Mansfield District Council, which bans cyclists from the Nottinghamshire town’s pedestrianised centre, has defended its decision to host a stage start at next month’s Tour of Britain.
It also says that cyclists coming to watch the race will be welcome to ride their bikes to the start in the Market Place – provided they do so responsibly.
As we reported earlier this month, Mansfield is hosting the start of Stage 4 of the race to Newark-on-Trent on Wednesday 6 September. despite using a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) last year to ban cyclists from the town centre.
The introduction of the PSPO was aimed at curbing anti-social riding, but Cycling UK, which is supporting six cyclists opposing the ban, has likened its use as akin to that of an ASBO.
Commenting on Mansfield hosting the Tour of Britain, the charity’s Duncan Dollimore, quoted on BBC News, said: “They are marketing the town as cycle friendly, but not to people who want to shop there.
"We would never defend cycling anti-social behaviour, but why not deal with those being stupid and not responsible cyclists.
"They are effectively saying cycling is anti-social."
However, the council insisted cyclists would be welcome to come and watch the race and while it would encourage people to dismount from their bikes, the PSPO would be suspended for the day.
In a statement, it said that "it wants to encourage as many people as possible to support the event.
"This is a controlled event with public safety barriers in place in the town centre and rolling road blocks along the rest of the route.
"As a responsible local authority the council will be encouraging people who are choosing to attend the event on their bikes to cycle with care and consideration." the council added.
Kate Allsop, the town’s mayor, said: "This is about safety. This event will be properly monitored and managed.
"What we don't want is people dashing through the town centre on their bikes frightening or upsetting people.”
She added: "This is a special event and it would have been a dreadful shame if we were so inflexible that we would not host this amazing opportunity."
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.