Ban cycling. Continue to resist the creation of cycling routes.
Some of the options presented in the Epping Forest consultation would significantly affect people who cycle in the forest for fun and/or to get from A to B. The consultation closes on Sunday 4th October and will determine their stance for the next ten years, so if this could affect you please respond before then.
It takes 10 minutes and you need to register, but once that’s done you can skip to section 1.6.A.2 and give your views on their cycling proposals.
The outcome of the consultation will determine the direction for the next decade but the cycling section has distinctly ‘anti bike’ approach. This follows from their current stance of resisting provision being made for cycling despite 10% of forest visitors choosing to cycle.
They start by identifying some of the positives of cycling in the forest:”Cycling has significant health benefits, can be a great social activity, and is a good way to discover the Forest” and “cyclists use the Forest’s quieter roads and trails as a pleasant alternative to urban access routes for their travel needs”. Despite these benefits the consultation is mainly focussed on how to reduce and restrict cycling.
Several of the items being consulted on are very open ended and given their current stance on cycling might well be used to introduce further restrictions. I feel the key proposals are the following:
- Ban bicycles from the Forest in line with all other vehicles
- Continue to resist the release of Forest land for cycling routes to support cycle travel unrelated to the Forest as a visitor destination – This is their policy of resisting the creation of safe and direct cycling routes which would be used for people to travel
- Identify areas of the Forest where restrictions to cycling may be necessary, whether on a temporary or permanent basis, or where current routes and signage can be improved. This is a very vague proposal which could range from putting up a few signs to permanently banning cycling from whole areas of the forest
- Improve communication with cycling groups and other cycling stakeholders to raise awareness of issues and develop practical solutions. Despite listing WFCC as a consulted organisation we heard nothing about this consultation from the City of London
- Identify routes that could be designated as mountain bike trails
- Restrict or ban cycling at night during the deer rut, and enforce rules relating to evening car parking I have no idea why banning cycling during the deer rut is related to whether they enforce their parking restrictions at night.
We need to Epping Forest ensure drops their anti-bike stance and makes proper provision for cycling in order to realise the many benefits, otherwise we may well be looking at cycling being severely restricted or banned.