Have you been a naughty rider?

Mountain bikers in the Malvern Hills are being asked to follow a new Code of Conduct following irresponsible use of the area by a minority of riders.

The Malvern Hills Conservators have worked with local riders to tackle mountain bikers who are “not keeping to bridleways, creating new trails and riding at high speeds near walkers and horse-riders.” It is also claimed that mountain bikers have caused damage to the British Camp – an Iron Age fort at the top of Herefordshire Beacon.

The Code of Conduct reads: ”

  • “Please only cycle on bridleways. It is illegal to cycle on footpaths
  • Please do not ride on archaeological monuments including the British Camp, Shire Ditch and Midsummer Hill
  • Always give way to walkers and horse riders
  • Be courteous and patient with other path users who may be moving more slowly than you
  • Cycle at a sensible speed. Do not race
  • Be particularly careful at junctions, bends or other blind spots where people could appear without warning
  • Carry a bell and use it, or call to avoid surprising people—don’t assume people can see and hear you
  • The Hills can be busy at weekends and bank holidays and you may enjoy your ride more by cycling outside the busiest periods.”

The code has been handed out to local bike shops and also posted in areas where “unlawful” mountain biking is thought to occur. The Conservators will also be working on a map that will help guide cyclists through the hills without causing conflicts.

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Beck Baker, MHC community and conservation officer, said: “Although it is a small minority of mountain bikers causing problems for other users on the Hills, they are giving all mountain bikers a bad name. We must encourage cyclists to be safe and lawful on the Hills so that everyone can share the landscape and enjoy their visit to the Hills.

“Meetings with the cycling representatives have been really useful in understanding the way the Hills are used for mountain biking and identifying the ways they think will effectively encourage responsible cycling.”

A representative from Malvern Cycle Sport said: “It is great to have the opportunity to work with the conservators to look into Mountain Biking on the Hills. MCS coaches teach young riders to control their bikes and avoid skidding thereby reducing erosion of the hills. The club also encourages riders to cycle responsibly and respect other hill users.

“We wish to work with the conservators to make use of the hills an enjoyable experience for everyone and to protect wildlife habitat and archaeology. We will also aim to inform riders from outside the area of the importance of respect of the hills and its users.”