Road race scrapped after residents' anger
'Abuse hurled' at young competitors
A road race for junior riders in Devon will not be held again after local people hurled abuse at competitors and ignored road closure signs.
Mid Devon Cycling Club and Exeter Wheelers organised the event in the town of Kingsteignton had permission from the police and the county council to hold the two-hour event.
But after reports in the Herald Express that some residents shouted at the young riders and mounted the kerb to avoid road closures, organisers say they will not hold the event again.
Vice-chairman of Mid Devon Cycling Club, Ron Keegan, who lives in Torquay, said: "Some residents were furious, driving on pavements to get to their houses even though there was a one way system put in place. They were driving around the barriers which could have endangered the lives of the children who were riding on a closed circuit.
"Some were being abusive to officials and to the young children who were trying to race. All the houses had leaflets put through the door, we had police approval and risk assessments were carried out. The longest distance anyone would be left from their house was 100metres."
However, a ward councillor accused the organisers of causing mayhem in the area.
In an email, Councillor Anne Lonsdale said: “It was alleged that one lady was nearly run over, a car with horse box had to turn in the narrowest part of the road.
"People coming home from work couldn't get to their houses and the buses had to be re-routed. It would seem that the marshalls were untrained and there was an unpleasant situation with one of the competitors being offensive."
However, Cllr Lonsdale has since admitted that at the time of the email she was not aware permission had been granted for the event.
A Devon County Council spokesman said: "It is necessary from time to time to close certain roads or part of roads temporarily to allow the passage of participants while also ensuring the safety of pedestrians and residents.
"In this case, the organisers of the event contacted our highways department with the necessary information and documents and we processed a traffic regulation order as normal.
"After which, the organisers themselves are responsible for signage and other arrangements to ensure the event runs smoothly."
A police spokesman added: "We received some reports of traffic chaos relating to the top of Exeter Road. There was an official event between 6pm and 8pm and all the roads were marshalled."