'Overwhelming public support' needed if cyclists cliff path ban to be lifted

A LAW banning cycling on the cliff paths could be reviewed if there was ‘overwhelming public support’ to scrap it, an Environment Department spokesman has said.


But he added that the paths were being damaged by illegal riders. Instead, it has been suggested that cycling groups could purchase their own land to undertake their sport.

The department has placed signs warning cyclists that they face a £100 fine if they use the cliff paths. ‘Not everyone is aware that cycling is not permitted in certain areas,’ the spokesman said.

‘The signs indicating the level of fine were introduced by the department this summer in response to complaints about cyclists riding fast or discourteously on some protected areas.’

The department receives complaints regularly about bike riders illegally using footpaths, parks and nature areas.

The spokesman said signs were placed at Les Sommeilleuses and at Pleinmont, after it was found that the paths were ‘rutted’ by numerous cycle tracks.

Comments for: "'Overwhelming public support' needed if cyclists cliff path ban to be lifted"


Whilst (as a non-cyclist) it would be great to have a cliff path route open for use I really can't see the "overwhelming public support" needed despite Guernsey being way behind the curve on this versus our neighbouring island and the majority of the rest of the world.

Unfortunately we seem to be an island that prefers not to support and promote healthy activities, but would rather bow to those that moan the loudest.

There are numerous ways that the cliff paths could be shared, two of my preferred options are introducing additional routes (which cyclists have already offered to maintain free of charge) or having set times where cyclists are able to use the path.

We should be embracing our island for the opportunities it provides to us and our youngsters.

Many of the cliff paths are in an awful state of repair, including areas that are nigh on impossible to access with a bike (stepped sections), so I think it is unreasonable to blame damage on cycling. It is more reasonable to blame the damage on the poor maintenance program undertaken by the (lazy) environment department.


Hmm a few ruts caused by cyclists. Most cliff paths have ruts and most of these are obviously not caused by cyclists but are actually water damage.

I must admit to having cycled a few of these cliff paths but have never yet met an angry or upset pedestrian as I either stop and let them by or they politly move aside so I can pass. Indeed, most of them usually send me on my way with a cheerful "you must be mad" or "my thats an excellent way to keep fit" comment.

The cycle/footpath along the West coast is I believe used way more so than the cliff paths by cyclists and there is little or no evidence of ruts caused by cyclists along this path. In fact and in my opinion the problem seems to occur when puddles are encountered. Most cyclists will not care about getting wet or muddy and will cycle straight through them, whereas pedestrians will actually widen the path by walking around the puddles.

Another mountain out of a molehill caused by someone moaning loud and long enough to cause a fuss.


"Overwhelming public support" of just about anything in Guernsey seems to be controlled by this newspaper so, judging by the tone of the above, I doubt you'll see changes to these restrictions any time soon!

Heathers Elbow

Where is the petition I'll sign it.

I'm so fed up of this Police state noncence. The cliffs are there to be enjoyed by everyone. I've never encountered these rogue, inconsiderate, dangerous cyclists on the cliffs but I have encountered many nimby-killjoys. The same ones that would have dogs banned from the cliffs too!

I'm with FUB, the ruts are caused by water erosion and if you went out on the cliffs today you would see the process in action.

Environment have neglected the cliffs for years. I remember doing the Itex walk 18 months ago and finding parts so overgrown that they were almost impassable.

Great idea for 2014. Why not get some of the lazy dole bludgers working the cliffs under supervision of States Works. The taxpayer is already footing the bill so lets get some value. It might even prepare some of them for getting into work?


I wish everyone would read the Environments statement on the states website on cliff path maintenance before suggesting any old unemployed person can do it. It takes specially trained people with special tools to maintain them. As an overworked and overtaxed taxpayer I want the proper professionals taking care of this delicate and beautiful area not any old Tom, Dick or Harry. I've worked with so called 'dole-budgers' on projects before and some of their half-job, couldn't be bothered attitude would be extremely dangerous to such an area.

A Foot

The cliff paths are among the very few areas where pedestrians can get away from selfish vehicle users: even the beaches are not free from vehicles of one sort or another. I would hope that Environment will not be influenced by the vociferous cycling lobby on this one.


I can't see why cliff paths cannot be used by cyclists provided the pedestrian has right of way. Don't see that happening anytime soon though. I once cycled up the path from near the bottom of the Val des Terres that goes up to Fort George - near the top (and only going about 1 mph as it's steep) I saw a pedestrian and dismounted, only to have the barbed comment, "I thought cycling wasn't allowed on the cliff paths."


and why shouldn't have been on the receiving end of such a comment, the pedestrian was absolutely correct!

enne biche

Tackle the dog mess problem before targeting the mountain bikers.

A Healthy Cycling Fan

Yes cyclists should be allowed to share the cliff paths at certain times of the day. I would suggest these times could be before 9am and, if they are using a good set of lights and experienced or skilled, also after dark. It is not overly dangerous providing care and awareness is taken. There are also fewer people walking on the paths during these times. If a cyclist were to meet anyone walking, they should at all times be courteous and give way, stop or dismount. People walking of a night or early morning will also be aware there is a chance of meeting cyclists. I feel the objections of wear and tear is not an issue. The worst type of erosion I have witnessed on all our coastal paths is caused by mother nature and the running water during our heavy rainfalls. We all pay our taxes and should therefore work together so we may all receive the benefits of fresh air and exercise by using our coastal paths, whether it's walking, running or cycling. Plus there is the added advantage of being away from the dangers and breathing in the pollution caused by motor vehicles.


Why spoil one of the most beautiful walks you could wish to do.I agree that lots of the people who walk their dogs on the cliffs do not pick up after there dogs, so perhaps they should ban them as well. Mountain bikes do cause a lot of damage to tracks and to open the paths to cyclists would be a backward step.As always you will get self interested groups supporting any idea which suits them, irrespective of the damage it would do.

Oh Dear

I think they should be open for anyone. Dog walkers, pedestrians and cyclists.

All it takes is respect and all three groups of people can enjoy it. Dog walkers need to clean up after themselves. There is far too much dog mess in our island, not just on the cliffs but elsewhere. Cyclists should dismount and allow pedestrians and dog walkers to pass safely. It's really as simple as that. A classic example of the minority destroying it for the majority.

Before you claim that I must be a cyclist and therefore have a vested interest in this. I use the cliff paths as a pedestrian.


The problem most have are the aggressive cyclists.

The minority ? spoil it for the majority.

I wouldn't object to cyclists on paths if they gave way to pedestrians but they don't whatever some posters on here say. A lot tear along and expect pedestrians to get out of their way.

Fix that problem and then there is no problem


Fully agree because of the attitude of the cyclist that they own the path and go speeding along and the poor pedestrian is left to get out of the way, the cliff paths should remain cycle free.

It does not work on L'Ancresse Common for the very same reason the cyclist believe that they own the paths and speed along, it is their own fault and should put their own house in order if they want the public to help them.

Educate the loons who spoil it for you all, and give you a bad name.


Chris lets compare it to driving/ walking or anything in everyday life...

Not all drivers and walkers are courteous and give way to you when driving/walking. Whether that be on the road, in town, holding a door open etc. How do you fix that "problem"?

You can't, there will always be people in this world like that but they are like you say a minority, and unfortunately ruin the reputation for everyone else! It doesn't mean you classify every human a "problem" if one person didn't hold a door open, let you go at a filter, or stop and let you out of a shop in town for instance does it?

The general feedback on here is how courteous cyclists on the cliff paths are, this makes me think you had one bad experience and are tarnishing all by the same brush...



What you fail to understand is in the name of the path, it's a FOOTpath, not a ROAD, or a BIKEpath.

I expect to get out of the way from bikers when I'm on the road walking, and it should be vice versa, ie bikers get out the way for walkers on FOOT paths.

I think you are reading the comments here through rose coloured spectacles. The majority of the public are against cyclists on FOOTpaths whether they be on the cliffs or alongside the roads.

I and most other people have had more than one 'bad' experience as you call it.

I have started videoing bad cyclists and the best of the worst will be put on You Tube for all to see.


I'm all for supporting more off road cycling opportunities but a bit puzzled about cycling on the cliff paths. If we are talking about the south coast cliffs, there are some big steps that would seriously challenge even the best cyclists and it's only 2 feet wide in places. Some specifics about which areas would be useful.


In favour of coastal paths but opposed to cliff paths due to the dangers of accidently sliding off path down the cliff face.

Jerry Jihad

I was attacked by a swarm of feral Turkeys very close to this sign WTF.


Take a walk down to Petit Bot through the woods to see what a terrible mess some push-bikes make - and don't get upset when you are shouted at for not moving out of the way when they splash past you!


.... and while we are talking about cycles - has anyoue counted the number of cyclists who use the very costly cycle lane from St Sampson's to Town. Between 0800-0845 just 14 (+ 5 using the actual road) when I was sipping my coffee. Would be much better to put it back as part of the road which could be used by all vehicled, including the 5 cyclists who chose to ride on the road while I was making my count!

PS I do have a bike and I use it - obeying the traffic lights too!

Island Wide Voting


Are you able to point us to an official report showing how much was spent on 'the very costly cycle lane'?


Have you taken into consideration the weather recently, I would imagine the likelihood of getting swamped by waves, has perhaps reduced the number of cyclists using not only the cycle lane, but the coastal route as a whole.


Oh well, the season of goodwill to all men has ended and here we are, not a week into the new year with yet another example of Guernsey intolerance. We really do love to moan and whinge about what others do or don't do, can't we just all get on with our own lives ? Just once.


As a principle, public land should be open to everybody. The law is there for a reason as certain areas are dangerous.

There is a need for a review as it currently doesn't seem to be consistent from one piece of land to the next.

For example, you could teach your kids to ride at Delancey Park but not at Saumarez park. Another would be the joint foot / cycle path that runs from Grandes Rouques to Amarreurs that has a 10 mph speed restriction. A near identical path then continues around the coast to fort Doyle that cyclists are not allowed to use.

Donkey's Wotsits

Public land generally IS open for everyone - just not every user/recreation group and most people can surely see that it would not be practical to grant a free-for-all.


Like all things "give 'em an inch" just look at the bunches of lycra clad cyclists using public thoroughfares as race tracks. I do not mind ordinary people on push bikes using the roads but the selfish " I wear a Velo club jersey type " riding racing bikes with no lights mudguards or bells in bunches of eight or more with no regard for following road users should be curbed.

I am sure that it is against the law to use the public highway for racing events, rendering these racing cyclists uninsured, if they ever were, meaning that in event of an accident the third party is not covered. Given the above I do not want cyclists tearing around the coastal FOOTPATHS.

Terry Langlois

The organised races which take place on the roads are arranged in co-ordination with the Police and relevant Constables, and it is most definitely not against the law. The Velo Club also has insurance which covers any rider taking part in one of the organised events.

Island Wide Voting

Are there organised races every Sunday or are they just training every Sunday?

Not that they have ever bothered me .. it's just that I find it hard to keep up with them without breaking the speed limit!


Off topic I know, however, surely it is time that this racing on the road was stopped. No road user, whatever their mode of transport should be using the public highway for racing, their sole intent to travel as fast as they can. Anyone who is trying to go as fast as they can and beat other competitors cannot be concentrating on road safety.

Terry Langlois

Humbug - thankfully, your view is not one which is followed in many places throughout the world. Road cycling has existed for more than a hundred years with races regularly taking place on public roads throughout Europe and elsewhere in the world. On any given weekend there will be a multitude of road races on the roads of the UK, France, Netherlands, Belgium and almost any other country that you can think of. Provided that these races follow safety protocols (which they do) and are properly organised then what is the problem? There are very few incidents in any of the mentioned places, or here, and there is a strng emphasis on road safety with marshalled junctions and riders being disqualified if they break the rules of the road.

It is a healthy activity which gets kids out doing something constructive.

Are you also someone who criticises children for not engaging in positive activities? If so, come along on a Saturday or Sunday morning to see the youngers turning out to partake in a healthy and positive sport, requiring dedication and commitment.

And you want to stop this for what purpose? Just because it is not something that you like to do? Or out of some false concern for the safety of those involved, when the sport has been run here safely for many many years? It is fair to say that road racing results in fewer injuries than either rugby or horseriding - but would you similarly try to stop those out of safety concerns?

Terry Langlois

IWV - the road races run from March to September, during which time there will generally be a bunch race or a time trial every weekend, but if it is a short time trial that will often be on the Saturday morning.

Riders will obviously train at other times and it is worth mentioning that there are a large number of riders on the island who have nothing to do with the Velo Club, and who just ride for the pleasure and fitness benefits.



Does that include runners, joggers and walkers too ?

Guess half marathon , marathon participants all use roads or should they use the footpath ?

In regards to other comments

Most racing takes place early mornings to avoid issues with traffic.

I don't see many Velo riders without lights. Generally this is seen as a critical item for riding at night. Especially on an expensive race bike or any bike being honest.

I do however see a lots of people without lycra riding on footpaths and roads with no lights at all. Not smart given you can get a set for less than a fiver. Also see a number of cars with dodgy lights, i do apologize for not seeing what they were wearing

The cliff paths are not suitable for all riders however this should be the choice of the riders. Many friend tell me of times before 1975 when they shoved on a set of slightly knobbly tires on their three speeds and rode all the paths on the island.I think they used to call it trekking though not sure.Perhaps somebody could shed light on this, maybe this was the reason for the ban in 1975 !!!


Terry Langlois, today the user pays so if you think it is the right of lycra clad lunatics to tear around the island on racing bikes, Pay road tax, Pay individual insurance and display a registration plate that is readable at 25 yards so that when in my case one of your Velo Club Members wearing his Velo Club shirt undertakes me while I am stopped at RED traffic lights and rides through, I have his number to report him to the Police.


Maybe we could have car and motorcycle races on public roads then. Why should cyclist be the only road users who have allowances for competition.

Terry Langlois

it comes down to the fact that public roads (especially our narrow roads in a densely populated island) are totally unsuitable for racing at the speeds reached by cars or motorbikes.

I cannot think of one place in the world where there are regular motor races on public roads.

Isle of Man TT is a special event, as is the Monaco GP. I cannot think of anywhere that allows it as a matter of course.

Cycle racing can be conducted safely and without closing the road. So can running/walking races. Motor races cannot.

Oh Dear

Concerned, that's a very daft post.

Why don't you try the hill climb or some sand racing?



Hill climb and sprint come to mind in regard to motorbike and car racing on public roads. I don't object to them either.Hill climb on petit bot must be good fun, however not sure my car would be up to it.

You can also race cars and bikes on the beaches. Something cyclists are not allowed to. However Beach racing pretty big on the continent so can we have access to beaches once in a while too.


Well it gets my vote. You know where you whinging nimbys can stick it.


Cyclist have taken over the pavements so we might as well let them takeover the cliff paths too.

Yvonne Burford

"Cyclists have taken over the pavements"

Really? Where? With the exception of the seafront pavement which is also a cycle path, I probably saw a maximum of 3 people cycling on the footpath last year.


All over the island, but around St. Peter Port is worse. I see them at least two to three times a week and fedup of having to walk into the road/jump into the hedge to avoid being run over by one of these prats.

courteous cyclist

I have a complaint about dog owners, how many pooh bags do we see thrown in hedges, yes they pick it up (if someone is watching) but then get rid of it in nearest hedge - probably does not apply to all dog owners just as it does not apply to all cyclists - come on we should all be able to Share with Care, non of us are perfect.


Terry Langlois, if you wish to use the public roads for your sport the pay road tax pay for insurance as individuals and make sure you display a registration plate so that , as in my case when one of your Velo Club wearing his Velo Club shirt undertakes me when I am stopped at RED traffic lights and cycles through I have an ID number with which to report him to the police. I have lost count of the number of cyclists who commit outrageous deeds.



I will happily pay road tax based on the current system employed in Guernsey. However I have yet to found the need to put fuel in my cycle ?

It is my understanding that any race participant is covered by insurance. This is to cover third party accidents and is a requirement. Those riding outside of those times would be advised to do so but if they cause damage to property they are liable. For the cost about £20 a year I would suggest that this is sensible. However reading the paper it seems a number of motorists also have issue with insurance .

If you have issue with a Velo club member (I am not a member by the way) suggest you take it up with the Velo club. Contact details on the website and take note of bike should be able to find the culprit. I would advise that anyone wearing a Velo top should set an example to other riders.

Registration numbers are not a bad idea as would also be useful in event a bike is taken. However as you may note a bike does not have the biggest surface area so doubt it would be visible in any case.

The island is small with lots of people , we need to learn to get on with each other and in fact put up with annoying habits. We also tend to observe the bad and ignore the good. I find most road users get along without issue. There are however elements on both sides that do love to wind each other up


If you are in your car and stopped at traffic lights, its my understanding that its not illegal to undertake or overtake as a cyclist if conditions allow it. Are you perhaps more cheesed off that somebody has the nerve to queue jump you whilst you are sat in your car?

And are you sure he cycled through on red, or more likley and very much safer, was he just quicker off the mark when it was safe to do so ie lights on amber and getting a head start of cars wanting to overtake again?


I was the only vehicle at the temporary lights, they were red that is why I was stationary, the wind direction was SW and I did not catch up with the light jumper until Crabby Jack's. Not a case of left standing at the lights just a case of another selfish cyclist breaking the law.

Gary wallbridge

Hi, Sentinel, I am the president of the Guernsey Velo Club, you may wish to call me on 07781 06768 so that we can discuss some your concerns, I believe most of your comments directed at the GVC may be a little inaccurate. Thanks for your supporting comments Terry Langlois, who ever you are.


Hi Gary, as you can see I am literate have good eyesight and an IQ of 135 plus, so which of my comments listed above do you believe to be inaccurate.

Oh Dear

It's incredible how many people have a high IQ on the internet...

The very fact that you felt the need to mention it says to me that your IQ is considerably lower than 135. Mine certainly is but as you can see I am indeed literate.

Did you know, it's possible to be intelligent, literate and wrong? Incredible isn't it.


Oh Dear,

I do not normally discuss my IQ however the scenario that I described is so uncomplicated that for GW to suggest that it was a "little inaccurate" suggests that I am not capable of relating an accurate description of events that I witness.

I suggest the reason is his vested interest in using the Islands roads as their own velodrome.


I think it may have been aimed at the road tax comment you made rather than the light jumper. As stated many cyclists do pay tax on fuel for vehicles if they have them. Arguing the case for road tax is a constant frustration for people as Road Tax has not existed since the 30's. Roads are paid from general taxation to avoid people stating they 'own the roads'. Believe it was Winston Churchill that abolished before he was prime minister. If racing a Velo event I believe riders are covered by 3rd party insurance. Normal cyclists can get cover for as little as £20 and it is advisable, however you can also make claims against their household insurance in some cases.

In regard to temporary lights I admit it is tempting to jump them when you know the road is clear, especially if wet, windy and cold. If I jumped such a light I would accept that I have broken the law. If caught by a police officer it would be 'a fair cop' so to speak. I don't as a rule and the only time I have done was early one morning along the coast when waves were coming over the wall. So exceptional circumstances.

It would appear that the cyclist you are referring to had no reason to jump the light so you are justifiable annoyed. As a cyclist and Car driver I to get annoyed at this. However sometimes a little tolerance goes a long way on all sides.

I would suggest speaking to Gary to raise concerns as this should be feedback to club members.

Well head above parapet so sorry if this enflames the situation further