Please sign this petition to open up more English footpaths for cycling, as is being done in Wales.
This aims to set a default for public rights of way to become multi-use for cycling or horse-riding, EXCEPT where it could be shown to be harmful to people, nature, historic features or ancient monuments.
On Hayling Island we have several under-used public footpaths that are desperately needed as cycle paths to make safer cycling, but the landowners won't allow it.
One is the only alternative to the very narrow, 100 year old A3023 with around 25,000 vehicle movements a day. Walkers are few and far between, but the landowner, a farmer, just “doesn’t want” it opened up.
Another is a wide farm track, but the farmer claims it would be dangerous for cyclists, “because of the heavy agricultural vehicle movements”. As if walkers weren’t also at risk (again, not that there are many)!
As I understand it, when rights of way were put on the definitive maps in the 1950’s and 60’s, the decision to make them a footpath or bridleway was pretty arbitrary, and largely unimportant, because you could cycle by road quicker and perfectly safely. Now that traffic is 10 or 20 times busier, it really does matter.
I’m sure any legislation would insert safeguards to protect walkers. But there should be a stronger presumption of cycle access where it is needed for transport and active travel, or to link existing cycle paths, and perhaps less where pure leisure riding would disadvantage existing walkers, or where there are cycling alternatives.
Please get your friends to sign the petition too!