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What are Traffic Regulation Orders?

Traffic Regulation Orders (TROs) are being increasingly misused by local councils, warns the National Motorcyclists Council (NMC).

TROs are a ban on motorised traffic, which can be imposed by local authorities as a temporary or permanent measure. Previous examples have included the use of HGVs in residential areas or the restriction of traffic on green lanes to prevent damage during bad weather.

 “The recent trend of using TROs,” said Jim Freeman, Chair of the BMF. “has seen their insidious use by many local authorities, in many cases unwelcomed by local users.” Jim Freeman, along with the NMC and the Trail Riders Federation (TRF) is concerned that motorcyclists are getting caught up in bans which are primarily aimed at car and 4×4 drivers.

TROs are being increasingly applied to tarmac rural roads as a way of reallocating road space to non-motorised modes of transport and to create ‘safe and quiet spaces’ for walkers and cyclists, a practice which has become more common during the pandemic. One proposal in Somerset would have banned motor vehicles from a small local network of minor tarmac roads, but it was withdrawn in the face of opposition from local road user and motorcycle groups. ‘Tarmac TROs’ have also been proposed or applied in Derbyshire, Brighton and Cornwall.

Minor roads featuring fords seem particularly vulnerable to the application of tarmac TROs. This has been pursued in Derbyshire and Cornwall, with concerns over safety and the environment cited. However, an NMC spokesman pointed out that motorcycles have not been involved in a single incident on the roads involved, and that electric motorcycles and scooters have not been exempted, despite their minimal environmental impact. He added, “The proposals both appear to be little more than a collateral attack on motorcycling where car drivers are the main target.”

The TRF’s John Vannuffel echoed that: “A main issue is one of not even considering motorcycles, and then confusing them with cars when the TRF alerted the proposing authorities to their existence. Another key issue is an unwillingness to recognise that motorcycles have a place in the local transport ‘eco-system’ that uses these sealed highways.”

The BMF is supporting the NMC and TRF in their efforts to have TROs applied fairly to all road users.

Written by Peter Henshaw 

Top photograph courtesy of John Walton