Compromise reached in battle between riders and villagers

An end to a long-running dispute by residents of a Leicestershire village and local time-trial cyclists seems to have been brokered by the police.

For years, the village of Long Whatton, near Loughborough, has been part of a 12.5 mile circuit used by Coalville Wheelers Cycling Club for time trials.

But for an equal amount of years, residents have complained that riding at speed through the main street poses dangers to pedestrians.

There have been two collisions in three years plus some near misses, prompting the parish council to call for a ban on time-trialling.

For their part, the cyclists say they have been the victims of abuse and poor driving by villagers when riding there.

According to the Leicester Mercury, police have brokered an agreement between the club and the parish council. North West Leicestershire police commander Inspector Chris Brown chaired a meeting between the two sides.

The club has agreed to give the parish council a schedule of time trials and provide warning signs and marshals for larger events.

Insp Brown said: "Hopefully, we have an agreement that means the riders can use the village and the villagers are safe.

"This has been an emotive issue and at the heart of it there has been quite a bit of misunderstanding.

"If the signs are put in the right place and the proper information about events is passed across I hope there will be no more issues."

Insp Brown revealed he had considered inserting an undercover officer as a competitor in a time trial to see how both sides behaved when the riders passed through the village.

He said he would continue to monitor the situation.

Parish council chairman Tom Wilkins said: "I am much happier having got round the table with the cyclists. They were very reasonable.

"They understood our concerns. If we get a proper warning each time they come, things should be fine."

Coalville Wheelers committee member Alan Vallance said: "I don't think we had fully appreciated the ill-feeling from the villagers, but the relationship will be much more amicable.

"For our members' safety and for the villagers' we want to avoid any more accidents. It stings a bit coming off a bike at 20mph.

"There are occasions when riders look down at their gear or to get their water bottle but we will be warning them not to ride through the village with their heads down.

"With the advance warning, the signs and the marshals, it should be much better."