Bridleways, byways and cycle tracks (England & Wales)
- Cyclists have a right to ride on bridleways, byways and restricted byways, which make up around 22% of the Rights of Way (RoW) network in England and Wales.
- The rest consists of footpaths, where cyclists have no right to ride.
CTC View (formal statement of CTC's policy):
- Improvements and additions to the bridleways and byways network would enhance the opportunities for motor traffic-free cycling, particularly for families and casual cyclists.
- National government should review RoW law to enhance cycling opportunities by, for example:
- following the lead of Scotland’s Land Reform Act 2003, which gave cyclists lawful access to most countryside in Scotland;
- simplifying the legal process for converting footpaths to cycle tracks.
- Highway authorities should fulfil their duties under existing legislation to make sure that the potential of the RoW network is fully realised for both recreational and utility cyclists.
- Cycle racing on bridleways should be permitted by law, subject to appropriate consultation and regulation.
- While signing from roads onto the RoW network is now reasonably acceptable, waymarking of the network itself needs improving.
- Highway authorities should not only fulfil their legal duties to maintain byways and bridleways, but should also carry out maintenance programmes to ensure that they are rideable.
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Publication Date:November 2014