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Police deny "victim blaming" in helmet tweet; Bike raffle start-up launches; Varnish loses tribunal appeal; Richmond Park reopens all roads to cyclists (on weekdays); Sunweb rider sent home for shopping trip + more on the live blog

Welcome to Tuesday's live blog, with Jack Sexty at the controls and Simon MacMichael taking over later this evening...
14 July 2020, 15:04
Helmet row: Lancashire Road Police deny "victim blaming" in tweet promoting cycle helmet use

Referring to the image in the post above that shows the aftermath of a collision between a driver and a cyclist, Lancashire Road Police say: "If ever there was a scene to promote the wearing of a cycle helmet, this is it"; however not everyone agrees this was the right message to send out, with some suggesting that the force are "victim blaming" by putting the onus on the cyclist to wear a helmet.

Lancs Road Police have since responded to the complaints, claiming that they "would never, ever victim blame" and simply wanted to highlight that the rider's helmet "undoubtedly helped to prevent more serious injury". Still some don't agree, and are calling for the force to highlight the need for safer driving instead of focussing on the wearing of helmets. 

14 July 2020, 14:45
More changes to Royal Parks lockdown measures, a Richmond Park reopens all routes to cyclists

After announcing that some roads would close to motor vehicles in bid to combat through-traffic last week, in their latest coronavirus update Royal Parks have now said that Cycling in Richmond Park is now welcomed "at any time" on weekdays, and on all roads within the park; this includes the shared access Tamsin Trail. At weekends, it's still only commuting keyworkers and under 12s with family who can cycle in Richmond Park. 

The tweet above show notices going up reminding drivers that Kingston, Richmond, Sheen & Roehampton Gates are open for access "to the nearest car park only" for drivers. Some car parks in Greenwich, Bushy and Richmond have also reopened today, but no through traffic is allowed in any of those parks. 

14 July 2020, 14:10
Injured cyclist carried half a mile to an ambulance after falling on a hill
haughmond hill - via wikimedia commons.PNG

The cyclist fell on top of Haughmond Hill in Upton Magna, Shropshire just before 8pm on Monday, reports the Shropshire Star, with ambulances and the local Fire and Rescue service called in to assist. He was treated for 'potentially serious injuries' at the scene before he was carried a distance of around half a mile to an ambulance, with emergency services in attendance for at least three and a half hours. 

The cyclist was then transported to Royal Shrewsbury Hospital for further assessment.

14 July 2020, 14:03
Barriers removed in the Highlands to make more room for physical distancing

Barriers such as the one on the first image can often be a headache for cargo cyclists, parents with pushchairs and wheelchair users; and so The Highland Council have taken the step of widendng paths and taking out barriers in and around Inverness. 

14 July 2020, 13:27
Government release details of first e-scooter trial, with London's Square Mile set to follow

After it was announced at the start of the month that the UK's blanket e-scooter ban was to be lifted, it's been confirmed that the very first trial is taking place in the Tees Valley, including the towns of Darlington, Hartlepool, Middlesborough, Redcar and Stockton-on-Tees. Only rental scooters are legal, speeds are limited to 15.5mph and they can't be used on pavements, just roads and cycle lanes as laid out in the government guidance document

More areas will follow, with plans for a trial in London's Square Mile released today. The City of London Corporation have agreed to participate in the trials providing they meet City Corporation requirements, as "the schemes present an alternative transport that allows for social distancing." 

Alastair Moss, Chair of the Planning and Transportation Committee at the City of London Corporation, commented: “This is a timely opportunity to look into how e-scooters can play a role in supporting a shift to sustainable travel to compliment walking, cycling and public transport options in the City.

“The safety and comfort of all who live, work and visit the Square Mile is paramount, so we will need to be satisfied by Department for Transport and TfL guidance before the trials are implemented.

“Any eventual trial will be thoroughly monitored so that we are fully assured that hired e-scooters can safely play their part in making the City fully accessible with sustainable transport.”

14 July 2020, 11:43
Rafflebike launches, with the chance to 'win' a bike from just £4

While online raffles for pretty grand prizes are nothing new, Rafflebike is perhaps the first we've seen of it in the bike industry... and on offer in the inaugural round of raffles is a GoCycle GX e-bike (entry £4) a road bike worth up to £3,799 (entry £6) and a Garmin Edge 1030 Plus (entry £2.50). 

Rafflebike say they've took care of the ethical side of things by being transparent on entries and odds for each giveaway, capping entries and having each competition regulated by The Institute of Promotional Marketing. It was developed during lockdown to "provide the burgeoning cycling community with regular opportunities to solve their n+1 problem" so says Co-founder Henry Wisdom: 

“Cycling has a loyal following but is nonetheless an expensive hobby to have whatever your level. We founded Rafflebike to put some of the very finest cycling gear in the hands of those who want it, for £6 rather than £6k.

“If we can bring some joy to any one new cyclist by moving their current bike up a few tiers or give an established rider that gravel bike which will allow them to explore a new aspect of this wonderful sport, then I’ll call Rafflebike a success.”

If you could use a new bike and fancy a flutter, visit the Rafflebike website here

14 July 2020, 13:13
It's been four years since someone went for a jog up the Ventoux

Yep, four years ago to the day. As it's Bastille Day, we'll also be bringing you a little round-up of our fave Tour de France moments from over the years. I don't think this one would count as one of Froome's fondest memories, but it's certainly one of his most entertaining...

14 July 2020, 11:05
Sunweb rider Michael Storer sent home from training camp for banned shopping trip
michael storer - via team sunweb.PNG

The 23-year-old Australian broke the team's strict internal quarantine rules by leaving his 'bubble' inside the team's privately hired hotel in Austria. Team Sunweb told Wielerflits that Storer had endangered the health of his teammates by making the trip to a shop nearby, saying in a statement: 

"We apply very strict precautions during our training camp in Kühtai, Austria. We want to limit interaction with the outside world as much as possible to minimise the risk of infection. Not only to avoid getting infected ourselves, but also to minimise the risks of bringing the virus into the peloton when we return to competition on August 1. 

“It is purely as a precaution and Michael himself fully understands it. Top sport in corona times is a new situation for everyone. A lot is demanded of people and of course we also understand that riders and staff have to get used to this. ”

14 July 2020, 11:02
Varnish appeal: British Cycling statement
British Cycling Logo

A British Cycling spokesperson said: “We believe that British Cycling’s relationship with riders who represent this country is not one of employer-employee but that of an organisation supporting dedicated athletes to fulfil their potential. This view was supported in law by the first tribunal, a verdict confirmed by today’s dismissal of Jess’s appeal.

“We had tried to reach a resolution with Jess much sooner, so we regret she was advised to pursue the route of an employment tribunal when other avenues were open to her. Because of our responsibility to represent the best interests of every rider who hopes to compete at an Olympics or Paralympics, that decision meant we had no option but to oppose her case.

“Since Jess raised her concerns about the Great Britain Cycling Team in 2016, we have implemented significant changes to the culture and processes of our high-performance programme. Four years on, and while we are always seeking to improve, we are happy to say that the well-being of staff and riders in our high-performance programme continues to be our highest priority.”

14 July 2020, 10:20
Varnish appeal: employment law specialist says verdict "welcome news to the sporting world"

Emily Chalkley, a Senior Associate at specialist employment law firm Charles Russell Speechlys, said the verdict was "welcome news" because of the huge implications a ruling in Varnish' favour could have had on the way sport and elite athletes are financed in the UK. 

She says: "The Varnish case is seen by many as the ‘test case’ for employment status in the sport industry, and as such today’s outcome will be welcome news to the sporting world. If Varnish had been successful it could have set precedent and potentially give over 1,000 athletes UK employment rights and pension rights.

"The legislature needs to do more to clarify employment status, otherwise we may see many more athletes follow in her footsteps and bring expensive and complicated employment status claims in the employment tribunal.

"Varnish still may seek to continue the fight in the Court of Appeal. A successful appeal could have huge effects on sports funding, as UK Sport could be forced to restructure its funding programme, paying national insurance on behalf of athletes and pension contributions for the first time.

"It could also lead to athletes making backdated financial claims. HMRC are likely to have a close eye on this case particularly in light of their current focus on employment status for tax and is likely to ‘go after’ British Cycling/UK Sport for unpaid PAYE and NICs, if she successfully appeals."

14 July 2020, 09:57
Breaking: Jess Varnish loses employment tribunal appeal
Jess Varnish celebrates a gold medal and  world record (© Dene Percy)

The 29-year-old former track sprinter appealed against the original ruling in 2019 that deemed she was not an employee of British Cycling; but it's now been decided that the decision wil be upheld. 

Varnish was dropped from the British national squad in 2016 in controversial circumstances, after she complained that then technical director Shane Sutton told her to “go and have a baby."

Claiming that she was unfairly discriminated against, Varnish resorted to a tribunal in a bid to establish that she was an employee of British Cycling and UK Sport when she received funding and not an independent contractor. If this latest appeal had have ruled in Varnish’s favour, it would have cleared the way for her to sue for wrongful dismissal; however the tribunal once again ruled that Varnish was "not an employee or a worker" for British Cycling, with Mr Justice Choudhury declaring in the judgement: "The Tribunal had not erred in its approach to the assessment of employee status and nor had it reached conclusions that no reasonable tribunal, properly directed, could have reached.

14 July 2020, 08:22
Irish Transport Minister says no to mandatory helmet law
Eamon Ryan - via wikimedia commons

After the Fine Gael politician Alan Dillon made calls for a mandatory helmet law for cyclists in Irish parliament last month, Transport Minister Eamon Ryan has now categorically ruled it out after citing "international evidence" that such a law could lead to a drop in cycling numbers. 

Ryan said: "International evidence is that mandatory helmet legislation acts as a major disincentive to cycling such that the net impact of the legislation on public health is significantly negative."

Ryan, the leader of Ireland's Green Party and a former bike shop owner, recently secured a huge financial boost for cycling and walking in the country, with €360 million going towards schemes such as protected cycleways and expanded pavements over the next five years, according to Forbes; indeed, 20% of Ireland's total transport budget will be spent on cycling and walking, with two thirds going towards public transport. 

Ryan's response to Dillon's proposal was the first time he had made his opinions known publicly regarding calls for mandatory helmets.

14 July 2020, 09:16
Will you be purchasing a set of the new tan wall Continental GP5000's?

One of the most popular road racing tyres on the planet has been given a cheeky tan... will you be rushing out to get a pair?

14 July 2020, 08:20
It's Bastille Day

Which would have meant Tour de France and more Tour de France, but then that thing happened...

14 July 2020, 08:15
Police searching for hit-and-run cyclist after pedestrian dies
bow road - via google streetview.PNG

72-year-old Peter McCombie died seven days after the collision in Bow Road, East London, and police are now searching for the cyclist that hit him - full story to follow. 

Arriving at in 2017 via 220 Triathlon Magazine, Jack dipped his toe in most jobs on the site and over at eBikeTips before being named the new editor of in 2020, much to his surprise. His cycling life began during his students days, when he cobbled together a few hundred quid off the back of a hard winter selling hats (long story) and bought his first road bike - a Trek 1.1 that was quickly relegated to winter steed, before it was sadly pinched a few years later. Creatively replacing it with a Trek 1.2, Jack mostly rides this bike around local cycle paths nowadays, but when he wants to get the racer out and be competitive his preferred events are time trials, sportives, triathlons and pogo sticking - the latter being another long story.  

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