Welsh Assembly consultation on opening ROW to cyclists.

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  • Welsh Assembly consultation on opening ROW to cyclists.
  • Rorschach

    Now is your chance to have a say about where we can and cannnot ride.I don’t suspect for a second that it’ll get past the ramblers and horsey types but you gotta start somewhere.

    Premier Icon schnor

    This just landed in my in-tray, but I’ve not had a chance to read through it properly yet other than a quick scan.

    It seems promising (I see it as the next step after ROWIP which ends this year), and of course the first major hurdle – WAG consultation – is already underway. It’ll get watered down before it reaches delivery in two years or so, but we will see.

    Premier Icon schnor

    They have concentrated on cycling because it fits in better with the purposes of the Bill – however they still want to hear ideas about increasing access for equine and other users too. The Bill is predominantly targeting increased ‘utility’ not ‘recreational’ usage though, but one follows from the other.

    There are two options as I see it: –

    1) PRoW legislation isn’t amended meaningfully and the proposed route standards could be so restrictive (e.g. they have to be X m wide, flat, etc) very few routes are added. This means very little changes from the MTB perspective.
    2) PRoW legislation is amended and non-restrictive route standards are used. This means the network available to MTB’s could increase, by at a guess, 20-33%
    3) Anything inbetween

    So, mostly good news and it will go before the Senedd by spring next year. Make sure to have a read and get in touch with your local RoW Department / reply to the address with your suggestions!

    If anyone cares my official response is: –

    1. What are your views on the proposals for Local Authorities to have a duty to:

    – identify and map the routes within their areas that are safe and appropriate for walking and cycling;
    – identify and map the enhancements that would be required to create a fully integrated network for walking and cycling and develop a prioritised list of schemes to deliver the network;
    – deliver an enhanced network subject to budget availability and following due process;
    – consider the potential for enhancing walking and cycling provision in the development of new road schemes?

    Points 1 and 2
    Additional resources (mostly staff) would be needed to identify: –
    1) Existing routes on the Definitive Map / List of Streets that could be improved,
    2) Existing routes not on the Definitive Map / List of Streets (e.g. footways / dismantled railways / old tracks / etc), and
    3) New routes (e.g. road widening / new developments / etc)
    Point 3
    Each L.A. would need to decide who best to deliver this – most probably their Highways Departments as they are already involved with LDP’s / etc and fitting works with existing funding streams would be relatively straightforward.

    Significant additional funding would be needed though (staff costs / physical improvements) as most RoW / Highways departments are understaffed, and particularly RoW departments are significantly underfunded (average RoW budget as a %age of total L.A. budget ~0.1%) [my budget is 0.05%]

    Point 4
    Already implemented where possible

    2. How do you think the duty should be enforced?

    Via objectives / targets as part of a new Performance Indicator index

    3. Do you think the type of routes and facilities that Local Authorities be required to map should be specified in guidance or regulation?

    Both by guidance – see my answer to point 5 below, but also by amended regulation / legislation as per my answer to point 4 below

    4. What are your views about revising rights of way definitions, for example allowing cyclists to use footpaths, or equestrians to use cycle paths?

    I agree with the general proposition of where possible allowing cyclists to use Public Footpaths and equestrians to use cycle paths, however: –

    • It will need clarifying who will be responsible for these new routes; Rights of Way or Highways (where operating separately) or as part of the overall network or a network entirely separate from that on the Definitive Map? The latter would be more straightforward from a Rights of Way perspective

    • What standards will be applied when deciding which routes will be included into the scheme (e.g. Line of site, gradient, surface, etc)? Qualitative or quantitative?

    • If already a RoW will the status remain?

    • It may be easier to amend the RoW types themselves: –

    KEEP Footpath (yellow arrow) – open to walkers only
    NEW Travelway (green? arrow) – open to walkers, cyclists and (where indicated) horse-riders
    KEEP Bridleway (blue arrow) – open to walkers, horse-riders and cyclists; cyclists must give way to walkers or horse-riders
    AMEND Byway (plum-coloured arrow) – open to walkers, cyclists, horse-riders and horse-drawn vehicles [was previously Restricted Byway, but includes existing RB’s and new routes suitable for HD vehicles / electric vehicles]
    KEEP Byway open to all traffic (red arrow) – open to walkers, cyclists, horse-riders, horse-drawn vehicles and motor vehicles

    I believe it is necessary to draw the distinction between ‘Travelway’ and ‘Bridleway’, the former being a new route which the public should at that point be aware of, and the latter still being of importance in terms of Rights of Way. Additionally, alarm would be raised by the horse-riding sector of the possibility of ‘replacing’ Bridleways with ‘Travelways’. I mention “where indicated” as this would remove the complexity of an additional walker / bike / horse route.

    Although a lower standard could be applied for bikes (they can ride pretty much anywhere you can walk) a higher standard must be given for horses. On ‘Travelways’ cyclists still must give way to other users.

    • Increased user-conflict would need greater awareness being raised; possibly amend the Countryside Code and simplify signage

    5. What are your views of the proposal for new design guidance

    By having a fixed standard, there will only be a limited number of routes suitable for inclusion (plus minimising costs / staff hours), but if a ‘where possible’ approach is taken, this will allow LA’s to decide which routes are suitable when choosing from a greater potential number of them – this also frees up LA’s to better deliver best value performance.

    Although this would lead to a variation of route standards it would increase their number, scope and geographical spread. As mentioned above, lower standards would be more acceptable for bikes than horses, increasing the number of these new routes

    6. What would the costs and the benefits of these proposals be to you or your organisation (or the people your organisation represents)?

    Hard to answer without investigating fully.

    Costs – Increased staff / maintenance costs (unknown amount until investigated further)
    Benefits – Decreased service pressure as outlined in your points 18 – 24 (unknown amount until investigated further)

    7. We have asked a series of specific questions. Is there anything else that you would like us to consider as part of the development of the Active Travel Bill, or wider activity to encourage walking and cycling?

    To consider more the recreational use of bikes rather than just their utilitarian use; e.g. to link Trail Centres to both the existing network (and towns / etc) and the proposed new routes.


    they have to map the existing stuff to decide what is safe…but there don’t seem to be any guidlines on what constitutes “safe”.

    Would some random bloke from the local authority (student on a placement) even realise that an existing bit of cycle infrastructure was unsafe, never mind a road without cycling infrastructure.

    Safe for whom….experienced roadies…or my 9 year old daughter, or my 3 year old niece

    Many people won’t use the Taff Trail at night because they think its unsafe

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