Legal procedures for creating cycle tracks

The following Planning practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Legal procedures for creating cycle tracks
  • Conversion of an existing right of way
  • Converting footpath rights to a cycle track
  • Converting footway rights to a cycle track
  • Downgrading of carriageway rights
  • Creation of new cycle rights
  • New cycle rights
  • Permissive routes
  • Conversion of a footpath alongside a watercourse/river/canal

Legal procedures for creating cycle tracks

A ‘cycle track’ is a way which constitutes or comprises a highway, which the public have a right of way on pedal cycles (other than pedal cycles which are motor vehicles) with or without a right of way on foot.

Cyclists may use existing all-purpose highways, bridleways, restricted byways and byways open to all traffic (‘BOATS’). However, to provide an environment for cyclists that is free from motor vehicles but suitably surfaced, it is necessary to create a cycle track using the appropriate legal procedure.

Cycle tracks can be established by converting an existing right of way (by downgrading or upgrading highway rights), or by creating a new cycle right.

The Department for Transport (DfT) has published guidance on the legal procedures for creating cycle tracks.

Conversion of an existing right of way

Converting footpath rights to a cycle track

Orders may be made under section 3 of the Cycle Tracks Act 1984 (CTA 1984) and the Cycle Tracks Regulations 1984 (the CT Regulations), SI 1984/1431 to designate all or part of a footpath as a way over which members of the public have a right of way on pedal cycles (other than pedal cycles which are motor vehicles) and a right of way on foot. Where footpath rights are to remain, CTA 1984, s 4 provides a power to erect barriers in the interests

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