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79 per cent of mountain bikers ride on footpaths

Everyone knows cheeky trails are the sweetest

You may remember we pushed a survey a few weeks ago about Rights of Way. Well nearly 11,500 of you responded and the results are in.

The headline is that 74 per cent of you reckon that current rights of way are unsuitable (and we agree). This means that 79 per cent of us have ridden on footpaths (where, in England and Wales, cycling may be a trespass against the landowner, but is usually not a criminal offence), with 34 percent of us doing it once a week.

But why do we do it? Cycling UK said: “The most common reason given for doing so was “Lack of choice or convenience” (64%), although “To avoid traffic danger” was close behind (52%). Other reasons given were “Regard the law as outdated” (42%), “Bridleways or byways damaged by horses or vehicle tracks” (26%) and “Wasn’t aware of rights of way distinctions” (13%). 18% said they felt bridleways and byways were “too tame.”

Basically, as much as we love bridleways, they simply aren’t adequate for the riding we want to do.

Despite this, there really isn’t much conflict. 49 per cent of riders have never had any conflict. 36 per cent had verbal altercations but that only turned into physical aggression for 2 per cent.

Cycling UK said: “It is clear that many are consciously deciding to ride on footpaths out of frustration with the woefully inadequate rights of way networks currently available to them.”

It seems there’s a real appetite among the community to increase and improve the quality of off-road access. Let’s hope the survey can be used to wake up the powers that be and improve the rights of way legislation.

For a further breakdown of the stats, click here.

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