Councils will no longer have to ask Whitehall for permission to scrap bylaws banning cycling on pavements and through parks, according to the Telegraph.
The aim is to make towns more ‘bike friendly’ and encourage people to cycle to work.
According to the Telegraph, ministers feel that many ‘would-be commuters’ are put off by being forced onto busy roads and highways where they feel they are at risk from traffic.
However, the Telegraph report says that making it easier for cyclists to use areas normally reserved for pedestrians could raise fears that ‘lycra louts’ will pay scant attention to those on foot.
RoSPA gave the move a cautious welcome, saying: “We want to see more people cycling. But where there is shared space they have to make sure there is enough room for pedestrians.”
Some councils have already changed their bylaws to open up more paths for cyclists, but Grant Shapps, the local government minister, wants to make it easier for more to follow suit. “I want to make sure they can cycle in safety and where appropriate use local parks, promenades and public spaces, but all too often unnecessary, unwanted and outdated bylaws instead force them onto nearby busy roads,” he said.
“We hope this will lead to a lot more cycle paths. Amazingly, at the moment, it needs a minister to sign off scrapping a bylaw, I think we can trust the locals.”
Robert Gifford, executive director of PACTS, said: “What we want to achieve is more people cycling more safely. Fear of traffic is one factor that prevents reluctant cyclists from starting in the first place.
“What is also important is to encourage shared use and shared understanding. For cyclists and pedestrians to share space successfully, there needs to be common expectations and mutual courtesy.”
Click here to read the full Telegraph report.