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"The thin end of the wedge" - Cycling UK slams Highways England's proposed A63 bike ban

Charity says move to stop people riding on road near Kingston-upon-Hull is “entirely unreasonable and lacks both evidence and analysis.”

The charity Cycling UK has said that a proposed ban on cycling on a road that is one of the most popular time trial courses in the UK is the “thin end of the wedge” and that it is “entirely unreasonable and lacks both evidence and analysis.”

As we reported last month, Highways England plans to ban cyclists on safety grounds from a 15-mile stretch of the road near Kingston-upon-Hull, which forms part of the fastest time trial course in the UK, the V718.

> Highways England wants to ban cyclists from the UK’s fastest time trial course

The road is where Marcin Bialoblocki set a 10-mile time trial record of 16 minutes 35 seconds in 2016, and Sir Bradley Wiggins also rode a time trial there in 2014 while preparing for his successful UCI Hour Record attempt.

The ban would apply between North Cave Interchange and Daltry Street Interchange, including slip roads onto the A63.

According to Highways England, during the past five years there have been six collisions involving cyclists on the road, including one fatality, when Christopher Auker, aged 65, crashed into a stationary caravan while participating in a time trial in 2013.

> Accidental death verdict after rider hit stationary caravan in Good Friday time trial

But Cycling UK, which has made an official response to the proposals, says they run contrary to government and Highways England policy and set a dangerous precedent.

It also says that other measures such as reducing the speed of motor vehicles and providing warning signs about cyclists being present should be considered.

Duncan Dollimore, head of campaigns at the charity, commented: “Highways England’s approach to the A63 is entirely unreasonable and lacks both evidence and analysis.

“It’s hardly surprising cyclists can’t keep up with motor vehicles on an A-road, but it is ludicrous to use that as one of the reasons for banning them.

“If cyclists are banned from the A63 because they’re unable to hit high speeds, then where will it stop?

“It’s the thin edge of the wedge and shows a complete lack of reasoning,” he continued.

The charity also expressed concerns that no detailed risk analysis had been conducted, meaning there was no evidence of the number of cyclists using the road which would enable a casualty rate to be calculated.

“There have been hundreds of collisions involving motor vehicles on the A63 over the last few years,” Dollimore continued.

“Following Highways England’s rationale, that would be enough to justify banning driving as well as cycling.

“Cycling UK would urge Highways England to re-consider their plans and stop going against both their own and the Government’s cycling policies,” he added. 

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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