Harrie Larrington-Spencer. Campaigners have welcomed a council U-turn over plans to deploy barriers on walking and cycling routes blighted by the anti-social use of mopeds and off-road motorbikes. Earlier this year, following new government guidance on designing ‘high quality, safe cycle infrastructure’.
This included using measures such as chicanes, bollards and barriers to combat anti-social behaviour on some routes – particularly from those using trials bikes or mopeds. But there was a backlash from campaigners who said this would discriminate against disabled people who use non-standard cycles, wheelchairs and mobility aids by effectively barring them from spaces they have a right to use.
The council initially highlighted the need to ‘balance’ the rights of disabled cyclists with protecting residents from ‘the negative impact of anti-social behaviour, including illegitimate usage of route’. But the policy – signed off at a cabinet meeting this week – has now been significantly redrawn so that ‘there will be a general presumption against the use of access controls on new or upgraded routes’.
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Coun Colin MacAlister, cabinet member for economy and regeneration, told the meeting that ensuring disabled people could use ‘those very important routes’ was at the ‘foremost’ of the council’s thinking. He said: “There was a tendency to block a route to solve a problem and now we are not doing that. We are trying to keep the accessibility open while still trying to address the problems that could have been associated with nuisance and people abusing a particular pathway and route.”
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