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Councillors take opportunity to complain about cyclists not being "courteous"...

Villages in the Yorkshire Dales have been warned not to underestimate the scale of the Tour de France which is expected to cut off some communities when its grand départ passes through the area on July 5 and 6 next year.

According to the Craven HeraldChief Inspector Simon Lovell told Craven District Council that a big challenge for police with the Tour de France was getting people to understand how big the event will be.

“I don’t think people realise how difficult it will be to get out of some of the villages. People will have to pitch up the night before, or they’re just not going to be watching it,” he said.

People will have to be in place by 6.30am on the day of the race to be sure of a spot by the roadside, he told Craven District Council’s crime and disorder committee. If organisers judge a car along the route to be an obstruction, it will be removed.

He said the Tour was a massive commercial venture that could leave a great legacy for the area, but unless people had seen it, they would have no idea how big it is.

“If you think of the torch relay, this is on a different scale again, and it’s a massive, commercial venture,” he said.

Fortunately, unlike some sporting events, cycling attracts a well-behaved crowd. Chief Inspector Lovell said that while emergency services were drawing up contingency plans for the race, the spectators were less likely to have a “football crowd” mentality.

However councillors raised concerns about large groups of recreational cyclists riding through the area. Craven District includes the southern half of the Yorkshire Dales National Park, and takes in towns including Skipton, Settle and Bolton Abbey that are the traditional gateways for club runs from the nearby cities of Leeds and Bradford.

Councillor David Staveley (Conservative) said that a group of cyclists was like a slow moving vehicle that would require an escort vehicle, while Councillor Ady Green (Conservative), said he had never met a courteous cyclist, and asked why cyclists could not travel in single file.

Chief Inspector Lovell said that cyclists who rode in groups were not breaking the law and did so because it was considered safer.

“Cycle groups are taught to cycle assertively. The simple fact is, if they go in a single line, gaps are created and the mentality of some drivers is they will fill it with their car.”

He said that police asked all road users, including cyclists, to be courteous.

Councillor Andy Solloway (Independent), a car driver and a cyclist, said he was always courteous to drivers and pointed out a cyclist was far more vulnerable than someone in a car.

“Don’t forget, we are extremely privileged to have the Tour de France, they could have gone somewhere else, and if the South can get it right, we can get it right,” he said.

In a previous police comment on cycling in the area, Chief Superintendent Alison Higgins of North Yorkshire Police said that she agreed with Councillor Andy Quinn that cyclists were an increasing problem on roads.

Mr Quinn claimed groups of cyclists were passing through the village of Embsay at 30-40mph. Chief Superintendent Higgins likened cyclists to motorcyclists. They needed to be re-educated, she said, adding “we are aware there is a problem, but it will not change overnight.”

After an outcry from local cyclists, Chief Superintendent Higgins and Craven District Council leader Chris Knowles-Fitton took a more welcoming approach to visiting cyclists.

Chief superintendent Higgins said the police “truly welcomed” cyclists of all abilities and officers were looking forward to the Tour de France stages in North Yorkshire.

She said: “The prestige and support for the event itself guarantees a boost to the local economy. It will also showcase the outstanding beauty of our area as a place to visit and as a prime destination for cycling.”

Mr Knowles-Fitton said: “Craven is long recognised as an ideal area for cycling and has some of the highest cycling participation rates in the country. We welcome the expected increase in cyclists, who, in anticipation of the tour, will no doubt be visiting the district in even greater numbers to cycle the route and adding to the tourist economy.”

In an editorial comment, the Craven Herald agreed with Councillor Solloway.

The paper said: “We firmly believe it’s a great coup for the area – as not only will it be a fantastic spectacle it will also do wonders for the local economy.

“It will also probably inspire a whole new generation of cyclists, and with this comes not only health benefits but also the possibility that Yorkshire will produce yet more Olympic heroes.”

The paper said that people would need to be prepared and keep up to date with plans for the two days of the race.

“Will it be worth all the hassle, cost and disruption?

“Absolutely. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity. It will be the biggest and best advertisement Craven and the Dales will ever have.

“So let’s show the world how we do things.”

Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.

Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.

Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.

The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

28 comments

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Carlton Reid [132 posts] 2 years ago
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"Councillor Ady Green (Conservative)...asked why cyclists could not travel in single file."

Those who drive solo in 4+ seat cars may wish to do likewise. I believe it's called a motorbike.

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KiwiMike [1200 posts] 2 years ago
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Having not been to a TdF before, I'm after some tips:

We are staying in Richmond that week, and want to ride the route car-free early on the morning of the 5th, from Skipton up to Reeth - circa 85km/1000m. Then spectate at the climb out of Reeth. I'm sure 'beer' will be involved at some stage. Possibly inflatable comedy costumes.

Not withstanding Yorkshire County Council getting the traffic plan right for Reeth (i.e. close the roads to Richmond, put on shuttle buses from Richmond, promote cycling up the Swale to get there to watch) are there any downsides to this plan? Can one expect to rock onto the parcour at 9am, thrash northward for 4 or so hours, then spectate?

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Andy G [26 posts] 2 years ago
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The attitude of those councillors is worrying on so many levels

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dp24 [201 posts] 2 years ago
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Quote:

Mr Quinn claimed groups of cyclists were passing through the village of Embsay at 30-40mph

Does Mr Quinn have any opinion on cars passing through the village at 30-40mph?

Also an interesting assumption that these "missing" car mirrors are down to cyclists, rather than the far greater volume of much larger cars and lorries.

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pj [147 posts] 2 years ago
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Tory fuckwits.

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arrieredupeleton [576 posts] 2 years ago
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pj wrote:

Tory fuckwits.

As someone who deals with Craven Council in a professional capacity, I plead the Fifth Amendment!

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Leodis [403 posts] 2 years ago
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Its a shame the route didnt include Richmond (My home town), couple of real bad hills between the swale.

Looking at the prices of B&B's en route it is a joke, that said Travelodge in York want £150 on the Saturday, think I will stay a few miles away and get a lift in and watch from Clifords tower.

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jasecd [394 posts] 2 years ago
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Nice to see that unfounded prejudice is alive and well in regional officials. Is this really acceptable in public office - to speak out against one group based purely on personal dislike.

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Collett73 [14 posts] 2 years ago
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"Ady Green (Conservative), said he had never met a courteous cyclist"

I extended courtesy to courteous drivers. Maybe Mr Green's comment is more a reflection of his own driving rather than the cyclist?

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Ush [692 posts] 2 years ago
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Chapeau to Chief Inspector Lovell. There's a man that gets it.

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Jasonahewitt [16 posts] 2 years ago
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Councillor Green can't pass a mobility vehicle without getting into a fight.
http://www.cravenherald.co.uk/news/10697478.Cowing_councillor_Ady_Green_...

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Peter B [6 posts] 2 years ago
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I've never a politician I'd trust any more than I could 'em  14

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pj [147 posts] 2 years ago
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arrieredupeleton wrote:
pj wrote:

Tory fuckwits.

As someone who deals with Craven Council in a professional capacity, I plead the Fifth Amendment!

"craven" council. quite an apt name.

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Lungsofa74yearold [282 posts] 2 years ago
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30 - 40 miles an hour - wish I could go that fast. Either Embsay is on a bloody big hill or there's some major exaggeration based on prejudice going on. Idiots.

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CarolineF [9 posts] 2 years ago
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"Councillor David Staveley (Conservative) said that a group of cyclists was like a slow moving vehicle that would require an escort vehicle" and yet "Mr Quinn claimed groups of cyclists were passing through the village of Embsay at 30-40mph" - so which of them is right?

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Northernbike [229 posts] 2 years ago
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It is a big downside of the tour coming to the dales that cyclists seem to be getting the blame for everything from hotel prices to roadworks and I worry about a long term change in the relationship between road users from the fairly tolerant and courteous arrangement engendered by small communities and narrow lanes where everyone has to give way to everyone else at some time whether its livestock on the road, a car coming the other way, some agricultural kit lumbering to the next field or a bike rider.

What also makes me sad about the whinging that appears not only in reports like this but in the local press and even in face to face chats is the loss of the traditional dales resiliance and self reliance in a place where you can still be cut off for days in some places by the weather and its replacement by the moaning of a bunch of well off retired or 'downsizing' types who complain about not having a fully equiped general hospital and international airport in the small village they've moved into, being woken up by farm animals, the road not being cleared of snow at the exact momment they want to go out in their 4x4 and local cyclists having the audacity to still go out on their bikes like they always have when the newly arrived important people are making their royal progress to Tescos

The comments of some of the local politicans like the ones quoted here or John 'the tour is a poisoned chalice' Blackie could I fear do lasting damage to cycling in the dales when the legacy of the tour could have been so positive

http://www.thenorthernecho.co.uk/news/10668906.Tour_de_France_could_beco...

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drfabulous0 [409 posts] 2 years ago
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Once again Chief Inspector Lovell is the only voice of reason in Yorkshire.

I for one plan to ride up from Stockport with the Bakfiets, the tent and minime number 1, camping out wherever.

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james-o [235 posts] 2 years ago
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"..the spectators were less likely to have a “football crowd” mentality."

Don't let them see any footage of the Dutch Corner on Alpe
D'Huez then..

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northstar [1108 posts] 2 years ago
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dp24 wrote:
Quote:

Mr Quinn claimed groups of cyclists were passing through the village of Embsay at 30-40mph

Does Mr Quinn have any opinion on cars passing through the village at 30-40mph?

Also an interesting assumption that these "missing" car mirrors are down to cyclists, rather than the far greater volume of much larger cars and lorries.

You mean drivers*

No speed limits apply to bike riders, this is just nimbysm again and desperate distraction techniques.

Drivers regulary speed whenever they can, they have no morals whatsoever, him included probably, they are running scared and i'm glad.

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djcritchley [181 posts] 2 years ago
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Is it possible that Ady Green has never met a courteous cyclist because he is a discourteous Conservative Councillor?

 39

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PJ McNally [591 posts] 2 years ago
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Quote:

Ady Green (Conservative), said he had never met a courteous cyclist, and asked why cyclists could not travel in single file.

Chief Inspector Lovell said that cyclists who rode in groups were not breaking the law and did so because it was considered safer.

“Cycle groups are taught to cycle assertively. The simple fact is, if they go in a single line, gaps are created and the mentality of some drivers is they will fill it with their car.”

Well knock me down with a feather! Well done that Chief Inspector.

Also, if Mr Green would like to meet a courteous cyclist, he'd be very welcome to join me - or indeed many other recreational cyclists - for a nice weekend ride.  1

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PJ McNally [591 posts] 2 years ago
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Ady Green has prior form for riding motorbikes like an idiot, if you believe this report:

http://www.cravenherald.co.uk/news/10697478.Cowing_councillor_Ady_Green_...

Oops, my fault - maybe he was the victim that time! Looks like the other party was the idiot - "He had left the scene because he feared he was about to go into a diabetic coma and needed something to eat" - fled the scene BY CAR, i believe.

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Leerf [8 posts] 2 years ago
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For the last couple of months i've been suffering the withering glares of the workmen fixing all the potholes on the Cragg Vale climb. Good work chaps!
I think there will be an inevitable backlash against the TDF with a lot of tripe being thrown around; people moaning about being trapped in their houses (even though winter throws 10x worse at them), emergency vehicles (unaffected of course) etc etc.
These people are undoubtedly the same people who resent the various parades and community events that make a minor disruption to their precious roads, they resent any activity that isn't driving.
For the record I've never met a courteous Tory. They're all Bawbags.

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jug_23 [62 posts] 2 years ago
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northstar wrote:

Drivers regulary speed whenever they can, they have no morals whatsoever, him included probably, they are running scared and i'm glad.

Just because other people are talking crap doesn't mean you have to join in.

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iainvt [1 post] 2 years ago
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As the secretary of Skipton CC, I feel duty bound to respond to the comments from Ady Green (Conservative), Mr Quinn as their comments equally affect the treatment of cyclists/horse riders/tractor drivers/trailer owners and tourers in caravans.

To fuel the fire that rages in the debate between cyclists and motorists is surely an irresponsible position for elected members of Parliament and town council. The Tour de France is coming to Yorkshire, with it a responsibility to ensure it travels across and from our shores in safety, of course that means there is work to be done and a certain inconvenience over the coming months to facilitate this.

However the point why Yorkshire bid for the TdF in the first place is being missed, the TdF brings a lifetime legacy to the local economy, all accommodation over the tour weekend is already full to capacity in the Craven area, pop up campsites in farmers fields are also appearing, many businesses will prosper because of it, and in years to come the tourist trade that so many of the currently inconvenienced villages depend upon for survival will follow. These tourists will come to ride the route, take in the Dales and spend their hard earned cash.

There is a short term inconvenience in the area for long term benefit, surely this could lead to a wider debate on education to encourage all road users to safely co exist.

At Skipton CC we promote safe cycling and bike handling for all, I have never met an unfriendly cyclist, visit any Dales cafe on a Saturday or Sunday and talk to one, you will instantly be involved in a friendly conversation!

As for cycling through Embsay, of which I am a resident and competent cyclist, travelling at 30-40 mph would be I think you may find Mr Quinn beyond the capability of the professional peloton, with the natural chicanes of 90 degree turns, very short straights, pointless cobbled rumble strips and double parked vehicles prevent this.

If the raging debate continues by pointing fingers rather than seeking solution for all to use the roads safely, then it can only lead to more pointless deaths on our highways. So I ask you councillor, MP, citizen, the next time you want to pass a cyclist so badly, to make that appointment, social engagement, or even that TV program you want to watch, that causes you to put into harm, the life of another human being, think on, be patient, pass safely.

I say this because if you do it with rage, and one day you probably will, you may knock that cyclist from their bike, and as you leave your car to run back to the body, whose life ebbs from them, you feel already that sense of pointless regret, replaced then by fear, as legal proceedings will certainly follow, and as you reach that cyclist and look down to that face, it may be one you recognise, a son, a daughter, brother, parent, friend or neighbour, and that you will take with you forever. So councillor, MP, citizen, think on, and if you cannot think on...............

jog on.

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andyp [1448 posts] 2 years ago
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[applause]

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Kingy [11 posts] 2 years ago
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Excellent reply Iain

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timothy [38 posts] 2 years ago
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It's going to be massive with loads of disruption but great all the same. It's just the same in France every year, they embrace it and enjoy it for what it is, one of the greatest shows on earth. For one weekend I'll love the fact that life where I live is turned upside down by a simple bike race, brilliant.