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CTC opens up new Rights of Way for cyclists!

Following a nationwide campaign, CTC, the UK’s national cyclists’ organisation, has succeeded in achieving the first advancement in Rights of Way legislation for cyclists since 1968. Cyclists now look set to have their right to claim restricted byways guaranteed in law.

The campaign focused on the Rights of Way provisions in the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Bill (England & Wales), which sought to protect the countryside by removing the questionable legal practice by which motorised vehicles can claim byways based on evidence of past use by carriages. CTC, though fully supportive of such measures, argued that the Bill ought to clarify cyclists’ ability to claim Rights of Way.

During the debate in the House of Commons on Tuesday 11th October, the Minister for Rural Affairs, Jim Knight MP, stated that he “recognised the concern” and that he would hold discussions about our amendment, to be tabled in the Lords, which would guarantee our Rights of Way.

During the campaign an estimated 3,000 cyclists flocked to the CTC website or sent postcards to their MP, urging them to support an amendment tabled by Emily Thornberry MP, the chair of the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group. Support for the campaign was staggering – ten MPs from across the political spectrum spoke in favour of CTC’s amendments, with at least four more waiting in the wings.

Richard George, Off-Road Policy Campaigner at CTC, said “We are absolutely stoked at the success of this campaign. Mountain bikers pulled out all the stops and in three weeks managed to raise this issue to the forefront of MPs’ thinking. We are eternally grateful for the work individual cyclists put in, through the forums, the magazines and by word of mouth, to help us ensure that cyclists’ ability to claim Rights of Way was safeguarded for the future. This is just a taster of what we can achieve when we work together to get better rights for mountain bikers, and there will be plenty more to come!”

Kevin Mayne, CTC Director, said, “When I go out mountain biking, people always ask me what exactly we do for bikers. Well, this is what we do, and we are bloody good at it. CTC’s links to the cycling community, All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group and Members of Parliament, extensive campaigning experience and knowledge of the intricacies of the issues make us the perfect organisation to achieve such victories for cycling”.

An amendment tabled by Roger Williams MP, whose constituency town of Llanwrtyd Wells wishes to host a man-versus-horse-versus-cyclist race, sought to remove the restriction on hosting cycle race events on bridleways. Jim Knight MP, Minister for Rural Affairs agreed to meet with Mr. Williams to discuss this matter, and CTC hopes to take the opportunity to work with other user groups to come to an agreement on this point.