British Cycling and Welsh Cycling have called on Wales to become a world-leading destination for cycling as they pledge their support for proposals that will make it easier for cyclists to ride in the countryside.
Responding to the ‘Taking Forward Wales’ Sustainable Management of Natural Resources consultation, the governing bodies have called for responsible cycling to be allowed on all paths and land with public access.
British Cycling Campaigns manager, Martin Key, said: “At British Cycling we want as many people as possible across the UK to be able to access cycling in the countryside.
“Allowing responsible cycling on all paths and land with public access will be transformational, providing people with far greater opportunities to cycle on off-road routes, which is ideal for those who might be new to cycling and want to build their confidence on a bike away from traffic.
“Responsible access for people cycling would provide a significant boost to the Welsh economy and would help deliver cleaner, greener and healthier communities.”
Wales currently has approximately 33,000 kilometres of public paths but just 7,000 kilometres are currently accessible by bike. If the proposals were taken forward this could see 26,000 kilometres opened to the public and would remove uncertainty around access rights and potential sources of conflict between cyclists and other user groups.
Welsh Cycling chief executive officer, Anne Adams-King, said: “At Welsh Cycling, we live by our vision of inspiring Wales to cycle and fulfilling the potential of cycling in Wales.
“We strongly support the consultation, which will greatly increase access for people on bikes to paths and routes across Wales, therefore providing far more opportunities and routes for people to enjoy a ride.”
British Cycling and Welsh Cycling started campaigning for greater access to the countryside for cyclists following the results of a YouGov poll, commissioned by British Cycling, in June 2016.
The results of this poll showed a huge demand for more cycling in the countryside. Despite only 6% of people cycling in the countryside, half of the survey’s respondents said they would like to cycle there more.
The poll also revealed that 64% of people do not know that they are not allowed to cycle on the majority of public paths in the countryside. Introducing a right of access for people cycling would remove this uncertainty.
British Cycling’s response supports and compliments the calls of the Outdoor Access Coalition which believes the benefits of improved access for all will increase the enjoyment of recreational activities, improve the health of a nation, strengthen rural economies and lead to sustainable management of the natural environment for future generations.
You can read British Cycling and Welsh Cycling’s full response to the consultation here.
The consultation closed on 30 September 2017.