Cycling UK, the national cycling charity, is calling on riders to endorse proposals by the Welsh Government to increase cycling access to the rights of way network via their 'Trails for Wales' campaign.
The Welsh Government has proposed changes to the legislation to allow cycling and horse riding on footpaths where suitable in a recent consultation, a move welcomed by Cycling UK and OpenMTB but opposed by the ever charming pro-fox hunting lobby that is the Countryside Alliance.
With the prospect of meaningful change coming from the Government, Cycling UK is urging as many people from across the UK, not just Wales, who enjoy cycling off-road, whether it be for family rides or mountain biking, to take action and support the creation of Trails for Wales at www.cyclinguk.org/trails-for-wales.
At the moment, only 21% of the total rights of way network in Wales is accessible to cyclists or horse riders. Compare that to Scotland, where the network is open to all users and it's obvious that Wales is missing out on everything from tourism opportunities to health and social benefits. A Transform Scotland report estimated the economic benefits of off-road and leisure cycling at between £236.2m and £358m per year.
Duncan Dollimore, Cycling UK’s Head of Advocacy and Campaigns, said:
“The Welsh Government is rightly looking for opportunities to manage its wide range of wonderful natural resources, recognising in their consultation the uncertainties that may come with Brexit. These proposals will help more people enjoy the outdoors, while also benefiting the rural economy - their forward thinking is on way to making history.
“Wales is a world class destination for cycling in all its forms, whether you’re looking for a gentle family wander or heading to one of the many trail centres for an off-road adventure. Opening up suitable footpaths to more cycling will only increase the appeal for more people to come and visit Wales for a great cycling experience.
“The Welsh Government wants cyclists input, wherever they live – not just Wales. We had a fantastic response rate for our campaign Trails for Wales in 2015, so if you support greater opportunities to cycle off-road then head to www.cyclinguk.org/trails-for-wales”
Stace King, OpenMTB spokesperson said:
“It is fantastic to see the Welsh Government respond so positively to the Trails for Wales campaign, producing a genuinely forward-looking set of proposals.
“The current access system in England and Wales simply does not work, but real change is within reach in Wales and we strongly encourage riders to help us and Cycling UK secure better access now and for future generations.”
We'd recommend that you head to the Trail for Wales site and get responding as soon as possible...