In last week’s parliamentary debate on cycling MP Julian Lewis called for cycling to be restricted on public roads in his constituency. He was referring to the success of sportives such as the Wiggle Sportive 100 and the Gridiron 100 and how such one-off events lead to "danger."
"Unless these major events are regulated … there are obvious dangers of clashes, accidents and the generation of ill-feeling,” he said.
In reporting Dr Lewis’ opinions New Forest local newspaper Daily Echo said such events "bring thousands of speeding cyclists to the national park."
The sportives use public roads, and those cyclists without motors – i.e. all of them – are clearly less able to break speed limits than motorists. The hypocrisy of seeking to curtail thousands of "speeding cyclists" on public roads but saying nothing about the daily use of the New Forest’s roads by thousands of motorists is highlighted by Beztweets on Twitter. He has reworded the Daily Echo’s article, see graphic below.
In the latest draft of the New Forest National Park Authority’s management plan there all calls for "better controls" for such events, "which may require the updating of national legislation," yet no calls for "better controls" for the thousands of motorists who use the roads of the New Forest, which at peak times can experience severe congestion.
The authority believes the staging of irregular "nationally organised" sportives is a "major issue."
"There has always been support for responsible family cycling in the National Park, but the scale of these new events and their impact on local communities has provoked wide-spread debate and concern," says the authority’s latest plan.
Pic: Denny Lodge Inclosure, New Forest by Jim Champion on geograph.org