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Minority Report……

April 23, 2010


Motorcycling on Green Roads - Not off road riding!

Liskeard, England – Still undecided who to vote for and considering the options from a motorcycling perspective?

Well then consider the plight of the real UK biking minority the trail riders. I’m not talking about the cretins who give everyone a bad name by riding around the countryside on illegal bikes with total disregard for the environment and other people. It’s the people who enjoy the informal recreational activity that involves exploring un-surfaced public roads on road legal motorcycles I’m concerned with.

People take for granted that because trail riders use un-surfaced routes that they are off-road, this is not the case. Trail riding is only legal on public vehicular highways. There is no general right of vehicular access to the countryside in the UK. Using a motor vehicle on private land, without the express permission of the owner is actually a criminal offence.

The ‘Right to Roam’ is a phrase often referred to by organisations such as the Ramblers Association and other ‘land access’ pressure groups. In fact the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 (CRoW) and the Natural Environment & Rural Communities (NERC) Act 2006, which enshrine ‘Right to Roam’, have seriously affected the ability of trail riders to ‘roam’. Its is the case that when it comes to ‘rights’ and ‘roaming’ legal trail riders have been pushed to the margins.

Harassed by police, well-meaning but ill-informed members of the public and County Rights of Way Officers, only too delighted to impose Traffic Regulation Orders banning riders from yet another unclassified road or byway open to all traffic.

How did we get here? In the run up to the NERC Act in 2004/05 Ministers for Rural Affairs Alun Michael and Jim Knight both support the ‘Framework for Action’ proposals for the use of mechanically propelled vehicles on rights of way. This was a ‘tread lightly’ approach to the use of vehicles in the countryside including ideas on vehicle specifications and the licensing of access to over used routes, the key message was co-operation among all users. In the event and under pressure from back bench MP’s from both sides of the House of Commons the then Minister Jim Knight backed away from the ‘Framework’ proposals allowing the antis free rein to introduce the NERC Act.

One of the protagonists in lobbying MP’s to support the NERC Act was the Green Lane Environmental Action Group (GLEAM).  Sometimes called the Country Land and Business Association in disguise. GLEAM is supported by royalty and peopled by the 5% of the population that own 95% of the land. It’s a brave lobbyist who takes on this lot. But taken on they were during 2004/06 by a group of unsung unrecognised trail riding ‘taliban’ formed from the Trail Riders Fellowship and the British Motorcyclists Federation. A one-sided, some said ‘class war’, fight at the outset GLEAM’s limitless funding, tactics of black propaganda and simple joining all MP’s to their Group led to a defeat for the riders. But these where people who not only walked the walk but talked the talk and still fart in the general direction of GLEAM.

So what’s this to do with voting? A surprising number of MP’s standing for re-election are still GLEAM members. Thus it’s a worthwhile exercise to ask your prospective parliamentarian if he/she has been GLEAMED! If the answer is yes, consider that this person supported the Act that affected fellow rider’s rights to the countryside and could affect yours. Remember tarmac roads in some of the UK’s best riding country i.e. our National Parks are a mere Traffic Regulation Order away from closure to you.

More on the Trail Riders Fellowship here….

© Back Roads Rider 2010

2 Comments leave one →
  1. June 13, 2010 9:46 pm

    What next? The right to steal!
    Dispicable communist nonsense


  1. Anonymous

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