Impassible Barriers along Wilton Greenway

The Heavy Metal Handcyclist made this Rhyddid Gwybodaeth request to Kirklees Borough Council

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Mae'r ymateb i'r cais hwn yn hwyr iawn. Yn ôl y gyfraith, ym mhob amgylchiad, dylai Kirklees Borough Council fod wedi ymateb erbyn hyn. (manylion). Gallwch gwyno drwy yn gofyn am adolygiad mewnol.

The Heavy Metal Handcyclist

Dear Kirklees Council,

I write to you in relation to the barriers installed across the marked cycle lane intersecting Brookroyd Lane when travelling towards Wilton Park, with specific reference to the barrier located at or adjacent to 53.72698116071461, -1.6539083228530518, but with relevance also to the various K-frames along the route itself.

This barrier exists along a signed cycle route.

Due to the layout and design of this barrier, this route is inaccessible to those using adaptive cycles, such as handcycles, cargocycles, and bicycles with tag-along trailers, as they are unable to pass through the existing wooden barriers, due to the narrowness of the gap created by the placement of the frame of the barrier and inadequate clear-space left through the frame, as well as insufficient lateral clearance for the swept-space, particularly on a handcycle.

The Equality Act 2010, Section 20
(https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/201...) contains a number of stipulations with regards to provisions, practices, criterion and physical features. These are legal obligations, and as such, are not optional. The Equality Act 2010, Section 20 is henceforth referred to as and by "S.20".

As well as the aforementioned EA2010 S.20, EA2010 Section 29 (https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/201...) outlines that it is unlawful to discontinue or not provide a service, or access to a service, on the basis of a protected characteristic. A person making use of a mobility aid or invalid carriage falls under the purview of this definition.

I also remind you of the anticipatory duty under Section 149 of same act.

I write to ask the following questions;
1) When was this barrier installed?
2) Was an Equality Impact Assessment carried out at this location, as required by the Equality Act 2010 S.149, prior to the installation of this barrier;
3)Has an Equality Impact Assessment been carried out since 2010 in accordance with the anticipatory duty of the same act and section;
4) Could you please provide a copy of that Equality Impact Assessment;
5) Why was a set of very narrow, permanent wooden barriers used here, with a very small landing space to turn through, instead of a set of bollards?
6) Who installed this barrier?
7) Who approved this barrier?

I note that this route forms part of the signposted and mapped cycle network in Batley;

8) Who does this route fall under the remit of?
9a) Were they consulted prior to installation?
9b) If so, what was their response?
9b.i) If they did not approve, why was this ignored/overruled/disregarded, and by whom?
9b.ii) If they did approve, please provide evidence to support this.

As this forms part of the signposted local cycle network, it is not unreasonable to expect cyclists, including disabled and adaptive cyclists, to wish to pass along here, as they are legally entitled to do.
It is also reasonable to assume that many cyclists passing through here may not be familiar with the immediate local area, and may struggle to find an alternative route;
It is further reasonable to assume that this route will see a higher proportion of less experienced and less-able cyclists, who are less likely to be able to achieve or maintain higher paces, and, accordingly, should not be forced onto main roads and away from quieter routes like this.

I remind you that dismounting is not an option for the majority of users of adaptive cycles, such as handcycles, trikes and so on, and requiring a dismount for users of such 'cycles is a contravention of EA2010 S.20(3)(4), and constitutes an act of direct discrimination under Equality Act 2010, Section 21.

Additionally, due to the layout and design of the barrier, it is difficult if impossible for many disabled and adaptive cyclists, as well as those using larger invalid carriages to turn into the entrance of the barrier, let alone make the 180deg turn to pass through.

In effectively not providing access to the facility or service provided by this route to disabled people on the basis of disallowing their passage with their mobility device, be this de facto or de jure, the local authority also finds itself in violation of EA2010 S.29.

10) What provision has been made for the passage of cyclists along this signposted cycle route, with regards to this barrier?
11) What allowances and accommodations have been made for disabled cyclists?
12) Leading on from 10), what provision has been made for cargobikes, tricyclists, and adaptive cycles in general?
13) How would a cargobike pass through here? (Assume length of 2.15, width 89cm)
14) How would a recumbent handcycle pass through here? (Assume 2.2m length, 5.5m turning radius - not an extreme example, fairly typical).
15) How would an upright handcycle pass through here? (Assume 1.8m length, 5.5m turning radius - again, not extreme, fairly typical)
16) How would a wheelchair with a clip-on handcycle pass through here? (assume length of 1.6m, width of 72cm at the bottom, 74cm at the cranks - Again, not extreme, fairly typical)

The UK Government has recently embarked on a programme of encouraging the construction, provision and improvement of cycling infrastructure.

LTN1/20 8.3 specifically and directly states that barriers that are installed must not exclude disabled people; It further states that access controls should not be used nor retained unless a demonstrable need for them exists, and advises that, where barriers are required, bollards should be considered as the first, default choice.

Whilst I recognize that this barrier predates the guidance in LTN1/20, the local authority (and all public bodies) have a duty of anticipation with regards to equalities matters under the EA2010 S.149, and this has been the case for a decade at the point of writing.

17) Please explain how the installation and/or retention of this barrier, and the subsequent de facto banning of disabled cyclists from this route, aligns with this programme.

As above, and reiterated here verbatim for clarity and ease of reference; The Equality Act 2010, Section 20 (https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/201...) contains a number of stipulations with regards to provisions, practices, criterion and physical features. These are legal obligations, and as such, are not optional. The Equality Act 2010, Section 20 is henceforth referred to as and by "S.20".

18) Please clarify how the installation and retention of these barriers aligns with S.20(3);
19) Please clarify how the installation and retention of these barriers aligns with S.20(4);
20) Please clarify how the installation and retention of these barriers aligns with S.20(7);
21) Please clarify how the installation and retention of these barriers aligns with S.20(9);
22) Please clarify how the installation and retention of these barriers aligns with S.20(10);

I again remind you that expecting disabled cyclists to dismount is a violation of S.20(3). I also remind you that expecting disabled cyclists to go a long way out of their way to avoid this barrier is a violation of S.20(3),(4). I remind you that disallowing disabled cyclists access to this route is a violation of S.29.

I also remind you that knowingly disallowing disabled access to this route is a violation of S.29; Kirklees is considered to be aware of this issue immediately upon receipt of this FOI.

Finally, I expect immediate and urgent action to be taken in order to bring this barrier into compliance with the above legislation;

23) Please explain what immediate steps will be taken to restore inclusive and disabled accessibility for the above route.
24) Please provide the correct contact point for any further actions, including for any potential Letter(s) Before Action(s) to be addressed to.

Please provide the requested information in either table, or bullet pointed format, addressing each question raised fully in turn.
Please do not use "Refer to previous answer N", as none of my questions are likely to be satisfactorily answered by a prior question, and this will only result in additional FOI requests.

If it is not possible to provide the information requested due to the information exceeding the cost of compliance limits identified in Section 12, please provide advice and assistance, under the Section 16 obligations of the Act, as to how I can refine my request.

If you can identify any ways that my request could be refined, I would be grateful for any further advice and assistance.

If you have any queries, please don’t hesitate to contact me via email, and I will be very happy to clarify what I am asking for and to discuss this request; my details are outlined below.

Thank you for your time and I look forward to your response.

Yours faithfully,
The Heavy Metal Handcyclist (@crippledcyclist, Robert Clarke)

Freedom Info, Kirklees Borough Council

Dear Robert Clarke,

I confirm receipt of your information request and that we are dealing with this and will respond to you in due course.

The Freedom of Information Act 2000 and Environmental Information Regulations 2004 allow up to 20 working days for responding to information requests.

If you are not content with the handling of your request, you have the right to ask for an internal review. Requests for internal reviews should be addressed to the Monitoring Officer, 1st Floor, Civic Centre 3, Market Street, Huddersfield HD1 2EY. Alternatively, you can send an email to: [email address].

Please remember to quote the reference number above in any future communications.

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Regards,

Brad Sakaria-Flynn
Information Governance Team
Kirklees Council, Governance Service
Telephone: 01484 221000 (voice activated switchboard – please ask for Freedom of Information)

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