Forums > General > What counts as the public highway?

WHAT COUNTS AS THE PUBLIC HIGHWAY?
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...technically.

Clearly all public roads, and, as I understand it, all roads to which the public have access (i.e also private and unadopted roads).

The tricky bit is the "to which the public have access" part. I understand that things like supermarket car parks also count as the public are given free and unrestricted access during opening hours of the shop, but what about when the shop is closed? Does it come down to whether there's a phyical barrier to entry?

Let's say, so the sake of argument that there's a private road, with a physical barrier, but that barrier isn't actually locked, and one can simply open the gate (without causing any damage to it). If I put an untaxed, uninsured, non-roadworthy vehile down on the tarmac the other side of the gate, am I commiting an criminal offence?

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Chief Wheel and Cake Monkey - Strong Broo Racing

Only if you get caught!

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Strong Broo Racing

scotta said...

Only if you get caught!

Getting caught is pretty much inevitable. It's really just a question of how fast do I have to hot-foot it when the secuirty guys tell me to bugger off.

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Chief Wheel and Cake Monkey - Strong Broo Racing

nefarious_ said...

scotta said...

Only if you get caught!

Getting caught is pretty much inevitable. It's really just a question of how fast do I have to hot-foot it when the secuirty guys tell me to bugger off.


Stick a set of bike lights and the plate off the westfield on it - they'll never know!

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Strong Broo Racing

When a friend wanted to leave an untaxed uninsured vehicle on my driveway for a while I did some digging. It seems the road that I live on (a quiet culdesac, calls itself a "Court") is in itself not part of the public highway.

(Which meant I could retain the use of my driveway and just have her park it outside my house)

Tis possible that wherever you live is the same.

Updated February 7, 2013 at 8:29 AM

nefarious_ said...

...technically.

Clearly all public roads, and, as I understand it, all roads to which the public have access (i.e also private and unadopted roads).

The tricky bit is the "to which the public have access" part. I understand that things like supermarket car parks also count as the public are given free and unrestricted access during opening hours of the shop, but what about when the shop is closed? Does it come down to whether there's a phyical barrier to entry?

A supermarket car park is private, not public highway - but the Road Traffic Act applies to it because it's open to the public. Your query is presumably more concerned about areas to which the RTA applies (and I'm not sure if the law is the same in Scotland, so this reply relates to England & Wales).

In your example of a road which is open sometimes, or has an unlocked gate, that is absolutely going to be open to the public. There are actual roads in Wales which have openable gates across them. Basically, anything which isn't your land, which you don't seek permission to use, and which you just access could potentially be 'open to the public'. This particularly relates to communal accessways etc.

ETA since Seb's post: I wasn't talking about taxing a car so much as committing offences; the obligation to tax and MOT isn't subject to exactly the same criteria. Helpful.

Updated February 7, 2013 at 8:48 AM

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JL said...

Oh b*llocks you're right

Planning on a few practice starts in the FF nef? ;)

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+ Non-limited edition of the Exige 240R
- Uninspiring soundtrack

Jobbo said...

Basically, anything which isn't your land, which you don't seek permission to use, and which you just access could potentially be 'open to the public'.

Tell me more about this - I was under the impression that permission is irrelevant.
In fact, my thinking was, if the land owner has made an effort to prevent access, then that would specifically define it not being "open to the public".
Sure, you're trespassing, but if you don't cause any criminal damage, and there's no material loss to the landowner, then there are no consequences...right?

ETA - the road I have in mind has posts to prevent access, but the lock on one is already broken so its possible to gain access without damaging anything.

Updated February 7, 2013 at 9:11 AM

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Chief Wheel and Cake Monkey - Strong Broo Racing

duncs500 said...

Planning on a few practice starts in the FF nef? ;)

Pretty much - more of a shaekdown to see if anything breaks. Time on track is very limited and expensive, so I want to make the absolute most of it, and not risk losing a day's testing to some stupid mechanical failure.

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Chief Wheel and Cake Monkey - Strong Broo Racing

nefarious_ said...

Jobbo said...

Basically, anything which isn't your land, which you don't seek permission to use, and which you just access could potentially be 'open to the public'.

Tell me more about this - I was under the impression that permission is irrelevant.
In fact, my thinking was, if the land owner has made an effort to prevent access, then that would specifically define it not being "open to the public".
Sure, you're trespassing, but if you don't cause any criminal damage, and there's no material loss to the landowner, then there are no consequences...right?

ETA - the road I have in mind has posts to prevent access, but the lock on one is already broken so its possible to gain access without damaging anything.

If it's open at any time, then gated overnight but you can get through the gate, you'd have no defence because it's open sometimes. For example, if you were handbrake turning round Tesco's car park during the daytime, that would clearly be caught; if you then sneaked back when they were closed and somehow got past a gated access to do the same thing, it would be exactly the same offence.

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JL said...

Oh b*llocks you're right

Jobbo said...

nefarious_ said...

Jobbo said...

Basically, anything which isn't your land, which you don't seek permission to use, and which you just access could potentially be 'open to the public'.

Tell me more about this - I was under the impression that permission is irrelevant.
In fact, my thinking was, if the land owner has made an effort to prevent access, then that would specifically define it not being "open to the public".
Sure, you're trespassing, but if you don't cause any criminal damage, and there's no material loss to the landowner, then there are no consequences...right?

ETA - the road I have in mind has posts to prevent access, but the lock on one is already broken so its possible to gain access without damaging anything.

If it's open at any time, then gated overnight but you can get through the gate, you'd have no defence because it's open sometimes. For example, if you were handbrake turning round Tesco's car park during the daytime, that would clearly be caught; if you then sneaked back when they were closed and somehow got past a gated access to do the same thing, it would be exactly the same offence.

I think we're talking at slightly cross-purposes. I asked about the sometimes-open-sometimes-closed thing to try and establish the principle of public access.

For example, you sometimes see autotest competitions etc being held in car-parks of circuits/airfields etc for non-road legal cars.

What I have in mind is slightly different: In this case the posts are intended to permanently prevent public vehiclular access (even though, in practice, they fail to do so). Is the fact that the landowner has tried to prevent access sufficient to establish that it's not "open to public access"?

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Chief Wheel and Cake Monkey - Strong Broo Racing

If it's never open to the public then it's not going to be considered public - you're safe there... unless it's actually a widely-used cut through and people have been treating it as if it were public for years. The latter only has a very slim chance of being a problem.

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JL said...

Oh b*llocks you're right

I want to post the video of some guy (possibly famous, I forget) who bought an old IndyCar (I think), had it trailered to his house, and then proceeds to quickly drive it around a bit...

...but I can't find it :(

Not sure about this one. Sounds like you're going to trespass? But you'd be fine on the driving a non-road legal car.

Best places for doing this are retail parks which have gated roads and roundabouts built but no buildings yet ;)

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How about not having a sig at all?

_ said...

I want to post the video of some guy (possibly famous, I forget) who bought an old IndyCar (I think), had it trailered to his house, and then proceeds to quickly drive it around a bit...

...but I can't find it :(

Oh I remember that, it was awesome.

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How about not having a sig at all?

Maybe there was no video, and I just read this and imagined seeing it: http://www.auto-journals.com/journals/March?model=Cosworth&journal=214&entry=2708

I'm sure someone linked a video somewhere.

The guy starts up the Indycar in his garage, go for a spin round the block and returns?

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How about not having a sig at all?

Mito Man said...

Not sure about this one. Sounds like you're going to trespass? But you'd be fine on the driving a non-road legal car.

Best places for doing this are retail parks which have gated roads and roundabouts built but no buildings yet ;)

AFAIK there are no trespass rules in Scotland.

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Strong Broo Racing

scotta said...

AFAIK there are no trespass rules in Scotland.

And even if there were, trespass is not a criminal offence in itself. You need to have caused criminal damage to face a charge - otherwise you can only be directed to leave.

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Chief Wheel and Cake Monkey - Strong Broo Racing

Just be careful because in respect of civil trespass, whether intentional or not, the landowner is entitled to sue for the hypothetical value of the benefit from trespassing. What financial benefit did you gain by running your FF on private property rather than pay the costs of time on a track?

B_T_S

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There's no replacement for displacement

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