Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content

UK TRAIL RIDING UNDER THREAT

The UK government has issued a public consultation paper that actively promotes the banning of vehicles – including motorcycles – from unsealed ‘green’ roads. Forget ‘landscapes for everyone’ this is straightforward unapologetic discrimination, and it will spell the end of trail riding in the UK. The TRF has an action plan to fight this – and you can do your bit to help, quite easily as we’ll explain…

THE BACKGROUND

In 2018 the government commissioned a Landscapes Review aimed at informing the government on how National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty can be better managed. That review was published in 2019 and all was well, with good suggestions for positive avenues for development.

Then on January 15 this year, the government published its response to this review. This document has strayed from the spirit of the report and its recommendations and rather than embracing its self-proclaimed ‘landscapes for everyone’ has started off on a line of minority persecution. Describing a scenario – without evidence – of having ‘become increasingly aware of damage and disturbance caused by excessive use of off-road vehicles on some unsealed roads’ (note the ‘on some unsealed roads’) the government has set an agenda for the banning of motoring and motorcycling on ALL unsealed and minor tarmac roads. The report has also brought about a fresh public consultation and contained in that is this leading question:

Question 16
Should we legislate to restrict the use of motor vehicles on unsealed unclassified roads for recreational use, subject to appropriate exemptions?

Here at RUST, having seen the damage and disturbance caused by the walking/hiking public to some rights of way (such as the path up Snowdonia, that needs continual rebuilding at great cost to the taxpayer) we ask why there’s no comparable question of legislating to restrict the access of the public to ALL public footpaths? As we said, there are facts and then there’s downright unapologetic discrimination.

The Trail Riders Federation has reported that anti public access activists have now seized this as an opportunity to embark on a renewed campaign to distort public and the government’s perception on the issue. With the public consultation questionnaire deadline coming on April 8, there’s no question the time to act is NOW – to save trail riding, to save hundreds of jobs in the motorcycling sector, to protect the income of countless holiday accommodation owners and country businesses across the country.

2021 HONDA CRF300 Rally
Dunlop Trailmax Mission

WHAT YOU CAN DO NOW

The TRF, in conjunction with the National Motorcycling Council and LARA have developed a guide to the government’s questionnaire to help you respond correctly and affirmatively in the interests of motorcycling. You can find that guide here.  The questionnaire doesn’t take long to complete and every response defending our position is vitally important.

The TRF also suggests we need to spread the word so as to see more stories appear on the subject, as well as to encourage friends and family to respond to this important public access issue.

Motorcyclists, and more importantly, the wider general public need to take action to combat this type of discrimination. It’s motorcycling this time, but who next – mountain bikers, horse riders, carriage drivers, fell runners, wild swimmers, climbers, canoeists?

SUBSCRIBE TO OUR FREE MAGAZINE!

Keep up to date with the latest articles, receive our free magazine via email and get notified of special offers and discounts. Be part of the RUST community today…

Share on facebook
Share on google
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email
Share on print

11 Responses

  1. Hi Guys..
    I’m going to do a push on this soon from my website and newsletter database … am I ok to re use your stuff to explain what we, as Motorcyclists, as a whole NEED to do?
    Cheers Steve

  2. My off road motorcycling friends and I are responsible people riding taxed, insured , MOTed vehicles on legal byways. We always show consideration to other users of these rights of way, such as walkers, equestrians, cyclists and others. Since the NERC laws closed many of these green lanes to motor vehicles, we have noticed that many of them are now so overgrown with brambles and young trees that nobody at all can use them, not even walkers. Motor vehicle access is currently only legal on 5% of rights of way. Surely those who do not wish to encounter motor vehicles can use other footpaths or bridleways?

  3. Another clampdown on vehicles and liberties, these places should be for all even if a small charge was taken to help support the repairs on these trails

  4. This is happening in Ontario too, where I live and ride trails, most of which are termed Crown Lands, meaning your sweet Queen owns them! She’s been very reasonable about allowing us licenced dual-sport riders in, as long as we have our DL, plates and insurance in order. Part of the problem, of course, is those among us who play rather naughtily.

    For example, in the Ganaraska Forest near Toronto, which is private land given over for multiple public uses, we have a minority of (usually) young doofuses (doofi?) who race un-plated dirtbikes and terrorize other trail users (I’ve had to take rapid evasive action on several occasions in there when faced with a handful of suicide jockeys racing 4-5 abreast in full wheelie mode heading for me). The Ganny’s unusual in that you’ll have horseback riders, mtn bikers, family dog walkers and gangs of feisty strolling ladies all using the same trails.

    The normal protocol when encountering such creatures while on our bikes is to slow right down, take it easy, don’t rev your motor, smile, wave, say hello. In the case of equestrian folk, we’ll kill motors, and if they don’t wave us through, remove helmets and await their instructions, as some horses do better than others around bikes. They are so grateful when we do this; once a group of 4-5 horse people handed us cold beers when we stopped. We chatted and collectively ragged on the deranged teen twits that pass them doing wheelies, causing their horses to have nervous breakdowns.

    Sadly, we have this cohort of shoddily raised inbreeds who think they get to do what they want, no matter how reckless and loud. Not all are on bikes. Some are downright scary Texas Chainsaw psychos in ATVs and 4WD buggies with astonishingly loud exhausts and crazy loud stereos blasting death metal at 11. We watched about a dozen of them pull into the forest-adjacent gas station last summer… we could hear them minutes before they arrived. They were beyond belief. Just the biggest collection of ambulatory birth defects you’ve ever seen, disturbing the peace for a good 10 minutes, as we all watched with our mouths agape. Their dust took another 10 minutes to clear.

    Their reputation is what gets too often attached to us who, yes, do ride like hooligans, but try to do so out of earshot and view of those who don’t necessarily love our pastime. We riders who aren’t utter dicks need to zero in on these scuzzknobs and fill them in on their responsibilities, or face losing all our offroad privileges.

    1. Very eloquently put, Paul. Got some new words for the vocab there, too! The difficulty is educating these people without the whole thing degenerating into a messy battle. As you say, they simply don’t care – so why would they listen to us? Answers on a postcard please…

    1. Mike, click the link under the heading ‘What you can do now’ – that will take you to the TRF guidance and after you’ve read that there’s the link embedded in that doc to the consultation. Hope this helps.

  5. We need to save these lanes for the younger generation to enjoy the way we all have for the last twenty five years.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Rust Sports Magazine