairly recent map (say, up to 10 years old), which has been recently restricted, but where there are no signs (even if the signs were taken down illegally).

    In my experience, the law is not applied to the letter, it's based on whether it's reasonable behaviour. So although it may not be strictly legal to drive down the lane it may not be seen as an offence that can lead to prosecution.

    It's not reasonable to expect someone to perform extra checks about whether a lane is open to vehicles when they possess official information that it IS likely to be open, and where the only way to be certain is extremely inconvenient and onerous.

    What if the people involved aren't 4WD enthusiasts, but do have a vehicle that can go off-tarmac? They may well have no idea where to check such matters, they may not have been planning to use this lane, and access to the Internet may not reasonably be expected at the entrance to the lane in question.

    I only take an interest because I'm not a 4WD enthusiast but do have a 4WD vehicle and have been known to use the occasional rough track. Have I ever checked the official access information beforehand? No. Would I turn back if an official sign prohibits access? Yes.

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Shropshire
    Posts
    322

    Default

    Missing signage hmm appears that missing signage is the councils problem as is a byway blocked by fly tippers and the width of the path and the surface and a few other things as well interesting read.

    http://www.buckscc.gov.uk/bcc/row/ri...ibilities.page
    "If you can't be a good example, then you'll just have to serve as a horrible warning."

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Church Warsop, Notts
    Posts
    518

    Default

    Thanks.
    The county council is required to erect signposts at the each point where a path meets a public road and anywhere along the route where it may be unclear to members of the public. The signpost will always indicate the status of the path (Countryside Act 1968 section 27).
    This seems to infer that the County Council are at fault, should it be demonstrated in this case that the signs are missing. It's clearly not left to the public to check the status if there's no indication at the site. Which seems fair, considering that the CC will have the up-to-date info to hand and the public won't (not without considerable effort, anyway).

  11. #11

    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    North Wales
    Posts
    676

    Default

    Sorry but even the very latest OS maps hot off the press, should not be considered to be accurate as far as the status of byways is concerned. There is no legal requirement on their part to have the status of every byway shown on any map they produce accurate at the time of printing.

    ~it might be useful to post this on the forum so as to demonstrate to those who may feel that an OS map or a route having no signage, removes the responsibility of the driver to check the legal status of routes.
    Whilst you might feel safe in the knowledge that if a OS map states that a route is legal to drive along. Responsible persons would differ over that opinion. The only way you can be certain that you have a legal right to drive down a byway is to check the Definitive Map. If a sign is missing, you have no way of knowing if it was vandalised just 5 minutes before you arrived at the start of the Byway, neither will the CC.

    Deci
    My post is my personal opinion and as such you do not have my permission to quote me outside of these forums!

    Dave
    Brenin Tegeingl
    Formerly known as Mancunian Pyrocacher on GC

  12. #12

    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Church Warsop, Notts
    Posts
    518

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Mancunian View Post
    Sorry but even the very latest OS maps hot off the press, should not be considered to be accurate as far as the status of byways is concerned. There is no legal requirement on their part to have the status of every byway shown on any map they produce accurate at the time of printing.

    Whilst you might feel safe in the knowledge that if a OS map states that a route is legal to drive along. Responsible persons would differ over that opinion. The only way you can be certain that you have a legal right to drive down a byway is to check the Definitive Map. If a sign is missing, you have no way of knowing if it was vandalised just 5 minutes before you arrived at the start of the Byway, neither will the CC.

    Deci
    Sorry Deci, I don't quite follow. I didn't say that it would be legal or that the OS map provides any guarantee. But it seems obvious that you can't be convicted of any offence if the sign is missing and you can show that you made a reasonable attempt to check the status of the lane using whatever material is commonly available (i.e. the OS Map).

    Clearly it's unreasonable to expect people to look at the definitive map, as it is likely to be inaccessible at the time (which is why the CC is responsible for maintaining the signs).

    So a reasonable check is to look at the OS map, then take note of any signs you encounter in case they contradict the map. But if the prohibition signs have been illegally removed then the CC is at fault, just like they are when your car runs into an obstruction in the road that they are responsible for removing. Even if it was only placed there two minutes earlier.
    To expect the casual visitor to seek out County Hall every time they decide on a whim to venture down an unpaved side road on a Sunday afternoon would be silly, and if it was proposed in court would get laughed out (I would hope, unless the whole world has gone mad! :wacko.

  13. #13
    messe Guest

    Default The Offender

    Thank you `Big D` for not disclosing my ID when this was first bought to your attention. This was done due to pending possible legal reasons. There are a coupe of points that i think all cachers,not just 4x4`s should know. THe map i was using was a downloaded OS map @8 hours old.So the is no need to throw away all your old ones...cos there not old. The track of the map showed it as being a BOAT (Byway Open to All Traffic).I was always under the impression the an OS map is the Bible and that what it showed was true and correct.I have since found out that this is not true.The Byway had been reclassified in 2006,no cars are allowed.This was not known to me.There was no signage to support this.But alas,being unknowledged is no case for defence it would seem?.How the everyday walker is supposed to know all about these missing details i do not know
    The Council in question has has a lot of 4x4s going where they like...tearing down signs, and so have had enough. In my case the CC seem to have seen that it was a mistake and no malice meant and are trying to get the police not to press ahead with a Prosection,but to deal with this with a `Section 59`...a warning that if seen or caught on a Byway not meant to be a prosecution will be forthcoming.This i can only hope will happen.
    They have seen that education (Through the GC site) is a far better way then to go around nicking everyone.With education,the ones like me learn the message,where as the ones that do not give a *,will do it anyway.I agree that 4x4`s do damage...but so does riding Horse Back,Moutain Biking and even Walking if in a very nature sensitive Area,but all are clearly marked as such...In my case it was the local farmer who told me i was not to be there,....after the event.I can only thank the farmer for trying to rescue me..even if to no avail.I was well and truely stuck.My freedom came after many hours of digging and using all the rubbish (Sheets of Corragated Iron) found in the bushes around me!.I always take my rubbish home and hate seeing it when in the countryside..but on this occassion i will let it be..Thank you litter louts for your contribution to our lovely countryside!.My advise if not sure..dont do it
    I do feel though that if paying to have a map,it should a least be accurite,so what i want to know is..Why do OS not update thier maps?..or do they?.Surely if you download a map it should be right up to date.
    I have just looked at two OS Maps of the same area...it has been updated...to show a Motorway!.Will let you all know what the final outcome is

  14. #14
    nobbynobbs Guest

    Default

    The thing to remember in all cases involving UK law is that ignorance never has been a defence. It may be taken into consideration that you ( and this is a generic you, not a personal reply to messe or anything) have attempted to establish the legality of what you are doing.

    At the end of the day it's known that council's are redesignating green lanes due to the amount of damage being caused ( again, I know this damage isn't solely due to 4x4 users. I'm just stating a fact) so it might be not unreasonable for you to check with the council prior to using one or just err on the side of caution and not use it.

    As regards why OS not up to date? They map the entire world. They have extremely detailed maps of the entire UK. Can you imagine the logistical nightmare of trying to keep on top of every single change of byeway status as well as all the new housing estates, roads, changes to rivers, landslides, construction......


    Hopefully something good has come of this incident in that people have been made aware of the pitfalls of relying on OS maps and the eer changing status of greenways has been highlighted.

  15. #15

    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Church Warsop, Notts
    Posts
    518

    Default

    After the matter was clarified in detail by the "miscreant" over on the "other" forum, it appears that my assumptions were correct and that they're unlikely to face legal action. It's also significant that (we're told) the missing signs were reinstated rather quickly after the incident.

    Although ignorance of the law is no defence, that's not being argued here. The cacher in question knew that green lanes are out of bounds if officially restricted, and checked using all reasonable means at his disposal (i.e. looked for signs which contradict the latest OS information). With no indication that the lane was restricted he proceeded along it, with the intention of continuing as far as the map showed was allowable.

    It has clearly been recognised that it's not feasible for everyone to check the latest definitive map (as held by the County Council). That's why the CC has a legal duty to maintain the signage. It follows that if the signs are not visible and they complain about someone using the lane illegally, the onus is on them to prove that the driver must have known about the restriction.

    Obvious parallel relevant to caching; often, public footpaths are re-routed for various reasons. But this can't be done by simply publishing a new definitive map in Council Offices and expecting ramblers to come round and check before setting forth. No doubt all of us have seen the notices advising of the footpath amendment order, which are posted at the site of the diversion. Then, the new route has to be fully signposted. Should the signposts be removed (who knows, maybe the farmer did it), the walker following a recent OS Map can hardly be blamed for following the route as defined on the map, even if the new official route is quite different.

  16. #16

    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    North Wales
    Posts
    676

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Happy Humphrey View Post
    After the matter was clarified in detail by the "miscreant" over on the "other" forum, it appears that my assumptions were correct and that they're unlikely to face legal action. It's also significant that (we're told) the missing signs were reinstated rather quickly after the incident.

    Although ignorance of the law is no defence, that's not being argued here. The cacher in question knew that green lanes are out of bounds if officially restricted, and checked using all reasonable means at his disposal (i.e. looked for signs which contradict the latest OS information). With no indication that the lane was restricted he proceeded along it, with the intention of continuing as far as the map showed was allowable.

    It has clearly been recognised that it's not feasible for everyone to check the latest definitive map (as held by the County Council). That's why the CC has a legal duty to maintain the signage. It follows that if the signs are not visible and they complain about someone using the lane illegally, the onus is on them to prove that the driver must have known about the restriction.

    Obvious parallel relevant to caching; often, public footpaths are re-routed for various reasons. But this can't be done by simply publishing a new definitive map in Council Offices and expecting ramblers to come round and check before setting forth. No doubt all of us have seen the notices advising of the footpath amendment order, which are posted at the site of the diversion. Then, the new route has to be fully signposted. Should the signposts be removed (who knows, maybe the farmer did it), the walker following a recent OS Map can hardly be blamed for following the route as defined on the map, even if the new official route is quite different.
    Sorry but the CC disagree with you,

    ~it might be useful to post this on the forum so as to demonstrate to those who may feel that an OS map or a route having no signage, removes the responsibility of the driver to check the legal status of routes.
    Is a direct quote from the person involved at the CC.

    The decision not to continue to press for a prosecution, was only made after the person involved had a detailed discussion with the person at the CC.

    Deci
    My post is my personal opinion and as such you do not have my permission to quote me outside of these forums!

    Dave
    Brenin Tegeingl
    Formerly known as Mancunian Pyrocacher on GC

  17. #17
    nobbynobbs Guest

    Default

    A point to consider.

    If you're a walker who strays off the path or down a closed path you face being prosecuted under civil law for tresspass, to do so they need to demonstrate that you've damaged something etc. very unlikely to happen.

    If you're driving along a closed byeway you face being given an instant fine and points on your licence under the road traffic act where they need to prove you're in a car and on the byeway.... you might get a court to agree that you are to be given the benefit of the doubt but do you really want to risk your licence?

  18. #18

    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Church Warsop, Notts
    Posts
    518

    Default

    Dave,
    You still don't get my point, so perhaps I haven't explained it well enough. I'll have another go. I never said that the lane user doesn't have a responsibility to check the status of the lane. Nor can they insist that everything is fine if there are no signs. So I agree with what you say.

    All I'm saying is, that if after making all reasonable checks to ensure that it's legal to drive down the lane it turns out that the signs had been removed, then there's little likelihood that they would be successfully convicted. That doesn't mean that it's strictly legal, of course.

    "Reasonable checks", it could easily be argued, do NOT include knockiing up the local council officials on a Sunday morning and insisting that they accompany them to the Council offices to inspect the map. Not every trip is planned far in advance, and even if the offices were open on the day the route was being planned it could be that they are fifty miles away (or more) from the driver at the time. So, in many cases it's not a practical proposition and it wouldn't be reasonable to expect everyone to take these measures.

    That's clearly been recognised in the legislation and is why the CC has such a firm legal responsilbility to make sure that the signage is 100% in place. In this case, I suspect the council could be fined for allowing the signs to be removed, and so would rather not pursue any conviction.

    If there's a new 30 mph speed limit on a section of road that you drive down, AFAIK it's always illegal to drive along at the old 40mph limit. But what if the council had actually omitted to put the signs up? Yes, you could check at council offices every day just in case, and there would be an announcement in the local paper. Do you think that all the drivers proceeding along at 40 in blissful ignorance would be convicted? You don't need to be a lawyer to realise that it wouldn't stand up in court.

  19. #19

    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Longformacus
    Posts
    316

    Default

    It would seem that those concerned understand each other, and will be able to settle this matter in an amicable fashion. For me, that's what counts.
    I'm just going outside, and may be some time!

    www.jacobitecaching.co.uk

  20. #20

    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Wiltshire
    Posts
    5,520

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by jacobite View Post
    It would seem that those concerned understand each other, and will be able to settle this matter in an amicable fashion. For me, that's what counts.
    That is indeed the case, and I agree that that's what matters. I think that some good has come out of all this. More cachers are now aware of the potential problems regarding unsigned restricted byways, and we have a new contact at the county council concerned who is pleased to be in touch with us.
    ​​Do not go gentle into that good night.
    Rage, rage against the dying of the light. (Dylan Thomas)​


  21. #21

    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Church Warsop, Notts
    Posts
    518

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill D (wwh) View Post
    More cachers are now aware of the potential problems regarding unsigned restricted byways,
    It's always useful to explore these topics where there is potential for geocachers to inadvertently break the law. At least we know that the only way to be sure involves a certain (rather onerous) procedure. I, for one, will ensure that I don't take the car down any byway, no matter what it might say at the entrance.

    But a correction; Deci has been told that the signs were in place (in the case being discussed). So, although we've learnt about these unspecified unsigned restricted byways, we've also learnt about the consequences of driving down a fully-signed byway without being aware of the signs.

  22. #22

    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Shropshire
    Posts
    322

    Default

    No prosecution = good news.

    Its the councils legal responsibility to ensure the signage is there and is visible (ie not overgrown and obscured).

    Its the drivers legal responsibility to take reasonable steps to check the status of the road / BOAT.

    If it were to come to court it would be for the court to decide what those reasonable steps should be, there is probably case history available to show what has and has not been considered reasonable steps in the past.
    Last edited by markandlynn; 21st May 2009 at 11:26 AM. Reason: added a missing word
    "If you can't be a good example, then you'll just have to serve as a horrible warning."

  23. #23
    nobbynobbs Guest

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Happy Humphrey View Post
    Dave,
    If there's a new 30 mph speed limit on a section of road that you drive down, AFAIK it's always illegal to drive along at the old 40mph limit. But what if the council had actually omitted to put the signs up? Yes, you could check at council offices every day just in case, and there would be an announcement in the local paper. Do you think that all the drivers proceeding along at 40 in blissful ignorance would be convicted? You don't need to be a lawyer to realise that it wouldn't stand up in court.

    This is a good example.
    Most roads that are 30mph do NOT have any signs. It's a general rule of thumb that if there are street lights, built up area then the speed limit is 30 unless there is signage to say otherwise, these signs should be at regular spacing of , I think 200 yards. So in that case a lack of signs would still have a fine attached.

    But like has been said it has been very good to raise these subjects to the forum users both cachers and not.

  24. #24

    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Church Warsop, Notts
    Posts
    518

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by nobbynobbs View Post
    This is a good example.
    Most roads that are 30mph do NOT have any signs. It's a general rule of thumb that if there are street lights, built up area then the speed limit is 30 unless there is signage to say otherwise, these signs should be at regular spacing of , I think 200 yards. So in that case a lack of signs would still have a fine attached.
    Whilst that's true, my example was if the speed limit was previously 40 mph and then the "40" signs were taken down but no "30" signs erected.

    Even though it might be strictly illegal to drive at 40 mph in these circumstances, it's clearly going to be irresponsible (or mischievous) of the local authority not to make drivers aware of the change, with clear signs at the road in question. Prosecuting on the basis that people should have checked at the local council offices every day before starting their journey would not be fair or reasonable, in my opinion, and parallels the off-road case.

  25. #25
    uktim Guest

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Happy Humphrey View Post
    Whilst that's true, my example was if the speed limit was previously 40 mph and then the "40" signs were taken down but no "30" signs erected.

    Even though it might be strictly illegal to drive at 40 mph in these circumstances, it's clearly going to be irresponsible (or mischievous) of the local authority not to make drivers aware of the change, with clear signs at the road in question. Prosecuting on the basis that people should have checked at the local council offices every day before starting their journey would not be fair or reasonable, in my opinion, and parallels the off-road case.
    One essential point thats missing in this is that as a "user group" green laners are very concious that their access is shrinking and have modified their behaviour accordingly. A responsible off roader is likely to avoid spur of the moment excursionss and check the access for the sake of themselves and all fellow off roaders. This is a s musch about looking after one anothers interests as avoiding prosecution, sometimes it's better to wait and accept that a route will still be there next week.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •