New Forest row: Sportive organiser warns riders to follow Highway Code... and locals will be watching

Organisers respond to concerns raised by MP, as posters go up in pubs urging those who 'compromise safety' to be reported

by Simon_MacMichael   April 11, 2013  

Verenti New Forest Sportive 2010 3 ©wwwsportivephoto.com

UK Cycling Events, organisers of this weekend’s Wiggle New Forest Spring Sportive, says that riders spotted breaching the Highway Code will not be allowed to take part in other events its arranges. The news follows posters reportedly going up in pubs in the area telling people to report cyclists they see acting in a way that "compromises safety" to take pictures and forward them to local councils.

Yesterday, a picture of one of those posters was placed on a forum thread on cyling website Singletrack World. An email received by one contributor to that thread suggests that some locals have equipped themselves with a speed camera and that they will film and report any cyclist the speed camera says is riding above the speed limit - presumably they are unaware that speed limits do not in fact apply to cyclists.

The poster itself reads:

SAFETY ALERT

Saturday 13th & Sunday 14th April 2013

6000 Event Cyclists

will be travelling at speed in and around New Forest villages

If you see something that compromises safety then take a picture and send with the date, time, location and details of the incident to your Parish Council. Our New Forest authorities need hard evidence before they can act. Remember...

'one click could do the trick'

It's against that background of vociferous opposition to large-scale cycling events, something that has been escalating for a couple of years now, that Martin Barden from UK Cycling Events, quoted in the Salisbury Echo, said: “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.

“We ask cyclists, wherever possible, to ride single file around the course, and have produced signs we will put up around the route to remind riders.

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

He also said that particpants would be asked to ride slowly past horses and give them lots of space.

“As we choose some of the most scenic and beautiful areas to ride, such as the New Forest, we quite often come across wild animals grazing at the side of the road,” he explained.

“The same principle applies - give them plenty of room.”

Around 4,000 riders are due to take part in the event this weekend, and as we reported earlier this week, local MP Dr Julian Lewis has called for a licensing system to be introduced for organised mass rides within the New Forest.

Dr Lewis claimed that cyclists posed a risk to livestock in the New Forest, and also accused some of breaking the Highway Code.

His comments were made as the New Forest National Park Authority has said it plans to draw up a charter for organisers to adhere to.

44 user comments

Latest 30 commentsNewest firstBest ratedAll

Typical response of cyclists, the world is out to get you!
Nothing wrong with riding within the rules of the Highway Code.

posted by jayme [115 posts]
12th April 2013 - 8:55

3 Likes

66 ponies killed by motorist in the New Forest last year, more than once a week a pony is splattered across the tarmac. How long do they take to die? A couple of mins? a hour?
or as long as it takes for a vet to be called out to shoot them. So 66 ponies died in agony last year alone after being hit by motorists. Maybe someone would like to photograph that.

Get out and ride

posted by davidtcycle [62 posts]
12th April 2013 - 9:25

5 Likes

jayme wrote:
Typical response of cyclists, the world is out to get you!
Nothing wrong with riding within the rules of the Highway Code.

I'm not saying the world is out to get us, or that there's anything wrong with cycling within the rules of the Highway Code, just saying that there should be equality between how the parish council views breaking it by both cyclists and drivers.

Si

posted by sim1515 [139 posts]
12th April 2013 - 9:29

2 Likes

I can't blame some locals for getting angry. Even as a keen cyclist, the attitude of certain other riders sometimes makes me angry too. That said, the increasing hatred of cycling by middle Englanders, stoked no doubt by the likes of Clarkson, makes me angrier still.

I can't help thinking this is going to end badly, some local psycho deliberately ploughing into the peloton like that nutter in Brazil. I really hope I'm wrong, though.

Why can't we all just get along and let people enjoy their hobbies in peace?

posted by Yennings [224 posts]
12th April 2013 - 9:35

3 Likes

"He also said that particpants would be asked to ride slowly past horses and give them lots of space."

It would be nice to think this was always the case. As a horse and bike rider I have never had any problems with cyclists when riding my horse, but there are those that don't show consideration.

And let's not go down the 'you should have control of your animal' route, as that's the same mentality as 'you don't pay road tax' or 'you wear lycra'.

On the whole New Forest thing, I e-mailed two local councillors a few weeks ago pointing out that cyclists are also car drivers, holiday makers and often married with kids. I did get a polite reply, but I suspect the message was lost.

posted by Grubbythumb [49 posts]
12th April 2013 - 9:36

2 Likes

You can't break the Highway Code. It isn't law (though does contain snippets of the law. Cycling in contravention of the Road Traffic Act, now that's illegal.

Given that most of the Forest has a 40mph limit most would struggle to break that anyway. Even if - as noted - limits don't apply to cyclists.

Having said that - it does no harm whatsoever for the two-wheeled community to ride sensibly and share the road with the less-enlightened.

Boardman CX Team '14 | Cannondale CAAD8 '12 (written off, SMIDSY) | Scott Sportster '08

Gizmo_'s picture

posted by Gizmo_ [928 posts]
12th April 2013 - 9:51

2 Likes

Perhaps the best response would be to make the New Forest the go-to cycling centre of the UK. A major Sportive there every weekend. Regular time trials by clubs from all over the country. Off-road racing three times a week. Every Mamil in the land should be duty-bound to ride there twice a year. Give it a couple of years and the Forest would be a place of tranquil beauty once more, instead of a giant motorised amusement park reduced to poisonous fumes, nerve-shredding racket and livestock slaughter.

nowasps's picture

posted by nowasps [262 posts]
12th April 2013 - 10:13

3 Likes

Gizmo_ wrote:
You can't break the Highway Code. It isn't law (though does contain snippets of the law. Cycling in contravention of the Road Traffic Act, now that's illegal.

Given that most of the Forest has a 40mph limit most would struggle to break that anyway. Even if - as noted - limits don't apply to cyclists.

Having said that - it does no harm whatsoever for the two-wheeled community to ride sensibly and share the road with the less-enlightened.


I disagree slightly, the Highway Code is a code of conduct for all road users (drivers, cyclists, horse riders and pedestrians) and contains rules. Some of these rules are law and some are not but all can be "broken", just some can result in prosecution (must/must not = laws), some won't but could be used as evidence to establish liability (I'm paraphrasing from the gov.uk website).

If cyclists wish drivers to overtake them properly, and understand why it can be appropriate to cycle 2 abreast as according to the Highway Code, they should obey it as well. I agree that if we all tried to share the road considerately it would be a much nicer place!

Si

posted by sim1515 [139 posts]
12th April 2013 - 10:15

3 Likes

Disarm the angry locals with a smile, wave and cheery call of 'Morninnnnnng.' Works wonders on our club runs!

Rising above the twatery gives you an enormous sense of wellbeing!

posted by 853rider [15 posts]
12th April 2013 - 11:58

2 Likes

Everyone should follow the highway code, end of.

Yes the NIMBY stiff is pathetic and laughable, but...

Its really concerning if anger is being whipped up against cyclists - a group whose ONLY similar characteristic is that they are vulnerable road users.

If you're starting to get abuse and horns blaring ahead of this event, I dread to think what it'll be like on the day, and its not difficult to imagine road rage scenarios happening if self righteous fervour had been whipped up in advance.

posted by 700c [587 posts]
12th April 2013 - 12:47

3 Likes

Don't forget, when someone beeps their horn at you it just means they think you have a cute bum. I realised this a couple of years ago and since then any motorist who hits his horn gets a mighty thank you and wave as he drives past.

Sometime no one appreciated my mamil bum, but other rides I get back from feeling very good about myself .......

posted by andyfla [23 posts]
12th April 2013 - 13:02

5 Likes

Ha! Yeah if only..

Personally I find having horns blaring at me really aggressive when I'm on the bike - something to do with it being loud (as well as usually unwarranted)

Which is probably why I tend to react back quite aggressively, though its always stopped short of anything physical..

posted by 700c [587 posts]
12th April 2013 - 13:34

3 Likes

We ask cyclists, wherever possible, to ride single file around the course, and have produced signs we will put up around the route to remind riders.

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

Are UKcyclingEvents suggesting that cyclists should not ride 2 abreast? Even though that is permitted within the highwaycode?
If so, shame on them.
If it's because of the impact of 2000 riders on the forest roads then they should reduce participant numbers - it's entirely in their control.

Of course, this might just be a bit of PR to pander to the NIMBY's in the Forest - as riding 2 abreast isn't against the highway code - therefore riders doing so will not be excluded from future events.

posted by ridemybike [8 posts]
12th April 2013 - 13:43

2 Likes

FATBEGGARONABIKE wrote:
phax71 wrote:
Conservatives are in the main C••ts!!

There I've said it, self hating, outwardly hateful, narrowminded C••ts!!

Nice to see you take such a broadminded approach to politics Big Grin

To be fair I thought he did quite well to leave it at that.

posted by Ian P [8 posts]
12th April 2013 - 15:13

3 Likes

Comment removed due to incompetence.

posted by Ian P [8 posts]
12th April 2013 - 15:14

2 Likes

New Forest drivers are the worst kind, but be gentle with them - they're having a bad day!

They enter the forest hoping to go somewhere nice and relax, but if they're not in traffic jams, they're in queues of cars stuck behind tractors, horses, bicycles, caravans, Sunday drivers, and pretty much every other slow driver you can think of.

It's quite often more stressful to drive through the New Forest than it is to drive through rush hour London. Don't be fooled by all the nature!

spatuluk's picture

posted by spatuluk [27 posts]
12th April 2013 - 15:48

2 Likes

I am in agreement with everyone that the nimbys are a complete pain and all this opposition to the sportives and cyclists in general is just futile.

However I have a solution! Do northern Sportives - it is so cold and Left Wing up here you won't see any of the chinless right wing idiots within a 100 miles.

posted by Tongietr8 [9 posts]
12th April 2013 - 18:01

4 Likes

6000 event cyclists x 3 metres (with a bit of a gap,) you do the maths. So this is a time trial not a sportive? All they have to do is wait around the first corner of the course and they will have all the snaps they want. Evidence collected; objective to have the event banned. Childish loons.



I am stronger than Mensa, Miller and Mailer, I spat out Plath and Pinter.

bikeboy76's picture

posted by bikeboy76 [1391 posts]
12th April 2013 - 18:57

4 Likes

ridemybike wrote:

Are UKcyclingEvents suggesting that cyclists should not ride 2 abreast? Even though that is permitted within the highwaycode?

I was riding in the Forest today, and there are signs up for the event suggesting riding single file on some of the narrower roads.

posted by brew [21 posts]
12th April 2013 - 19:15

3 Likes

I suggest everyone riding has a camera either still or video handy and captures every example of bad or inconsiderate driving and bombards the council, parish and above and the MP with them.

Although that'll never happen cos all drivers are whiter than white though...

posted by gazza_d [258 posts]
12th April 2013 - 19:22

5 Likes

I'd also like to see all the shops, cafes and pubs etc which see increased trade this weekend because of the cycling event shout it from the rooftops, especially after the inclement start to the year.

posted by gazza_d [258 posts]
12th April 2013 - 19:34

3 Likes

My suggestion is that anyone cycling in the area who goes into a local establishment and sees one of those notices politely asks the proprietor to take it down perhaps explaining that you like to support local pubs /cafes etc. If they take it down, stay. If they don't then leave politely without buying anything or using any of the facilities. If they're good capitalists they'll soon get the message!

posted by BMC_rider [26 posts]
12th April 2013 - 20:33

3 Likes

Dr Lewis must be a good friend of the barking Dr Ferris.

http://www.dailyecho.co.uk/news/9372056.Bike_rage_threatens_to_take_hold...

posted by Tony [80 posts]
12th April 2013 - 21:01

4 Likes

[[[ 66 dead ponies? Look, you lycra-louts--- if you slow motorists down, how will they ever go fast enough to kill the ponies? Really, though, if "66 died", how many more were injured? Yikes....
P.R.

PhilRuss

posted by PhilRuss [304 posts]
13th April 2013 - 0:03

2 Likes

Tony wrote:
Dr Lewis must be a good friend of the barking Dr Ferris.

http://www.dailyecho.co.uk/news/9372056.Bike_rage_threatens_to_take_hold_in_Forest

I'm sure Dr Ferris just has the best interests of all the New Forest's animals at heart and doesn't want people frightening or harming them by charging round the countryside in the saddle while wearing bright clothing.

Oh. Wait a minute...

http://www.bournemouthecho.co.uk/news/9440849.New_Forest_hunt_supporters...

Simon_MacMichael's picture

posted by Simon_MacMichael [8401 posts]
13th April 2013 - 0:07

5 Likes

Look like Sundays event has been cancelled due to the bad weather. The event headquarters at New Park is flooded and as it 95% grass (now deep mud) things aren't looking good for parking.

No doubt the NIMBY's will claim a victory following todays protests.

posted by thx1138 [19 posts]
13th April 2013 - 18:59

2 Likes

And meanwhile, just down the road from the New Forest, it's looks like the local press has been getting some advance practice on the taking photos side of things. Bless.

http://www.bournemouthecho.co.uk/news/10351333.VIDEO__The__gross_stupidi...

posted by Argos74 [301 posts]
14th April 2013 - 6:46

4 Likes

davidtcycle wrote:
66 ponies killed by motorist in the New Forest last year, more than once a week a pony is splattered across the tarmac. How long do they take to die? A couple of mins? a hour?
or as long as it takes for a vet to be called out to shoot them. So 66 ponies died in agony last year alone after being hit by motorists. Maybe someone would like to photograph that.

Have you never heard of Agisters? The subject of the forest ponies killed on the road is a very serious one but the fact that some visitors to the new forest believe that a vet comes out to destroy these poor creatures is hillarious!

posted by stella65 [2 posts]
14th April 2013 - 11:54

4 Likes

.

posted by stella65 [2 posts]
14th April 2013 - 11:59

5 Likes

Rode it on Saturday and seems to have been a storm in a teacup. No protesters, very little traffic on the mainly quiet roads. Maybe it was the weather, so rainy even the ponies/cattle stayed under the trees and off the road.

Only complaint was a small amount of litter (I saw maybe 10ish gel wrappers) and that the organisers cocked up my timing (wrong number, wrong time, wrong distance).

Looked like a few people's cars were stuck in the mud in the car park/field (hint: if the wheels are spinning, then more throttle is not the solution) but as I was staying in a B&B a few miles down the road I had a bit of a chuckle about it.

posted by qwerky [147 posts]
15th April 2013 - 9:52

3 Likes