Where are we? Kirkbymoorside is a market town in North Yorkshire. We are 25 miles inland from Scarborough and 40 miles from York, and just a couple of miles from the North York Moors National Park. It is a lovely, scenic area, but, as in many parts of the UK, cycling next to fast moving cars and lorries feels scary. We don't have any cycle paths to connect us with neighbouring villages and other towns.
Be part of something big. This Crowdfunder is towards installing the first stage of cycling and walking routes between Kirkbymoorside, the town of Helmsley, and the villages Nawton, Beadlam and Wombleton. This first section will be a wide verge path, 800m long, that also separates cyclists and walkers. It will stretch from Kirkbymoorside Primary School to the first Kirkdale junction, close to the tiny but historic St Gregory's Minster.
Cycling on a road-side verge path is illegal unless it has been designated as a cycle path or as a dual cycle/walking path. To be designated as such so it has to be a minimum width of 2m for shared walking and cycling. To make cycling safer and more popular, by building more and wider paths all over the UK this new regulation width, and other rules, called LTP120 were introduced in 2019 by the Department for Transport. North Yorkshire County Council has to follow these new rules. Recently, local volunteers have worked really hard to scrape back overgrown paths along the A170 near Kirkbymoorside. This work has gone a long way to highlighting the poor state of our road-side paths. Some of us will cycle these scrape-widened paths, but we won't be doing so legally until they are upgraded further to the new legal width.
When pedestrians and cyclists share paths, it can be hazardous, unless everyone is courteous, considerate and aware of other path users. Unfortunately, not everyone is, so it is better to work towards separating path users, either with path markings, or completely separate paths.
To help with developing further sections of this route, roadside or bridleway, all the way to Helmsley, please contact Ryedale Cycle Forum, via the getryedalecycling.com website. Other local routes are being developed too, and details will be updated on https://getryedalecycling.com/cycle-forum/development-wishlist/
Path costs are exaggerated The official quantity surveyor estimated cost for our 800m long path for everyone is £150,000. Surely profits are being made that are not benefitting the local community. Contractors have to be on the NYCC Approved contractors list. Let us work together to find some local contractors who can still make a profit, but improve much longer paths for this price.
We already have the civil engineering drawings Kirkbymoorside Environment Group have already paid for the civil engineering drawings for this first section, to show that our path meets Department for Transport standards. We did this using National Lottery funding from transitionnetwork.org, plus a £500 grant from North Yorkshire County Council "Stronger Communities" fund, and also some local fundraising.
We already have £40,000. Kirkbymoorside Town Council have helped us a lot already. They secured an AJ1 Road Safety grant of £20,000. They have match funded this with a further £20,000. They have provided a special bank account to hold any funds raised for this project. We are going to need much more to reach Helmsley, but the reasons and benefits are massive too. By making a start, we can attract more funding. By creating "shovel ready schemes" we will be ready for Government funding, which often has tight deadlines.
Build back greener. The Covid-19 epidemic has affected millions of people. We need to recover in a way that protects our planet for our children and future generations. UK Government Climate Commission figures say that 28% of our carbon emissions are from road transport. We really, really, need more options for low-carbon travel.
A strong and positive partnership, with your help Since 2006, Kirkbymoorside Environment Group have been tackling problems to help our community to be more sustainable, to reduce carbon footprint, and to protect the natural world. For this Path for Everyone section, we have teamed up with Ryedale Cycle Forum and Kirkbymoorside Town Council. Lots of local people have offered their support.
The NHS factor. If more people walk or cycle instead of driving, this helps to reduce the serious health impacts of air pollution. Also, for the near future, being more active, by cycling or walking, can help to achieve better physical and mental health, so reducing pressure on our precious NHS.
Schools. Wouldn't it be great if children of all ages had the choice of safely cycling or walking to school, arriving alert and exercised? We could also reduce air pollution and congestion near school gates by having less traffic on the school run. This path takes us a step closer to these possibilities. The CEO of Ryedale Learning Trust, encompassing Ryedale School, Kirkbymoorside CP School, Helmsley CP School and Sinnington CP School, is fully supportive.
Do you remember how many people, of all ages, ventured out on bicycles during the first lock-down, when the roads were so quiet? Cycling can be unsafe in fast or heavy traffic, or amongst walkers .The UK needs many more safe cycle routes, and some places don't even have safe pavements for walkers. In 2020, the UK Government made some extra funding available for active travel, but no-where near enough for every town and village.
We must not wait any longer. Kirkbymoorside are demonstrating a broader approach to funding paths. We hope that many other communities will try Crowdfunder, to highlight their urgent need for funding for safer cycling and walking routes. Across the country, it will require public donations, government funding, charitable trusts and business sponsorship.
E-bikes sales are predicted to grow in a massive way, for cycling later in life, Many more people will be able to cycle, though cycling is not possible for everyone, and safe pavements for walking and wheelchairs are equally important.
Supporting local shops, communities, and the visitor economy. It is not just cyclists and walkers who benefit from new paths. Together we can help to reduce rural isolation, helping people to get to training, jobs, family events, and leisure activities and cultural events.
Make space for the horse-riders Horse riders have been using bridleways for 100s of years. By making more off-road tracks, we can help them to move around more safely in a modern world. Paths for everyone require good design to separate users where possible, understanding of landowner needs, and also more mutual understanding and respect between user groups. Lets work together to achieve new car-free routes.
Wildlife corridors In 2020, the Department for Transport issued new guidance for paths that are used by, or shared with, cyclists. There are design rules that we have to follow for a verge path, including width, and this does push the cost up, while also enabling more free and safe movement. Another condition is that new cycleways have to include an increase of biodiversity of at least 10% along the route. Cycle and walking routes are not just safer routes for people, they are corridors for wildlife too. Kirkbymoorside Environment Group are talking to local experts to make sure that this path also becomes a wildlife corridor.
CrowdFunder works amazingly well. Some fantastic projects have raised loads of money to get going. It works if YOU help to spread the word. Please give a few minutes of your time to tell LOTS of people about our Paths for Everyone project. We hope that many people will donate and/or start similar paths needed for other communities.