Cycling UK urges council to publish evidence justifying closure of Snake Pass to cyclists

The charity's letter to Derbyshire County Council has called for evidence of a risk assessment

Snake Pass
(Image credit: Instagram/Simon Warren)

Cycling UK has written a letter to Derbyshire County Council urging it to publish evidence of a risk assessment which justifies the cycling and walking ban on the A57 Snake Pass running 12-miles from Ladybower Reservoir to Glossop.

In the letter sent to (opens in new tab) Derbyshire County Council, Cycling UK states if there isn't any justifiable evidence available, then the road should be reopened again to active travel users. 

Duncan Dollimore, Cycling UK’s head of campaigns, said: “In the absence of a risk assessment, the council’s banning of people cycling and walking along a motor traffic-free stretch of road is baffling.

“Cycling UK calls on the council to publish their risk assessment justifying the ban, and if there isn’t any, to open-up the road to these activities for the enjoyment of families and others once more.”

Derbyshire County Council shut Snake Pass to motor traffic for at least four weeks on February 21, after heavy rain caused a number of landslips. Car-free cycling became very popular on the road, but on March 8, the council moved further to restrict all users on the A57. 

Announcing the news via Twitter (opens in new tab), the council said: "From today we are closing the A57 Snake Pass to all users, including cyclists and walkers, because of concerns over safety."

However, this received plenty of criticism from cyclists and walkers-alike as they challenged the reasoning behind the decision. Cycling UK has also questioned the council's position, suggesting the council has done nothing to improve cyclist safety when the road was open to motor vehicles and traffic flow was heavier.

Duncan Dollimore continued: “The Snake Pass has always been popular with people cycling, and the lack of cars has only increased its popularity. Bringing in a cycling and walking ban when these activities’ greatest risk – motor vehicles – is significantly reduced does not make sense.

“The council should be looking to manage the greatest risk on the road and taking suitable precautions. An outright ban, however, is not the answer, and should only be considered if the whole 12-miles of the road’s substructure is unsafe, not one small stretch. 

“If the risk assessment shows there is no danger to walkers and cyclists in using the unaffected stretches of the Snake Pass, Cycling UK would urge Derbyshire County Council to rethink its position. Opening up a wonderful, if temporary asset, can only benefit the whole community’s wellbeing.”

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Staff Writer

Ryan is a staff writer for Cycling Weekly, having joined the team in September 2021. He first joined Future in December 2020, working across FourFourTwo, Golf Monthly, Rugby World and Advnture's websites, before making his way to cycling. After graduating from Cardiff University with a degree in Journalism and Communications, Ryan earned a NCTJ qualification to further develop as a writer.