Bicycles lined up in park
Bicycles lined up in park

How to encourage cycling in parks

Parks offer a lot to cyclists - motor traffic-free riding, green links in towns, a place for children to learn to cycle...and much more. If a park near you isn't persuaded of these benefits and you'd like to get the authorities to re-think - this guide is for you.

Parks are community spaces. They're green and usually pleasant hubs of local enjoyment, fresh air and exercise, especially in built-up areas.

As motor-traffic free areas, parks are often the first choice for parents for family riding and particularly for training youngsters to cycle in the first place. Once children grow more independent, the park may become their favourite place to ride with their friends, and as they progress towards their teenage years, they may well search out some BMX-type challenges – official and unofficial. Then, years later, some of those who thought they'd left their cycling days behind, may be tempted to return and have a few preliminary practice sessions away from it all - in the park.

Parks therefore have the potential to give out positive, encouraging – and hopefully lifelong – messages about cycling. But park cycling is not just about fun and exercise for their own sake - it's about transport and local utility trips too. Paths through parks may provide a welcome, direct and convenient interlude in a cycle-commuting or shopping journey, and may also be an obvious link in a ‘safe routes to school’ network.

This guide is designed to help anyone who wants to persuade a reluctant park authority to open up its gates to cycling.