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Worries over cycling events
ANOTHER cycling event in the New Forest has been criticised by horse riders claiming packs of speeding cyclists are putting lives in danger.
Ringwood resident Alan Russell told the Journal it was just a “matter of time” before a serious accident occurs after his horse was spooked by a cyclist taking part in the Rattler, organised by Cyclofanatic, on August 18.
Mr Russell and his wife Heather, who keep three horses at a livery yard in Sway, were taking a friend’s two-yearold out on horseback when disaster almost struck.
He said: “Our Sunday walk with two horses, including Fred, our Welsh gelding, with a two-year-old child on board, was not a very pleasant experience.
“There is a sharp bend near the yard and the majority of cyclists were travelling so fast that the only way they could get around the corner was by taking up the whole of the road.
“One cyclist came around the corner so close and fast that he spooked the horse carrying the young child. We turned around and had to stand in the middle of the road to warn cyclists racing around the corner that there was a horse on the road, fearing a cyclist could career into the horse.”
Mr Russell said: “Cyclists can ride in groups of up to 25 and I noticed that some of the groups were joining together to make even larger packs.
“It is only a question of time before there is a serious accident between cyclists and horses, cyclists and pedestrians or cyclists and cars.”
Entrants in the race were given disposable timing chips before the event.
Individuals or groups of up to 25 rode one of three routes of 102, 82 and 47 miles.
The Cyclofanatic website stated: “Overall the Rattler courses are quick and zippy and riders can expect to achieve a good time for the amount of miles covered – provided you put the right amount of training in.
“On completion of the Rattler you will be able to view your ride time immediately via a plasma screen, with full timings posted on the website shortly after.”
Organisers of the event were not available for comment at the time of going to press.
A New Forest National Park Authority spokesman said: “Ensuring all people are able to undertake activities safely is, of course, vitally important.
“As such the National Park Authority is working with more than 20 organisations, including cycling event organisers and equine groups, to ensure cycle events are safe for both participants and others, beneficial to the New Forest economy and welcomed by local communities.
“The Cycle Liaison Group first met in July and is due to meet again in September when it will consider a draft Cycle Event Organiser’s Charter.”
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