Cycling UK and OpenMTB have this week backed Welsh Government proposals to open up most footpaths in Wales to cycling and horse riding and are calling on the public to show their support via the Trails for Wales campaign.
At present, cyclists are only legally entitled to use 21 per cent of the rights of way network in Wales.
In a joint response to the 2015 consultation ‘Improving opportunities to access the outdoors for responsible recreation’, Cycling UK and OpenMTB called for increased access and an outdoor access code to ensure responsible behaviour from all users.
The consultation received 5,796 responses, with over 4,000 backing the Trails for Wales campaign.
The Welsh Government’s more recent consultation, "Taking forward Wales’ sustainable management of natural resources”, now proposes legislative changes to allow cycling and horse riding on footpaths where suitable.
Duncan Dollimore, Cycling UK’s Head of Advocacy and Campaigns, said: “The Welsh Government is rightly looking for opportunities to manage its wide range of wonderful natural resources, recognising in their consultation the uncertainties that may come with Brexit. These proposals will help more people enjoy the outdoors, while also benefiting the rural economy – their forward thinking is on the way to making history.
“Wales is a world class destination for cycling in all its forms, whether you’re looking for a gentle family wander or heading to one of the many trail centres for an off-road adventure. Opening up suitable footpaths to more cycling will only increase the appeal for more people to come and visit Wales for a great cycling experience.
“The Welsh Government wants cyclists’ input, wherever they live – not just Wales. We had a fantastic response rate for our campaign Trails for Wales in 2015, so if you support greater opportunities to cycle off-road then head to Trails for Wales.”
Stace King, OpenMTB spokesperson said: “It is fantastic to see the Welsh Government respond so positively to the Trails for Wales campaign, producing a genuinely forward-looking set of proposals.
“The current access system in England and Wales simply does not work, but real change is within reach in Wales and we strongly encourage riders to help us and Cycling UK secure better access now and for future generations.”