A cyclist who was riding in foggy conditions on the Isle of Man’s Mountain Road says he was stopped by police three times and ordered to “put my bike in the van as it was too dangerous”, following complaints from motorists on the climb.
Chris Glencorse, from Scissett, West Yorkshire, was climbing the A18 Snaefell Mountain Road between Ramsey and Douglas yesterday, as part of a three-day cycling trip to the Isle of Man, when he was stopped by officers who were dispatched to check on his welfare, after several drivers reported that they had nearly struck the cyclist due to the apparent poor visibility and adverse conditions on the road.
A video of the incident was posted on Twitter yesterday afternoon by Chris following his ride and has since been viewed over 650,000 times.
In the post, the cyclist wrote: “Unbelievably the Isle of Man Police thought it was appropriate to stop me three times while cycling over the mountain, the last time to tell me to put the bike in the van because of complaints by car drivers. That’s not how the Highway Code works. I didn’t get in the van.”
However, a spokesperson for the Isle of Man Constabulary told road.cc that the officers simply “offered to transport the cyclist and his bicycle to Douglas to ensure he arrived safely” and that the incident was a “timely reminder to all motorists that cyclists frequently use the A18 Mountain Road” and to “ensure that you drive/cycle to the conditions and arrive at your destination safely”.
Glencorse, a 51-year-old utility and touring cyclist who has completed in recent years bucket list rides such as Land’s End to John O’Groats, the Hebridean Way, Mizen Head to Malin Head, and L’Etape du Tour, says he was inspired to take on the Isle of Man’s famous hills by reading Simon Warren’s seminal 100 Greatest Cycling Climbs books.
“The book started me off on to do lists, and I’m slowly working my way through the second 100, so thought I’d do a quick tour of the island, do a lap of the TT course, and tick the three climbs off,” he tells road.cc.
The Yorkshire-based cyclist says he normally takes on his cycle touring trips with friends, but couldn’t quite convince them that three sodden spring days on the Isle of Man would be much fun.
“Obviously the weather was horrendous [yesterday], but I’m here and there is no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothes, so I set out, as I have done countless times before in bad weather,” he continued.
“I’ve two lights on the back, a 1200 lumen front light, had a bright orange jacket on, and hi viz overshoes and gloves.
“All was okay for the first 29 miles, if horrible and wet and windy, then I started the climb out of Ramsey. The road was busyish, but no more than say Holme Moss back home, and while visibility wasn’t great, it was about 200 yards so fine to be seen.”
A photo taken by Chris as he made his way along the road
However, as Chris made his way up the famous Isle of Man TT climb – which was reopened earlier this week to traffic after icy conditions forced it to close for six days – he was stopped by police following reports from “concerned” drivers who had passed the cyclist on the road.
“I’ll admit I’m not the fastest climber, but slow and steady wins the race, and I’d just got past the really steep bit when a police van pulled up alongside and scared the s*** out of me by giving it the full blues and twos,” he says.
“[The officer] opened his window and told me he wanted to speak to me and to pull in at the bungalow about half a mile ahead. I told him I wasn’t doing anything wrong, and he said they’d had ‘a load of complaints’ from car drivers that a cyclist was riding up the mountain in all black and couldn’t be seen.”
After stopping at the bungalow as instructed, Chris then refused to provide the officer with his name, “as I was doing nothing wrong”.
He continued: “He repeated the complaints of the motorists, at which point I pointed to my hi viz clothes, the lights, and then asked him what I was doing wrong. He confirmed I wasn’t doing anything wrong, at which point I told him I was going to carry on.”
Chris then told road.cc that he was approached again by the same officer five minutes later, and that he once again refused to stop, before the driver allegedly “pulled around me” and forced the cyclist to come to a halt.
“He then told me his sergeant had told him I had to put my bike in the van as it was too dangerous and they would drive me back to Douglas,” he claims.
“It’s here I slightly lost my s***. I told him he’d have to arrest me to get me into the van. He then got me to sign something to say I was carrying on at my own risk, at which point I asked him, does that mean if a car ploughs into me it would be my fault?
“After now becoming piss wet through and freezing, I told him I was carrying on so if he kindly would leave me alone. To be fair, I had some sympathy with the officer, he was just doing what he was being told and he did seem uncomfortable.
“Anyway the day was now a bit ruined, so I had a cup of coffee in Douglas and made my way to Castletown.”
Chris told road.cc that he is currently contemplating reporting the officers for what he believes were their unnecessary actions on the road.
However, the Isle of Man Constabulary has since argued that their officers acted following reports from callers “concerned” for the cyclist’s safety “due to the poor visibility and heavy fog”.
“Yesterday, we received a number of calls from members of the public in regards to concerns for a cyclist on the A18 the Mountain Road,” a spokesperson told road.cc.
“Several of the concerned callers advised that the weather was adverse (heavy fog) and stated that they had nearly struck the cyclist.
“Following this, officers were dispatched to check on the welfare of the cyclist, who advised he was cycling from Ramsey to Douglas. The officers offered to transport the cyclist and his bicycle to Douglas to ensure he arrived safely. However, this was declined.
“We are pleased to say that the cyclist arrived in Douglas safely, but this is a timely reminder to all motorists that cyclists frequently use the A18 Mountain Road and therefore please ensure that you drive/cycle to the conditions and arrive at your destination safely.”
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