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

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Seaside Cycling
There are ample opportunities for more cycling routes by the coast
Headline Messages: 
  • Although primarily for walkers, England’s new coastal path could also help open up more cycling routes. This needs support from landowners and, if necessary, pressure from local people. 
  • Many councils have opened up promenades and sea fronts to cycling to the benefit of cycle safety and local tourism. Concerns about conflict with walkers have generally proved to be unfounded, but good design can make a difference.
Key facts: 
  • The Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009 (Part 9) placed a duty on the Government to create a path for walkers all round the English coast.
  • Only around 5% of the legally secure and satisfactory path available on the English coast is designated as multi-user cycle path or public bridleway. Most of it (70%) is public footpath.
  • While the Wales Coast Path, opened in May 2012, was primarily developed for walkers, the Assembly Government encouraged the inclusion of cyclists on a number of sections. Around one third of it is available for cycling.
Cycling UK View (formal statement of Cycling UK'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, motor 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 most cyclists modify their behaviour in the presence of pedestrians (e.g. by slowing down, taking avoiding action or dismounting as necessary).
Download full campaigns briefing: 
Publication Date: 
May 2017

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