Plan to ban cyclists from 15-mile stretch of road ‘deeply concerning’

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British Cycling has labelled proposals to ban cyclists from a stretch of A-road as “deeply concerning” and could set an “extremely dangerous precedent”.

Highways England has applied for an order which would prohibit cyclists using a 15-mile stretch of the A63 in Hull.

According to British Cycling, Highways England cited the average speed and traffic density on the stretch of road as reasons for the plans, after six accidents involving cyclists – including one fatality – in the last five years.

In a joint response, British Cycling and Welcome to Yorkshire said they deeply objected to the idea.

British Cycling chief executive Julie Harrington and Welcome to Yorkshire chief executive Gary Verity, said: “Our aim to encourage more people onto their bikes will ultimately lead to our roads becoming less congested, our population becoming healthier and more active, pressure easing on our NHS, and our communities becoming greener.

“Therefore, any move to ‘ban’ cyclists from any stretch of road is deeply concerning, and directly contradicts the government’s Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy… and Highways England’s own Cycling Strategy.”

Great Britain’s Sir Bradley Wiggins attempted t set a record along the road (Adam Davy/PA)
Sir Bradley Wiggins attempted t set a record along the road (Adam Davy/PA)

Ms Harrington and Mr Verity added: “Any ban imposed on cyclists would have a negative impact on the local economy, as well as people’s ability to participate in the sport ahead of a potentially hugely significant year as Yorkshire looks forward to hosting the 2019 UCI Road World Championships.

“If speed and density of traffic was accepted as a reason to ban cycling, cyclists would be banned from the vast majority of our roads. If approved, this approach will set an extremely dangerous precedent.”

Highways England said it had recently completed a scheme alongside the A63 to improve facilities for cyclists and pedestrians.

The company’s emergency planning Manager Andrew Charnick added: “The safety of everyone who uses our roads is our highest priority. The A63 is a busy road and a large number of HGVs leave the docks and use the route to join the M62. There are alternative, safer routes available for cyclists.

“In the last five years there have been six accidents involving cyclists, including one fatality. We have been working closely with Humberside police and the local authority on this issue and both fully support the plan.”

But Duncan Dollimore, head of campaigns for cycling charity Cycling UK, said: “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.”

“There have been hundreds of collisions involving motor vehicles on the A63 over the last few years. Following Highways England’s rationale, that would be enough to justify banning driving as well as cycling.”

A public consultation on the plans is open until February 19.

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