Definition of right of way in English:

right of way


mass noun
  • 1The legal right, established by usage or grant, to pass along a specific route through grounds or property belonging to another.

    ‘they found their right of way barred by locked gates’
    • ‘Even if the area is mapped as access land, you will not be able to walk within 20m of a dwelling, or in gardens or courtyards within the curtilage of a property, unless a right of way already exists.’
    • ‘The document has never been rescinded and Mrs Fisher maintains the right of way along the carriage drive from the entrance to the deer park remains enshrined in the 1877 document.’
    • ‘Eventually the inspector concluded that there was no right of way of any description along bridleway 8 save for a short stretch along a highway called Sawley Lodge Drive.’
    • ‘The claimant gave notice that she was abandoning the claim to a right to park on 1 May 2001, but continued to press her claim for an unlimited vehicular right of way.’
    • ‘A charter connected to the area, and the fact that it is common land, meant that the cows actually had the legal right of way, but most people seemed to be unaware of this fact.’
    • ‘The Council agreed informally to grant him a right of way along the further stretch of road and to permit him to gain access to his property by a new gate.’
    • ‘Is the vendor aware of any right of way or other easement affecting the property not discoverable on search?’
    • ‘Given the long enjoyment of a right of way, then the court presumed the existence of a grant of the right of way.’
    • ‘Thus, the grant of a right of way in law in respect of every part of a defined area does not involve the proposition that the grantee can in fact object to anything done on any part of the area which would obstruct passage over that part.’
    • ‘At some unspecified point in time the public had acquired a right of way over the path, but it had not been adopted by the highway authority.’
    • ‘In particular there was evidence from Mr Fattorini's head gamekeeper and butler to the effect that there had been no exercise of any right of way by the public along Sawley Lodge Drive.’
    • ‘It is accepted that there is a right of way by prescription, but the nature of the permissible usage of that right of way is disputed.’
    • ‘Once the public right of way is established there is no question of permission being granted by the owner of the soil to those who choose to use it.’
    • ‘Moreover, it is said that the vagueness in the description prevents the creation of a right of way at common law.’
    • ‘When solicitor David Pedley sought to confirm a public right of way on a footpath near his home in Cowling, he didn't expect immediate action.’
    • ‘In the meantime they urge all walkers to please show respect to their hosts who allow right of way on walking routes crossing their lands’
    • ‘If I have a right of way across your land and you put up a gate to stop me exercising it, then I will be acting in protection of my proprietary interests in that right of way if I knocked the gate down.’
    • ‘We feel these roads through usage over more than 100 years have been established as having public right of way and should remain open.’
    • ‘First, when a grantee constructs a way so that he may exercise his right of way, he does so at his own expense.’
    • ‘This land evidently belonged to Mr Bourne's predecessor, Mr Fowles, as the right of way which he granted in the 1945 Conveyance passes over this land.’
    1. 1.1count noun A path or thoroughfare subject to right of way.
      ‘his new permissive path is not a public right of way’
      • ‘A public right of way also crosses the site and consultation with the Upper Wharfedale area ranger concluded that the application directly affected it and that it could not be interfered with.’
      • ‘‘It has views right across the Aire Valley,’ he said, ‘and there is a public right of way through the site for walkers.’’
      • ‘But club president John Hodgson today said the club would be re-opening the path after receiving a letter from Bradford Council stating the path was a public right of way.’
      • ‘It is an offence for a landowner to obstruct a public right of way, and the placing of a new stile, gate or fence can amount to an obstruction, unless it is a replacement of what previously existed.’
      • ‘Its requests were turned down by Chorley Borough Council's traffic regulation committee because the crossing forms part of a public right of way and it was felt that closing it would not stop vandals and trespassers.’
      • ‘He said: ‘It is a public right of way and it has been for about 150 years.’’
      • ‘Public rights of way are paths and tracks through countryside and sometimes residential areas where people can walk, cycle and ride horses.’
      • ‘My interest in Coverdale was sparked by news from Bob Baxter of Yorkshire Water of a new footpath they have had designated as a public right of way.’
      • ‘Pete Lawler is demanding action from the police to tackle youths riding cars and motorbikes on a public right of way on the Pollard Park estate in Bradford.’
      • ‘Public rights of way will be open but dogs should be kept on short leads while some footpaths will remain closed to provide some measure of protection for the estate farm.’
      • ‘Public rights of way would be unaffected but ramblers would not be able to stray from paths.’
      • ‘To obstruct a public right of way (a highway) is both a crime at common law and under the Highways Act 1980.’
      • ‘I was under the impression that the area was a public right of way, but who is looking after it?’
      • ‘This letter is to pass on the message of that original notice which indicated that before a decision is made on whether or not this path is a right of way, we are being asked to submit our comments.’
      • ‘The committee was advised by the authority's solicitor that to qualify as a public right of way a path must have been used for more than 20 years ‘without force, without secrecy and without permission’.’
      • ‘The walkway is not a public right of way, but has been used by Witham residents and shoppers for many years.’
      • ‘Are we to have eight grey wheelie bins standing outside on the path which is a right of way to get to the back garden?’
      • ‘Nearby residents asked Essex County Council to modify the definitive rights of way map and designate the footpath a public right of way, because the public have had unrestricted access to it for more than 20 years.’
      • ‘The original application to have the path designated a public right of way was made in 1995.’
      • ‘The canal's towpath runs is designated as a National Waterway Walk and is a public right of way.’
      footpath, pathway, footway, pavement, track, jogging track, trail, trackway, bridleway, bridle path, ride, riding, towpath, walk, walkway, promenade, esplanade, avenue, lane, alley, alleyway, passage, passageway, byway, sidetrack, berm, causeway
      View synonyms
  • 2The legal right of a pedestrian, vehicle, or ship to proceed with precedence over others in a particular situation or place.

    ‘he waves on other drivers, even when it's not their right of way’
    as modifier ‘an infraction of the basic right-of-way rule on the first leg of the race’
    • ‘There is no clear definition as to who has right of way on these crossings - the pedestrian or the motorist.’
    • ‘This does not mean that traffic from the right has automatic right of way when they are five metres away from the yield line at the circle.’
    • ‘Motorists give pedestrians the right of way, stopping at every zebra crossing.’
    • ‘The access routes leading to the Station Road car park do not lend themselves to higher levels of traffic and getting out into the main roads could be nigh on impossible at times, the continuous stream of vehicles thereon having right of way.’
    • ‘In London it seems motorists believe they have right of way over everyone.’
    • ‘The film gives tips on traffic, such as the need to have lane discipline, pedestrians' right of way at zebra crossings, no parking zones and also traffic signs.’
    • ‘The antagonist went blue in the face but did reverse, allowing the man with the indisputable right of way to proceed.’
    • ‘When I was growing up, pedestrians had the right of way.’
    • ‘They have perfected the fine art of determining just how close an oncoming vehicle which has the right of way can be before they have to ‘give way.’’
    • ‘With her right of way clear, No. 823 reversed through the loop and then forward down the freight road to couple up to the errant coach.’
    • ‘The spine incorporates Main and Fox streets, where pedestrians treading on the colourful paved streets have right of way.’
    • ‘Some of the newest junctions in northern Europe are now being returned to their pre-car state - a simple flat square with no raised pavements and no indication to drivers or pedestrians of who has right of way.’
    • ‘On the flip side, minority Rover drivers are idiot boy-racers who still can't figure out which vehicles get right of way at a roundabout.’
    • ‘The regulations make it quite clear that a pedestrian on the crossing has right of way over a vehicle.’
    • ‘Junctions resemble battlefields where vehicles' sheer bulk asserts who has authority and right of way.’
    • ‘Traffic control authorities will also deduct 10 points for crossing a red light or failing to give pedestrians right of way at a pedestrian crossing.’
    • ‘But that's totally different to someone who has a good reason to use the pavement, and does so at a slow pace, often stopping to give pedestrians their legal right of way.’
    • ‘The zones, which force drivers to slow down and give right of way to pedestrians and cyclists, will be set up in 200 of Scotland's most dangerous residential streets during the next three years.’
    • ‘It is a case of drivers not observing the pedestrian's right of way.’
    • ‘Would they confirm that pedestrians already on a crossing has right of way over vehicles?’
    • ‘I find the cause of the collision was the failure of the defendant to yield the right of way to the plaintiffs' vehicle and failing to slow down or stop pursuant to s. 138 of the Highway Traffic Act.’
  • 3North American The right to build and operate a railway line, road, or utility on land belonging to another.

    • ‘He said all that remained was for some problems with Network Rail about right of way and access to land to be ironed out.’
    • ‘This network began about 12 years ago, when we laid fiber from midwestern Pennsylvania to New Jersey using GPU's right of way as an electric utility.’
    • ‘Track laying began in May 1904 and made Lindsay by June where a dispute with the GTR caused difficulty getting a right of way.’
    • ‘In 1927 approval was given for a new right of way through Midland to connect with the CPR at Port Mc.Nicoll.’
    • ‘Increased traffic on the Joint Section caused the TG&B to once again seek a right of way of its own.’
    1. 3.1count noun The land on which a railway line, road, or utility is built.
      ‘the government has continued to evade the upgrading of rights of way, tracks, and signalling’
      • ‘I want telecom, cable, electricity, and water rights of way.’
      • ‘Photographic renderings of the proposed work show much of it will take place within existing rights of way, although some property will need to be purchased near Highway 2.’
      • ‘The right of way on Dusty's land was enough that Benson didn't really need Chess's land.’
      • ‘This would allow them to tear up the track and sell off the right of way as would normally happen in the case of an abandonment of a rail line.’
      • ‘Ironically, as a private attorney, Riordan bought the Southern Pacific rights of way for the Blue Line on behalf of the Los Angeles County Transportation Commission.’
      • ‘In these cities, a vehicular solution that meets many of the above criteria is electric fixed-rail transport with its own right of way.’
      • ‘Since a second round of letters went out to landowners in late 2001 seeking to buy right of way, CSX has taken few public steps with the project, a township official said.’
      • ‘To the south of the parallel sets of tracks will be the G.T.R. Don freight yard, from which the additional width for the right of way will betaken.’
      • ‘Williams, a one-time gas pipeline company, had shrewdly used its rights of way to diversify into telecommunications.’
      • ‘Power line rights of way are another favorite gathering spot for wildcrafters without other land ranges available to them.’
      • ‘We colocate our main core metro hubs inside a fiber overbuilder's fiber ring and use its rights of way to terminate in our lit customer buildings.’
      • ‘The state bought the right of way from WATCO Inc., which has owned and operated the railroad since 1992.’
      • ‘Special areas of interest are field perimeters, drainage swells and power-line rights of way.’
      • ‘Further developments took place out of doors in the 1880s, both on street railways and on lines running over their own right of way, which presented rather different problems for solution.’
      • ‘I've written before that, when all is said and done, the most valuable asset phone companies have today are their rights of way, and the poles that now hold their wires.’
      • ‘In many cases, lack of available space, such as close proximity to utilities and traffic when trenching in a right of way, might prevent use of this approach, notes Newquist.’
      • ‘We have an agreement with Amtrak to use its right of way, so we're completing a route from Penn Station in New York City down to Washington, D.C. and across to Harrisburg, Pa.’
      • ‘From Union Station to roughly East 56th Avenue and Peña Boulevard, the light-rail alternative would run in the same right of way as the diesel train.’
      • ‘An attempt by V & S Railway to block the sale of the Nevada Northern Railway right of way to the White Pine Historical Railroad Foundation has failed.’
      • ‘Private citizens donated land for the railroad right of way because having a nearby access to the railroad increased property values.’


right of way