Trail Riding – Tactics
In this page tactics are discussed for:
- Where riding is done legally:
- **Use of voluntary constraint
- **Use of Traffic Regulation Orders (TROs)
- Where riding is done illegally
Where riding is done legally – use of voluntary constraint
The best example of voluntary constraint is that set out in the Trail Riders’ Fellowship Code of Conduct:
Use only vehicular rights of way
Trail riding is only lawful on public roads. If in doubt, check with the Highway Authority or the TRF. Motorcycles and riders must be road-legal. Green Roads are subject to the same laws as surfaced roads.
Keep to the defined way across farmland
Wheels can damage crops and grass. Wandering from the road onto farmland or moorland is trespassing.
Give way to walkers, horses and cyclists
As a courtesy, on narrow lanes, stop and switch off engines.
Acknowledge the presence of other Green Road users
With a friendly wave or other suitable gesture.
Fasten gates to safeguard stock
Except those tied open for farming purposes. An open gate invites animals to stray, endangering themselves, and crops or traffic.
Travel at a safe speed
Ride at a reasonable speed, taking regard of conditions and visibility. This should not exceed the voluntary maximum of 25mph.
Machines must be effectively silenced. Use the throttle with discretion, as noise does offend. Green Roads are subject to the same laws as surfaced roads.
Honour the country code
Respect the countryside and those who live, work and play in it. Green Roads can be valuable habitats, so take special care in spring and early summer.
Carry your membership card with you when trail riding, so that you may identify yourself as a current member of the TRF - and display a current membership sticker.
Another tactic to consider is to have set maximum groups sizes for specific routes (say 5 motorcyclists for sensitive routes, 8 for less sensitive).
Where riding is done legally – use of TROs
- should only be considered where voluntary approaches have been found not to work;
- powers are available under different pieces of legislation for the local highway authority (and the National Park Authority in National Parks) to introduce TROs where they feel this is necessary and where it meets the relevant legal tests;
- TROs can be used to reduce use of a highway by any class of user, not just motorists;
- TROs need to be well-signed and enforced.
The procedure for making TROs is set out in the Local Authorities’ Traffic Order (Procedure) (England and Wales) Regulations 1996. Where the TRO will affect a public right of way; the procedure, in outline, is:
- the authority consults interested parties
- the intention to make a TRO must be declared in a local paper
- details of the Order should be made available for public inspection for at least 21 days
- the authority should consider all objections (it may also hold a public inquiry, if it so wishes)
- if a TRO is made, it should notify objectors, publish further notices and make details available for inspection for 42 days
- if the authority decides not to make a TRO, it has to make documents available for public inspection.
Where riding is done illegally:
In broad terms, the available measures and their effectiveness can be summarised as follows:
- Strategic working, meaning the ability to involve all stakeholders, is necessary to address the issues as a whole and to use the full range of tools available to respond to the illegal use of MPVs.
- Engineered physical measures to prevent or discourage illegal motor vehicle use including barriers, gates, fencing and rocks to prevent passage and signs to discourage illegal MPV use. These can be effective in some situations but they have a number of downsides including obstruction to authorised users, adverse impacts on visual amenity, the ease with which they can be avoided (and, in some cases, vandalised) and their cost.
- Enforcement measures to discourage illegal MPV use can be effective but the cost of enforcement involving the police is high. Partnership between stakeholders and the provision of high quality intelligence to the police are likely to enhance the effectiveness of enforcement.
- Active wardening with a regular presence on site, for example a park ranger, is a useful adjunct to enforcement.
- Education measures to encourage responsible behaviour by MPV users are useful, particularly when undertaken in conjunction with schools liaison. For neighbourhood off-road activity these two are important.
- Provision of facilities/opportunities for legal motor vehicle use is challenging and not without pitfalls in terms of finding, funding and operating a site.