Remove all access barriers
Access barriers on cycle routes in Rhondda Cynon Taff are designed to prevent motorised access to cycle routes.
However, these barriers also prevent legitimate access, not only to people riding bikes, but also to those who use wheelchairs or other mobility aids. They discriminate against the very people who benefit most from traffic free routes, and for this reason Rhondda Cynon Taf council need to ensure that any access barrier is removed and none are installed in the future, to ensure easy access to traffic free routes for all legitimate users.
- Rhondda Cynon Taff Council
A common feature of cycle routes in Rhondda Cynon Taff is the access barrier. I believe these barriers to have been installed with good intentions, the belief that unauthorised access to cycle paths by motorbikes is a big problem and can be prevented by creating barriers too narrow for motorbikes to get past.
However, this idea is inherently flawed. Some motorbikes can still fit past these barriers, and I have heard from others and witness personally motorbikes getting past these barriers with ease.
The biggest problem with access barriers is that they prevent a large group of legitimate users access to cycle paths. I ride an upright bicycle, and the handlebars are too wide to fit through many access barriers. This makes these cycle paths incredibly difficult for me to access as an able bodied person. Elderly or disabled cyclists would have no possible way of accessing many of the cycle paths in Rhondda Cynon Taff, the only places in the county that can be cycled on safely due to the hostile environment presented by the roads.
The barriers also discriminate against disabled users by blocking access to vehicles designed to aid mobility, and also prevent access by pushchairs and tricycles, among others.
In my opinion it would be very easy to legally challenge these barriers under disability and active travel legislation. However it shouldn't have to come to that. It is clear that these barriers are not, and have never been fit for purpose, and it is time for all access barriers in Rhondda Cynon Taff to be removed completely.
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