Stop Surrey Being Turned in to a Cycle Track petition reaches over 1,100 signatures - effect on small businesses to be investigated

"People complain more than they respond positively," says Federation of Small Businesses officer

by John Stevenson   September 10, 2013  

Surrey residents fume as closed roads trap them during RideLondon 100 (image Prudential RideLondon)

The Federation of Small Businesses is investigating the effect of the RideLondon sportive and road race on Surrey businesses after a local businessman’s petition against the events reached over 1,100 signatures. The ballot for entries into the 2014 RideLondon 100 sportive closed yesterday after 80,000 riders applied to take part in just 27 days.

Ian Huggins of Esher set up the Stop Surrey Being Turned Into a Cycle Track petition at the end of July, just before the RideLondon festival of cycling.

Now the petition has 1,164 signatures, or very slightly over one-tenth of one percent of the population of Surrey.

He told the Surrey Advertiser: “We have had a good response from Philip Hammond MP and a good number of our objectors have been asked to contact their MPs and their councillors so we are waiting to hear back from them.

“The Federation of Small Businesses is conducting a survey to see how local business have been affected by the event.

“I am hoping they have had time to canvass their members to find out what the financial implications were.

“Along the way there will be winners and losers and I think there will be an awful lot of losers.”

Pauline Hedges, secretary of the Surrey Policy Team for the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), said the response to the petition had been mixed.

She said: “Locally, the FSB received a few calls, as did the main office in London, regarding the cycle race. One of the members started this petition so we decided to forward it to members. It came from members and we responded by circulating it.

“We have had a few replies from people. We have had more people complaining than people saying it was a good thing but that is quite normal – people complain more than they do respond positively.

“We have not had a chance to analyse it because the information only went out on August 24.

“It has only been a week and people are only just getting back to work but we have had people saying they have lost business because they had to close down.”

In case you missed our earlier story, here's the full unedited text of Mr Huggins' petition:

Apart from the obvious dangers to cyclists,Surrey roads are not suitable.Surrey County Council have, without consultation,decided it would be a great idea to use Surrey as a race track. This in it's self is a thoughtless act but far more importantly residents and numerous businesses are being effected by road closures. This prevents residents of Surrey from leaving their own property and going about their normal business. The road closures were a necessary inconvenience during the Olympic Games but now it looks like Surrey County Council are to make this an annual event. This is all very well but residents of Surrey are pestered and annoyed by cyclists ( practising months in advance of the event ) who ride the route in very large numbers from very early in the morning shouting at each other (have you tried talking whilst riding your bike?) and riding in large groups sometimes three and four abreast or in strings of riders making it virtually impossible for the poor old motorist, many of whom are elderly, to overtake.Traffic violations are common and it is only a matter of time before there is a major accident with the possibility of the loss of life. It will of course be the motorists fault. Have Surrey County Council considered the number of heavy goods vehicles using the roads. The route chosen is all enclosing and no provision has been made for vehicular crossing points. So to facilitate a bike ride many Surrey residents are to be confined to their homes from 5 am until 9 pm.

39 user comments

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I do wonder that if the organisers of a large cycling event committed to facilitating the repair of all the potholes on a sportive route in advance of the event, whether we would be looked on more favourably...indeed we might be invited to ride certain routes !

Consider it our own version of "road tax"

posted by scrapper [61 posts]
10th September 2013 - 13:06

5 Likes

best approximation i can give is Cheltenham Festival.

If you are in hospitality you make alot of money, if your in retail or just trying to get by it is a pain in the arse.

An event such as this will p*** people off but it will also benefit plenty of others. I guess the question is who matters more?

mrmo's picture

posted by mrmo [1097 posts]
10th September 2013 - 13:09

8 Likes

crikey wrote:
How can a leisure and tourism boom in an area possibly be seen in such a negative way?

Do the businesses involved only want to sell things or provide services to local people?

I despair; we're not even a nation of shopkeepers anymore, we're a nation of local shopkeepers...

You have to ask yourself why do these people live in the rural parts of Surrey, and I think it's probably because they can afford to avoid the hussle and bustle of town/city living.

Therefore filling up their roads with dirty masses (or at least slowing them down) is an inconvenience. They are no doubt largely divorced from the local commerce, and in all likelihood would prefer not to see trade and industry booming in case it invites more people.

Personally I think that there are issues surrounding the running of cyclo-sportives due to lack of rider etiquette. We're not talking about members of a well run cycling club out for a ride. But I'm not suggesting that these events are closed down. Besides, how do you legislate against a large group of people all deciding to undertake the same journey - you could probably close down the motorways and any organised event on that basis.

posted by Colin Peyresourde [1135 posts]
10th September 2013 - 13:18

7 Likes

mattsccm wrote:
Wonder how many of those 80,000 are local though?

There will not be 80,000 riding but is Surrey really only a local county for local people?

mattsccm wrote:
Big cycling events are just anti social full stop. The sooner we stop saying they are not, the sooner we sort things out.

Just as are every other sporting event (football, tennis, boat race, marathons, etc ad nauseum) as well as any kind of event that has a large group of people congregating in one area.

There will always be those who live locally that will have their usual exclusive tranquillity of their area disturbed, and possibly even their freedom to roam impinged temporarily because of such events and this has to be weighed against the benefit of those taking part and to the wider area of its cultural and economic impact.

Trying to put a blanket statement of "All these things are anti-social" is fallacious and pointless.

zanf's picture

posted by zanf [513 posts]
10th September 2013 - 13:19

7 Likes

Don't get me wrong, I do almost all my riding in Surrey and it's a great area for it (apart from the recent pitiful resurfacing jobs) but I think the residents of Surrey and South West London have the right to complain.

The main issue here I think is that there was little attempt at giving people who had to get somewhere on race day any alternative. In Wimbledon we were completely cut off from all sides, which I'm sure they could have organised better somehow.

posted by jazzykoenig [16 posts]
10th September 2013 - 13:32

7 Likes

I'll just carrying on riding where I want, when I want and not having to pay to do so. Sure, I won't be surrounded by 72,000 people on their new boardmans but i can live with that.

I see both sides of the story, winners, losers, just like any event.

'It's the closest you can get to flying'
Robin Williams response when asked why he enjoyed riding so much

posted by Simmo72 [310 posts]
10th September 2013 - 13:33

7 Likes

Anyone who lives in a city with one or more big football teams knows that every (other) Saturday, certain areas are impassable by car and public transport gets snarled up. That doesn't seem to engender complaint?

I dunno. Even though it's just one day a year I suppose it's a change and many folk will simply react negatively to that; rational arguments are neither here nor there. But are people really unable to leave their house all day? That sounds crackers to me.

Ghedebrav's picture

posted by Ghedebrav [1098 posts]
10th September 2013 - 14:00

7 Likes

"Trying to put a blanket statement of "All these things are anti-social" is fallacious and pointless."

I totally agree, but dismissing anyone who raises concerns as a NIMBY who needs to be "culled" (as some people have here) is pretty pointless too.

posted by AlexM [8 posts]
10th September 2013 - 14:09

8 Likes

If being 'pestered and annoyed' by cyclists is all these 1,164 people have got to worry about then they should probably consider themselves very lucky indeed.

posted by msmtb [4 posts]
10th September 2013 - 14:15

6 Likes

Where I live (in Surrey) one day a year we can't get out or go about our business because the roads are all snarled up with traffic for a horse race (bloody horses - don't pay road tax, no insurance etc.). We just live with it.

Saying that, the route ought to be sympathetic and not in the same place every year. Granted that they can't use the really small roads because of safety and the pro race. Also to make it inclusive I can't see them sending people up Toys/Whitedown/Yorks.

posted by SteppenHerring [196 posts]
10th September 2013 - 14:22

6 Likes

Ghedebrav wrote:
Anyone who lives in a city with one or more big football teams knows that every (other) Saturday, certain areas are impassable by car and public transport gets snarled up. That doesn't seem to engender complaint?

Trust me it does, you may not know anyone, but there are always people who complain, either disruption, use of police for non-policing matters, "wrong type of people", etc etc.

As i mentioned a bit earlier, i find Gold cup to a nightmare and i used to live near Cheltenham Town's ground and every other saturday parking, and getting around were a pain in the arse. BUT, it is life, live and let live, i might want it banned from a personnal perspective, but as long as it doesn't cause real trouble such is life. Others aren't as forgiving, and anything that might get in their way is wrong. ME ME ME!

mrmo's picture

posted by mrmo [1097 posts]
10th September 2013 - 14:33

5 Likes

What the greater society conveniently ignores is that events like these attract so many as its a rare opportunity to get out on your bike with the rarer sense of comfort that you won't be killed by a 'more important road user in a car' (let's be honest and adopt government perspective).

No wonder so many have signed up as its a taste of how things could be if the maniacs out there (of all types) were actually held accountable for their conduct.

Two thoughts struck me:

1: 80000 signatures in 27 days yet The Times Cycle Campaign has barely hit that in 11 months - where are these other people who haven't signed up to this campaign?

2: How about we call off such events on condition that those opposing provide financial recompense and accept full legal culpability for any cyclist in that area injured or killed by one of their much put upon motoring chums.

See if they're quite so keen to oppose when it's them who become the face of all things heavy and motorised?

Hating our selfish and ignorant car culture

posted by ironmancole [130 posts]
10th September 2013 - 14:44

9 Likes

mrmo wrote:
ME ME ME!

I think you'll find that cuts both ways

posted by sidesaddle [70 posts]
10th September 2013 - 14:50

10 Likes

I can see the points of both sides of the argument although Mr Huggins needs to state facts rather than his feelings that everone is annoyed. Currently the event ruffled the feathers of 1164 people - of which I'd really like to know how many were directly affected by the route and how many had a bad day and blamed it on the event.

Equally the event promotes Surrey as a good place to cycle and cyclists spend money on lodgings, coffee and cake among other things, which is good for the local economy and something the national trust is embracing. Again, it's be good to see whether the area benefited from the even, I agree that while a Clay Pigeon venue may lose out this may be offset by a pub or cafe having a bumper day.

I'm sure even the London Marathon has it's haters so it's inevitable a cycling event that covers a much greater distance has a few as well.

posted by madhouse [38 posts]
10th September 2013 - 15:50

7 Likes

sidesaddle wrote:
mrmo wrote:
ME ME ME!

I think you'll find that cuts both ways

Definitely!

mrmo's picture

posted by mrmo [1097 posts]
10th September 2013 - 16:21

9 Likes

But this will restrict him to only working 27 days in the year no wonder he is upset. I'm sure the local council will allow a Saturday shoot once a year or is that the real reason he is complaining Thinking .

cidermart's picture

posted by cidermart [462 posts]
10th September 2013 - 16:25

7 Likes

I am a motorist as I suspect many cyclists are. It is funny how being a cyclist increases your appreciation when driving, of other cyclists and their safety. My experience on a bike tells me that cyclists do not have a monopoly of bad road manners. I have rarely been out on my bike without at least one example of thoughtless and even downright dangerous driving. How laughable is the complaint that cyclists are noisy. Of course motor cars are silent. I hardly think that attitudes like this exist in France or other European countries that respect the rights of cyclists.

posted by Silhouette [1 posts]
10th September 2013 - 18:04

8 Likes

My wife and myself were out and about round Kingston upon Thames during the event. Kingston and all the cafes etc were packed! There were also loads of couples, family's all out on bikes taking advantage of not having roads full of poor drivers threatening to knock you off your bike!

So, why don't we have a petition of all the shops, cafes, family's and people who had a thoroughly good time on the day to put against this tool of a guy who can't put up with a slight inconvenience for one day of his life!

posted by Ladders [7 posts]
10th September 2013 - 18:38

9 Likes

We are a nation of moaners. Everyone has something to complain about. See the positive if at all possible. The folk of Surrey whom I encountered on the ride were perfectly nice. Don't believe he hype.

posted by Beaufort [158 posts]
10th September 2013 - 21:27

8 Likes

Quote:
“It has only been a week and people are only just getting back to work but we have had people saying they have lost business because they had to close down.”

....so the Federation of Small Businesses has had a limited response from its members because they've all been shut down on holiday? The glorious irony of that remark.

posted by antigee [151 posts]
10th September 2013 - 23:05

4 Likes

Though I do agree Ian Huggins does have a point here, I think it is fairly minor. The tone he uses as well as some of the arguments just seem pure NIMBYism.

Do not forget Mr Huggins only lives about 600metres into Surrey and diectly on one of the roads which was closed for both Ride London and the olympics. I really struggle to see how we could cause him more disturbance than the cars going past his house gievn it's a pretty potholed A road.

posted by georgee [139 posts]
11th September 2013 - 8:20

8 Likes

The whole 'effect on small businesses' is a complete fallacy. I expect the cafes, shops and restaurants in the various localities along the route were delighted with the crowds who turned out to watch - or are we expected to believe that they are actually busier on a normal Sunday than they were during Ride London?

The majority of that 1,100 will not be small business owners; simply people who don't like cyclists on 'their' roads.

posted by dp24 [190 posts]
11th September 2013 - 9:22

8 Likes

On a slightly different note, does anyone know where in Surrey the article (main) top picture is from? Thinking

posted by gazedo82 [26 posts]
11th September 2013 - 12:45

11 Likes

mattsccm wrote:
Wonder how many of those 80,000 are local though?.

I would imagine that there are well over 1000 entries to the ballot from Surrey MAMILs. Closed roads is a great way to try and knock 1/2s off your 20 minute Box Hill time by taking the racing line through the zig-zags. Nerd

In other news: Why have I never tried talking while riding before? Sounds great. I hope it's not dangerous. Thinking

posted by Matt_S [182 posts]
11th September 2013 - 13:57

7 Likes

Gazedo

The picture is of Abinger Hammer.

posted by freespirit1 [165 posts]
11th September 2013 - 16:14

7 Likes

last time i checked a government signature must reach 100,000 signatures to be debated in parliament.... if it gets to 10,000 then they will write a response to it, but that is all.
so why, with 1,000 signatures is this hailed as a "success".
1,000 people is nothing compared to 80,000!!!!!

Feel the fear and do it anyway

hood's picture

posted by hood [117 posts]
12th September 2013 - 9:21

8 Likes

scrapper wrote:
I do wonder that if the organisers of a large cycling event committed to facilitating the repair of all the potholes on a sportive route in advance of the event, whether we would be looked on more favourably...indeed we might be invited to ride certain routes !

Consider it our own version of "road tax"

brilliant idea!

Feel the fear and do it anyway

hood's picture

posted by hood [117 posts]
13th September 2013 - 9:04

6 Likes

Hateful Tory filth, yes I am summising, BUT YOU KNOW I'M RIGHT ...

Me, Myself and I

posted by phax71 [300 posts]
14th September 2013 - 14:14

7 Likes

Thank you phax for your highly intelligent contribution!!

Do you not have a stone to crawl under?

posted by freespirit1 [165 posts]
15th September 2013 - 16:29

0 Likes

2200 now.

Too many events in Surrey, the Tour of Britain could be the straw that breaks the camel's back

posted by freespirit1 [165 posts]
20th September 2013 - 22:12

5 Likes