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Thread: What constitutes a public road?

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    Default What constitutes a public road?

    What defines a public road in terms of road traffic act? For example would a road into and around a large general hospital by classed as such - ie, open to unrestricted public access, street lighting and road markings.

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    5ive-o User channa's Avatar
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    If the general public have access, then it becomes public and the RTA applies.wheter fees apply or not is my understanding
    Channa
    We would worry less about what others think of us if we realized how seldom they do.
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    A private road, needs to be marked as such and needs to be closed at least one day a year to restrict access to public....

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    Quote Originally Posted by channa View Post
    If the general public have access, then it becomes public and the RTA applies.wheter fees apply or not is my understanding
    Channa
    and includes any bridge over which a road passes

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    5ive-o User Arryace's Avatar
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    are roads around or within hospitals classed as crown property and does this make a difference?
    to find the limit first you have to crash, thats the easy bit, the difficult bit is remembering where that limit was just before you crashed
    'Valentino Rossi'

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    What happens if a private road is not signed as such and is not closed for 1 day per year? Does it become public and therefore liable for the local authority to maintain?

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    5ive-o member KrisP's Avatar
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    A private road is not the responsibility of the highway authority to maintain. The Council's 'record of streets' will identify which roads are recorded as highway maintainable at public expense, but highway law in this country is often quite complicated with respect to dedication of rights of access and maintenance....a very big minefield at times. A right of access by the public does not imply a duty of maintenance on the highway authority.
    For example, supermarket car parks, industrial estates are often private and accessed by the public but not maintained by the highway authority.

    Kris

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    'roads/areas to which public have access'' as a regulation, proved an enormous headache many years ago....for club-level motorsport.

    many autotests, etc were traditionally held in Hotel car parks, etc......as they were 'private land'....hence avoided the need for MoT certs, tax, etc.


    The motor sport industry lobbied for exemptions to be allowed....but these still have to be applied for.
    No, I don't think all other drivers are idiots.................but some are determined to change my mind!

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    Quote Originally Posted by GDC View Post
    What happens if a private road is not signed as such and is not closed for 1 day per year? Does it become public and therefore liable for the local authority to maintain?
    It won't become maintainable at the public expense, although a public right of way may become established, maintained at the road-owner's expense.
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    5ive-o User Arryace's Avatar
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    if i were to give an open invitation no restrictions just open the gates and put a big sign up to anyone who happens to be passing onto my private property does it then become a 'public place'
    to find the limit first you have to crash, thats the easy bit, the difficult bit is remembering where that limit was just before you crashed
    'Valentino Rossi'

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    Quote Originally Posted by Arryace View Post
    if i were to give an open invitation no restrictions just open the gates and put a big sign up to anyone who happens to be passing onto my private property does it then become a 'public place'
    Yes.

    The Road Traffic Act 1991 amended sections 1 to 3 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 and enables prosecutions to be brought for causing death by dangerous driving, dangerous driving, careless and inconsiderate driving of a mechanically propelled vehicle in a public place off the highway. A public place might include moorlands, common land or Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) and has been held by the courts to mean an area to which the public at large have access or that the public have express or implied permission to access from the Land Owner.

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    5ive-o User Arryace's Avatar
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    Yes
    .
    so then the car which was on private property now needs to display a tax disc?
    to find the limit first you have to crash, thats the easy bit, the difficult bit is remembering where that limit was just before you crashed
    'Valentino Rossi'

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    no

    in this instance....a public Highway..[upon which vehicles arerequired to have VED, etc.....]....differs to a 'place to which the public have access' which is a different thing.

    this issue was covered in a recent thread......
    No, I don't think all other drivers are idiots.................but some are determined to change my mind!

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    5ive-o User Arryace's Avatar
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    sorry yes public road as apposed to public place.
    to find the limit first you have to crash, thats the easy bit, the difficult bit is remembering where that limit was just before you crashed
    'Valentino Rossi'

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    5ive-o User channa's Avatar
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    There is an interesting thread in motor law discussions in respect of the Mersey tunnel and how they established status.

    Channa
    We would worry less about what others think of us if we realized how seldom they do.
    Ethel Barrett

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    Depends after the ruling re the case involving Camden Council
    Private land needs to have a physical barrier. But I doubt any occifer or DVLA agent will bother, maybe one of dem council attendants might.

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    Just another question to add onto this.

    Is a 'place the public have access to' always such.

    For example a factory yard may be open to the public by day but has a physical presence to stop access at night. Is this still a public place or not?
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    5ive-o User channa's Avatar
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    Interesting question, I think in terms of a yard that is open to the public , there is a mentality that it is exactly that and the premises is closed to the public by physical obstruction I.E locked gates at which state private but implications of injury harm to the public don't diminish.

    It was an interesting question when the pub doors were closed and you know who was let loose...

    Has far as I was concerned ,when the doors were locked .what was the public area became an automatic extension to my private reside.

    The pointy eared one is a pet always has been, had we had intruders acting no diferent to a hound in a 2 bed semi detached.

    Never convinced the law would see it that way though

    Channa
    We would worry less about what others think of us if we realized how seldom they do.
    Ethel Barrett

  19. #19

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    The subject of what constitutes a road or public place is one which is commonly discussed in court.
    For most road traffic purposes the definition of a road is “Any highway or other road, including footpaths, bridleways and bridges” although there are other, older, definitions which come up from time to time.


    For a public place the usual test is “did the public have access at the relevant time, whether on payment of a fee or otherwise”. There are other considerations and one which we see now and again, particularly with reference to public areas in multi accommodation housing, is whether or not the place was maintained at public expense.


    There are an infinite number of variations and a lot of case law. An indication of just how complex this matter can be is found in Regina -v- Spence [1999] EWCA Crim 808; [1999] RTR 353 24 May 1999 which covers dangerous driving in what might, or might not, be considered to be a public place. The relevant part being :-
    “A private company car park, where there was no proof of use by the public, was not a public road, and a driver could not be convicted of dangerous driving whilst in it. There must be evidence that the public actually utilised premises before a court can conclude that they are a 'public place'. It is not sufficient to say that the public could have access if they were so inclined.
    Road Traffic Act 1988 2 “






    As far as dogs are concerned things are a little different. It is an offence to be in charge of a dog which is dangerously out of control in a public place. This flavour of public space is usually defined as “ any street, road or other place, whether or not enclosed, to which the public have or are permitted to have access whether for payment or otherwise. This includes the common parts of a building containing two or more separate dwellings”.
    Note that if a dog is inside a car which is parked in a public place, the dog is considered to be in a public place. Bates v DPP 1993








    As far as offensive weapons are concerned the usual definition is “any highway and any other premises or place to which the public have or are permitted to have access whether for payment or otherwise”.
    I post here as an individual not as a representative (official or unofficial) of any organisation
    For legal advice, consult a lawyer.

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