Warning that cycling could be banned if people don’t ride responsibly this weekend

‘Make sure bikes continue to be seen to be part of the solution to this crisis’ – Chris Boardman

British Cycling has warned that the ‘privilege’ of riding a bike could be removed if people fail to observe instructions on social distancing this weekend.

In an open letter(link is external) published on Friday night, British Cycling CEO Julie Harrington said it was “heartening” that the Government had so far protected people’s right to ride a bike, but warned that this must not be taken for granted.

Government advice on staying at home currently lists as an exception, “one form of exercise a day, for example, a run, walk, or cycle – alone or with members of your household.”

It goes on to say that, “even when doing these activities, you should be minimising time spent outside of the home and ensuring you are 2 metres apart from anyone outside of your household.”

Despite this, some have undertaken group rides or arranged to meet friends midway through a ride. Others have used their daily ride to cover great distances, arguing that the guidelines don’t specify a time limit.

Daily exercise rules: current cycling dos and don’ts

Harrington said: “People on bikes were not the only culprits in last weekend’s mass dash to the outdoors but, despite strong guidance from ourselves and others, too many chose to ignore the Prime Minister’s instructions on social distancing, continuing to ride in groups and meet in cafes for a mid-ride chat.

“This isn’t just irresponsible, it is putting people’s lives at risk. A repeat of that this weekend risks further Government measures to take away the privilege of riding a bike for all of us and now more than ever, it is not one we can afford to lose.”

Greater Manchester’s cycling commissioner, Chris Boardman, urged people to, “make sure bikes continue to be a part of the solution to this crisis, and are seen to be part of the solution.”  

After highlighting key workers’ use of bikes for essential journeys, he said: “For the rest of us, [bikes] are a way to go and get supplies, take essential exercise and, crucially, give us a mental break each day, helping us ensure prolonged isolation is actually sustainable.

“But for bikes to remain a force for good and help us get through this, this is how it’s got to work: only ride alone or with people that you live with and stay at least two metres away from anybody that you meet. Do not, under any circumstances, ride in a group.

“As per government instructions, only go out once [to exercise] each day. And finally, be sensible. Only ride on routes that you know well and that are well within your ability.”

He advised people to, “obey these rules as if your life, and the lives of others, depend on it – because they do.”

STATEMENT ABOUT CORONAVIRUS AND THE SUSPENSION OF CSH ACTIVITIES – updated 24/03/2020

The committee has been closely monitoring advice regarding the coronavirus/COVID 19 situation. [click for more info]

Cycling UK  was updated on 23rd March 2020 

British Cycling was updated on 23rd March 2020

Cycling UK state:

This means it remains advisable for people to cycle for their health, fitness and well-being, but in line with our previous guidance, you should only do this alone or with members of your household unless any of them have reason to self-isolate.

Under no circumstance should you cycle or take part in any cycling activity in groups.

This is critical to stop the coronavirus disease spreading between households.

updated 24/03/2020 – Cycle Seahaven Secretary

Suspension of CSH activities

The committee has been closely monitoring advice regarding the coronavirus/COVID 19 situation.

Cycling UK and British Cycling have today issued press releases suspending cycling activities initially until April 30. This includes recreational riding as well as events. 

Cycling UK state ‘As a result of this revised guidance, Cycling UK has taken the decision to ask all its member and affiliate groups not to run any group activities, including club runs or events.

This is in line with advice from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the UCI, with the aim of ensuring the maximum protection of people across the world’.

It is therefore with regret that Cycle Seahaven is suspending all of its activities pending updated information to the contrary.

Please note that Cycling UK within the same press release also state ‘However, people should not avoid cycling altogether as it remains a great way to keep fit and active and is a good way to boost immunity.’

We leave you to make an informed decision on whether to ride or not. If you choose to do so we would recommend:

1. If riding with others you keep groups as small as possible and ride with at least 10-foot gaps between riders.

2. You avoid café’s, pubs in line with current government advice.

3. You ride less technically challenging routes to avoid the risk of crashing or injury that may place an unnecessary burden on the NHS.

The committee is exploring ways of utilising club resources to support those vulnerable members in our communities. Further updates to follow.

Look after yourselves and hopefully, normal service will be resumed in the not-too-distant future.

All the best,

The Cycle Seahaven Committee.

Save your trails before they are lost for good

Over 10,000 miles of paths across England and Wales are at risk of being lost forever unless we make an effort to put them on the map. Cycling UK campaigns officer Sophie Gordon explains how we can save them before they disappear.

Whether you use them for riding, running or walking the dog, our public paths are a gateway to adventure – a way to take time out, connect with nature and explore new places. They bring to life our history and heritage, your path could be an old Roman road or a way used by pilgrims to travel to church. 

However, many of these routes that have been used for centuries aren’t officially recorded on the map, and if they aren’t added by the cut-off date of 2026, they could be lost forever. 

Identifying and recording these lost ways is a huge task, but by combining efforts with individuals and groups all over the country, you can help make sure they are put on the map. 

The clock is ticking 

The Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 (CRoW Act) brought in several improvements to public access, like allowing open access on foot on some areas of land and promoting strategic planning of rights of way networks. It also introduced a cut-off date of January 2026 for any rights of way created before 1949 to

be added to the definitive map (the legal record of public rights of way), so the public right to use them would be officially recognised. If these historic paths are not recorded, the legal right to use them will be extinguished in 2026. 

Find out more about how we got to this point. 

Many historic paths may be in frequent use by the public already, but as they are not recorded as rights of way, the landowner is able to close them off at any time. Others might be forgotten and overgrown, but could potentially be a useful route. 

This is particularly significant for off-road cycling and horse riding due to the fragmented nature of the bridleway network. There are many places where adding historic rights of way to the map could form a crucial link between existing rights of way. 

There are other cases where rights of way were incorrectly recorded as footpaths but actually carry higher rights, for example where they were previously used as a road for horses and carriages. Making sure these are recorded correctly could open up more rights of way for cycling.

Adding rights of way to the map 

Proving that a right of way exists involves gathering evidence from historic maps. Any route shown on old maps as a public road or bridle path that doesn’t appear on current Ordnance Survey maps could be a contender. 

Ever spotted one of those odd bridleways that suddenly turn into a footpath at a parish boundary? Chances are the footpath was incorrectly recorded when the council first produced their definitive map, and actually carries higher rights. 

The more evidence you can find to support your claim, the greater the chance of success. Once you’ve gathered all your evidence, you can put in an application to the local authority for a Definitive Map Modification Order (DMMO). 

Then sit back and pat yourself on the back, but don’t hold your breath – councils have a large backlog of applications and some take years to go through. 

Help and resources 

Researching historic rights of way may seem like a bit of an undertaking, but the British Horse Society and Ramblers have produced some great information and online tools to help steer you through and make life easier.  

Rather than reinventing the wheel, we’ve gathered all the resources here in one place so they are easy to find. 

Changing the status of rights of way

Cycling UK’s briefing is a good place to start for an overview of the processes for recording and upgrading rights of way.

British Horse Society – Project 2026 

  • BHS’s Project 2026 is designed to help groups and individuals start researching and recording lost rights of way, and is as relevant for cyclists as it is for horse riders.  
  • Their Project 2026 toolkit is an excellent place to start for a step-by-step guide to researching historic routes. 
  • Once you’re ready to dive in, there is also a more detailed guide with everything you could wish to know about doing the research and making the application. 
  • To share information and avoid duplicating efforts, BHS has created a mapping tool to help gather evidence and mark routes that an application has been made for. 
  • Financial support is available to recover any costs incurred in researching and making an application, and there are also training sessions for a systematic approach to researching historic rights of way. Both of these are available for anyone researching lost routes, not just BHS members. 

The man behind all of this is Will Steel, BHS’ 2026 project manager. He told us why it is so essential that these routes are protected: 

“Project 2026 is so important as it could be our last chance to safeguard thousands of rights of way that will otherwise be lost at the cut-off date of 1 January 2026.  

“Protecting these routes will help people to get out and about – on a horse or bike, driving a carriage or walking – and experience the natural environment avoiding the ever-busier road network.   

“The missing routes can often be key links in the minor highway network that also provide an opportunity to meet wider objectives around active and sustainable travel. I would really encourage anyone interested to get involved before it is too late.” 

Ramblers – Don’t Lose Your Way campaign 

Jack Cornish, Don’t Lose Your Way programme manager, explained his passion for lost rights of way and why you should get involved:  

“Our paths are one of our most precious assets. They connect us to our landscapes, and to our history and the people who formed them over the centuries.  

“If we lose our paths, a little bit of our past goes with them. This is our only opportunity to save thousands of miles of rights of way and time is running out.  

“Joining our group of citizen geographers is a really easy way to help and by doing so, you’ll become part of the movement that puts these paths back on the map for generations to come.” 

What’s the significance of 2026?

The National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949 placed a legal requirement on all local authorities in England and Wales to create a definitive map of public rights of way in their area. This process took a long time (decades in some cases), and many rights of way were left off or incorrectly recorded.

The Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 aimed to create some certainty by defining a date when the definitive maps would be deemed ‘complete’ and no more historic rights of way could be added. This was set as 1 January 2026. Any rights of way that existed before 1949 but have not been added to the definitive map by then will be extinguished and the public right to use them will be lost.

In 2001 the Government set up the Discovering Lost Ways project as a systematic research programme to ensure that the definitive maps would be fully complete by the cut-off date. However, the lengthy bureaucracy involved with processing claims for historic rights of way meant that six years later the project was deemed unviable, having not achieved very much in the time since. So the task of researching lost ways and submitting claims was left to volunteers.

The Deregulation Act 2015 was designed to make the process simpler, but five years later it still hasn’t been brought into effect. 

Cyclist settles case for £30,000 after hitting pedestrian who was looking at phone

Cyclist faced threat of ruinous legal costs despite judge ruling both parties equally to blame.

A cyclist who knocked over a woman who was looking at her mobile phone while crossing a road and was then threatened with financially ruinous legal costs has settled the case.

Both the cyclist, Robert Hazeldean, a garden designer, and the pedestrian, Gemma Brushett, who works in finance and also ran yoga retreats, were left unconscious after the rush-hour collision in July 2015.

Last year a judge ruled that both were equally to blame for the accident on a busy junction near London Bridge, but only Brushett was entitled to a payout because she had put in a claim and Hazeldean had not.

The case exposed how vulnerable uninsured cyclists are to expensive civil claims if they are involved in accidents.

Brushett’s lawyers had claimed costs of £112,000 – a sum that would have left Hazeldean facing bankruptcy since he was uninsured. The claim prompted Hazeldean’s supporters to set up a GoFundMe appeal that raised more than £59,000 from more than 4,000 people.

On Monday, Hazeldean tweeted that he had now agreed to settle the case for £30,000 on top of damages of £4,300 and his own costs of more than £25,000. The final settlement still left him £2,979 out of pocket, but avoided the financial ruin he feared last year.

In an email to the Guardian, Hazeldean said: “It’s not the result I was hoping for, but everything was spiralling and the risk of being bankrupted regardless of the outcome was too high. I felt I didn’t really have a choice.”

He wanted to settle the case for less and donate any surplus from the GoFundMe appeal to the charity ActionAid UK.

Hazeldean said he felt no bitterness towards Brushett, but was angered by the compensation system.

He said that because he decided against making a counter-claim against Brushett, he had no means of recovering his own costs. Under a system introduced in 2013 called “qualified one-way cost shifting”, if someone involved in accidents does not put in a counter-claim, they can be liable to pay damages and legal costs.

If Hazeldean had been insured, Brushett’s lawyers could have claimed a maximum of only £6,690 in costs.

Hazeldean said the support he had received had been “incredibly touching”, adding: “I was struck by how many said it could easily have been them. Not just that they could be involved in an accident, but that they could have spent four hellish years being dragged inexorably towards bankruptcy.”

He said the compensation system “desperately needs reforming” and in the meantime, he urged cyclists to insure themselves.

Cycle Seahaven is an affiliated member of Cycling UK. They provide various cycle insurance packages

Department for Transport pledges £21 million to improve the National Cycle Network in England

Sustrans is excited to announce that the UK Government have pledged an incredible £21 million to improve significant on and off-road stretches of the National Cycle Network.

Money will be put towards many of the England activation projects, working with partners across England, and especially Highways England (who they already work with on the Network) and around the HS2 corridor.

Their vision for the Network is a good one, and a timely one. The Network is an asset for all our nations and regions.

They have set their stall out with honesty and rigour, and provided a clear plan of what they would like to do – not by themselves, but by working with others.

So it’s great to see this approach lead to investment. The Network has attracted considerable investment in Scotland, but it’s been a struggle to get traction in England for some years.

They are now in a position to fund more activation projects and explore new opportunities. They’ll also be looking to attract investment for improvements in Wales, London and Northern Ireland.

You can read more about this investment and what it means for Sustrans and the National Cycle Network on their website.

 

‘Cyclists Dismount’ Signs

by Dave Sutton

Cyclists Dismount: Newhaven Railway Crossing

Occasionally when cycling you may come across signs like this. Do you know the differing legal status between them? Conflict with other users of the path can arise, due to lack of understanding of the legal status of such signs.

Although The Highway Code shows many of the signs commonly in use, a comprehensive explanation of our roads signing system is given in the Department of Transport’s booklet “Know Your Traffic Signs”, which is available to view online and on sale at booksellers. The booklet also illustrates and explains the vast majority of signs the road user is likely to encounter.

Page 9 of the Know Your Signs booklet states;

“Blue circles generally give a mandatory instruction, such as “turn left”, or indicate a route available only to particular classes of traffic, e.g. buses and cycles only.”

“Red rings or circles tell you what you must not do, e.g. you must not exceed 30 mph, no vehicles over the height shown may proceed.”

 “Blue rectangles are used for information signs except on motorways where blue is used for direction signs”  

The “Know your Traffic Signs” booklet, will include the words  “Must or Must Not” if there is a legal requirement to observe a traffic sign.

On page 36 of the Know Your Signs booklet is the Cyclists Dismount sign with the wording Pedal cyclists to dismount at end of, or break in, a cycle lane, track or route”

So by not including the words “Must or Must Not” on the cyclists dismount blue rectangular sign, the implication is that the sign is for information only, unlike the red Circle “Cycling Prohibited” which is mandatory.

The likely legal interpretation  of the Blue Cyclists Dismount signs are clarified on Cycling UK’s website which states; 

No Cycling sign: Martello Tower, Seaford Seafront

The legal status of a ‘cyclists dismount’ sign depends on the type of sign. Where there is a ‘cyclists dismount’ sign with a bicycle in a red circle, the instructions are mandatory under s.36 of the Road Traffic Act 1988. If not, the signs are advisory and there is no legal obligation to follow them. They may, however, signal a significant increase in the risk of danger, so this does not mean they can be safely ignored. A failure to dismount could be taken into account if there were a collision. When considering the rights of the police to fine road users, it is also worth remembering that the police can fine a road user for anti-social behaviour. In some situations, this could justify fining a cyclist for riding through a ‘cyclists dismount’ sign”.

Cyclists Dismount: Newhaven Swing Bridge

So why are the signs there on both the bridge and the railway crossing you may well ask? Well, that’s because like all things that are controlled by Government, there is of course a standard to which road signs are placed.

 

The law for traffic sign placement is contained in the Statutory Instrument (SI) “2016 No. 362 ROAD TRAFFIC The Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 2016”

This legislation details the legal status of such signage, page 205 of the SI shows the cyclists dismount sign and the cyclists rejoin carriageway sign in two variants along with the wording “Diagram 966 Pedal cyclists to rejoin main carriageway or dismount at the end of, or at a break in, a cycle track or route”

The Traffic Signs Manual is a UK government publication on traffic signs giving guidance on the above SI to Highway Authorities. Chapter 3 page 155 para 17.37 it states.

“The sign to diagram 966 (CYCLISTS DISMOUNT) may be used together with the sign to diagram 965, or on its own. The sign should be provided only where cyclists are required to use a pedestrian crossing facility that they cannot legally cycle on, at the entrance to a pedestrian area, at a location with a low headroom or width restriction (e.g. a subway or bridge) or at places where visibility is restricted to such an extent that cycling would be unsafe (see also para 5.8)”.

On that basis the Cyclists Dismount signs at the Newhaven Swing Bridge, would appear to be denoting the end of the shared use path where it becomes the bridge.

If the path at the side of the bridge is a footway, and not a cycle route, then of course cycling on it is illegal in contravention of the Section 72 of Highway Act 1835.

The legal status of riding on the pavement across the river bridge is unknown, as the footbridge is not defined as a public right of way on ESCC Rights of Way map. So in conclusion, the signs on Newhaven Swing Bridge are not a mandatory dismount for cyclists, however cycling across the bridge may be depending on the status of the pavement. As such this is very confusing.

Tour of Britain – Motorcycle Escort Video

Cycle Seahaven member Eon Matthews is also a member of the National Escort Group GB. Eon has escorted all 11 Tour of Britain cycle races, and was amazed when he found out the tour was coming through his home town. Eon has compiled footage of Stage Seven of the ToB which came through his hometown of Seaford, which you can view on YouTube using this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iy0rIZEq0Nk

Eon gives us an insight to being part of National Escort Group GB:
” It is honestly a hard week although some would say what is hard about riding a motorcycle on closed roads escorting cyclists,  staying in 5* hotels and getting paid for it?  Well you have got to have your wits about you. Over the years I have had car doors open on me,  pedestrians walking out on me,  being cut up by the team cars and trying to get through the peloton to name a few,  as well as getting to the start up to 1 hour before the race of over 100 miles,  then onto the next hotel which can be over 4 hours it is a long day in the saddle –  but I wouldn’t change it.

How we get picked is done by our regional coordinators. Every weekend during the season we are the safety bikes for local road race leagues and we have to do x amount to be in line for being picked. You also need to be a level one rider (level 3 being trainee) or possibly level 2 depending on how experienced you are.

The other good thing was that I could pick up the cakes for the Escort team as I was passing through.  This has become a sort of tradition that whenever we go through one of the members towns they supply the cakes for the rest of the team. Normally we have Welsh cake as one of our member’s wife normally bakes them, but we were not going no near his town so it was my turn.

I believe that the tour is looking to come back into sussex again which would be good.”

 

 

 

Helmet cams and police evidence

With the reduction in price and weight of helmet cameras we are seeing more and more evidence of ‘questionable’ road use being posted to such sites as YouTube and Vimeo. At Cycle Seahaven’s meeting with our Police and Crime Commissioner (Katy Bourne) we were advised that cyclists DO NOT publish video evidence of aggressive and dangerous behaviour. Instead, such evidence should be reported to your local policing team. Online publishing of such video evidence makes it very hard for police to pursue a case.

Be polite and be safe.