A cycling campaign group in York has questioned whether it was necessary for North Yorkshire Police to block a bike lane while carrying out vehicle checks on “one of the most dangerous roads for cycling” in the city.
A police car was pictured last week parked in a cycle lane and on double yellow lines on York’s Blossom Street. The police later confirmed that the car was stationed there as part of the force’s Project Servator, which aims to “deter, detect and disrupt a range of criminal activity” – including terrorism – “while providing a reassuring presence for the public.”
— DavidDunninguk (@daviddunninguk) June 22, 2022
Dr Simon Woodward, a local cyclist and lecturer in heritage and cultural tourism at Leeds Beckett University, criticised the police’s decision to block the road for people on bikes, writing on Twitter: “Nothing says York isn't really a cycle friendly city better than cycle lanes being taken out of use like this!”
York Cycle Campaign also responded to the image, writing: “While we appreciate the often-difficult job North Yorkshire Police do, carrying out stops on one of the most dangerous roads for cycling and not leaving a safe cycling area – was it avoidable? Could the cycling lane have been kept open?”
The group also told YorkMix that while it is perfectly acceptable for emergency vehicles to park wherever they are needed, they feel that vehicle checks and inspections, such as the ones carried out as part of Project Servator last week, should take into account the safety of all road users.
North Yorkshire Police, after being approached by YorkMix for a comment, didn’t address any specific concerns regarding the cycle lane on Blossom Street but asked anyone “dissatisfied” with the police’s conduct to follow the formal complaints procedure.
In December 2021 York Cycle Campaign, along with mathematics professor Dr Jamie Wood, campaigned successfully to remove a barrier which blocked access for disabled cyclists. The barriers at Hob Moor were installed in 2004 to stop motorcyclists riding on the commons, but were opposed by York Cycle Campaign at the time, and were finally removed in early January.
The campaign group also found another 30 places where barriers hinder or prevent people from using the city's paths.
“Cycling provides freedom to so many people,” said a York Cycle Campaign spokesperson. “But barriers like those at Hob Moor slice off entire sections of the city to people with limited mobility. Up and down the country these kinds of outdated barriers are being taken out, literally expanding people's horizons.”
Ryan joined road.cc as a news writer in December 2021. He has written about cycling and some ball-centric sports for various websites, newspapers, magazines and radio. Before returning to writing about cycling full-time, he completed a PhD in History and published a book and numerous academic articles on religion and politics in Victorian Britain and Ireland (though he remained committed to boring his university colleagues and students with endless cycling trivia). He can be found riding his bike very slowly through the Dromara Hills of Co. Down.