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Video: What happens when a sportive meets a road race coming the other way?

Heated words in Yorkshire as two events hit same stretch of road at same time

What happens when a sportive meets a road race coming the other way? Some heated tempers, a bit of shouting, and the odd cyclist ignoring instructions, thereby putting themselves and other riders in danger, according to this video shot in North Yorkshire at the weekend.

With the Yorkshire Region Road Race Championship about to turn the corner from Saxton onto the A162 Tadcaster Road, one marshal can be seen stopping traffic to allow the race to pass safely.

But it’s the other marshal, out of camera, who has his hands full as some of the sportive riders ignore instructions to get off the road – one man in a green, blue and white striped Kelme kit putting himself in a position where he could have caused a serious crash.

The sportive those riders are taking part in appears to be the Cyclothon, organised by the Prince of Wales Hospice in Pontefract and with a route that took riders north along the A162 and past the Saxton turning.

It’s unclear how the two events came to be on the same road at the same time but it does appear that there was a breakdown in communication somewhere along the line.

Like the Yorkshire Region Road Race Championship, the sportive took place on Sunday 18 May and both events are listed on the British Cycling website.

It would not have been difficult for the respective organsiers to become aware of another event in the same area and liaise with each other to check there was no route conflict.

There have been similar incidents in the past – albeit not captured on video – a reflection of the growing popularity of both road racing and sportive riding, leading to growth in the number of events, although mechanisms are in place to avoid such conflict.

The road race was subject to a Traffic Regulation Order, allowing marshals to halt traffic, and which would have needed authorisation from police and the relevant local authorities, as outlined in British Cycling’s Road Race Organiser’s Guide.

The sportive organisers would also have needed to have notified such bodies of their plans, as well as checking for potential conflicts with other events. In its Cycle Sportive Event Guidelines, British Cycling says:

When choosing a route, consider any other events that are scheduled to be using the designated roads on that day. Examples include running, triathlon, village, or town based events, parades, etc as well as any other cycle events.

It is therefore recommended that the local authorities, highways and the Police are notified of any proposed events in the early planning stages, as they may also offer information of other planned events, which may not have been noticed, or are yet to be publicised. If route clashes are apparent it is the organiser’s responsibility to take the necessary measures to ensure their event can run safely and not unreasonably impact on local communities. A list of most cycle events can be found at British Cycling’s online events calendar and should be checked regularly across all disciplines for events on and around the proposed event day. This may be accessed from British Cycling encourages organisers to work together and agree alternative event days or a change of route being considered to avoid event conflict.


Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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