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Meetings to tackle tensions between cyclists and horseriders
SPECIAL meetings are being held in a bid to ease tensions between cyclists and other Forest users.
Representatives from 19 organisations met for a second discussion about working together to manage and improve different types of cycling experiences – both for cyclists and other people who enjoy the New Forest.
The meetings were arranged after mass cycling events prompted an outcry among horseriders and walkers, who feared for their safety as sometimes thousands of competitors streamed through the Forest.
Through a short series of meetings, the plan is to build better understanding and consensus about responsible cycling in the National Park.
The group is looking at a number of aspects of cycling, acknowledging that each has a different set of issues and opportunities for improvement associated with it, from family cycling to events. For example, helping to ensure cycling is enjoyable and safe, beneficial to the New Forest economy and welcomed by local communities.
Nigel Matthews, community and visitor services manager at the New Forest National Park Authority, said: “This time we focused on the draft ‘cycle event organisers’ charter’ that is on our website. Several improvements were suggested, and we’ll be continuing the discussion when we next meet in December.”
James Knight, chairman of New Forest District Council’s public events and safety advisory group (SAG), said: “It was clear that the SAG plays a central role. We ensure the relevant authorities, including the police, get to see risk assessments and event plans. By liaising with other local organisations we can also help avoid clashes.”
In July, the group’s first task was to discuss what changes should be made to the cycling code of conduct. An improved code is being drafted.
The final task for the group will be to recommend what should be done to encourage people to adhere to the code.
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