Green lanes and tracks throughout Europe with public rights of way for motorised vehicles are an important part of our lives as 4×4 drivers and enthusiasts that must be protected and respected. The ability to get out there in our vehicles and sample the view of the great outdoors with friends and family is an experience that we must fight not to loose.
With more and more legislation being quietly brought in to prevent vehicular access, much thanks to the environmental campaigners, is slowly killing our much loved activities.
Without these routes most of us will be forced onto private land for play-days to simply go round and round the same course. We all read regularly about the 4×4 menace and trail bikers destroying the countryside for walkers and horse riders, but no one seems to mention that many 4×4 clubs and the TRF (Trail Riders Fellowship) have regular maintenance days to conduct green lane repairs and vegetation clearing.
The biggest culprits, to give the anti green laners ammunition to close the routes, are a few inconsiderate 4×4 drivers and bikers who tarnish us all with the same brush. With excessive speeds, driving off route, damaging property, wilful neglect for other users and the routes is self-destructive, with every complaint being another nail in the coffin for all motorised users.
Thank goodness for Associations such as GLASS who fight our corner to stop these lane closures, but we all must do our bit too.
Let’s be honest with ourselves, many of us may have inadvertently committed the odd breech of the regulations, but if you see blatant abuse of our rights of way you should voice you opinion to the perpetrator (politely of course) and let them know they are destroying our activity for the long term future.
We have compiled a list of the top 5 complaints lodged by land owners and the general public against motorised users of green lanes.
1, Driving off route;
Many times we have all seen it, vehicle tyre tracks that have roared around a field before picking up the track again, or taken a short cut/chicken run around the muddy ruts, all of this creates a bad feeling between the farmer/land owner and laners, usually ending in closure or lane blocking with obstacles.
2, Excessive speeds;
It’s not a rally or a day out set against the clock, it’s all about enjoying the route and a steady drive, using your vehicle to get to places otherwise not accessible unless you are into long range hiking. Speed damages the track for other users and infuriates people as you roar past. No need, so don’t do it.
To property; land, fencing and gates. Land damage can easily be attributed to motor vehicles as they leave the tyre tracks, but fencing and gates may well be accredited to any lane user climbing over fencing or gates for whatever reason.
4, Abusive behaviour;
Usually as a 4×4 driver we are the ones on the receiving end of verbal abuse. Others seem to think because we have a motor vehicle we should not be there and so let go with a barrage of abuse.
Keep your calm; explain what a green lane is, then go on with you business if they choose not to listen.
Do not verbally abuse others if they are in the wrong, politely state your point by highlighting their errors.
5, Not securing livestock control gates.
Again this one could be down to any lane user. Every time, as a group, we pass through gates we have always closed and secured them, first vehicle opens last vehicle shuts all wait as the operation is completed. We always rotate during the day so that all vehicles have a turn at being “tail end charlie”. As a single vehicle it’s always the co-pilots job.
We all have the right to enjoy these byways either on 4 or 2 wheels, on hooves or by foot, so if we all keep to the rules, be respectful, and don’t hand bullets to the killjoys to fire back at us, we may just keep what we have now for future enjoyment.
Image; ted-offroad Image;bendifroot image; GLASS
Cover image; 80-90 club