There is no evidence to suggest that anyone with epilepsy should be stopped from cycling or denied access to cycling clubs, and cycling events. This includes ‘electrically assisted pedal cycles’ (EAPCs). To deny people access to these goods and services just because they have epilepsy is direct discrimination, and for this reason unlawful.
People with epilepsy should enjoy the same access to cycles, cycling clubs and cycling events (including cycling races, cycling trips, cycling holidays and cycling proficiency courses), as a person without epilepsy. People with epilepsy are covered by the Equality Act (England, Scotland and Wales) and the Disability Discrimination Act (Northern Ireland). These acts protect the rights of people with epilepsy from many forms of disability discrimination.
People with epilepsy should consider their own health and safety when taking part in cycle based activity. For example a person whose seizures are uncontrolled, impair their awareness and / or might cause them to fall off their bicycle, could take precautions to reduce the risk of an accident. These precautions might include wearing a helmet, cycling only with others and not cycling on public roads.
People wanting to take part in organised cycling events should inform the service provider (for example ride coordinator or cycling tutor) of their epilepsy. It is important to also discuss seizure frequency and what happens when they have a seizure.
A service provider should use the above information to decide on the most appropriate way to deliver services to their individual customer. For some customers with epilepsy, it might be necessary to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ to enable them to safely access a cycling event. This is a requirement expressed in the Equality Act and the Disability Discrimination Act.
Some examples of reasonable adjustments
- A person says that they would like to take part in a long-distance cross-country cycle event. They say that they experience the occasional focal seizure, but recover quickly without the need for help. To ensure that the rider can access help if required, a reasonable adjustment might be suggested. For example, to give the rider the mobile telephone number of the support team. This will enable the rider to contact the support team if they require help or support after any seizure.
- A person asks your advice on different road cycling events that might be suitable for a person with epilepsy. They tell you that they have frequent myoclonic seizures, but only in the morning. A reasonable adjustment in this case might be to offer the person events that have a late morning or afternoon start time.
- A person asks to take part in a cycle event that involves a lot of riding in heavy traffic. They tell you that they have frequent tonic-clonic seizures without any warning. You are worried that an accident could happen if they have a seizure during the event. For example they could fall off their cycle, into the path of other road users, including other cyclists and motor vehicles. This could put themselves and others at risk of serious injury. A reasonable adjustment in this case might be to agree to allow the client to take part in the cycle event, once their seizures are better controlled.
- A person wants to take part in a multi-cycle event that includes a ride stage on a motor cycle. They tell you that they have been seizure free for three months. However they don’t hold a current driving licence. A reasonable adjustment might be to allow them to use another mode of transport to complete, or miss, that stage. If this is not possible, you should explain why it is not possible
This list is not exhaustive and each person and their epilepsy should be considered individually.
- Information about cycling and epilepsy
- Legal requirements of electrically assisted pedal cycles (EAPCs) in the UK