Thorns and the Cyclist

posted in: Active Travel, Campaigning

(Retrieved archive)

Safe Cycling All Year Round  Should Be Predictable and Relished!

At a time of the year when cyclists should be enjoying the mild autumnal days before the on-set of winter, each year they are plagued by a rash of punctures caused by thorns  not cleared after hedge cutting.   This can be extremely troublesome if the rider is making a time limited journey, such as going to or from work, and perhaps during the hours of darkness and in inclement weather conditions.  Such will discourage not only women from everyday utility cycling, but also many of the opposite sex, including those working 24hour shift systems when public transport is not available.

Thorns should not be tolerated.

The following photos show just such an incident on the A525 at St Asaph in September 2008. They feature a group of over a dozen cyclists, some in their 70s and 80s, who are seen first of all relaxing on the Prestatyn – Dyserth cyclepath.

Later in their ride they were forced to cross the busy A525 dual carriageway at St Asaph to avoid about 1/3 mile of hawthorn hedge clippings. At least five punctures arose from this incident.

Report to the Highway Authority.

Denbighshire County Council had been advised of the incident earlier in the day and sent a motor to clear up. The last information we have is that steps are being taken to contact the landowner responsible.

Report to the social media too!

Your editor was prompted to send the following letter to the Daily Post. It was printed minus the last paragraph


It is the time of the year for the cutting of roadside hedges. Unfortunately there are already reports of cyclists suffering severe inconvenience from punctures caused by thorns. May I appeal in the strongest terms to those responsible to clear hedge cuttings immediately.

It is an offence under the Highway Act 1980 to leave hedge cuttings or other debris on a road, footpath, or cycleway. On conviction this could involve a fine of up to £1000 for each offence, with perpetrators possibly facing additional civil proceeding. If the local authority is called to clear away the debris, this could cost the miscreant at least £400.

Individual cyclists are best placed to report such incidents. They are urged to do so in the interests of other road users. This should be done by making a formal statement to a police officer.

Roy Spilsbury CTC Cymru – Welsh region of the 70,000 member national cycling charity (now rebranded ‘cyclinguk’)

Will sense ever prevail?


St Asaph Courthouse. Early 20th century
St Asaph Courthouse. Early 20th century


Thorns on roads are an ancient problem as this item from the Cheshire Observer 23rd Dec 1901 reveals: