Muir urges authorities to sort out No Cycling shambles

Photograph of signage erected by North Down Borough
Council outlining how pedestrians and cyclists should
share the path
Over the last few years substantial monies have been spent upgrading sections of the North Down Coastal Path to safely accommodate cyclists and pedestrians alike. Legislation hasn’t unfortunately been updated and it is still technically illegal to cycle on the path despite signage to the contrary outlining how pedestrians and cyclists should share the path.

The entire situation is a shambles and has been allowed to rumble on for far too long. 

The authorities responsible need to move up a gear and put the wheels in motion towards a speedy resolution. 

Every time I cycle on the path I fear that I may be branded a criminal due to the inaction of others.

A recent Assembly Question posed by another cycling supporter East Belfast Alliance MLA Chris Lyttle exposed the fact that the matter has been stuck in bureaucracy since October last year. Two government departments and North Down Borough Council are responsible for resolving the situation with the Department for the Environment waiting on legal opinion”.

In order to resolve this farce I urge all responsible authorities to get together without delay and release the brakes they have applied for far too long on this issue.

Assembly Question asked by East Belfast Alliance MLA Chris Lyttle below;

Written Answer AQW 9153/11-15
No-Cycling By-Laws in the North Down Borough Council Area

To ask the Minister of the Environment for an update on the process to amend the No-Cycling By-Laws in the North Down Borough Council area.

The bye-laws that currently regulate cycling in the district of North Down are the Pleasure Ground Bye-laws, which were confirmed jointly by this Department and the Department of Education in 1995. The 1995 bye-laws regulate cycling only in relation to pleasure grounds designated by the Council and listed in the Schedule to those bye-laws.

North Down Borough Council has indicated its intention to replace the 1995 bye-laws with a new set of Bye-laws for Pleasure Grounds, Public Walks and Open Spaces. The proposed bye-laws will include provision to regulate cycling in designated areas, as well as other matters such as horses and animals, field sports and games, camping, trading, and the use of metal detectors. The bye-laws will need confirmation by this Department and the Department for Culture, Arts and Leisure, which has lead responsibility for one of the enabling powers under which the bye-laws are to be made.

Following advice from the Department, the Council submitted a re-drafted set of bye-laws, together with supporting information, on 27 October 2011.

Officials have scrutinised this draft and are currently awaiting further comment from Departmental Solicitor’s Office, which is expected shortly. This will be conveyed to the Council at the earliest opportunity.

When the bye-laws have been agreed by all parties involved, the Council will be required, by section 91 of the Local Government Act (Northern Ireland) 1972, to advertise the bye-laws in two newspapers circulating in the locality, and to make copies available for public inspection, in its offices, at least one month before submitting them for confirmation.