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Updated: Parish council in Cheshire takes down sign telling cyclists to stay away after reading road.cc readers' comments

Little Bollington Parish Council admits "that we got it wrong"...

A parish council in Cheshire that put up a sign urging cyclists to stay away to avoid spreading coronavirus has taken it down after reading the comments about it on an article published here on road.cc yesterday (Saturday).

In an email sent to road.cc, Little Bollington Parish Council said: 

We have read the comments on  road.cc website and accept that we got it wrong. The signs in Little Bollington have now been removed. We as a community welcome anyone who wishes to visit or pass through our village. We would ask that everyone ensures they respect social distancing. We want everyone to be safe during these difficult times, villagers and visitors alike.  

This article was updated at 2220 hours on 19 April 2020. The original article, published at 1527 hours on 18 April 2020, appears in full below. More on this on our live blog tomorrow.

A parish council in Cheshire has put up signs instructing cyclists to “stay in your local area” because of the coronavirus. Fully embracing misinformation, the sign then states that “infringements will be prosecuted.”

We’ve had any number of reports of overzealous community policing of cyclists in recent weeks. The latest comes from Little Bollington near Dunham Massey in Cheshire.

A road.cc reader told us they’d had a chat with the folks putting up the sign, telling them they were driving a wedge between people and that none of what is on the sign is enforceable.

“They were very angry about being challenged,” they said.

Current lockdown guidelines are that you can exercise outside. So long as you ride alone or with members of your household, cycling is very much permitted.

With regards to staying local, it’s worth pointing out that Crown Prosecution Service guidance states that it is lawful to drive somewhere to go for a walk, just so long as you spend longer exercising than driving.

Being as cycling is a form of exercise as well as a form of travel, you're surely on even safer ground.

Here’s our guide for how to be a responsible cyclist during the coronavirus pandemic.

There have been similar reports from up and down the country. (Our favourite sign is still the “Cyclists, stop panting viruses through our village” one from earlier in the week.)

The BBC reports that some residents of Bradwell in the Hope Valley are taking issue with people riding there from Sheffield, arguing they "pose a threat" to residents.

Iain Greenhalgh said: "We're living out in the Peak District, and the thing that's become apparent in this lockdown is all the groups that use it – hill walkers, trail riders, rock climbers – have stopped.

"But cyclists aren't compromising what they're doing for the health of everyone else. If you appear in the villages of the Hope Valley wearing a Sheffield cycling club shirt, you've travelled 12 miles to get here."

He added: "People travelling in from [Sheffield], with one of the highest infection rates in the country, to a rural area, poses a threat."

Responding to the comments, a spokesperson from Sheffield-based Sharrow Cycling Club said the Hope Valley was "local to our members" and that riders were "complying entirely with government guidelines on social distancing" and not riding in groups.

"We just believe many people are using the lockdown as an excuse to air their long-held grievances against cyclists, which in our case we believe to be unwarranted and unfair."

How far should cyclists ride?

Cycling UK’s head of campaigns, Duncan Dollimore, said: “Working out how long we can exercise for is something of a balancing act, and we all need to strike that balance depending on the context. We should ask ourselves what is reasonable, based on where we live, where we’re seeking to exercise, how many people are likely to be there, and what time of day we are venturing outside.

“On the one hand, we are all being encouraged to go out once a day for some exercise, for the good of our physical and mental health and well-being. On the other, we are being urged to avoid unnecessary proximity to or contact with other people. We all need to use good judgement in how to get exercise in ways that minimise unnecessary travel, crowds and possible pressures on the emergency services. Think about what's reasonable.

“Cycling UK advice is to go out for long enough to keep yourself in good shape physically and emotionally but avoid doing more than this. Use common sense when planning your route. If you have a mechanical mishap that you can’t fix yourself and you’re miles from home, you may struggle to get back without asking someone else to undertake an additional journey that could have been avoided if you’d planned a circular route close to home.”

Alex has written for more cricket publications than the rest of the road.cc team combined. Despite the apparent evidence of this picture, he doesn't especially like cake.

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120 comments

Avatar
Pilot Pete | 3 years ago
5 likes

In response to the fact that it appears that Little Bollington Parish Council were leaving signs up on the canal, I wrote Mike another email yesterday. He has not replied.

 

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Pilot Pete | 3 years ago
4 likes

Page 2

 

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Pilot Pete | 3 years ago
2 likes

And this morning I received this reply. They were advised the wording was inappropriate, but no acknowledgement that the sentiment was in any way wrong...

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leaway2 | 3 years ago
4 likes

Everything was OK today. No Problems.

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Hirsute replied to leaway2 | 3 years ago
1 like

You should have changed drive to cycle !

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upinthehills | 3 years ago
0 likes

Utterly baffled.

It doesnt seem that the message is getting across at all. Anyone who moves anywhere at all is either at risk of contracting Covid 19 from someone, or they are at risk of spreading Covid 19 as they are infected.

My 86 year old mum has Covid 19 and she is thankfully confined in hsopital. She also remarkeably has no symptoms what so ever. It will not kill her. Had this Covid virus not been found by blood test she could/would have very happily left Covid on everything that she touched in her old folks home and killed possibly everyone.

While you are fighting for your civil liberties to cycle where and when you want some of you, the carriers with no sysmptoms, are bimbling about leaving Covid where ever you go. 12 hours is the length of time suggested by scientists that it can linger and be picked up by another person.

I live in France and we have had very clear and very firm direction from the Goverment. Stay home, no cycling until its over. That looks like it could be May 11th for some areas of France as we seem to be getting on top of the pandemic and the curve is flattening, deaths per day going down etc.

With all of this movement of people in the UK I can see that you in the UK and Boris will still be dealing with Covid on September /October. Every journey that is not 100% required is spreading the virus by someone. Its that simple. 

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Sriracha replied to upinthehills | 3 years ago
3 likes

Glad to hear your mum is doing Ok. However you seem to be scaring yourself silly; "bimbling about leaving Covid where ever you go."

You seem to think that an infected person is like a crop sprayer spreading virus wherever they go. That's not what happens. You need to be close enough for long enough to be at risk. Well, that pretty much excludes catching it from a cyclist - you've little chance of finding yourself within 2m and remaining so for more than a few seconds with a cyclist.

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Paul__M replied to upinthehills | 3 years ago
2 likes

I worry for the people of France. Lack of sustained exercise and Sunlight (Vit D) are terrible for the immune system, as is low mood. And the immune system is our only defence at this point in time. I believe in evidence based policy.

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Mungecrundle replied to upinthehills | 3 years ago
5 likes

Different governments are taking different approaches to dealing with Coronavirus. History and a lot of analysis will tell us which ones made the better decisions and will be argued about for decades to come. As citizens, all we can really do is go along with whatever strategy our country's government has decided to implement. The French authorities have banned cycling outdoors, HM UK Gov are encouraging people to go out and take exercise, specifically identifying cycling.

Undoubtedly at one level you are right. Do not go out, do not risk spreading disease. At another level cooping people up inside for weeks on end, often in crowded accomodation has its own detrimental consequences.

The outrage at this particular attack on our civil liberties is that a small minded minority are attempting to impose their own rules, going against official policy and guidelines. This behaviour needs to be called out and stopped.

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ktache replied to Mungecrundle | 3 years ago
1 like

There have been reports of small riots starting in Paris.

 

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id483727 replied to ktache | 3 years ago
2 likes

I wouldn't read too much into that - its the usual young guys from the banlieus who need very little excuse to set fire to sh*t and throw stuff at the police, who then respond 'sensitively' to avoid upsetting community relations.

According to my sister who lives there at least.

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Cycloid | 3 years ago
1 like

It's Good to hear that the signs in the village have now been removed - Gud 'un Pete.

The "Cycling Prohibited" signs on the stretch of the Bridgewater canal that passes the village are a permanent feature.

This stretch of the canal is part of one of my favourite rides - "TheChesire Ring" a 97 mile canal circuit around Manchester and into Cheshre.

90 miles of the ride are managed by the Canal and River Trust who actively encourage (responsible) cycling on the canal towpaths in normal times. About seven miles are managed by Peel Holdings who ban cycling, although the quality of the canal towpath is no different from the other 90.

Needless to say when I do the ride I ignore the "No Cycling" signs, but give extra care to pedestrians. I usually get some negative comments from the little Englanders going through Little Bollington and Grapenhall. Trespass is a civil offense, and Peel Holdings could prosecute, but I think it is highly unlikely.

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David9694 replied to Cycloid | 3 years ago
1 like

The good news is that you can't/ don't prosecute for this type of trespass ; the bad news is that your behaviour doesn't endear cycling to the Peel Trusts of this world.

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Cycloid replied to David9694 | 3 years ago
1 like

Hi David9694

I take it you are not familiar with Peel Holdings.

Check out Wikipedia - Crticism

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Pilot Pete | 3 years ago
2 likes

With regards signs remaining up, I challenged the Parish Council again today and said that my wife, @suzie_as - Cycling and Walking Champion for Cheshire East Council would be getting involved if he did not confirm to me that they had all been removed. This was his reply.

 

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David9694 replied to Pilot Pete | 3 years ago
3 likes

A man of few words. 

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Mias_dad | 3 years ago
2 likes

Came through on foot about 4pm yesterday and counted 6 signs still up.

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Accessibility f... replied to Mias_dad | 3 years ago
2 likes

Rip them down. Cycling is permitted on the towpath of the Bridgewater Canal.

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CygnusX1 replied to Accessibility for all | 3 years ago
0 likes

Actually only in certain sections - and near Little Bollington is not one of them, so the sign is actually correct in that regard.

BridgewaterCanal.co.uk wrote:

Please note cycling is only permitted on certain lengths of the Canal towpath which have been updated as part of the Bridgewater Way. These routes can be found in the following places:

Leigh – King Street Bridge at the Leeds & Liverpool Canal to Marsland Green Bridge in Astley

Salford – Old Fold Park in Eccles to Barton Swing Aqueduct

Trafford – Sale to Stretford

Runcorn – Waterloo Bridge to Preston Brook and from Preston Brook to Acton Bridge.

http://www.bridgewatercanal.co.uk/todo/cycling

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Mungecrundle replied to Mias_dad | 3 years ago
4 likes

If anything a retrograde step over the first sign. The symbol is now the classic "No no cycling" used by halfwits countrywide.

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leaway2 | 3 years ago
5 likes

I ride past the Dunham and the Swan with 2 nicks, most days (not seen the signs tho'). What I have noticed is the amount of cars parked on the pavement out side Dunham park since the car park is closed.

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Sriracha | 3 years ago
5 likes

A great result, and magnanimous of the PC to climb down - never easy.

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David9694 replied to Sriracha | 3 years ago
5 likes

"Magnaminous?" Are you for real??

they've been exposed, humiliated, and cajoled into this by public pressure and have now performed a classic reverse ferret.
It would be nice if they were indeed magaminous such that the underlying attitude had changed for good.
who's idea was it, How many local people were in on it, did any parishioners object? 

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Pilot Pete | 3 years ago
26 likes

You may have seen on Twitter, that I wrote the the Little Bollington Parish Council yesterday demanding that they removed the signs, linking in the current legislation and APCC and College of Policing guidelines pointing out that cyclists were perfectly entitled to ride on the public highway through their village as long as it was in accordance with the government guidelines.

I linked in Cheshire Police and Cheshire East Council (they own the verges, so if the signs were put on them they did it illegally) and also my wife, who is the Cycling & Walking Champion on Cheshire East Council. She was going to take this up on Monday morning and get the signs removed, but I received an email response this morning from the Parish Clerk, Mike Reed informing me that the signs were being removed this morning.

If anyone happens to pass through Sun afternoon or later and there are signs still up, please report on here, or on any of the various twitter feeds on this subject and I will dispatch Mrs SAS (yep, her initials!) who will pursue it at Cheshire East level.

It also appears that they had put signs on the towpath on the canal that runs through the village, without permission of the Canals and Rivers Trust, so I would be interested to hear if anyone finds those signs still in place too.

cheers all,

PP

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crazy-legs replied to Pilot Pete | 3 years ago
3 likes

Firstly, top work on the action, well done!

Secondly - what did the email from the clerk say? Was it full of grovelling apologies that anyone had ever considered this a good idea? Did it deny all knowledge of who had put them up claiming it was one spiteful but anonymous individual? Or was it a sort of "bugger, we've been rumbled this time but just you wait..."

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Pilot Pete replied to crazy-legs | 3 years ago
1 like

Barely anything....

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eburtthebike replied to Pilot Pete | 3 years ago
0 likes

Pilot Pete wrote:

Barely anything....

Whilst I'm fully in favour of brevity, even I have to admit a little more detail would be useful.  No further communication from them I assume?

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Accessibility f... replied to Pilot Pete | 3 years ago
1 like

Still signs up as of about 1230 today.

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ktache replied to Accessibility for all | 3 years ago
4 likes

That one looks to be more made at home, with laminator, ooohhh.

Plus drawing pins rather than screws.

Much less class, same stupid.

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zeeridesbikes replied to Accessibility for all | 3 years ago
0 likes

The larger more aggressive ones have gone. This must have been a little straggler just to prove a point. 

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