Local pressure leads to addition to Surrey cycling plan

Surrey County Council is planning to lobby the government to introduce legislation to control cycling events such as sportives and even club runs if a new cycling strategy is approved later this month.

The council published a draft cycling strategy in September and requested feedback. Following that consultation, the council plans to call on the Government for a new law so all road cycling events must be registered.

Helyn Clack, Surrey County Council’s Cabinet Member for Community Services, said: “Cycling has brought great opportunities to Surrey, including tourism and healthier lifestyles, but we also recognise we need to limit disruption to residents and businesses.

“That’s why we’ll ask the Government to take action on hundreds of unregistered events in the county every year if our Cabinet approves the strategy later this month. Our plans will also give Surrey residents a stronger voice on cycling.”

We’ve asked for clarification from Ms Clack as to what the council means by an event, as a broad interpretation of the term could result in club runs and informal group rides coming under the scope of the legislation.

Ms Clack says there are "hundreds" of events in Surrey and the council claimed in its September draft cycling strategy document: “Following the 2012 Olympic Cycling events, there has been a major increase in sports cycling on and around the Olympic road race route.”

According to the listings on  sportive calendar site cyclosport.org, within a 25-mile radius of the centre of Surrey there were 36 sportives or sportive-style events in the period August 1 2011 to July 31 2012 and 46 from August 1 2012 to July 31 2013.

That’s roughly in keeping with the growth of the sportive scene as a whole, which British Cycling’s Chris Boardman put at 20 percent per year in a recent interview.

According to the council 65 percent of those who provided feedback on the draft cycling strategy thought cycling events were good for Surrey.

The organisation of events in Surrey has become controversial in recent months after local complaints about closed roads for the RideLondon - Surrey sportive led to a petition calling for such events to be banned. A counter-petition started by road.cc reader Keith McRae was signed by Chris Boardman and went on to garner more signatures than the petition calling for the ban of closed-road events.

In November Surrey council was accused of doing a secret deal for the RideLondon Surrey 100 sportive to run for five years. The event raised more than £7 million for charity in its first year, claimed to be a new fundraising record for a one-day cycling event in the UK and was recently awarded Sports Event of the Year and Large Event of the Year at the UK Event Awards.

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.