York’s cycle routes repeatedly breach disability laws, a new report says.
The York Cycle Campaign analysis identifies more than 30 instances of cycle infrastructure in the city which do not comply with the Equality Act 2010.
The campaign says that if City of York Council does not step into gear and rectify the problems, they could take legal action.
Campaigners say this could end up with the council having to pay as much as £50,000 for every person that pursues action via the small claims court.
The report, Inclusive & Disability Cycling in York, details non-compliant infrastructure across York and recommends many types of disabled-friendly cycle infrastructure that the city could adopt.
York Cycle Campaign says: “York proclaims itself ‘a cycling city’ and proudly claims ‘York has an extensive network of off-road cycle paths and on-road cycle lanes for cyclists of all ages and abilities to enjoy’ but this is simply not the case.
“The report highlights multiple barriers that disabled cyclists face in York, including physical barriers, narrow and dangerous cycle lanes and lethal junctions.”
According to the report’s authors, when faced with legal action in the past York council has chosen to simply continue with this discrimination and offer complainants out of court settlements.
Earlier this year the council was challenged over the inaccessible nature of the barriers at the entrance to Hob Moor.
The council chose to pay an out of court settlement but leave the barriers in place, “leaving themselves open to repeated claims in the future”.
The report’s author, John Skelton, has considered legal action but would prefer to work with the council to see illegal barriers removed.
John said: “York has a poor recent record for disability discrimination, removing Blue Badge parking and access to the city centre and even barring disabled councillors from meetings.
“Failure to address these issues is an embarrassment to our city and risks long-term reputational damage as well as costly legal action.
“We call on City of York Council to work with us and adopt the simple actions identified in our report to redress this discrimination against York’s disabled residents.”
‘We welcome this report’
Neil Ferris, corporate director of economy and place at City of York Council, said: “We are aware of locations in the city where current barriers, in many cases installed many years ago, present a serious obstacle for some disabled users and riders of some types of modern adapted cycles to use.
“Many of these barriers were installed to address specific safety concerns at the time and will need careful consideration before removal or adaptation.
“Specifically the Hob Moor barriers were put in place to provide access to pedestrians, cyclists and disabled users whilst securing livestock on the moor and preventing access by motorcycles/mopeds.
“However following the recent complaint the council, like the cycling campaign was concerned about disabled cyclists accessibility and has allocated a £100K budget to improve cycling accessibility across the city and this will include changes to the Hob Moor barriers.
As part of the city-wide programme of improvements we will be in consultation with organisations such as the York Cycle Campaign to review all similar locations and prioritise and implement appropriate improvements.
“We therefore welcome the comprehensive report which Mr Skelton has prepared on behalf of York Cycle Campaign. The insight generated from the report will help us with our programme to improve accessibility for disabled cyclists.
“The council designs all new schemes to be as accessible as possible, taking account of the constraints at a particular location. These designs are progressed through a Road Safety Audit process to ensure that they are safe in operation.”