New government rules to make it easier for councils to overturn bylaws banning cycling

Measures designed to get more people cycling for their daily journeys

by Simon_MacMichael   May 30, 2011  

No Cycling copyright Simon MacMichael.JPG

‘Prom wars’ and bylaws banning cycling on the pavement and through public parks could soon become a thing of the past in some towns and cities throughout Britain under new rules being proposed by local government minister Grant Shapps. The move is designed to encourage people fearful of cycling on the road to turn to bikes for commuting, and comes just days after a report from the road safety charity Brake suggested that greater provision of traffic-free routes would encourage more people to cycle.

The new measures being proposed by the Department for Communities and Local Government seek to do away with the current requirement for local authorities to obtain permission from Whitehall before amending local legislation, in an effort to create more “bike friendly” towns and encourage greater numbers of people to commute by bike, reports The Daily Telegraph.

Mr Shapps said: “I want to make sure they can cycle in safety and where appropriate use the local parks, promenades and public spaces but all too often unnecessary, unwanted and outdated bylaws instead force them onto nearby busy roads.

“We hope this will lead to a lot more cycle paths,” he continued. “Amazingly at the moment it needs a minister to sign off scrapping a bylaw, I think we can trust the locals.”

Conflict between pedestrians and cyclists has come under increased scrutiny from some elements of the press recently, and the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, while welcoming the move, highlighted the need for cyclists to keep a look out for those on foot.

“We want to see more people cycling,” a spokesperson told the Telegraph, “”but where there is shared space they have to make sure there is enough room for pedestrians.”

Robert Gifford, executive director of the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety, commented: “What we want to achieve is more people cycling more safely. Fear of traffic is one factor that prevents reluctant cyclists from starting in the first place.

“What is also important is to encourage shared use and shared understanding. For cyclists and pedestrians to share space successfully, there need to be common expectations and mutual courtesy.”

Last week, Brake published the results of a survey that it said showed that the provision of more traffic-free cycle routes would encourage up to one in five people not currently cycling to use bikes to undertake journeys between their homes and local facilities.

The charity’s campaigns director, Julie Townsend, said: “Cycling is an enjoyable, sustainable and healthy way of getting around and Brake wants to encourage more people to get on their bikes.

“However, it is vital that the Government is committed to making cycling as safe as possible and reduce the unacceptable number of cyclist deaths and serious injuries that occur each year.

“This research shows that if we want more people to cycle, we need to invest in safe cycle routes and schemes that protect cyclists,” she added.

Ms Townsend concluded: “The message is clear: let´s encourage cycling by providing more traffic-free routes and other measures such as 20mph limits to enable people to get on their bikes in much greater safety.”
 

5 user comments

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Good news, I suppose, although it remains to be seen how many local authorities have the cojones to take on their local vocal interest groups like motorists and Guide Dogs for the Blind to open things up a bit.

Also good to see Brake speaking some sense for once - instead of the usual blame-the-victim guff about wearing helets and high vis, promoting off-road alternatives to encourage more utility cycling.

posted by Paul M [312 posts]
30th May 2011 - 16:07

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In Peterborough there are loads of shared cycle paths with pedestrians unfortunately they are badly signposted. Personally I doubt that any ticket for riding on the pavement could be enforced such is the number and variety of shared paths.

However, there are still places where there is poor provision for cyclists. Bridge Street for example is no cycling from 09:00-18:00 Mon-Sat (so you can cycle down there on Thursday nights and Sundays when shoppers are about - nonsense). At one point this street was on the "Green Wheel" map! The alternative route can't be cycled on due to the use of smooth tiles.

If cycling is indeed a sport of self-abuse why aren't more cyclists sectioned under the mental health act?

posted by hairyairey [290 posts]
30th May 2011 - 20:49

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This will be good if it is used to open up more routes through pedestrianised streets, parks etc...

But slapping a blue shared use sign on an unsuitable bit of pavement alongside a road is the laziest and most counter productive provision of facilities for cycling.

two wheels good; four wheels bad

posted by cat1commuter [1347 posts]
31st May 2011 - 12:06

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Given that these "shared use" paths are not gritted, this rather reduces their ability to be used for all year round commuting as is the problem with segragated provision. We need to be able to cycle safely on the roads at all times. We have a legal right to do so.

onward ever onward

bikecellar's picture

posted by bikecellar [224 posts]
1st June 2011 - 13:43

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It's a good start. Maybe if more spaces are given up for shared use then eventually those spaces may turn out to be widened and turned into really shared cycle/pedestrian paths as some are in the Netherlands.

I think this is a step in the right direction.

posted by Luv2Cycle [6 posts]
25th August 2012 - 23:20

3 Likes