Hampshire MP calls for licensing of New Forest cycling events

Politician cites potential collisions between riders and livestock... but it's cars that pose the greater danger

by Simon_MacMichael   April 9, 2013  

The New Forest makes for a lovely setting

A Hampshire MP is calling for a formal licensing system to be introduced for sportives and other mass cycling events amid ongoing opposition from some locals to cyclists in the area. The news comes as the National Parks Authority (NPA), which is responsible for some matters within the New Forest, plans to draw up a code of conduct for cyclists taken part in events there.

According to the Southern Daily Echo, the Conservative MP for New Forest East, Dr Julian Lewis, has written to transport minister Norman Baker urging him to put in place a licensing system for such events.

In his letter, Dr Lewis says some riders taking part in events in the area, which hosts the Wiggle New Forest Spring Sportive this weekend, which 4,000 cyclists are expected to ride, of ignoring the Highway Code.

“We should not wait for a serious incident before deciding upon an appropriate degree of regulation,” wrote Dr Lewis, “not something heavy-handed but something recognising that both the frequency and size of these huge commercial cycling events have greatly increased.

“Events of this size on public roads clearly need some form of regulation and/or licensing,” he added.

Dr Lewis also highlighted what he claims are two near-misses between cyclists and livestock, with the prospect of such collisions being one of the chief reasons for local opposition to mass cycling events.

Besides the issue of whether a pony or cyclist would come off worse in a collision, in reality it is motor vehicles that pose the most significant threat to livestock in the area, responsible for the deaths of 70 ponies a year, according to the NPA.

We have been unable to trace any report of a pony being killed after being struck by a cyclist.

A spokesman for the NPA told the Southern Daily Echo that since they are not races, sportives do not require formal permission to be held. He added, however, that the NPA plans to draw up a code of conduct for cyclists, as well as a charter for organisers of such events, in response to calls from locals.

However, a Code of Conduct for cyclists in the New Forest already exists, drawn up jointly by Sustrans, New Forest District Council, Hampshire County Council and the Forestry Commission – the latter three, along with bodies such as the Verderers’ Court and the NPA, all being responsible to a greater or lesser degree for aspects of the New Forest, depending on the specific issue in question.

Martin Barden from UK Cycling Events, which organises the Wiggle New Forest Spring Sportive, pointed out that the event had a staggered start, with groups of riders released in waves over a two and a half hour period.

“Cycling is becoming more and more popular and it is the responsibility of every motorist and cyclist to share the roads in a considerate manner,” he said.

“Any cyclist seen to be breaking the Highway Code will, as part of our terms and conditions, be banned from future events.”

Row or no row, the New Forest continues to be a popular destination for cyclists and later this month there is an oportunity to join one of the true legends of the sport there as RadioShack-Leopard's Jens Voigt hosts a charity ride there - places are still available, just bring along your bike and your legs (and make sure tell the latter to shut up).

23 user comments

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They already have to give police notice - http://www3.hants.gov.uk/trafficmanagement/public-events/events-guidance... what good would a licencing scheme do other than creating paperwork, though if one was in place it would probably open up potential for road closures, bet the NIMBY locals would love that!

posted by sethpistol [28 posts]
9th April 2013 - 12:58

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Yeesh, some people do go on....

There's a clear set of rules for everyone on the road in the New Forest - The Highway Code. As long as we all (Riders and Drivers (Ponies also?!?!) included) follow it, there's nothing to be concerned about.

posted by Lord_Impaler [8 posts]
9th April 2013 - 13:32

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Farcicle MP who doesn't live in the real world, hasn't done his reasearch properly and looks stupid as a result.

posted by Mikeh2000 [10 posts]
9th April 2013 - 14:04

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For f***'s sake, what a bunch of narrow minded ***s!

70-100 animals get killed by drivers every single year and it's considered a norm.
You can regularly see idiots speeding on narrow country roads or on mobiles. That's what the real problem is.

I don't follow trends. Trends follow me.

posted by BBB [164 posts]
9th April 2013 - 14:46

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The likes of Dr Lewis want the extra paperwork to try to deter events from taking place, it is that simple.

posted by Al__S [418 posts]
9th April 2013 - 14:57

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Good grief, how do they get to hold such positions? As a doctor you would have thought he would be encouraging physical activity.

Of course, any license makes no real difference on the road, it's just a bit of paper.

jaunty angle: bikes and communications
http://ragtag.wordpress.com

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posted by ragtag [137 posts]
9th April 2013 - 16:32

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ragtag wrote:
As a doctor you would have thought he would be encouraging physical activity.

*checks biog*

DPhil in Strategic Studies from St Antony's College, Oxford, apparently.

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posted by Simon_MacMichael [7480 posts]
9th April 2013 - 16:46

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@ragtag - his doctorate is in Strategic Studies (whatever that is), according to wikipedia. Not all doctors are doctors of medicine!

posted by babybat [20 posts]
9th April 2013 - 16:47

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With the economic state of the country, wouldn't this MP be better employed putting his apparent brainpower to more pressing matters? I've believed for some time that it's time our parliamentary representatives took a pay cut until they could prove they actually add value to life in Britain.

ChrisS

posted by Chris S [41 posts]
9th April 2013 - 17:01

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That's hilarious! I took part in the new forest wiggle sportive a year or so ago and a large group of us had a bit of an issue with about 5 ferrari driving cockney tw@ts getting the arse about being held up on a single track road, The 5 super cars squeezed past us and then floored it, then got held up at a give way junction. As we pedalled casually to the front they became rather aggressive, a few of the Burberry toting c@cks needed a cuddle as they pulled over offered us a fight! And of course it's the cyclist causing the problem not the 400 bhp fezza driven by bell ends in the new forest

N.B. there were NO sarcastic piss takes from us at any point toward the drivers Wink

posted by Amos [41 posts]
9th April 2013 - 17:43

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don't speak ill of julian lewis - from experience, you suffer for it

ConZoR

posted by cslattery [77 posts]
9th April 2013 - 19:06

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Is this is why he dislikes cyclists?

http://www.julianlewis.net/antics_detail.php?id=2

Thinking

posted by Arthur Scrimshaw [44 posts]
9th April 2013 - 20:59

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maybe cyclists could offer a deal - registration for events in exchange for blanket coverage by average speed cameras to enforce the speed limits?

robbiec

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posted by robbieC [62 posts]
9th April 2013 - 21:36

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If there is joy in the world - you can guarantee that Dr Julian Lewis will kill it - with a nuclear bomb

posted by georgenturner [1 posts]
9th April 2013 - 22:07

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Cock

Spare time project - cycling price comparison: http://www.leadoutbikes.com

posted by mckechan [158 posts]
9th April 2013 - 22:19

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I often wonder - Are Tories actually born hateful, are they slowly brainwashed into it or is it just a form of self-hatred that they then turn on others to release the burden?

Me, Myself and I

posted by phax71 [298 posts]
10th April 2013 - 8:24

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Are there plans to regulate the number of cars which use the New Forest at any one time?

Hell...I saw two near misses between a car and some lorries riding to work this morning. Does this mean “We should not wait for a serious incident before deciding upon an appropriate degree of regulation”?

posted by hurleyboy [15 posts]
10th April 2013 - 8:39

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phax71 wrote:
I often wonder - Are Tories actually born hateful, are they slowly brainwashed into it or is it just a form of self-hatred that they then turn on others to release the burden?

They're not ALL bad. Really. As much as it pains me, it does appear that that ones in charge of London might actually be cyle-friendly- Gilligan is genuinely talking about taking space from general traffic to improve conditions for cyclists.

of course, Lewis appears to be in the same league as Cambridge County Council's leader Nick Clarke.

posted by Al__S [418 posts]
10th April 2013 - 8:54

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It was a little tongue in cheek, especially given what's happened this week (Thatcher... who we're now paying to have buried incidentally) ... Forgive me but they're a hugely rich family, let them bury their own mother.

Most Tories I know are actually quite vile, completely self interested creatures who would sell their own Grandmothers if they saw a quid or two in it ..

Personally, I'd throw Thatcher behind a tree and let her rot, I certainly dont want my taxes paying for the largesse surrounding her burial.

Me, Myself and I

posted by phax71 [298 posts]
10th April 2013 - 9:03

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Just had a quick look through the history of Lewis. He is a war mongerer who backs Nuclear weapons and anything which prohibits the free movement within his constituency.

He played a part in blocking a camping development in the New Forest which would have opened up the area for more of the public.
Of course that would have reduced the house prices having the working class sitting on your doorstep enjoying some fresh air with their family Devil

The licence thing is just another attempt by him to reduce people coming into the forest and to keep it his and his constituents own little play ground.

And dont get me started on thatcher the milk snatcher Angry

If you must break the law, do it to seize power: in all other cases observe it. Gaius Julius Caesar.

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posted by stumps [2427 posts]
10th April 2013 - 10:59

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If this chap is so concerned for the safety of the wildlife in the new forest perhaps he should insist on a 20mph blanket speed limit throughout the area with average speed cameras everywhere the fines generated will I'm sure self finance the scheme.

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posted by FATBEGGARONABIKE [481 posts]
11th April 2013 - 9:43

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See this, must be caused by reckless cyclists.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-hampshire-23363550

posted by Arthur Scrimshaw [44 posts]
18th July 2013 - 21:58

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Another interesting quote from the BBC

'The New Forest National Park Authority said evidence showed most animal accidents were caused by local drivers who drove along the same roads regularly.'

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-hampshire-17545949

posted by Arthur Scrimshaw [44 posts]
18th July 2013 - 22:02

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