New Forest Cycling Code published, sportive charter to follow in New Year

Code drawn up following months of negotiations between 25 groups representing various interests

by Simon_MacMichael   December 26, 2013  

New Forest Sportive 2

Last week saw the publication of the New Forest Cycling Code, drawn up after months of discussion between 25 organisations, including bodies representing the interests of cyclists and people living and working in the national park. It will be followed in the New Year by a charter covering mass cycling events, which have become a cause of contention in the area in recent years.

The Code of Conduct covers issues such as riding at a safe speed, passing people and animals safely, including horses that are being ridden, and not deviating from permitted routes when riding off-road.

It was drawn up by the Cycling Liaison Group, jointly convened by the New Forest National Park Authority and the New Forest District Council’s Public Events and Safety Advisory Group following a meeting in March.

According to an update on its work issued earlier this month, the group aims “to build a better understanding and consensus about responsible cycling in the New Forest’s unique environment and to keep cycling in step with the special qualities and purposes of the National Park.”

Members include the New Forest Association of Local Councils, New Forest Association, Commoners Defence Association, New Forest Equine Association, Forestry Commission, New Forest District Council, Hampshire County Council, Hampshire Constabulary, CTC and Sustrans, together with cycle event organisers.

Both the Code of Conduct and the forthcoming charter are intended “to respond to the recent local conflict surrounding cycle events and to encourage safe and responsible cycling in the future.”

The charter will be aimed at providing guidelines for organisers of sportives, which are not subject to the Cycle Racing on Highways Regulations 1960 or associated legislation.

Mass participation cycling events have become a hugely controversial issue in the New Forest in recent years, in particular those sponsored by Wiggle and organised by UK Cycling Events Ltd, which is based in Fordinbridge, attracting up to 5,000 riders over the course of a weekend.

According to the National Park Authority’s December update, “Each of the on road Wiggle events resulted in antisocial behaviour by both cyclists and local people; the October [Wiggle 100 Sportive] event was exacerbated by an unforeseen clash with a drift and the December [off road Fallen Leaves] event has highlighted differences of opinion about whether the permissive cycle network should be used for events of this kind.

“Amidst the vocal objectors there are also those who support the events, and participants clearly enjoy fresh air and exercise within the National Park’s unique environment,” adding that a survey conducted among participants in the Wiggle October 100 Sportive revealed that 29 per cent of the 1,163 riders stayed and ate locally, with the local economy benefitting to the tune of £322,000.

According to the NPA, “Some aspects of the organisation of events are at least superficially straightforward (e.g. promoting respect for the Forest and its residents). However, other aspects are proving more challenging and complex (e.g. ensuring safety is not compromised by high rider numbers).

“There is a wide range of cycle events and it is important that the charter is as widely applicable as possible. At the time of writing the charter has well over 30 clauses but this will probably change when we condense, simplify and make it ‘more punchy’.”

It says that the most important features will include:

• the potential for a cap on numbers, non-publication of timed results and clearer numbering of riders to facilitate feedback - these have yet to be agreed…

• expectations of advance communication with the Safety Advisory Group and landowners, and associated mechanisms to avoid clashes

• best practice advice about staggered starts and marshalling

• reference to litter and the provision of toilets

• various instructions relating to the New Forest’s special circumstances (narrow roads, horse riders, commoners’ stock etc.) and local communities.

The Cycling Liaison Group will next consider the Charter at its meeting in Fenbruary, with hopes of launching it in the spring.

In the meantime, speaking of the Code of Conduct, Nigel Matthews, head of recreation management and learning at the New Forest National Park Authority, said: ‘This is a significant and welcome achievement following a great deal of careful thought and input from numerous organisations.

“The Liaison Group agreed that in relatively few words, the code highlights the main aspects of cycling within the unique environment of the Forest about which we want to raise awareness.”

New Forest Cycling Code

0.1 Welcome to the New Forest: a beautiful, tranquil and environmentally sensitive place enjoyed by local residents and visitors alike. Mutual respect and courtesy are essential to enable those with different interests to enjoy the Forest together.

0.2 The New Forest is a working forest, with forestry, farming and equestrian activity on its narrow roads and tracks. Ponies, cattle and other animals are free to roam the Forest and most of its roads. Be aware that animals are easily startled and may suddenly move into your path.

0.3 Off road cycling in the New Forest is permitted only on certain routes.

0.4 Please follow both the Highway Code and this New Forest Cycling Code which is supported by cycling groups and local organisations.

0.5 If you are cycling in an organised event, follow the additional instructions to minimise your impact.

Be considerate

1.1 Ride in single file on tracks and narrow roads, leaving gaps for overtaking vehicles to pull into. Never ride more than two abreast.

1.2 Off road, cycle only on the waymarked network of Forestry Commission tracks or on bridleways, byways and restricted byways.

1.3 Use this map to plan your route, check for route closures, and try to be out of the Forest by sunset.

1.4 Be polite to other cyclists, motorists, pedestrians and residents.

1.5 When passing people and animals, use your bell or call out a warning and allow them plenty of room. Be prepared to stop if necessary.

1.6 Do not drop litter or feed the animals; human food and litter are a danger to them.

1.7 Respect the quiet of the Forest.

Be safe

2.1 Pass animals slowly and to one side if possible.

2.2 Take extra care near horse riders; a kick or fall from a horse could be fatal. Be prepared to stop. Use your bell or call out a friendly warning well in advance. When it is safe, pass wide and at walking pace, to one side only.

Look out for any reaction from the horse.

2.3 Keep to a safe speed, on and off road, particularly on narrow lanes, steep hills and bends. Look out for pot holes, poor surfaces and cattle grids.

2.4 Ride positively and well clear of uneven road edges.

2.5 Look out for and obey safety signs. Do not pass large vehicles and trailers until you know it is safe to do so.

2.6 Ensure you are visible by wearing bright or reflective clothing. Use lights after dark and in poor daytime visibility.

27 user comments

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Over £300k into the local economy from one event in October. This surely is a significant sum, and ought to be a good leverage point in future event planning when presumably other events in the warmer months would bring more revenue in.

As with most laws, rules and codes of practice, the mantra of 'Don't be an arsehole' would cover pretty much everything if adhered to.....

posted by allez neg [4 posts]
26th December 2013 - 20:34

37 Likes

So as you'd expect it's essentially a list of how to behave for those doing or likely to cause the least damage to others whilst motorists continue slaying cyclists, walkers, horse riders, animals and each other.

I suppose it's still fine to take my sports car and use the lanes at high speed knowing I'll be excused if I do kill anyone so long as I don't drop an empty KFC box out of the window.

Rules for everyone then but for those doing the real damage business as usual?

Respect the quiet of the forest? Is this a serious list? Presumably they're banning any Harley Davidson motorcycles along with boy racer baked bean can exhaust carrying Corsas then? How much noise can a cyclist actually make?

Hating our selfish and ignorant car culture

posted by ironmancole [196 posts]
26th December 2013 - 21:12

54 Likes

"try to be out of the Forest by sunset." Confused

What does that have to do with being "considerate"?

posted by DonnyCampo [58 posts]
26th December 2013 - 22:12

40 Likes

"1.1 Ride in single file on tracks and narrow roads, leaving gaps for overtaking vehicles to pull into. Never ride more than two abreast"

Nice to see that they realise we're allowed two abreast, but the rest of that is very poor advice: if the road is narrow, other vehicles should not overtake.

I also like the contradictory instructions to use a bell or call and to be quiet.

CTC and sustrans should be ashamed of endorsing yet another nice way code containing dangerous advice.

posted by a.jumper [767 posts]
26th December 2013 - 22:51

26 Likes

DonnyCampo wrote:
"try to be out of the Forest by sunset." Confused

What does that have to do with being "considerate"?

Sounds like the advice you'd get from the sinister locals in the creepy pub with a pentagram on the wall.

posted by FluffyKittenofT... [837 posts]
27th December 2013 - 0:05

36 Likes

I really hope that we do not have to legally reduce our spend to walking pace when passing horses. How do cars manage to do this ? Oh, they don't, they are much louder, more dangerous and alarming to a horse than a bicycle would ever be. There are so many bridal paths in the forest this 'battle for the road' makes no sense.
Whilst attending the Wiggle isle of Wight this year, we were joined by the tvr owners club. Loud, fast and driving around in groups. Made us look like saints.
I welcome the non posting of times, sportives are not races. Join a club and race properly.

miles_from_anywhere's picture

posted by miles_from_anywhere [27 posts]
27th December 2013 - 7:38

17 Likes

Seems to me to have been a complete waste of time and money, particularly if this is the result of "months" of discussion between the parties involved.

Interesting that it refers to the need for "mutual respect and courtesy" but then nowhere does it give any instruction as to how drivers should behave towards cyclists.

posted by parksey [339 posts]
27th December 2013 - 7:50

16 Likes

miles_from_anywhere wrote:
I really hope that we do not have to legally reduce our spend to walking pace when passing horses. How do cars manage to do this ? Oh, they don't, they are much louder, more dangerous and alarming to a horse than a bicycle would ever be. There are so many bridal paths in the forest this 'battle for the road' makes no sense.
Whilst attending the Wiggle isle of Wight this year, we were joined by the tvr owners club. Loud, fast and driving around in groups. Made us look like saints.
I welcome the non posting of times, sportives are not races. Join a club and race properly.

Horses are usually used to hearing the noise of cars coming up from behind them. The problem with cyclists is they horse may not hear them until they appear unexpectedly in their peripheral vision. Horses being a prey animal have their eyes to the side of their face so they have the widest field of vision (hence the use of blinkers in horseracing) and may react when a fast moving but relatively silent object like a cyclist starts overtaking it.

IMO you'd have to be some kind of idiot to ride past a horse close and fast. Even a modestly-sized pony has the capability of kicking you to death or shoving you into the incoming lane if it gets spooked.

Anyway you can't reason with a horse, so whether 'some' other road users are not careful around them or not doesn't mean you shouldn't be. Personally, I ride very carefully around horses, out of respect for another road user and out of self preservation.

nostromo's picture

posted by nostromo [65 posts]
27th December 2013 - 8:35

30 Likes

parksey wrote:
....

Interesting that it refers to the need for "mutual respect and courtesy" but then nowhere does it give any instruction as to how drivers should behave towards cyclists.

They get round that bit by calling it a "Cycling Code....". Maybe they should have called it a Sporting Event Code and then had as many rules for pedestrians, dog walkers, car drivers, lorry drivers, and motorcyclists and householders....

Sarcasm aside, the sportives that I've ridden the majority of riders have all behaved well and I was in the New Forest last year. But its the few assholes that spoil it for all and we've all seen them; fully clad in the most expensive lycra you can buy on bikes that cost upwards of £3k who ride 5 abreast, refuse to budge, refuse to slow down in the name of safety when they should slow down, shout at othert cyclists to get out the damn way, chuck their energy gel packs over their shoulders (the corners of those packs hurt when they hit you in face at 20+mph) along with snot rags and other rubish, and act like total twats. They are the ones who give all a bad rep. I have been so ashamed by these twats that I no longer do sportives. Becasue to be honest, these minority riders make us all look like arrogant assholes. Thats something I dont want to be a part of and I love everything to do with cycling. These events need marshalls on bikes who video bad cycling and disqualify riders who have to leave the event immediately and that disqualified rider needs his name and number placed on the electronic scoreboard for all to see. Wont solve everything but goes someway to helping.

posted by Critchio [119 posts]
27th December 2013 - 8:52

26 Likes

Ugh, what a load of patronising guff. Where are the rules for the idiots in cars who do real damage?

The self-appointed guardians of the New Forest have made it abundantly clear that people like me aren't welcome there over the past couple of years. I certainly won't be visiting there any time soon, whether I'm travelling by bike or not, the place sounds like a thoroughly unpleasant Little Englander's paradise. There's plenty of other places in the UK that are much more friendly. If I was an event organiser I'd definitely be looking at taking my event and its associated cash somewhere less incredibly selfish.

mintimperial's picture

posted by mintimperial [18 posts]
27th December 2013 - 8:53

22 Likes

What I find hard to comprehend is that there is in the region of 246,000 miles of road in the UK.

Can I find just 10 miles to use in peace knowing that I don't have to risk losing everything by sharing it with drunken/drugged/uninsured/banned/reckless/impatient/self-entitled people enclosed in 2 tonnes of steel cage that are more interested in looking at Facebook than looking out for people they can 'whoops carelessly' take the life of?

Course not. I have for a long time thought it's about time a nationwide network of lesser used roads were removed from vehicle use and turned over to form a safe network for cycling.

What difference does it make for any of us whilst in our cars if we have to make a slightly longer route anyway? There are many rural roads across the country that could be identified for this purpose to form such a network also becoming viable commuter routes between towns and cities that offer safety and segregation from the bleary eyed latecomers in the office who look to make up time by sticking their foot down on the rural rat runs.

Such a network would offer a pretty immediate solution to many problems and the cost would be minimal, just a few things to consider such as barriers at each access point to stop cars turning in as well as consideration of field access fir farming..all possible to resolve.

We could even start a licence scheme to help with upkeep of the surface and small businesses could spring up to cater to those on the routes.

Long story short, if cyclists were given such provision there would be more opportunity to avoid conflict with the more dangerous vehicle users by using such networks.

Hating our selfish and ignorant car culture

posted by ironmancole [196 posts]
27th December 2013 - 10:15

14 Likes

So, you have to respect the quiet and not startle the horses: fair enough, it's a lovely part of the world and only a complete arse would deliberately scare the livestock. But you have to use your bell, which isn't a legal requirement.

And as for trying to be out of the Forest by sunset... er... huh?

Boardman CX Team '14 | Cannondale CAAD8 '12 (written off, SMIDSY) | Scott Sportster '08

Gizmo_'s picture

posted by Gizmo_ [1086 posts]
27th December 2013 - 10:25

14 Likes

Quote:
There are so many bridal paths in the forest

Point of fact: there are no bridle paths within the boundary of the New Forest.

Found out recently that horse riders are meant to only use designated routes off road that were set after WWII using aerial photos from the Luftwaffe and based on traditional cattle driving paths used for hundreds of years.

posted by usedtobefaster [123 posts]
27th December 2013 - 10:31

19 Likes

usedtobefaster wrote:
[designated routes off road that were set after WWII using aerial photos from the Luftwaffe

Can we not organise a whip round and see if those lads want to come out of retirement and have another crack at the New Forest?

Either that or pray for a dry summer and a good forest fire.

posted by farrell [1662 posts]
27th December 2013 - 11:52

16 Likes

farrell wrote:
usedtobefaster wrote:
[designated routes off road that were set after WWII using aerial photos from the Luftwaffe

Can we not organise a whip round and see if those lads want to come out of retirement and have another crack at the New Forest?

Either that or pray for a dry summer and a good forest fire.


They do controlled burns every summer.

However, I suspect your point is more destructive, and I'd prefer you'd kept it to yourself.

Boardman CX Team '14 | Cannondale CAAD8 '12 (written off, SMIDSY) | Scott Sportster '08

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posted by Gizmo_ [1086 posts]
27th December 2013 - 12:15

0 Likes

Anyone who's been to the New Forest will know that the roads are quite narrow and there is a 40mph speed limit which is largely observed. You will always get selfish twats in cars same as you get selfish twats on bikes.

As some earlier posts have said a quiet bike suddenly appearing in a horses peripheral vision is worse than a loud car it has heard from some distance. My partner is both a cyclist and a horse rider so I can see this from both sides of the fence.

David Palmer
Milton Keynes

Specialized Secteur Elite 2013
Team Raleigh Road Bike
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djpalmer32's picture

posted by djpalmer32 [65 posts]
27th December 2013 - 12:20

20 Likes

Gizmo_ wrote:
farrell wrote:
usedtobefaster wrote:
[designated routes off road that were set after WWII using aerial photos from the Luftwaffe

Can we not organise a whip round and see if those lads want to come out of retirement and have another crack at the New Forest?

Either that or pray for a dry summer and a good forest fire.


They do controlled burns every summer.

However, I suspect your point is more destructive, and I'd prefer you'd kept it to yourself.

Far more destructive preferably, give them something actually worth moaning about.

And then ask the residents, and the residents alone, to pay for the clean up.

There would be a rapid change in attitude to it being theirs and theirs alone then.

posted by farrell [1662 posts]
27th December 2013 - 12:57

22 Likes

Personally, I think this code kind of overlooks the fact that the main threat to livestock and a quiet sustainable countryside is the motorist. Now, I am a motorist myself so I am not just bashing the tin boxes but this code of conduct is like debating what music the band on the Titanic should be playing whilst the ship goes down.

Bobbinogs's picture

posted by Bobbinogs [74 posts]
27th December 2013 - 13:03

15 Likes

So basically you should use the roads as stated by The Highway Code, just like EVERY other road user does, resulting in EVERY road user getting where they want to go with the minimum hassle EVERY time.

I sincerely look forward to this becoming a reality. Wave

Also, "ironmancole" suggests, " I have for a long time thought it's about time a nationwide network of lesser used roads were removed from vehicle use and turned over to form a safe network for cycling."

First of all, a cycle is a "vehicle".

Secondly, the "network" of lesser used roads do tend to have along them peoples homes. Most people, rightly or wrongly, access these homes by means of motor vehicles........ Can anyone spot a potential problem here?

TDL

tourdelound's picture

posted by tourdelound [94 posts]
27th December 2013 - 13:12

12 Likes

Load of BS as usual.

I know personally a number of people who attended various meetings and the whole "PROBLEM" has got nothing to do with disruption that a small number of events every year allegedly cause. It's about power and control, pro horse riding lobby and anti-cycling prejudice/bias.
Those people, if they only could, would love to ban all cycling events in the area and perhaps club runs, too.

Anyone genuinely concerned about the well-being of the forests would simply want to ban or restrict as much of a motorised traffic as possible and reduce (and enforce) speed limits to 30mph in many places.

P.S. Just another boring reminder about 80 or so animals killed a year by drivers and the fact that the authorities do f**k all about it.

I don't follow trends. Trends follow me.

posted by BBB [193 posts]
27th December 2013 - 13:38

16 Likes

2.7 you must provide your own bog roll for defecating on the village green.

posted by lookmanohands [104 posts]
27th December 2013 - 14:00

20 Likes

I'm glad someone commented on the need for 30 mph speed limits in the New Forest. I used to do a lot of cycling in that area and couldn't believe that the speed limit was 40 in most places, which is much too fast for the narrow roads where there are wandering animals.

Despite all this trouble and fuss about the dangers caused by cyclists, the speed limit remains at 40 except in the villages.

No mention of 25 organisations getting together to get that sorted. How surprising!

posted by chrislm [2 posts]
27th December 2013 - 14:21

19 Likes

Facebook page here, and link is from 20th Dec https://www.facebook.com/NewForestNationalParkAuthority

posted by MrGear [85 posts]
27th December 2013 - 16:26

13 Likes

Reading this article has made me realise its time to vote with my pedals and not ride in the New forest. The clue is in its title National Park so for everyone, so to be dictated as I am a cyclist is not on.
The fecking horse fraternity are the only ones with an opinion in the area so if you get ride of cyclists there is more space for the burger meat to shat on the road.
No mention of that in the code of conduct is there!!!

Chadders x

chadders's picture

posted by chadders [77 posts]
28th December 2013 - 16:06

11 Likes

2.4 Ride positively and well clear of uneven road edges.

Yes OH YES, lets all go down next week set off at one minute intervals making sure we keep the gap and keep primary position the cage drivers would really have something to moan about then!

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posted by FATBEGGARONABIKE [627 posts]
28th December 2013 - 17:07

11 Likes

usedtobefaster wrote:
Quote:
There are so many bridal paths in the forest

Point of fact: there are no bridle paths within the boundary of the New Forest.

Found out recently that horse riders are meant to only use designated routes off road that were set after WWII using aerial photos from the Luftwaffe and based on traditional cattle driving paths used for hundreds of years.

What's a bridal path? Are they for recently married women only?
Smile

OldRidgeback

posted by OldRidgeback [2427 posts]
31st December 2013 - 11:00

6 Likes

This looks like a bit of a dogs dinner.

I did see yesterday that the New Forest National Parks Authority (@newforestnpa) was getting a bit of a kicking on Twitter.

Aparently "try to be out of the Forest by sunset" was for offroad riding, but that isn't clear.

"Ride in single file on tracks and narrow roads, leaving gaps for overtaking vehicles to pull into. Never ride more than two abreast."
If the road is that narrow then vehicles shouldn't be overtaking.

Why no code for motorists in the New Forest? Thinking

posted by thereverent [331 posts]
31st December 2013 - 12:29

9 Likes