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Council makes U-turn on “discriminatory” ban on cyclists at recycling centres

Essex County Council says bikes will now be allowed in the facilities and not left at gate

A council has made a U-turn on a ban on cyclists being allowed into its recycling centres after it was widely criticised on social media over the policy, which had been slammed as “discriminatory.”

The ban on cyclists using such facilities in the county had been highlighted on Twitter by disability campaigner 2_Wheeled_Wolf, who lives in Colchester and uses his bike as a disability aid to get around, including when visiting his local recycling centre.

As we reported on Wednesday’s live blog, Essex County Council had said that people using its recycling sites would, from Monday 13 March, have to book in advance – a common practice in many local authority areas.

The council said: “Pedestrians and cyclists carrying waste from their own home are also not required to book.”

But it went on to say that “Cyclists visiting recycling centres are asked to leave their push bikes at the pedestrian gate and should not bring them into the site.”

Justifying its policy, the council added: “There are no cycle paths for them to safely travel on the pedestrian walkways. Please note, any resident that parks outside and attempts to walk waste in will be refused entry.”

> “Discriminatory” council urged to “change car brain mindset” after cyclists banned from entering recycling centres on bikes

That ban has now been reversed, however, with a council spokesperson telling “We welcome residents’ feedback, and we are committed to working with residents in order to get the booking process trial right.

“We have looked into this issue as a priority, and we are pleased to say this guidance has now been amended.

“Cyclists are welcome to use their bikes when visiting our recycling centres and do not need to book.

“As recycling centres are busy operational environments, we advise cyclists to either queue with other vehicles or to dismount and ‘walk’ with their bike on the pedestrian walkways.”


In his criticism of the former policy, 2_Wheeled_Wolf tweeted the council and said: “I suggest you remove this advice, we have every right to cycle into the site like every person driving. It is also discriminatory to those with disabilities or mobility issues as well as those with cargo bikes or trailers."

“I’ve taken refuse to the recycling centre for years without incident like I did last week,” he continued. “I suggest you change your car brain mindset on this as we have to cycle on the roads to get there and there’s no more risk cycling on your sites with drivers.

“Failing to change this and try stop me from accessing the recycling centre, I will seek legal advice on preventing access to a person with a disability using their cycle as a mobility aid.

“Honestly, policies like this shouldn't happen, shouldn't deter people taking refuse to recycling sites by cycles of any sort,” he added. “It should be welcomed and encouraged.”

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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