Tour in Yorkshire… not everyone's happy about expected influx of cyclists

Senior police officer warns Yorkshire villages to expect rise in anti-social cycling as every cyclist worth his salt tries out Tour route

by Tony Farrelly   March 8, 2013  

Embsay - picture Chris Heaton geograph.org.uk

Yorkshire may be preparing to embrace the Tour de France in summer 2014, but it appears that not everybody is happy about expected influx of cyclists keen to try out the route. Responding to a local councillor's complaints about large groups of cyclists speeding through the village of Embsay and acting "as a law unto themselves" Chief Superintendent Alison Higgins of North Yorkshire Police told the councillor to expect more cyclists in the area in the run up to next year's Tour Grand Depart, even though the village is not on the route.

Chief Superintendent Alison Higgins of North Yorkshire Police told Councillor Quinn that more cyclists were expected to visit the area ahead of next year’s Grand Départ, adding “we are aware there is a problem, but it will not change overnight.”
The Craven Herald also reported her as saying that cyclists had to be ‘re-educated’ and that her force would seek to liaise with cycling groups, as it had previously done with motorcyclists.

Chief Inspector Simon Lovell, police commander for the Craven area, said that up to 500,000 were expected to visit for the weekend of the Grand Départ, but said that in the months ahead “every cyclist worth his salt” was likely to wish to tackle the route.

The exchange took place at a meeting of the council’s select committee last Wednesday that focused on crime and disorder, with Conservative councillor Andy Quinn claiming that cyclists were riding at speed through villages including Embsay and failing to stop at red lights, including at pelican crossings, reports the Craven Herald.

“They are a law unto themselves,” maintained Councillor Quinn. “We have an elderly population in Embsay and we’ve had incidents where car wing mirrors have gone missing. Something needs to be done.”

Unusually for a local newspaper report, involving bicycles, the comments to the Craven Herald's article aren't full of the typical accusations of all cyclists breaking the law and how they shouldn't be on the road in the first place because they "don't pay road tax," a common misconception due to that tax being abolished in the 1930s.

Instead, the comments, including some from cyclists who appear to be neighbours of Councillor Quinn, highlight logging trucks, cars and caravans as posing the greatest danger on Embsay's roads as well as being responsible for those broken wing mirrors, and also highlight the imppossibility of cyclists riding through the village at between 40 and 50mph as he had claimed.

The village is on Sustrans regional route 10, the Yorkshire Dales Cycle Way, which forms a 130-mile loop, and lies a couple of miles north east of Skipton, which is on the route of Stage 1 of the 2014 Tour de France from Leeds to Harrogate. As a result, the area is predicted to see growing numbers of cyclists take to the road over the next sixteen months.

While cyclists are not bound by speed limits, as Bike Hub’s Cycling and the Law article points out they can be prosecuted for “riding furiously”, an offence under the 1847 Town Police Clauses Act, or for “wanton and furious driving.” Riders are of course bound by laws to obey traffic signals.

While studies featured here on road.cc show that is only a small minority of cyclists who do regularly break the law, they are a very visible one, and the situation is not helped by the fact that some see them, rightly or wrongly, as being allowed to get away with behaviour that they believe would not be tolerated if they were behind the wheel of a car.
 

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It's a change from Craven Herald's normal concerns of dog crap and drunk driving...

posted by Captain Beaky [31 posts]
8th March 2013 - 12:44

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Send Councillor Quinn an email andygill.quinn@virgin.net - Let him know what real people think!

Francois.L

posted by Francois [9 posts]
8th March 2013 - 12:50

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I hope the local hardware shops going to ban this muppet for buying carpet tacks over the next 18 months!!!

posted by mrchrispy [281 posts]
8th March 2013 - 13:00

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Today I was crossing Piccadilly in London when a motorist stuck in a jam decided to use the pedestrian crossing as a way to avoid the traffic and turn round. Though he apologised for almost running me over in the 'safe' area in the middle of the road, I was able to share with him my opinion that he was a moron.

Predictably he was driving a big car....

I'm a human being, God damn it! My life has value. I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore.

posted by Carl [134 posts]
8th March 2013 - 13:01

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Surly ther's an opportunity for a closed road Etape in Yorkshire next year; that would put some money back into the locals' pockets. I'd love to ride a stage, but can't afford to do a stage in France; must be loads of others who would fill the B&Bs for a weekend.

posted by big shug [40 posts]
8th March 2013 - 13:03

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Cyclists are a fucking menace. We need to Cull them like the Badgers & Romanians.
If it goes on much longer, more and more people are going to be healthier and have a great sense of well being from a recreational activity that doesn't involve guzzling pints and eating shit food.
As for the biggest bike race in the world coming to our shores it can only be viewed as complete waste of taxpayers money just like the shitty olympics.
You Couldn't make it up, Words fail me, etc. etc

What a fucking tool banging on about wing mirrors. Can you imagine the pain of clipping ones of those in a Rapha Soft Shell or a Flimsy pair of DHB tights? Wink

posted by Dog72 [108 posts]
8th March 2013 - 14:26

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That to me is a goal, “you sir are riding furiously”, “why thank you officer”.

You should see my wing mirror collection, its worth the broken hips, legs, collarbones and frames......what a d**k.

posted by Simmo72 [263 posts]
8th March 2013 - 14:48

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Riding in a bike lane up the inside of a queue of rush hour traffic one morning I accidentally clipped a car wing mirror with my handlebar (flat bars). It popped the cover off, so I stopped to pick it up and handed it to the driver, who had wound down her window. She said "Thanks!" I was surprised that she didn't seem annoyed. I said "sorry" and rode off. It is possible to damage a car's wing mirror with a bicycle, but hard to do that without damaging yourself in the process, and it is not going to "go missing".

The comments under the Craven Herald article make a refreshingly good read. One of them points out his loss of two friends killed by motorists on Yorkshire roads.

two wheels good; four wheels bad

posted by cat1commuter [1321 posts]
8th March 2013 - 14:55

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mintimperial wrote:
I'll make a mental note never to spend any money in Embsay in future though, nasty little NIMBYs.

Bear in mind that it appears to be just the one ignoramus. Perhaps that's how you get to be a councillor, we have our share of moronic shit-for-brains councillors in Shrewsbury too.

You could stop and say "My mates and I had intended to stop to buy lunch here as we're starving but after reading what your councillor thinks of cyclists I'm off to (insert nearby village)".

I will certainly avoid the place if I go to Yorkshire for Le Tour.

Simon E's picture

posted by Simon E [1883 posts]
8th March 2013 - 15:43

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Simmo72 wrote:
That to me is a goal, “you sir are riding furiously”, “why thank you officer”.

I to dream of that day. With Rocky OST playing in the background

posted by Dog72 [108 posts]
8th March 2013 - 15:50

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I must admit when I saw the photo of the councillor in the craven herald (isn't that someone who whispers the news for fear of offending people) I thought now there's a hamster in need of a wheel.

FATBEGGARONABIKE's picture

posted by FATBEGGARONABIKE [555 posts]
8th March 2013 - 16:06

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.

DownloadedFile.jpeg DownloadedFile-1.jpeg

posted by Dog72 [108 posts]
8th March 2013 - 16:48

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Simon E wrote:
mintimperial wrote:
I'll make a mental note never to spend any money in Embsay in future though, nasty little NIMBYs.

Bear in mind that it appears to be just the one ignoramus. Perhaps that's how you get to be a councillor, we have our share of moronic shit-for-brains councillors in Shrewsbury too.

You could stop and say "My mates and I had intended to stop to buy lunch here as we're starving but after reading what your councillor thinks of cyclists I'm off to (insert nearby village)".

I will certainly avoid the place if I go to Yorkshire for Le Tour.

You may have seen my other thread regarding to riding the route in the near future - I have posted that fact as well as the same sentiment as you on the Craven Herald comments section. That's a tangible impact, and it's not even in the same year as the race yet.

If I could have, say, 6 bikes, would it stop me drooling over others that I don't have?

posted by notfastenough [2879 posts]
8th March 2013 - 17:36

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Seems everywhere has a few local councillors not elected on intellectual merit. A few years back here in Norn Iron, we had a local councillor claiming that foreign lorry drivers were a bigger risk on his local roads because, (to paraphrase him) "They are so used to driving on the other side of the road, that in a pootential collision they would automatically steer towards the danger rather than away from it". However the fact the local paper actually printed this as a story without questioning the logic (or lack of it) is hardly a positive testimony to the journalistic or editorial skills of those who work for it.

Otis Bragg's picture

posted by Otis Bragg [96 posts]
8th March 2013 - 17:59

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similar stories appear on motorcycling forums from time to time too, best not rehashed imo (does a non-story about a non-story restore the cosmic equilibrium?)

I'd rather they weaponise Dads Army to take out the chavs who drop their McDonalds takeaway bags out of their hot-hatches in perfect synchronised radii in my local North Yorkshire villages ...

posted by hirsthirst [14 posts]
8th March 2013 - 18:00

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Cyclists need to be re-educated?!
WTF?
Anyone wishing to try the tour route would be a half decent cyclist with a decent amount of road craft on a not very cheap bike and bring money to the area to spend in cafes etc
Most roadies are well behaved and polite too - I'm sorry if that's not the sort of people you want in Yorkshire!!!
How about putting the £60k plus of your wages to good use and actually concentrate on groups of people committing crimes Thinking

Dangermouse's picture

posted by Dangermouse [14 posts]
8th March 2013 - 18:23

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Right Mr Gribblethwaite, what's next item on t'agenda?
Well, this bike rice thing next year, you know, t'Tour De France.
By heck, does that mean we'll have to put up with all them bloody cyclists in't road ?
Aye, that as like, right bloddy nuisance, coming here, riding furiously, pinching wing mirrors, don't know what t'world's coming to.
By heck.

But in a little village in France somwhere, at about the same time.

Mon dieu !
Que'st qe cais ?
Nous sommes departe de Tour
Bon chance!
Hoorah ! (or French equivalent)
Vive la France !

I'll leave it with you to make your own minds up.

posted by Littlesox [89 posts]
8th March 2013 - 19:24

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Otis Bragg wrote:
we had a local councillor claiming that foreign lorry drivers were a bigger risk on his local roads because, (to paraphrase him) "They are so used to driving on the other side of the road, that in a pootential collision they would automatically steer towards the danger rather than away from it".

Sadly there is a grain of truth in the higher risk even if the reasoning is flawed. There was a fatal RTA near Ledbury when a foreign lorry driver left a layby on the wrong side of the road, drove over 400m and had a head on collision with Land Rover coming in the opposite direction
http://www.ledburyreporter.co.uk/news/5057609.print/

posted by mfarrington [9 posts]
8th March 2013 - 19:55

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What is most depressing about this story is what Chief Superintendent Alison Higgins has to say: 'she told the meeting that she agreed that cyclists were an increasing problem on roads and likened it to that of speeding motorcyclists.
She said they needed to be re-educated, particularly because their number was likely to increase dramatically with the arrival in the area of the Tour de France in a year’s time.'
Essentially she is agreeing with a complete buffoon (nearly all local councilors) making unfounded remarks about a minority group. Insert black instead of cyclist Ms Higgins and see how fast you loose your job, quite rightly.

posted by Dropped [32 posts]
8th March 2013 - 20:27

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An over weight Councillor who probably hasn't been on a bicycle for 50 yrs, and a blinkered Copper who should be concentrating her energies on reducing real crime, what a combination!

Rupert

posted by Rupert49 [38 posts]
8th March 2013 - 20:35

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I wish I'd thought of asking those 2 motorists for the offending wing mirror as a souvenir for them clipping me. Crying

posted by paulfg42 [368 posts]
8th March 2013 - 20:50

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It's obvious who is cycling through their village at 50 mph knocking off car wing mirrors - it's Lance after a "delivery".

posted by Bexleyhillbilly [37 posts]
8th March 2013 - 21:04

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The locals here in Bourg d'Oisans are also trying to stop the stage going over the Col de Sarenne after Alpe d'Huez. They are worried that the mountain will be ruined by the influx of tourists watching or riding the route.

Cycled up Alpe d'Huez at least once each month since July 2008

http://www.morethan21bends.com
http://www.prompt.cc

gbzpto's picture

posted by gbzpto [78 posts]
8th March 2013 - 21:29

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Just check my Garmin and on the last 3 Ilkley club runs through Embsay our speed was 15-17 mph.. there is a faster decent from the moor through Eastby on the outskirts of the village but max speed on decent is about 25mph .. shall I send the councillor the link!

posted by mike cooper [17 posts]
8th March 2013 - 23:33

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Thanks ,these comments have given me a really good laugh:
now you know what sort of weird & wonderful comments from councillors,and many assorted "writers of letters to the editor" sounded like when the 2010 UCI Road Titles were held in Geelong!Though I don't recall any wing mirrors going missing: too heavy to put in the hand luggage home? However, perhaps we shouldn't pick on the size of the gentleman in question,as I am a bit chubby myself and we may be thought to be indulging in vilification of some sort. (Loved the guinea pig in the bubble though).
HH

heatherdh

posted by hdhow2 [2 posts]
9th March 2013 - 2:59

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My thanks to Dog72 I must say your better at this tinternet thingy than me and quick to.

FATBEGGARONABIKE's picture

posted by FATBEGGARONABIKE [555 posts]
9th March 2013 - 9:11

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Am getting a wonderful Last of the Summer Wine / TdF crossover moment.
"Norman! Outside! There's hundreds of men in tight shorts on bicycles!"
"Calm down Nora, let's see what's going on. [pause] Oh my goodness, they do seem very... anatomically correct."

posted by Argos74 [252 posts]
9th March 2013 - 13:29

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Dear Fellow Cyclists,
I have registered on this site to address the ridiculous article posted in my local paper from our Councillor Mr Andy Quinn. I live in Embsay have done since 1985, l live a step away from Mr Quinn and have never actually seen him out on the streets of the village so I really unsure where he gets his “facts” from. I just wanted to reassure you that he is not representative of all opinions in our area. We are just like everywhere else some people love cyclist, some people don’t, some just are oblivious of us. One thing I do know he is the first person who has not been excited about the TDF coming to our area that I have spoken to cyclist or not.
What the article has shown is a Councillor who is out of step with the mood of the area and that someone is high enough in the police expressing intolerant views. The latter now that is worrying. Maybe I should not be surprised about Mr Quinn, never voted for him, never rated him as a Councillor, but Chief Superintendent Higgins is a professional and should purport herself as such. She should have the statistics at her finger tips, and she should be there to give a balance view for the safety of all road users.
I have never seen a serious cyclist ride poorly through our village, it does have a Strava section the fastest is 20 miles an hour, it is impossible to ride the village fast due to the incline, the parked cars and road surface, its not straight through either. I don’t want this to become a cyclist vs. motorist argument, what really annoys me is that Mr Quinn has not opened a safer road use debate. That could have been a great legacy on the back of the TDF preparations.
Like many local cyclists I am writing to lots of different forums just get some redress for Mr Quinn, apparently the Craven Herald will be doing a piece on the reaction to Mr Quinn’s views. The cynic makes me wonder if the Craven Herald would have if not challenged so quickly.
So riders of the World do come to our small area of Yorkshire, its got great countryside, good café’s/pubs with fantastic riding on and off road. The cyclists are polite and welcoming and will nod and say “Hello”, don’t expect to over take us though because as you can see our speeds are exceptional.
Now where is the address for the Chamber of Commerce………
Angry

posted by LizGB [1 posts]
10th March 2013 - 10:04

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Groups of cyclist riding through the village at 40-50 mph ??
THESE RIDERS SHOULD BE STOPPED - and immediately enrolled on BC's World Class Performance Plan. The future of our sporting prowess will then certainly be assured. Thinking

K Stand Ken

posted by K Stand Ken [38 posts]
10th March 2013 - 12:46

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I'm pleased to see a full page of letters in this week's paper expressing pretty much the same as on here. Plus a separate half-page article on welcoming Le Tour.

posted by Captain Beaky [31 posts]
14th March 2013 - 15:16

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