Dear Warrington Borough Council,
I write to you in relation to the recently installed barriers along the New Cut Heritage and Ecology Trail, with specific reference to 53.396522,-2.550145, just off Manchester Road, reference Bus Stop ID #wrgdpjw.
You may also find reference to this specific installation in the twitter thread found here;
Prior to the addition of the wooden section of fencing, this area was accessible by those using adaptive cycles, such as handcycles, cargocycles, and bicycles with tag-along trailers; These types of longer, less manoeuvrable cycles were able to bypass the barrier by passing along the grassed section, as they are unable to pass through the existing metal barriers, due to the narrowness of the gap, and insufficient lateral clearance for the swept-space, particularly on a handcycle.
However, since the addition of these wooden barriers, this path has now become impassible to adaptive users.
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) Could you please provide a copy of that Equality Impact Assessment;
4) Why was a full, permanent metal and wood fence used here, instead of either a folding or retracting bollard?
5) Who installed this barrier?
6) Who approved this barrier?
I note that this route forms part of the signposted and mapped cycle network in Warrington;
7) Who does this cycle route fall under the remit of?
8a) Were they consulted prior to installation?
8b) If so, what was their response?
8b.i) If they did not approve, why was this ignored/overruled/disregarded, and by whom?
8b.ii) If they did approve, please provide evidence to support this.
As this forms part of the signposted and advertised 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.
9) What provision has been made for the passage of cyclists along this signposted cycle route, with regards to this barrier?
10) What allowances and accommodations have been made for disabled cyclists?
11) Leading on from 10), what provision has been made for cargobikes, tricyclists, and adaptive cycles in general?
12) How would a cargobike pass through here? (Assume length of 2.15, width 89cm)
13) How would a recumbent handcycle pass through here? (Assume 2.2m length, 5.5m turning radius - not an extreme example, fairly typical).
14) How would an upright handcycle pass through here? (Assume 1.8m length, 5.5m turning radius - again, not extreme, fairly typical)
15) 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.
16) Please explain how the installation of this barrier, and the subsequent de facto banning of disabled cyclists from this route, aligns with this programme.
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".
17) Please clarify how the installation of these barriers aligns with S.20(3);
18) Please clarify how the installation of these barriers aligns with S.20(4);
19) Please clarify how the installation of these barriers aligns with S.20(7);
20) Please clarify how the installation of these barriers aligns with S.20(9);
21) Please clarify how the installation 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).
Finally, I expect immediate and urgent action to be taken in order to bring this barrier into compliance with the above legislation;
22) Please explain what immediate steps will be taken to restore inclusive and disabled accessibility for the above route.
23) 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.
Please note that I am writing to you using a name by which I am well known, that being my twitter handle and ID; This is by far the name by which I am best known, and it is permitted within the ICO Best Practice guidelines.
I am doing this due to previous threatening behaviour and remarks, and I accordingly wish to remain pseudonymous at this time
Thank you for your time, and I look forward to your response.
The Heavy Metal Handcyclist (@crippledcyclist)
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