Trail access is a thorny subject in England and Wales. Ancient rights of way legislation restricts mountain bikers to bridleways, byways and other paths, with footpaths strictly off limits.
A new e-petition is pushing to change this. The Increased Access for Mountain Bikes petition sets out the following:
Designating mountain bikes in the same category as horses is wrong and provides a barrier to the lawful pursuit of a healthy past-time.
In many parts of the country there simply is not a legal network of trails open to cyclists, or too little to be meaningful. Cyclists should be allowed to use the footpath network to pursue the sport of mountain biking, this would help to promote activity amongst young people, especially as the roads become increasingly congested.
Shared use of all paths and trails has been successful in Scotland and could be throughout the rest of the UK. It will spread the density of mountain bikers further reducing the potential for trail conflict and the (disputed) erosive impact of bikes on the trail surfaces.
There are no costs involved (we don’t need special gates or access) this is just a re designation exercise to make a bicycle an extension of a pedestrian on the footpath network (with the exception of roadside footways).
What are your thoughts on the subject of trail access. Should mountain bikers be allowed to ride footpaths? Will you be signing the petition.