“ANY cyclist seen breaking the Highway Code will be banned from future events” – that is the message from the Fordingbridge-based UK Cycling Events ahead of its Wiggle New Forest Spring Sportive this weekend.
Some 4,000 cyclists are expected to participate in the two-day cycling event, with participants competing in either a 58-mile or an 86-mile ride, starting at New Park, Brockenhurst.
Martin Barden of UK Cycling Events said that this year the sell-out ride would be “bigger and better than ever before”.
But cyclists are becoming an increasingly controversial sight in the New Forest – following a spate of complaints about the huge number of riders taking part in races.
Dr Julian Lewis, MP for New Forest East, has written to transport minister Norman Baker calling for a formal licensing system to be introduced.
It coincides with plans by the New Forest National Park Authority (NPA) to draw up a charter for the organisers of mass cycle events.
It adds: “We should not wait for a serious incident before deciding upon an appropriate degree of regulation – not something heavy handed but something recognising that both the frequency and size of these huge commercial cycling events have greatly increased.”
An NPA spokesman said the events were not races, which meant no formal permission to stage them was currently needed.
However, he confirmed that the NPA aimed to produce a code of conduct for cyclists and a charter for event organisers following concerns raised by residents and other organisations.
Mr Barden said: “Cycling is becoming more and more popular and it is the responsibility of every motorist and cyclist to share the roads in a considerate manner.
“We ask cyclists, wherever possible, to ride single file around the course, and have produced signs we will put up around the route to remind riders.
“Any cyclist seen to be breaking the Highway Code will, as part of our terms and conditions, be banned from future events.”
Mr Barden said riders are also asked to be considerate to horse riders, passing slow and wide.
“As we choose some of the most scenic and beautiful areas to ride, such as the New Forest, we quite often come across wild animals grazing at the side of the road. The same principle applies - give them plenty of room.”