Mansfield District Council, which bans cyclists from the Nottinghamshire town’s pedestrianised centre, has defended its decision to host a stage start at next month’s Tour of Britain.
It also says that cyclists coming to watch the race will be welcome to ride their bikes to the start in the Market Place – provided they do so responsibly.
As we reported earlier this month, Mansfield is hosting the start of Stage 4 of the race to Newark-on-Trent on Wednesday 6 September. despite using a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) last year to ban cyclists from the town centre.
The introduction of the PSPO was aimed at curbing anti-social riding, but Cycling UK, which is supporting six cyclists opposing the ban, has likened its use as akin to that of an ASBO.
Commenting on Mansfield hosting the Tour of Britain, the charity’s Duncan Dollimore, quoted on BBC News, said: “They are marketing the town as cycle friendly, but not to people who want to shop there.
"We would never defend cycling anti-social behaviour, but why not deal with those being stupid and not responsible cyclists.
"They are effectively saying cycling is anti-social."
However, the council insisted cyclists would be welcome to come and watch the race and while it would encourage people to dismount from their bikes, the PSPO would be suspended for the day.
In a statement, it said that "it wants to encourage as many people as possible to support the event.
"This is a controlled event with public safety barriers in place in the town centre and rolling road blocks along the rest of the route.
"As a responsible local authority the council will be encouraging people who are choosing to attend the event on their bikes to cycle with care and consideration." the council added.
Kate Allsop, the town’s mayor, said: "This is about safety. This event will be properly monitored and managed.
"What we don't want is people dashing through the town centre on their bikes frightening or upsetting people.”
She added: "This is a special event and it would have been a dreadful shame if we were so inflexible that we would not host this amazing opportunity."
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.