A COUNCIL has been accused of putting motorbike riders ahead of safety and the preservation of ancient green lanes because it is scared of being taken to court.

Campaigners are furious that North Yorkshire County Council is allowing motorcyclists to carry on using Seggimire Lane a famous historic track at Ugglebarnby near Whitby in the North York Moors National Park.

In 2013 nearly £26,000 was spent repairing the lane after huge damage by off road vehicles and a blanket ban was imposed on 4x4’s and motor bikes.

But trail riders overturned the ban after a High Court challenge and the county council allowed motorcycles to use it as part of a pilot scheme. Now they have agreed it can be permanent – although the situation is being monitored for the rest of the year.

Diana Mallinson of the Green Lanes Environmental Action Movement said the council’s own officers had warned the lane is unsafe for motor vehicles.

She added: “We think North Yorkshire has made this awful decision because it’s afraid of being taken to court again by the Trail Riders Fellowship. They got the earlier ban on motor bikes on Seggimire Lane quashed by the High Court on a legal technicality.

“The council is putting the interests of motorbike riders above the interests of walkers, horse riders, cyclists and local residents. It is also failing in its duty to protect a beautiful, ancient track.”

Bill Tait of the Moors Green Lanes Alliance said: “If motorbikes are on the lane it can be very dangerous for everyone else, especially horse riders.”

In a statement the council said when the ban was quashed they agreed an experimental order allowing use by motorcycles and there had been no evidence of significant damage or injury accidents reported.

The statement added :”Based on this evidence the council felt the most appropriate way forward was to make the experimental order permanent although the council acknowledges there has been support from consultees for a ban on all motor vehicles.

"We have therefore undertaken to continue monitoring the lane for the rest of 2018, so this option can be considered should any significant damage be seen that is attributable to one or more specific user groups.”