Highways England to ban cyclists from trunk road

Highways England propose to prohibit cyclists from using the A63 Trunk Road and associated slip roads. An incidental impact of their ban would prevent me from cycling the one mile from my home in Brough, to St Helen’s Church in Welton – where I work. There are dozens of people locally who cycle between Melton, Welton and Brough who will have to find an alternative form of transport.

Welton Junction

The reasons are essentially that cyclists can’t keep up with the traffic flow and that it is dangerous for cyclists and a hazard to road safety.

This is no trivial matter. It opens the door to banning cycling on any road with a National Speed limit. Dual Carriageways may look hazardous, but with their long lines of sight and with two lanes for traffic they can be some of the safest roads to cycle along – if you don’t mind riding in ugly places. Once the precedent has been set, Highways England can respond to any complaint from councils or motorists that ‘slow moving vehicles are a hazard’.

Touring the country by bicycle will be under threat from random prohibition orders wherever some ‘concerned motorist’ thinks that cyclists are a hazard. If you ever wanted to cycle from Lands End to John o’Groats, or from Coast to Coast, or if you ever wanted to ride a bike from one town to the next… it will all be under threat. And then… walking, horse riding and other slow moving vehicles will be prohibited too.

Instead of seeing cyclists as the hazard, why not recognise the genuine hazard – people behind the wheel of a car not driving appropriately to the conditions – or unable to stop in the distance they can see. How about tackling poor driving standards instead of banning people from the freedom to travel.

If this prohibition order worries you, please write to:

Director,
Operations Directorate (Yorkshire & North East),
Highways England,
3rd Floor South,
Lateral,
8 City Walk,
Leeds,
LS11 9AT

Quote Order Title:
“The A63 Trunk Road (North Cave Interchange to Daltry Street Interchange) (Prohibition of Cyclists) Order

Letters must be received by Monday 19th February 2018.

Scanned doc p1

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South Cave Junction

North Cave Junction

These images above have been downloaded and reproduced from social media where they have been widely shared by others to raise awareness and campaign for freedom to cycle. These documents may be inspected by calling into West End News in South Cave or Elloughton Post Office in Elloughton, near Brough – both in the East Riding of Yorkshire.

So how busy is the A63?

Anyone who has driven along in a car will no doubt explain that it is a fast and busy road. But perspective is the key, take yourself out of the car at rush hour, and put yourself beside the road at any other time of day… and then it becomes ‘just another road’.

A63 7am Sunday
A63, 7am on a Sunday morning as I’m making my way to Church for the early service.
A63 8am Sunday
A63 at 8am, on my way home from the early morning service.
A63 8am looking west
A63 also at 8am, looking west with the Sun behind me.
A63 10am Sunday
A63 at 10am on a Sunday morning as I head to church for the principal service
A63 2pm Sunday
While out in the Parish of Welton with Melton at 2pm (Sunday), this is a view of the A63 from the side of the road.
A63 7pm Sunday
On my way home from Evening Prayer at Church, 7pm Sunday night.

There is no denying that the A63 carries a lot of traffic, but it would be unfair to say that the A63 is busy constantly. There are regular rhythms to the traffic and, as a person on a bicycle, there are rhythms to when I might choose to cycle along this road and when I would choose not too. On a Sunday morning in Winter the A63 is gritted and much safer to use than any other road or cycle path. When I’m travelling in a hurry, it is the shortest and quickest route between Welton and Melton.

I still fail to understand why Highways England think that prohibiting cyclists is the right thing to do, it seems as though those in authority can only ever imagine this road at rush hour when ‘common sense’ says cyclists are at high risk. But it isn’t always rush hour, and people who travel by bicycle, like me, are quite competent at assessing risk.

I continue to hope that Highways England will reconsider this anti-cycling initiative and not enforce thier proposed TRO on the A63 in East Yorkshire.

15 Comments

  1. Director,
    Operations Directorate (Yorkshire & North East),
    Highways England,
    3rd Floor South,
    Lateral,
    8 City Walk,
    Leeds,
    LS11 9AT
    24th January 2018

    RE: The A63 Trunk Road (North Cave Interchange to Daltry Street Interchange) (Prohibition of Cyclists) Order

    Dear Director,

    I object to the prohibition of cyclists on the A63 trunk road. Please do not approve this order. I write to you as an experienced cyclist and as a resident of Welton with Melton, the parish that the A63 trunk road passes through.

    My primary form of transport is the bicycle, although I also have twenty-five years’ experience as a motorist and have been a company car driver (covering 45,000 miles each year). I now cycle approximately 6,000 mile a year. Most of my cycling is long distance, between towns, using roads with the National Speed limit. Although I occasionally experience close passes from inattentive motorists, my personal experience is that cycling is not a hazardous activity. I use dual carriageways and, at quiet times of the day, have even used the A63. The long lines of sight and two lanes of traffic travelling in the same direction give me the confidence that I’m visible and safe.

    I object to being prohibited from making my own decision whether to use a public highway or not. The freedom to travel is a precious one and if only those with the money and privilege to do so by car are permitted, then this country will be a poorer place to live.

    I object to being prohibited from using a highway with a legitimate and legal form of transport. I ask that you do not remove my freedom to choose how to travel and do not limit the places I am able to travel freely. I am deeply concerned that this prohibition order will set a precedent, and that I might be prohibited from cycling on any trunk road or road with a National Speed limit, ‘for my own safety’.

    Yours faithfully,
    The Revd Graeme Holdsworth.

  2. The cyclists are not the hazard!

    This is so wrong and setting an awful precedent and will force cyclists on more dangerous roads.

  3. Today, just out of interest really, I cycled along the A63 from Melton to Welton. The cyclepath was strewn with rubbish, mainly rubbish discarded from passing motorists. The road wasn’t busy, and although I was overtaken by trucks and coaches, I had a lot of space and didn’t feel battered. It wasn’t a nice ride – I wouldn’t choose it again, but I wasn’t doing anything wrong.

    However, in the outside lane, I was passed by a 4×4 vehicle towing a trailer – with the front castor wheel bouncing and scraping along the tarmac kicking up sparks.

    It is right to say that driving standards along the A63 are poor – but why not work to solve the problem rather than ban those who’ve done nothing wrong.

    6 cycling accidents in 5 years. But over 270 motoring accidents in the same timeframe according to the crashmap website. Why not lower the speed limit and enforce it with average speed cameras. This dual carriageway runs through villages – why not reduce accidents by enforcing 50 mph?

  4. Phil is waiting for a freedom of Information response from East Riding of Yorkshire Council:

    “Highways England have proposed an order under the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 to prohibit cyclists from using the A63. In the order it is stated that this council support this proposal. My request is to know when this was discussed and the reasons/evidence given to support this position

    Yours faithfully,
    Phil Barnes”

    Read more: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/prohibition_of_cyclist_using_the_2#incoming-1100044

    1. Their response:

      “East Riding of Yorkshire Council supports more cycling, more safely. Consequently, the A63 is not a route we would recommend to either utility or leisure cyclists as safer, alternative routes are available.

      We fully appreciate that Highways England feel compelled to introduce this prohibition in order to resolve safety concerns associated with competitive cycle time trialling on sections of this route and respect the views of our partners at Humberside Police who have had to deal with the consequences of the thankfully small number of tragic incidents which have occurred as a result.

      The A63 is part of the national Strategic Road Network and is recognised for its importance both nationally and internationally. It is the main route into and out of the port facilities in Hull and carries considerable commercial traffic in addition to a growing volume of local vehicles.

      In the East Riding, the A63 is a 70mph dual carriageway with no hard shoulder and has very poor resilience to incidents, which frequently cause considerable delays. There are concerns over the recent safety record of this route, with junction design and overall capacity as key issues.

      We have been discussing with Highways England the long term potential for upgrading the A63 to ‘Expressway’ status to improve its safety and capacity.

      In these circumstances the Council would support Highways England’s proposals and look to work with them to improve alternatives to the A63 for cyclists along this corridor.

      We would like confirmation that the order will not affect overbridges, the cycle facilities already constructed alongside sections of the route or the two way sections of the slip roads at Hessle and North Cave junctions. This appears to be clear in the wording of the order but some of the drawings may need clarification.’

      If you are dissatisfied with the above response or how your request has been handled you can ask for the Council to review this by contacting the Freedom of Information Coordinator on the above telephone number or by email on foi@eastriding.gov.uk within 6 weeks of this letter which is 11 April 2018.

      A senior manager will carry out the review within 10 working days of receipt of your request and provide a response within 20 working days. It will provide a fair and thorough review of the decisions taken and where necessary how your request has been handled.

      If you are not content with the outcome of the review you can apply to the Information Commissioner for a decision. Generally, the Commissioner cannot make a decision unless you have exhausted the Council’s review procedure. The Information Commissioner can be contacted at:

      The Information Commissioner’s Office
      Wycliffe House, Water Lane
      Wilmslow
      Cheshire
      SK9 5AF

      Tel: 0303 123 1113 (local rate) or 01625 545 745 (national rate number)
      Fax: 01625 524 510

      Alternatively email: casework@ico.org.uk.

      Yours sincerely

    1. Humberside Police have responded! They said it costs too much to answer the FOI and are refusing to do so. But they did say, “We believe the Force first stated its opposition to holding cycling events on open public roads, including the A63, a number of years ago.”

      So Humberside Police are opposed to cycling events on the open roads… and in order to stop cyclists using the A63, they want a Traffic Regulation Order making it illegal for anyone to cycle on the A63.

      What happens when Time Trailing moves to the A1079? Will Humberside Police request a TRO there too? This isn’t so much the thin end of the wedge as Humberside Police introducing a new law against cycling through the use of TROs. Thanks Humberside Police.

      Cyclists welcome to Yorkshire! Not.

  5. Writing from afar (Northern Ontario, Canada), but as one who has close relatives who live less than 1 mile from a section of the A63, I have to take note of the details of the prohibition which will block cyclists from using the alternate route. Cyclists will be prohibited from using the overpasses at five intersections which currently allow them to cross above the highway. These include the North Cave intersection, South Cave intersection, the Welton intersection, the Melton-North Ferriby intersection and lastly the A15 Humber Bridge access, where cyclist are allowed to use the sidewalk. The situation further east within the boundaries of Kingston upon Hull is not clear. It even appears that the Wolds Way may be blocked to cyclists at the Melton – North Ferriby interchange, not to mention the segregated bike paths that are both sides of the A63 between the Welton and Melton-North Ferriby interchanges. The one on the north side is followed by a national bike route, and provides a bike route to the South Hunsley School and Sixth Form College.

    If this is about safety someone within the ranks of Highways England has gone to great pains to prevent cyclists using the fairly obvious alternate route, much of which at one time was an earlier course of the A63. This begs the question is the B1230 the real target here, or at least as much as the A63 ? The B1230 starts at Howden, sadly where Emily Norton was killed in late June of 2016. From there it provides a fairly direct route to Beverley and possibly on to Bridlington.

    Traffic volumes available from the DfT relative to the M62 and A63 near the North Cave interchange suggest that a substantial number of HGV’s switch from both these sections of highway to the B1230, according to 2016 possibly as much as 3000 HGV’s per day on average. It is true that there are some commercial greenhouses at Newport just west of this intersection, but the suggested number seems high for just a couple of commercial establishments.

    The obvious question is does someone have a pecuniary interest in preventing all but the shortest bike rides in the area, including the B1230 between Howden and Beverley or beyond ?

  6. Dear Humberside Police and Crime Commissioner,

    Why is it Humberside Police Policy to oppose cycling events on open roads?

    In a recent response to Mr Barnes FOI request regarding Humberside Police support for a 24/7 ban on cycling along the A63 (and associated slip roads), the Information Compliance Officer replied: “We believe the Force first stated its opposition to holding cycling events on open public roads, including the A63, a number of years ago.”

    https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/humberside_police_background_on#outgoing-742390

  7. Is there a list somewhere of all the A-roads that have cycling bans imposed? I’ve searched the web without success. Only recently I discovered that a portion of the A414 (that I use quite often with my velomobile) between Hertford and Welwyn Garden City has a sign banning bikes and horses– ridiculous!

    1. I’m sorry John – I have no idea. Cycling UK might be able to help. I know that a section of the A19 near the Tees flyover has a TRO banning cyclists. Sometimes we don’t spot a ban because we don’t naturally cycle there, it is only when trying to find our way somewhere new that a TRO pops up. It would be nice if the law was changed so that Cycling UK and/or British Cycling had to be contacted when a TRO for cycling is proposed. At the moment the only two organisation that have to be told at the Freight and Road Haulage Associations – like they care if cyclists are banned! 🙁

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