Cycling groups have criticised Highways England’s plans to ban cyclists from a 15-mile stretch of the A63 in Yorkshire on safety grounds.
The government owned company has given notice that it plans to make a traffic regulation order that would prohibit cyclists from entering or using the road in either direction from the B1230 North Cave Interchange to the exit slip road at Daltry Street Interchange, a distance of nearly 24km (15 miles).
The road is popular among competitive cyclists for time trials.
Cycling UK has criticised Highways England for failing to consider methods to reduce the danger, such as speed reduction and warning signs about the presence of cyclists. The charity said the proposal sets a dangerous precedent that could open up further bans for cycling on other A and B roads.
Duncan Dollimore, Cycling UK’s head of campaigns said: ‘Highways England’s approach to the A63 is entirely unreasonable and lacks both evidence and analysis. It’s hardly surprising cyclists can’t keep up with motor vehicles on an A-road, but it is ludicrous to use that as one of the reasons for banning them.
‘If cyclists are banned from the A63 because they’re unable to hit high speeds, then where will it stop? It’s the thin edge of the wedge and shows a complete lack of reasoning.’
Cycling UK said Highways England has not conducted a proper risk analysis to justify the ban and that no evidence was provided on the numbers of cyclists on the road, which would allow for an injury rate to be ascertained.
It added that Highways England have published no plans to improve cycling facilities on this stretch of the A63 or provided an impact assessment for how the ban will affect people whose journeys will be made more difficult or prevented altogether.
Mr Dollimore said: ‘There have been hundreds of collisions involving motor vehicles on the A63 over the last few years. Following Highways England’s rationale, that would be enough to justify banning driving as well as cycling.’
In a joint statement, British Cycling CEO Julie Harrington and Welcome to Yorkshire chief executive Gary Verity wrote: ‘Any move to ban cyclists from any stretch of road is deeply concerning, and directly contradicts the government’s Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy and Highways England’s own Cycling Strategy.’
Highways England’s emergency planning manager, Andrew Charnick, said: ‘The safety of everyone who uses our roads is our highest priority. The A63 is a busy road and a large number of HGVs leave the docks and use the route to join the M62. There are alternative, safer routes available for cyclists.
‘In the last 5 years there have been six accidents involving cyclists, including one fatality. We have been working closely with Humberside police and the local authority on this issue and both fully support the plan.’