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Thread: Right to Ride

  1. #1
    Ed Lefley
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    Who else knows that there is a deadline for all paths to be registered for acceptance as official rights of way, after that there will be very few new paths allowed.Also on the subject of Bridleways and obstructions, do you know that a Bridleway by law has to be at least 3ft wide (it might even be 6ft but I don't have the exact figures to hand), and that the onus is on the landowner to keep it clear. How many Bridleways do you know of that are that wide, and anyway do we really want to ride nothing more than firetrack, losing all that singletrack?Another website that is quite good for this is www.detr.gov.uk I think the relevant section is the Wildlife and Countryside, but I'm not sure as it's a little while since I did my uni project on the Right to Roam. If there any people out there who want a detailed analysis of the debate, and comparing it with the other countries such as the Scandinavian ones and Germany who all have has a different approach to the same topic, try 'A Right to Roam?' by Marion Shoard, very well written and informative on the topic of rights of way and stuff.That's all I'm off to see if there are anymore postings in soapbox

  2. #2
    Actually, we went through this a few months back and so did Brant when he was at BM which 'scoop' seems to have missed. You're correct Ed about the deadline. The definitive map will be made, er, definitive in a few years time (5 or 10 depending on evidence) and no matter how much proof you have of it being a legit route, it can't be changed.Secondly, landowners now have greater rights to close off routes at their discretion so we could actually see less open routes. The bill is a disaster for both horse riders and bikers. Only the Landowners win.I'd suggest you read www.rightsofway.org.uk or even back through BikeMagic as Brant reported on this bill months back noting the problems that 'scoop' has missed.

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
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    593
    I note from the ramblers website that it is now to be 25 years before the ROW network is can no longer be modified using historical evidence.What is not clear is how much easier it will be for landowners to get rid of ROW; and if there has been any change to the rather unclear status of council roads, whether sealed [tarmaced] or not. If a council road is also a footpath is it still legal to additionally ride one's bike, with or without an engine?Additionally no one seems to be sure just how much easier it will be in reality for a member of the public to force an obstruction to be removed As there have been so many recent changes to the bill I think Scoop was quite correct to disregard Brant's past scribblings. From what I can gather no one is quite sure what is in the bill. There is no point asking CTC as they no longer have anyone in their employ who is qualified to comment.

  4. #4
    As I said, try www.rightsofway.org.uk or email lisa@rightsofway.org.uk. They are based about a mile away from me and Brant for that matter too. It was their petition Brant was getting us to sign earlier in the year. As a cyclist you have no rights at all to complain about bridleway obstructions (see Countryside Act 1968). As a horse rider or walker you do so remember that when you complain. ;-)Has Colin left the CTC then?

  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Posts
    593
    I'll have a look, but as the head of LARA doesn't know what's in it I doubt that they do. Cyclists can complain about Bridleway obstructions. What they cannot do is complain about obstructions that pertain only to cyclists, for instance deep mud or a piece of hoof sunken singletrack. If there is a fence or locked gate that's fine as it affects equestrians as well.Andy has been gone from CTC for a while {ROW officer} and Colin only works for them on specific contracts; he is no longer on a retainer There doesn't seem to be any plan to replace them. Apart from those two and Mick Ives, who is in charge of developing offroad centres, there isn't anyone with much insight into our muddy world. When I rescued 100k of lost roads from archives and the council accepted them CTC weren't interested. Colin had been very supportive of my efforts over a 3 year period but it was felt that CTC didn't understand the significance of what had been achieved.

  6. #6
    Mark Graylish
    Guest
    We MTB'ers have been on our best behaviour whilst this act was going through Parliament, hoping that there would be something in it for us. The vast majority of walkers don't care about the legality of the particular path you're riding on as long as you're considerate and don't scare the shit out of them.(If they do complain, just remind them about the mass trespass on Kinder Scout). From my personal experience, I imagine most landowners are the same - in seven years of mountain biking, I've had two discussions" with farmers - both times I was riding on what the OS map defined as bridleways but which the farmers insisted were actually footpaths.On another occasion, a farmer said he was quite happy for lone, or small groups of, mountain bikers to cross his land but what really annoyed him was huge hoards of ramblers (and, particularly, their dogs). Another time I was advised by a "Ranger" (what sort of legal powers do these people have?) that I was riding illegally (in actual fact, I was on a "permitted footpath" so even walkers do not have a "legal" right). I try to ride legally when I can, but sometimes rides can become very disjointed without using footpaths, sometimes they turn to footpaths at county borders etc (admittedly, also, some footpaths make juicy singletrack in their own right...!)As far as I know the trespass laws haven't changed - have any cyclists been successfully prosecuted for trespass on a footpath...? Have the penalties been increased - being banquished from the land for 24 hours and, possibly, a 20 fine? (Neither hardly a deterent, even if the landowner was really determined to throw their weight about…)As there is no improvement whatsoever for the MTB'er, I'm off to ride my local FOOTPATHS...anybody want to join me….? What have we got to lose?"

  7. #7
    tony mcgarley
    Guest
    ed-L, those BW widths are 2 metres along the side of a field, and 1.5 mtres across it. the scandinavian thing, also germany and switzerland, is called allesmanstratten", or something like that. it means every man's rights, and works(very well) as a right to roam. erosion has decreased 'cos they choose their own route from a to b, instead of being herded along a corridor. common sense is trusted, so if they keep out of peoples gardens and off crops, it's basically ok. "trail" magazine mentioned that the new bill was giving MTBers nothing, a few months ago. so i think we should join mark-G on his FP's! the redsocks moan at us on BW's anyway. in my experience."

  8. #8
    Tony, the bill is not supposed to give any other rights to users other than walkers. However, in doing so they've removed certain rights currently available. eg. capping the definitive map in 2026, changes in application of diversion orders etc. Most of these have no effect on ramblers as they'll be able to wander anywhere within reason. It will affect horse riders and bikers more. I can see the 'redsocks' laughing now.

  9. #9
    tony mcgarley
    Guest
    i once belonged to a redsock walking club. half-way through my membership period (18 months), i took up MTBing. but didn't tell them. the amount of unjustified, biased views that were uttered every time a biker passed was amazing. one day i could no longer bite my lip. i exploded into a load of fact based rantings and cancelled my membership. no one from the club ever bothered 'phoning me after that! it was clear that they viewed the hills as their own. so why doesn't anyone do as they did in 1932. probably it would just serve to give us more of a bad name. has anyone got any info about critical mass" here up in the northeast?"

  10. #10
    Kevin Hodgson
    Guest
    I know of 2 or 3 BW's that have been constructed around Sheffield, and 4 or 5 permissive BW's that have been created in the Lake district. What all these new BWs have in common is that they have come about from persistant trespassing. I think that it is about time that this idea that only 'naughty' MTBers trespass is removed, and some form of organised mass trespass takes place.Provided these demos were on large tracks (and not on some overpopulated lan district footpath) then it would simply expose to the public the current stupidity of MTB acess laws. When I first started MTBing there was almost no knowledge of the BW rule, and we all rode where we fancied. When the rangers started getting arsey, the mags basically said, keep yer heads down, dont trespass, and they'll soon forget about us and remove these laws". We, that was utterly wrong, the more we succumed to the laws, the more restrictions were increased. I think that orginal advice was very very WRONG, and if we'd have simply ignored the law and kept riding on whatever we fancied we wouldn't be in the stupid situation we have now.Anyone for a mass trespass?"

  11. #11
    tony mcgarley
    Guest
    i'll join that queue.

  12. #12
    As somebody who runs on footpaths (yes, I have some red running socks - also purple, flourescent yellow etc.), my only concern about open access for all is the damage horses do - there's a nice stretch of BW on one of my routes, which makes for good mud training all year round, due to the mess made of it by horses. I'd rather that didn't happen to all FPs - though given better access, presumably the problem would be less concentrated. In comparison to horses, the damage done by MTBs is pretty much impossible to see. BTW I have ridden horses, and can see it from that perspective too.One suggestion for fighting for access rights is to get together with canoeists, who have even worse access problems than MTBs (do anglers wear red socks?)

  13. #13
    Kevin Hodgson
    Guest
    Isn't it lovely to live in a free country, where you can do whatever you want whenever you want as long as it doesn't hurt anyone.I wish I knew which country that was.

  14. #14
    tony mcgarley
    Guest
    that canoe thing might have something to do with anglers paying BIG amounts of money to fish a half mile stretch of water. isn't it funny how everything boils down to money. like malcolm wilson taking over some lakeland forest to test his cars. how much did that cost? kev, let's just ride FP's. i'll bring the cattle prods.

  15. #15
    Ed Lefley
    Guest
    On the subject of a mass tresspass didn't the CTC organise something similar a couple of years ago on Dartmoor? Can't remeber exactly when but I'm pretty sure that they did. On the other hand going by the views we have on CTC offroad that may not happen again. I think it was to protest at the restrictions imposed on ccylists.On Canoes now, do you know that they have to pay to use locks on the Kennet and Avon canal, as well as their licences to be on the river? So they get stung for money.The solution to all this access problem could be to oopen up centres such as the Karrimor and Red Bull trails in Wales (I can't remeber the name) but that would only concentrate the usage to one location.I'm lucky when at home of woodland and trails stretching from teh A4 to about Didcot and from the A34 to Reading, so I'm pretty sorted however there are loads of horses around which can be a problemGot to go now lecture is calling.....

  16. #16
    I totally agree with the mass trespass principle. It worked for the ramblers. A unified high profile approach to the problem seems to be the only way of getting through to the government, despite their protestations that they will not bow to pressure from demonstrations, blockades, strikes etc.A recent example of how to do it was the fuel protests.If you want a good example of a group of people quietly waiting and hoping the government will see sense and consider them, just take a look at the shooting fraternity.After the Hungerford tragedy the handgun shooters kept quiet as a mark of respect for the victims whilst the then government carried out an enquiry, (Cullen). All the time the media and opposing pressure groups had the stage to themselves. The result under the tories was a partial ban, labour gets in and we end up with a total ban ignoring the enquiry results and the shooters late protestations. Maybe if the shooters had been higher profile throughout they may still have their sport.Lets not let it happen to us!

  17. #17
    tony mcgarley
    Guest
    i see what you're getting at, Ed. but if we all gathered in centres such as these, the goverment would simply turn round and say, oh well, if you're happy riding there, then give the BW's to the walkers, you don't need them".you're right, Phil. if bikers keep a quiet low profile about getting access taken away, it will never "blow over" and return to mormal, like some mags have suggested. we will get trodden on MORE. as for the canoes, they can come up north and share our BW's. there's been enough rain to float the Ark."

  18. #18
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
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    593
    The Dartmoor trespass was organised by Colin palmer, with help from I think the then CTC publicity officer. Both no longer are employed by CTC. The CTC has not understood the offroad situation. They desperately need to get additional members but Kevin Mayne's attitude has been 'what can you do for the CTC' rather than 'how can we alter the CTC to meet the needs of the Offroad community'. As a result he has proved deeply disappointing and the CTC has remained firmly on the periphery. Without an organisation any mass action would be useless. But what this forum doesn't seem to realise is that it isn't us against other users. God knows the horse riders have just the same problems. In wales 20% of the ROW are bridleways or better, these get 4% of the maintenance budget. The vehicle boys are in an even worse situation. The problem is the lack of funding for ROW departments.The engineers who habitually run highways depts normally couldn't give a stuff, they're into transport not access, and tourism ?A footpath is 'a footpath without prejudice to any other rights which may also exist', so often it is perfectly legal to ride on them. For instance Tithe roads, Inclosure award carriageways ,Finance act roads and roads shown on last century and before maps could be argued to have additional rights even if shown as a footpath [Once a highway always a highway]

  19. #19
    Jerry wrote...[Once a highway always a highway]Well, until 2026 anyway.

  20. #20
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Posts
    593
    Just done some digging. It would seem that the statutory regulations that back up the 'right to roam' bill have probably not been written yet , certainly won't be published for some months; so no one knows for sure how the bill will affect us. Anyone who says they do know is apparently sadly deluded. We may know the intention of any piece of legislation within the bill , but we will have to wait for the wording to discover the fallout .What is certain is that the government asked the vehicle users what they thought of certain specific changes and then sneakily set about trying to find ways round their objections. Sadly this may well drop us in it.This was all to get the bill through parliament without a legal challenge in the European court from the landowners.'an unholy alliance of the ramblers and countrysice alliance' was how a friend put it.the danger is what happens to coucil roads; we have over 600k of unsealed routes in Powys, much of them are also footpaths, we could lose the automatic right to these

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