Another New Forest sportive criticised after horse spooked by riders 'encouraged to go too fast'

Cyclofanatic's Rattler event: participants told to try for a 'good time'

by Sarah Barth   August 31, 2013  

New Forest, pic: Jim Champion

Another New Forest cycling event has been criticised by local residents after a man said his horse was spooked by a group of cyclists riding fast and taking up the whole road.

It comes shortly after a woman whose horse had to be put down after it was frightened by a group of sportive riders in nearby Sussex said that cyclists had no respect for other vulnerable road users.

Alan Russell, who lives in Ringwood, said that his Sunday walk with his horse, and another on which a two year old was riding, could have ended in disaster when one cyclist came too fast around a corner while riding in the Rattler, organised by Cyclofanatic, two weeks ago.

He told the Salisbury Journal: “There is a sharp bend near the yard and the majority of cyclists were travelling so fast that the only way they could get around the corner was by taking up the whole of the road.

“One cyclist came around the corner so close and fast that he spooked the horse carrying the young child. We turned around and had to stand in the middle of the road to warn cyclists racing around the corner that there was a horse on the road, fearing a cyclist could career into the horse.

“Cyclists can ride in groups of up to 25 and I noticed that some of the groups were joining together to make even larger packs.

“It is only a question of time before there is a serious accident between cyclists and horses, cyclists and pedestrians or cyclists and cars.”

The newspaper made the point that given that riders were issued with timing chips and encouraged to go for a ‘good time’ on the Cyclofanatic website, that  they might have been tempted to ride faster than the conditions would normally allow.

A spokesman for Cyclofanatic told road.cc: "Unfortunately, there seems to be an ongoing problem between cyclists and the equestrian society in the New Forest. We do warn all our riders to be careful when taking part in the Rattler, and have a list of rules that we issue in the rider brief. These rules are also on display at registration, then stressed further via a PA prior to people when they start.

I am very keen to work with any local groups to develop ideas and solutions so that everyone can enjoy the forest safely. I am also going to look at further ways to ensure our riders are aware of the situation with animals in the forest.

That said, I do also think that some of the New Forest residents will always have an issue with cycling events which is a shame. The statistics re. traffic accidents in the New Forest point largely to motor vehicles, not cyclists."

A New Forest National Park Authority spokesman said: “Ensuring all people are able to undertake activities safely is, of course, vitally important.
“As such the National Park Authority is working with more than 20 organisations, including cycling event organisers and equine groups, to ensure cycle events are safe for both participants and others, beneficial to the New Forest economy and welcomed by local communities.

“The Cycle Liaison Group first met in July and is due to meet again in September when it will consider a draft Cycle Event Organiser’s Charter.”
Despite the emergence of a cyclists vs. horses theme in recent months when it comes to sportives, it seems it’s not a universal view that cyclists are a problem.

In the comments beneath a Southern Daily Echo story about a New Forest pony killed by a car, readers were fairly united in their views as to the level of hazard each form of transport represents.

One commenter wrote: “I suspect the cyclists will still get the blame though! No one will say anything about the family cars that tempt the pomies onto the carriageway to feed them tasty morsels and lead the ponies into a false sense of security.”

Another said: “As an equestrian I find cyclists far more considerate than 'most' drivers.”

Yet another wrote: “Yet another New Forest pony that was NOT killed by a cyclists. It's quite clear which group of road users present the true hazard on New Forest roads.”

 

23 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

A 2 year old riding a horse, is that normal?

posted by Mart [109 posts]
31st August 2013 - 15:45

10 Likes

Horses are such pussies nowadays.

"I can't believe I ate the whole thing..."

Cooks's picture

posted by Cooks [491 posts]
31st August 2013 - 19:19

11 Likes

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

"Forty one animals were killed or hurt between January and June [2013], compared with 24 in the same period last year.

Sue Westwood, clerk to the Verderers, responsible for New Forest ponies, blamed a "complete lack of awareness or consideration" by motorists."

posted by seanbolton [142 posts]
31st August 2013 - 20:27

11 Likes

not to ignore the prats riding to fast around horses, what is being done about the real killer of horses? Cars.

mrmo's picture

posted by mrmo [1280 posts]
31st August 2013 - 21:13

12 Likes

@Cooks
You said it. It wasn't so long ago that these things would charge into battle amid a hail of musket balls; now we're being told that they were 'spooked by the kayak on the roof of your car' (I kid you not).

posted by Ham-planet [103 posts]
31st August 2013 - 21:15

10 Likes

What is that photo??? Any rubbish/irrelevant photo is worse than no photo. What about buying a photo from the journal of the moaning guy or the road where it happened?

Mike_B's picture

posted by Mike_B [30 posts]
31st August 2013 - 21:31

11 Likes

I say bring back tough horses, like from cowboy films and Charge of the Light Brigade. That'd liven up a sportive....

"I can't believe I ate the whole thing..."

Cooks's picture

posted by Cooks [491 posts]
31st August 2013 - 22:59

12 Likes

"The newspaper made the point that given that riders were issued with timing chips and encouraged to go for a ‘good time’ on the Cyclofanatic website, that they might have been tempted to ride faster than the conditions would normally allow."

I assume he went out for a "good time" on his horse too?

What the Cyclofanatic website *actually* said was "The routes have been designed to encounter as little traffic as possible, and there are minimal miles on bigger roads. In places the routes narrow to single lanes and extra care will need to be taken on these sections. Overall the Rattler courses are quick and zippy and riders can expect to achieve a good time for the amount of miles covered - provided you put the right amount of training in."

posted by mbrads72 [132 posts]
1st September 2013 - 3:20

16 Likes

A two year old on a horse? Mental!

N.b. I take my six-month old out in the bike trailer, regularly. The difference is, it doesn't have a mind of its own. Horses just do mental things sometimes, I was thrown twice in my youth for no reason that I could see.

And anecdotally, in our local paediatric neurosurgery, there are two things (other than cancer) that get kids in there - and neither is cycling.

Horses, and trampolines.

Compulsory trampoline helmet debate!

PJ McNally's picture

posted by PJ McNally [591 posts]
1st September 2013 - 6:19

10 Likes

So avoiding going past horse riders is "taking up the road" but they'd moan if riders went past close?

Just smacks of agenda driven news again, not even sure why this is reported.

posted by northstar [1109 posts]
1st September 2013 - 11:25

11 Likes

Second for compulsory trampoline helmets!!!!

posted by jarredscycling [457 posts]
1st September 2013 - 16:57

11 Likes

Oh dear another trivial feel bad story from road.cc

Fixie Girl's picture

posted by Fixie Girl [124 posts]
1st September 2013 - 18:18

14 Likes

Horse riders don't even pay road tax #bloodyhorses

"I can't believe I ate the whole thing..."

Cooks's picture

posted by Cooks [491 posts]
1st September 2013 - 21:37

12 Likes

Cooks wrote:
Horse riders don't even pay road tax #bloodyhorses

There is no such thing as 'road tax.' Road maintenance is paid for out of general taxation. Cyclists pay VAT, Income Tax and Council Tax, HORSES DON'T PAY TAX! Keep them in the field. #bloodyhorses



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

bikeboy76's picture

posted by bikeboy76 [1387 posts]
1st September 2013 - 22:53

13 Likes

Rather worryingly, no comments here from my cycling colleagues about mutual respect for other legitimate road users ...

C'mon guys, put yourselves in the equestrian's position and then think about how you'd respond ...

Sportives are not races and losing a few seconds in order to show a bit of consideration won't stop you being world champion ...

This week I have mostly been riding a Mondiale in Deda V107 with Campagnolo Super Record 11 ...

posted by velotech_cycling [75 posts]
1st September 2013 - 23:52

12 Likes

I was riding in the New Forest Rattler event on the day in question.
I was probably one of the first to see Mr Russell walking in the road ahead of a horse being led by a woman and a very young child on board.
I was able to slow and pass the horse at a safe speed but did not even receive a wave or thank you as most riders do when cycles pass with care.
There is no excuse for riders going so fast that they cannot safely stay on their correct side of the road.
That said I have to question Mr Russell's actions that day.
He and the woman were leading a TWO YEAR OLD ON A HORES ON THE PUBLIC HIGHWAY! They had just left their yard and were walking uphill towards a sharp right hand bend where it was quite possible that any form of traffic, car motorcycle or cycle could approach at quite a speed, (not in excess of the speed limit but fast for the type of road) their actions needlessly put a young child at risk and that is unforgivable.
The event being held WAS NOT A RACE but many cyclist can easily achieve 23mph+ over long distances. I challenge the assertion that groups of 25+ riders ride together. That is a statement that has no evidence attached to it. Sometimes I have been part of groups but I have never seen more than 12.
Most riders of horses and cycles are considerate towards each other, unfortunately on both sides occasionally one or others actions cause problems. Both sides need to work together so that similar instances are reduced.
The New forest is now a National park and by definition is there for the nation to use and enjoy, not a narrow section of forest people.
We do not pollute the air with toxic fumes when we ride and in relation to motor vehicles we make very little noise.
The rise in popularity of cycling is a direct result of the Olympic legacy going back to Sydney.
Cycling is here to stay, learn to live with it!
And all users of the forest learn to get along with each other.

NigelSign's picture

posted by NigelSign [12 posts]
2nd September 2013 - 6:20

13 Likes

Cooks wrote:
Horses are such pussies nowadays.

Applause

posted by swelbo [33 posts]
2nd September 2013 - 8:02

15 Likes

NigelSign wrote:
I challenge the assertion that groups of 25+ riders ride together. That is a statement that has no evidence attached to it. Sometimes I have been part of groups but I have never seen more than 12.
Most riders of horses and cycles are considerate towards each other, unfortunately on both sides occasionally one or others actions cause problems. Both sides need to work together so that similar instances are reduced.
The New forest is now a National park and by definition is there for the nation to use and enjoy, not a narrow section of forest people.
We do not pollute the air with toxic fumes when we ride and in relation to motor vehicles we make very little noise.

Totally agree. I've ridden a fair few sportives, including in the New Forest. After the first few miles its very rare to see groups over about a dozen in size.

Riders tend to ride safely because they're vulnerable. Do horse riders gallop round blind corners on the wrong side of the road? No, because that would be suicidal. Same with cyclists. Even the idiots have a pretty decent sense of self presevation.

Seems to me the biggest problem with sportives is the litter. There's a small minority of riders who think its OK to drop their crap on the floor for someone else to deal with.

posted by qwerky [145 posts]
2nd September 2013 - 8:29

16 Likes

Cooks wrote:
Horses are such pussies nowadays.

I did an actual laugh out loud to that. I still refuse to use the acronym though...

I'm so lazy I'd rather order something off Wiggle than go to the shops for Haribo...

posted by Mr Jono [102 posts]
2nd September 2013 - 8:51

12 Likes

could have ended in disaster

Fantastic non-news story; anything else not happen in the New Forest at the weekend that we should know about?

djcritchley's picture

posted by djcritchley [148 posts]
3rd September 2013 - 7:12

10 Likes

Ringwood resident with horses in Sway complains to Salisbury newspaper about cyclists in New Forest.

Looks like he had problems selling his "story."

Flogging a dead horse perhaps?

Should have gone to the Bournemouth Echo. They really don't like cyclists in Bournemouth!

Batch.

(New Forest cyclist all year round...on and off road)

posted by batch [60 posts]
3rd September 2013 - 23:53

12 Likes

This kind of puts me off riding there, booking accommodation, dragging the family down, staying on for an expensive pub lunch...

posted by deblemund [128 posts]
13th December 2013 - 20:33

2 Likes

NigelSign wrote:

We do not pollute the air with toxic fumes when we ride
That may be true when cyclists are actually on their bikes, but we've got to be careful using this argument when so many sportive riders are using cars to get to and from events.

"Hey..... Let's be visible out there."

Neil753's picture

posted by Neil753 [451 posts]
14th December 2013 - 0:46

4 Likes