British Cycling, with support from mountain biker and Olympic gold medallist Chris Boardman, has issued a call to reform right of way legislation that currently bans cyclists from over two-thirds of the public footpaths across England and Wales.
According to the Daily Telegraph, those behind the campaign believe that the current laws are confusing and outdated, only allowing people to enjoy beauty spots around the country if they’re on foot – such as the Cotswold Hills.
Unless permitted by the landowner, cycling on footpaths in England and Wales is typically considered trespass but local bylaws or traffic regulation orders relating to specific footpaths can make it a criminal offence.
Commenting on the news, head of campaigns with Cycling UK Duncan Dollimore said: “Conflict sometimes arises because people feel either entitled or annoyed because they perceive someone is using their particular space.
“Cycling UK wants to see England develop a better, more modern system for determining access rights – one based on suitability of use rather than historic use.”
But head of advocacy and policy for The Ramblers Gemma Cantelo made further comments, saying that some of the paths aren’t suited to becoming multi-use routes because of their physical features of their character.
As Cycling UK explains, there are 146,000km of public footpaths in England and more than 26,000km in Wales. If the majority of English footpaths were open to cyclists, it could more than triple the mileage that biking enthusiasts can enjoy, allowing them to see even more of the wonderful countryside we have right on our doorstep.
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