- Maintenance by Highway AuthoritiesHighway Authorities have a duty to “protect and assert” Public Rights of Way (PRoWs) within their jurisdiction.
IMBA UK urges Highway Authorities to:
- maintain the surfaces, drainage and vegetation on byways, bridleways and unsurfaced unclassified roads such that a mountain bike rider will normally find it easier to cycle rather that push or carry the bicycle.
- ensure the removal of obstructions within one month of any complaint.
- require landowners to make good any damage caused by agricultural or forestry operations.
- process Map Modification Orders within 12 months of receipt and make resources available to deal with any backlog.
- correctly sign all byways and bridleways where they leave the tarred road, and waymark routes where field boundaries make navigation difficult.
- Map Modification OrdersMap Modification Orders can only be made following confirmed historical or user evidence.
IMBA UK will normally support Map Modification Orders supporting claims for higher status. Conversely, IMBA UK will work with other user groups to oppose downgrades, where it is considered that evidence can be challenged.
- Public Path OrdersPublic Path Orders are formal requests by landowners for diversions made for their own convenience.
IMBA UK will not normally object to Public Path Orders for diversions around properties, farmyards or to field edges, providing the new route is not substantially less convenient to the cyclist.
- Creation and Stopping Up OrdersIMBA UK will support Creation Orders for new bridleways or byways.
IMBA UK will normally object to Stopping Up Orders on current bridleways, byways and unsurfaced unclassified roads.
- Local Access Forums (LAF’s)IMBA UK will encourage mountainbikers to become members of Local Access Forums to represent the views of mountain bikers.
IMBA UK will liaise as appropriate with members of Local Access Forums to advise on the wishes of local mountain bikers.
IMBA UK will encourage members to attend LAF’s as members of the public, and to table written or oral questions on matters of interest to mountain bikers.
- Rights of Way Improvement PlansRights of Way Improvement Plans were introduced as a requirement under the 2000 Countryside and Rights of Way Act. All Highway Authorities must produce a plan, although there is no requirement to implement it.
IMBA UK encourages Highway Authorities to include the following features to improve access for cyclists:
- Identify and develop:
- links to join byways and bridleways to provide a greater choice of route options.
- linear and circular offroad cycling opportunities on the urban fringe to join town and country.
- Consider creation orders to:
- upgrade footpaths to bridleway, cycletrack or restricted byway status.
- provide bridleways, cycletracks or restricted byways alongside linear features such as streams and railways.
- provide bridleways, cycletracks or restricted byways to avoid the necessity to cycle on busy roads.
- Promote offroad cycle routes by:
- providing information in leaflets or websites for promoted family and tougher routes.
- ensuring that all unsurfaced unclassified routes are shown on Landranger / Explorer maps.
- Identify and develop:
- Liaison with other Interested OrganisationsIMBA UK will work with other interest groups through Rights of Way Liaison Groups, and will advise Local Access Forums where appropriate, on items of interest to mountain bikers.
- Mountain Bike EventsIMBA UK encourages the use of the Rights of Way network for events such as Trailquests, enduros and led rides.
IMBA UK strongly urges organisers to avoid conflict with other users and landowners by following the recommendations and code provided in the booklet “Sporting and Challenge Events in the Countryside. Guidelines for Organisers”.
- FootpathsIMBA UK accepts that cycles should not be ridden on footpaths without the consent of the landowner.
IMBA UK considers that when pushing a cycle on a public footpath, the user is in law a pedestrian, and that therefore walking with the cycle is acceptable practice.
IMBA UK recommends that cyclists should nevertheless recognise the sensitivities of walkers and landowners, and use footpaths in groups of no more than three persons.
IMBA UK believes that footpaths should not be used as part of organised MTB events except by permission of the landowner.
- BridlewaysIMBA UK accepts that cyclists must give way to walkers and equestrians.
IMBA UK encourages the diversion of cross field bridleways to field headlands providing the surface vegetation is managed to suppress vegetation which would otherwise impede cycling, or render it unpleasant.
IMBA UK will object to the removal of hedgerows or fencelines which would result in a unploughable field edge route becoming a ploughable cross field route.
IMBA UK believes that bridleways should be protected by the same “no ploughing” status enjoyed by byways.
IMBA UK encourages equestrians to leave a cycle friendly line over poorly drained areas where the surface is otherwise damaged by horse hooves.
- Restricted BywaysIMBA UK believes that Restricted Byways should be protected from ploughing in the same way as byways.
IMBA UK encourages cyclists and others to use the NERC legislation in which use of paths “as of right” will lead to the establishment of a restricted byway.
- Cycle TracksIMBA UK encourages legislation to clarify and improve the Cycle Tracks Act. In particular, IMBA UK considers that Cycle Tracks should be given definitive status.
- Byways Open to All Traffic (BOATs)IMBA UK believes that BOAT status provides the best protection for cyclists, and will therefore support Map Modification Orders claiming BOAT status, and normally object to those seeking to downgrade them.
- Byways Open to All Traffic (BOATs) & Unsurfaced Unclassified RoadsIMBA UK believes that recreational motorised users should avoid damaging routes by causing severe ruts in poorly drained areas. In particular, IMBA UK condemns the use of winches by vehicles on byways or unclassified roads.
IMBA UK believes that where a route is being damaged by motorised recreational users, then the problem should be managed in accordance with the recommendations in “Making The Best of Byways”. In particular, a voluntary approach should be used initially, with Traffic Regulation Orders advocated as a last resort.
- TowpathsIMBA UK believes that all towpaths should be open and without charge for cyclists except where IMBA and BW agree that such use would be unsafe.
IMBA UK will work with British Waterways to identity hazards, and offer appropriate solutions.
IMBA UK is happy to work with fishermen, boaters and walkers to minimise areas of potential conflict.