OPPOSITION to a proposal to ban cyclists from an 'A' road could set an “extremely dangerous precedent”, cycling bosses have warned.

In a joint response, the tourism agency and British Cycling described a proposed ban by Highways England, as “deeply concerning”.

The agency wants to prohibit cyclists from using a 15-mile stretch of the A63 in Hull, East Yorkshire, citing the average speed and volume of traffic on the road as making it unsuitable for cycling.

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There are fears such bans could be extended to other A roads, which could discourage the many cyclists and cycling events in the county which have grown rapidly since the Grand Depart and the Tour de Yorkshire were introduced.

In 2015, signs were put up on an eight-mile stretch of the A19 between Parkway at the A174 junction and Wolviston on the A689 banning cyclists from using this section of the road. 

The ban which came into effect on 13 July has the full support of Cleveland Police and Middlesbrough and Stockton councils.

British Cycling chief executive Julie Harrington and Welcome to Yorkshire chief executive Sir Gary Verity, said: "Our aim to encourage more people onto their bikes will ultimately lead to our roads becoming less congested, our population becoming healthier and more active, pressure easing on our NHS, and our communities becoming greener.

"Therefore, any move to ‘ban’ cyclists from any stretch of road is deeply concerning, and directly contradicts the government’s Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy (which seeks to double the number of trips cycled by 2026) and Highways England’s own Cycling Strategy.”

The stretch of tarmac is a known time trial course and was used by Tour de France winner Sir Bradley Wiggins as he attempted to break the 10-mile time trial record in 2015.

Ms Harrington and Mr Verity added: "Any ban imposed on cyclists would have a negative impact on the local economy, as well as people's ability to participate in the sport ahead of a potentially hugely significant year as Yorkshire looks forward to hosting the 2019 UCI Road World Championships.

"If speed and density of traffic was accepted as a reason to ban cycling, cyclists would be banned from the vast majority of our roads. If approved, this approach will set an extremely dangerous precedent."

Highways England said it had recently completed a scheme alongside the A63 to improve facilities for cyclists and pedestrians.

The company's emergency planning manager Andrew Charnick added: "The safety of everyone who uses our roads is our highest priority. The A63 is a busy road and a large number of HGVs leave the docks and use the route to join the M62. There are alternative, safer routes available for cyclists.

"In the last five years there have been six accidents involving cyclists, including one fatality. We have been working closely with Humberside police and the local authority on this issue and both fully support the plan."

Mike Drake, a member of Darlington Cycling Club, said it was concerning, especially as the use of the A19 in North Yorkshire for cycling time trial events already encountering opposition from some quarters.

He said he understood that while they were allowed to place signs warning motorists of a cycling event on the entrance to the A19, they couldn’t place any signs on the road itself in case they weren’t placed properly and posed a danger to users.

“I think the concern is that once they’ve set the precedent then it could be applied to other dual carriageways,” he said.