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"Ludicrous": Disappointed RideLondon cyclists learn safety car will set 22mph pace limit

"A safety car will travel at the front of the event at 22mph. Those riding at the front of the event must not pass this vehicle for safety reasons"...

UPDATE: In a statement released on Tuesday 17th May, RideLondon admitted the 22mph information was "stated incorrectly" and confirmed the "event safety car would travel at a pace determined by the conditions and what is happening on the road".

Any early starters at RideLondon hoping to set a fast time may find themselves stuck behind an event safety car, which will travel at the head of the event at 22mph (35.4km/h).

The news was revealed in the event guide emailed to entrants over the weekend, and has been criticised by some riders taking part who took to social media to express their disappointment at the decision.

RideLondon event guide 22mph safety car

Due to closed roads, a relatively flat route and the large number of people taking part, RideLondon lends itself to faster riders posting quick average speeds boosted by drafting and the number of groups and chaingangs that form on the road.

This was expected to have been even more so the case this year, with the event debuting its new Essex route, which has less climbing than the previous Surrey edition.

> Is Essex ready for RideLondon? Police defends silence over road safety issues

However, early starters hoping to complete the 100-mile event in four and a half hours or quicker have been left disappointed that the news was not communicated sooner.

A road.cc reader tipped us off about the safety car, saying it "seems ludicrous to me and my friends who have places".

"Event managers do not set a speed limit on a marathon. It's closed roads and a fast weekend club run goes faster than this even on open roads and stopping and starting at junctions," road.cc reader James told us.

"I can see from a safety point of view the importance for many riders not used to riding in a group, however those in the first wave will more than likely be used to this and will have to brake on any downhill, making the ride less safe for them."

Another entrant posted the news on social media, saying: "A 22mph speed restriction on a flat(-ish) closed road RideLondon route sounds like the most horrific mass pile-up waiting to happen. I would love to understand what went through the head of whoever risk assessed that idea.

"Just to make things even more ridiculous, 100 miles at 22mph = ca. 4 1/2 hours. Yet when filling in the online registration form when signing up there was nothing to stop entrants putting down a sub-4 hour target finish time.

"The first few start waves will contain plenty of riders who will comfortably be able to cover the 100 miles in under 4 1/2 hours, so it won't be long after the start before the riders in wave A will be joined in the bunch behind the safety cars by riders from wave B, and so on.

"It sounds like just the sort of thing a focus group of non-cyclists would come up with."

Others asked why the news was only being communicated now: "Care to explain why you have disclosed this now when a lot of people who have averaged higher mph in the previous editions have paid up to expect to ride speeds above this? Now contemplating not going."

Another wrote: "Is this legit? Seems like an awful idea and really should have been disclosed before people entered."

We have contacted RideLondon for an explanation on the decision, but have not heard anything at the time of publishing.

In March, Essex Police defended its silence over its RideLondon 100 plans after concerns over an apparent lack of road safety engagement prior to the event, citing traffic policing cuts and pointing to ongoing Vision Zero work to eliminate road danger. 

Dan joined road.cc in 2020, and spent most of his first year (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. At the start of 2022 he took on the role of news editor. Before joining road.cc, Dan wrote about various sports, including football and boxing for the Daily Express, and covered the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for The Non-League Paper. Part of the generation inspired by the 2012 Olympics, Dan has been 'enjoying' life on two wheels ever since and spends his weekends making bonk-induced trips to the petrol stations of the south of England.

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