Seaside cycling: the coast, promenades and sea fronts (England & Wales)

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Seaside Cycling
Seaside Cycling
Headline Messages: 
  • The Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009 (Part 9)  has placed a duty on the Government to create a path for walkers all round the English coast. However, any cycling provision would result only from local negotiations with relevant landowners.
  • While the Wales Coastal Path, opened in May 2012, was primarily developed for walkers, the Assembly Government encouraged the inclusion of cyclists on a number of sections.
  • Currently, only a tiny part of the English coast - 1.5% - is available to cyclists. While the Marine Act may help open up more cycling routes, success will depend heavily on agreements with landowners and, if this is not forthcoming, concerted local pressure.
  • Many councils have opened up promenades and sea fronts to cycling, providing benefits for cycle safety and local tourism. Concerns about conflict with walkers have generally proved to be unfounded. Other councils should seriously consider revoking any bye-laws that prohibit it.
CTC View (formal statement of CTC's policy): 
  • A good proportion of the English and Welsh coast could be safely and beneficially opened up for cycle use.
  • The provisions of the Marine Act are extremely weak in terms of delivering cycle access along the English coast. Ultimately, it still depends on gaining the landowner’s agreement and, as such, on sustained local activity and campaigning.
  • Councils should revoke bans and allow cyclists to use sea fronts and promenades as scenic, traffic-free routes and links for recreational and utility purposes.
  • Segregating cyclists and imposing speed limits on them along sea fronts and promenades is unnecessary: research shows that cyclists modify their behaviour in the presence of pedestrians (e.g. by slowing down, taking avoiding action or dismounting as necessary).
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Publication Date: 
June 2012
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