Cycling UK calls on council to publish evidence justifying Snake Pass cycling ban

A pair of cyclists ride up the traffic free Snake Pass
A pair of cyclists ride up the Snake Pass while it is motor-traffic free. Photo Stefano Amato
Cycling UK questions Derbyshire County Council actions as they ban cycling and walking without presenting evidence behind their decision
  • Cycling UK says Derbyshire County Council should publish risk assessment of cycling and walking ban on A57 Snake Pass
  • Charity says if no evidence exists, council should open road up again to active travel users
  • Snake Pass closed to road users since landslide on one-mile stretch since 21 February by Derbyshire County Council
  • Copy of letter Cycling UK sent to council available below

Cycling UK has written to the Derbyshire County Council calling for a publication of the risk assessment which would justify banning cycling and walking on the A57 Snake Pass which runs 12 miles from Ladybower Reservoir to Glossop.

In the absence of justifiable risk caused by the state of the road, the charity has also called on the council to re-allow cycling and walking on the A57.

Duncan Dollimore, Cycling UK’s head of campaigns said:

“In the absence of a risk assessment, the council’s banning of people cycling and walking along a motor traffic-free stretch of road is baffling.

“Cycling UK calls on the council to publish their risk assessment justifying the ban, and if there isn’t any, to open up the road to these activities for the enjoyment of families and others once more.”

The council banned motor vehicles, cycling and walking when it put in place a Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) on 21 February 2022 following a series of three slumps along a mile long stretch of the A57, with the exception of local residents.

Initially the council enforced the ban only for motor vehicles. This allowed families and locals to enjoy the traffic-free stretches of the usually busy road where it was still stable and safe.

On 8 March, the council announced via Twitter that it would close the road to all users, except locals and their visitors, saying “there will be an accident involving a vehicle and a cyclist because of the large numbers of cyclists that have taken the opportunity to go out and ride the road."

Cycling UK has questioned such a position given that the council has not put forward such a position previously when the road was open and the motor traffic flow was much heavier.

Mr Dollimore said, “The Snake Pass has always been popular with people cycling, and the lack of cars has only increased its popularity. Bringing in a cycling and walking ban when these activities’ greatest risk – motor vehicles – is significantly reduced does not make sense.

“The council should be looking to manage the greatest risk on the road and taking suitable precautions.

“An outright ban however is not the answer, and should only be considered if the whole 12 miles of the road’s substructure is unsafe, not one small stretch.”

The initial TRO is set to expire on 22 March. Given the necessary remedial works will not have been completed by that date, Cycling UK believes the council will look to extend the TRO keeping the A57 closed.

“If the risk assessment shows there is no danger to walkers and cyclists in using the unaffected stretches of the Snake Pass, Cycling UK would urge Derbyshire County Council to rethink its position,” said Mr Dollimore. “Opening up a wonderful, if temporary asset, can only benefit the whole community’s wellbeing.”

Notes to editors

  1. Cycling UK, the UK’s cycling charity, imagines a world where the streets are free of congestion and the air is clean to breathe, where parents encourage their children to cycle to school and everyone shares the exhilaration of being in the saddle. For more than 140 years, we’ve been making our streets safer, opening up new traffic free routes and inspiring more people to cycle more often.

Press contact information


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