DELAYS in removing barriers which block disabled cyclists from getting around York have been described as “shameful” by campaigners.

York Cycle Campaign (YCC) has compiled a list of more than 30 places where barriers are entirely preventing or significantly impairing people’s ability to use cycle paths across the city.

Jamie Wood, who uses a trike as his main mobility aid, has taken City of York Council to court over breaches to the Equality Act 2010 – but has said what he wants to see is the barriers either removed or modified. 

He said: “Over the last 20 years the council have constantly been putting in infrastructure which doesn’t conform to any of the equality acts or any of the disability guidance.

“They just put it in because they think most people can use it, because they think they’re ‘most people’ – and then if you somehow don’t fit their model of a fit, healthy 40-year-old man, you can’t use their infrastructure.”

Dr Wood has multiple sclerosis and has a walking range of a couple of metres.

He added: “To try to go on a route I haven’t been on before I have to do this extraordinary, in-depth research of getting photographs of every individual barrier and trying to work out whether I can get through it because every one is a unique design.

“It’s almost like they’re trying to do modern art installations on cycle routes – it’s really frustrating.”

The mathematics professor praised the efforts of a recently appointed active travel officer within the council to tackle the issue, but said there was a wider problem with the council’s response to disability legislation – illustrated, he said, by its recent decision to ban blue badge holders from the city’s footstreets.

York Labour have said the two issues mean disabled residents are being “barred from town, and barred from country”.

Holgate ward councillor Rachel Melly said she and other local councillors planned to use ward funding to remove barriers to Hob Moor and elsewhere earlier this year, but were told to let the council take care of it.

Cllr Melly added: “The council said it would report back on what it planned to do but has not done so after months of complete silence. It is currently breaching the Equality Act by creating barriers to access for disabled people in a number of parts of the city.”

The barriers on Hob Moor were erected in 2004 to stop motorbikers terrorising cattle on the ancient commons, but the move was criticised by YCC at the time.

Changes to those barriers are pencilled for the new year, according to the council’s director of transport, James Gilchrist.

A £100k fund has been set aside to review the barriers city-wide, but Dr Wood has questioned whether it will be enough.

The barriers also cause problems for pushchairs, family cycle trailers and cargo-cycles .

A York Cycle Campaign spokesperson said: “Cycling provides freedom to so many people. But barriers like those at Hob Moor slice off entire sections of the city to people with limited mobility. Up and down the country these kinds of outdated barriers are being taken out, literally expanding people’s horizons.

“No ill effects have been reported from barrier removal, but here in York we’re really disappointed to find the council intent on defending the citadel and staying in the dark ages”.

Dr Wood added: “It’s really shameful, frankly, that this is still going on. It’s now 15 months since I started that legal action. It’s just a culture of not wanting to deal with these things – that’s what’s frustrating.”

Mr Gilchrist said: “We are aware of locations in the city where current ‘access control’ points for cyclists/ pedestrians were installed many years ago, and which present an obstacle for some disabled users and riders of some types of modern adapted cycles to use. 

“Many of these were installed to address specific safety concerns at the time and require careful consideration before removal or adaptation.”

He added:  “In regards to the review of these ‘access control’ points, an audit brief is currently being finalised.

“As part of the city wide programme of improvements we will be in consultation with organisations such as the York Cycle Campaign to review all similar locations and prioritise and implement appropriate improvements.”