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New Forest row: Sportive organiser warns riders to follow Highway Code... and locals will be watching

Organisers respond to concerns raised by MP, as posters go up in pubs urging those who 'compromise safety' to be reported...

UK Cycling Events, organisers of this weekend’s Wiggle New Forest Spring Sportive, says that riders spotted breaching the Highway Code will not be allowed to take part in other events its arranges. The news follows posters reportedly going up in pubs in the area telling people to report cyclists they see acting in a way that "compromises safety" to take pictures and forward them to local councils.

Yesterday, a picture of one of those posters was placed on a forum thread on cyling website Singletrack World. An email received by one contributor to that thread suggests that some locals have equipped themselves with a speed camera and that they will film and report any cyclist the speed camera says is riding above the speed limit - presumably they are unaware that speed limits do not in fact apply to cyclists.

The poster itself reads:


Saturday 13th & Sunday 14th April 2013

6000 Event Cyclists

will be travelling at speed in and around New Forest villages

If you see something that compromises safety then take a picture and send with the date, time, location and details of the incident to your Parish Council. Our New Forest authorities need hard evidence before they can act. Remember...

'one click could do the trick'

It's against that background of vociferous opposition to large-scale cycling events, something that has been escalating for a couple of years now, that Martin Barden from UK Cycling Events, quoted in the Salisbury Echo, said: “Cycling is becoming more and more popular and it is the responsibility of every motorist and cyclist to share the roads in a considerate manner.

“We ask cyclists, wherever possible, to ride single file around the course, and have produced signs we will put up around the route to remind riders.

“Any cyclist seen to be breaking the Highway Code will, as part of our terms and conditions, be banned from future events.”

He also said that particpants would be asked to ride slowly past horses and give them lots of space.

“As we choose some of the most scenic and beautiful areas to ride, such as the New Forest, we quite often come across wild animals grazing at the side of the road,” he explained.

“The same principle applies - give them plenty of room.”

Around 4,000 riders are due to take part in the event this weekend, and as we reported earlier this week, local MP Dr Julian Lewis has called for a licensing system to be introduced for organised mass rides within the New Forest.

Dr Lewis claimed that cyclists posed a risk to livestock in the New Forest, and also accused some of breaking the Highway Code.

His comments were made as the New Forest National Park Authority has said it plans to draw up a charter for organisers to adhere to.

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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