Cyclists organise 'mass trespass' on A57 Snake Pass near Sheffield as pressure to lift ban grows

Riders are organising a ‘mass trespass’ on the Snake Pass amid growing pressure to reverse a bicycle ban.

Thursday, 10th March 2022, 1:17 pm

Scores of people are expected to set off from Glossop on Saturday to protest at the closure of the 11-mile route to Sheffield due to three short areas of landslip.

The action recalls the Kinder Mass Trespass of 1932 when ramblers defied the Duke of Devonshire to walk on his moors.

Snake Pass is normally shunned as too dangerous for cyclists but the closure has turned it into one of the country’s best rides.

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Scores of people are expect to set off from Glossop on Saturday to protest at closure of the 11m route to Sheffield due to three short areas of landslip. Pic by Andy Flint.

Meanwhile, councillors and senior figures have spoken out against the blockade and a Sheffield landslide expert says the risks of any further land movement due to cyclists and walkers is low.

WHY HAS THE COUNCIL CLOSED THE ROUTE?

Derbyshire County Council is enforcing a 24/7 ban due to the risk from large groups of cyclists who they say are not expecting to see vehicles, when the road is still used by a handful of residents and businesses.

A spokeswoman said the land was still moving.

After the road closed to vehicles, the county council later introduced a cycling ban on the Snake saying the number of riders on it was unsafe.

She added: “There is still traffic on the road, as people live there and we have vehicles going up to monitor the landslip and carry out other work on other parts of the road.

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“We are very concerned that there will be an accident involving a vehicle and a cyclist or pedestrian because of the large numbers of cyclists in large groups that have taken the opportunity to go out and ride the road and are not expecting to see any traffic.

“We are also aware of road races involving vehicles taking place at night.”

The protest will leave Glossop and ride up to the Snake summit. Pic by Andy Flint.

WHAT ARE THE ACCIDENT STATISTICS ON THE SNAKE?

In the last five years there had been two collisions involving cyclists and 66 involving vehicles, she added.

Damien Greenhalgh, deputy leader of High Peak Borough Council, said the cycle ban was ‘overkill’.

He said he had met DCC executive director Emma Alexander to ask for it to be lifted.

WHAT ARE PEOPLE IN SHEFFIELD SAYING?

In Sheffield, Nether Edge Green councillor Maroof Raouf said: ‘We finally get a route that cyclists can enjoy and Derbyshire CC hides behind health and safety because their own drivers can't be bothered to drive safely!’

Rob Copeland, director of Sheffield Hallam University’s Advanced Wellbeing Research Centre, said he was ‘trying hard’ to understand the decision.

He added: ‘The road is as safe as it’s ever been for cyclists and walkers now it’s closed to traffic.

“How does this link with the county council’s green and active travel strategy? You’ve missed a good opportunity here’.

WHAT DOES A LANDSLIDE EXPERT SAY?

Prof Dave Petley, landslide expert at the University of Sheffield, said it was unlikely that cyclists or walkers could trigger further movement.

He added: “Keeping people away from the unstable section of road seems appropriate to me.”

The mass trespass sets off at 2pm from Square West, Glossop.

Organiser Harry Gray told the Local Democracy Reporting Service he agreed the landslip areas should remain closed for safety.

He added: “However, closing the entire road is unfair and potentially not legal. The claim it is dangerous because of works vehicles is laughable, since the road is one of the most dangerous in the peaks when open to motor vehicles. All that is needed is a sign stating local traffic still uses the road.”

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