Peak District: motorcyclists call for greater access to routes

Motorcyclists are calling for greater access to iconic Peak District routes.
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As it stands, trail-riders are only allowed access to around two per cent of Peak District pathways.

This marks a smaller proportion of routes compared to the mid 2000s: since when local authorities have been ‘regrading’ bridleways.

Now the Association of Peak Trail Riders is calling for increased rights of way – but the Peak District National Park Authority (PDNPA) says they have to strike a difficult balance.

Andrew Richardson (right) is co-founder of the Association of Peak Trail RidersAndrew Richardson (right) is co-founder of the Association of Peak Trail Riders
Andrew Richardson (right) is co-founder of the Association of Peak Trail Riders

Andrew Richardson, co-founder, said the association was “completely against” illegal and antisocial motorcycle use and that the group was often tarnished by the actions of “mindless yobs”.

The 54-year-old said: “There’s a common misconception from walkers that we aren’t allowed to be on the paths: at each end of the lane it says ‘by-lane open to all traffic’ but it’s not clearly signed across the route that the public may encounter motorcycles."

Andrew argued that the increased use of traffic regulation orders (used to restrict the use of pathways by motorcycles) would make no difference to those riding illegally and would simply deter responsible riders.

He said: “As a group we contribute to the rural economy - we stop and have coffees along the way and of course what do people think our bikes run on - fresh air? If the Peak District isn’t for everybody to enjoy then I don’t understand what it is for.

“We are completely against illegal riding but the council does need to provide an area for people to ride legally. It’s frustrating because we are responsible and putting a sign up is only going to restrict our rights of way - not anyone that is riding illegally and then that is just going to cause further frustration for locals.”

A PDNPA spokesperson said: “Off-road motorcycling, when undertaken legally, is just one of a huge number of ways the Peak District can be enjoyed and enable the boost to wellbeing offered by protected landscapes including our National Parks.

“However, it is important these activities are carefully balanced against the special qualities of our National Parks and formal closures such as Traffic Regulation Orders (TROs) are in place to safeguard these valued places; especially where damage could result from such activities through sustained use.”