A number of outdoor groups, the British Mountaineering Council, the British Horse Society, cycling champions and two main cycling advocacy groups in the UK, British Cycling and Cycling UK have backed an open letters to Environment Secretary Liz Truss and Welsh Environment Secretary Lesley Griffiths calling for people on bikes to have responsible access to more public paths in the England and Wales countryside.
The signatories are asking for the Scottish model of responsible open access to be trialled in other suitable areas of the UK, to prove the viability and benefits of increased access.
On Thursday morning BBC Breakfast asked the question..
Should we all share?
Video on BBC Breakfast Facebook Page
British Cycling says:
Due to archaic public access and rights of way laws, it is currently illegal for people on bikes to access the majority of the countryside in England and Wales. At present, if you choose to ride a bike you only have access to less than a third of the 140,000 miles of public paths. There is also little access to the three million acres of Open Access Land or the 2,800 miles of newly created coastal access. Meanwhile, if you are on foot you have free and open access to all of this land.
British Cycling’s chief executive, Ian Drake, said:
“England and Wales is packed with outstanding countryside on millions of people’s doorsteps but, due to outdated and confusing rights of way legislation, much of it is only open to you if you choose to walk.
“We know that many people will simply not consider cycling unless they can do it on a traffic-free route. While national and local government work on putting cycle lanes in place across our towns and cities, countryside paths are fantastic, free alternatives that could be enjoyed responsibly by mountain bikers and families alike.
“At a time when obesity levels and air pollution in our cities is at an all-time high, we call on the government to act to make sure that the massive opportunity to get active in the countryside is not wasted.”
More from British Cycling
There is a lot of further reading from the cycling press but not much, as yet from the outdoor press
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