Cycling responsibly in the New Forest

Posted by Abigail Whyte
22 March 2015 - 09:16

When you’re out and about having fun on your bike in the New Forest, it can be easy to forget that you’re in an environmentally sensitive place and a working forest, shared by local residents, visitors and animals roaming free. A bit of mutual respect and courtesy can ensure an enjoyable day has been had by all, so before you hop on on the saddle, take a few minutes to absorb the Highway Code and the New Forest Cycling Code:

Be considerate

• Ride positively and well clear of uneven road edges but with consideration for other road-users. To allow vehicles to overtake safely, leave gaps for them to pull into and move into single file when necessary and safe to do so. Never ride more than two abreast.
• Off road, cycle only on the way-marked network of Forestry Commission tracks, bridleways, byways, restricted byways and designated routes.
• Use our Journey Planner to plan your route, check for route closures, and try to be off Forest tracks by sunset.
• Be polite to other cyclists, motorists, pedestrians and residents.
• When passing people and animals, use your bell or call out a warning and allow them plenty of room. Be prepared to stop if necessary.
• Do not drop litter or feed the animals; human food and litter are a danger to them.
• Close gates behind you so the animals don’t stray
• Respect the quiet of the Forest.

Be safe

• Pass animals slowly and to one side if possible.
• Take extra care near horse riders; a kick or fall from a horse could be fatal. Be prepared to stop. Use your bell or call out a friendly warning well in advance. When it is safe, pass wide and at walking pace, to one side only. Look out for any reaction from the horse.
• Keep to a safe speed, on and off road, particularly on narrow lanes, steep hills and bends. Look out for pot holes, poor surfaces and cattle grids.
• Look out for and obey safety signs. Do not pass large vehicles and trailers until you know it is safe to do so.
• Ensure you are visible by wearing bright or reflective clothing. Use lights after dark and in poor daytime visibility.
• Avoid the use of earphones.