Mass cycling events probed by police

POLICE have launched an investigation into mass cycling events in the New Forest following complaints.

They are looking into allegations that the controversial Wiggle rides, which have attracted as many as 2,500 entrants, are breaking the law by causing a public nuisance.

The revelation was made at a meeting of the National Park Authority (NPA).

Members complained cyclists were racing on the road, defecating on village greens and shouting abuse at anyone who got in their way.

Maureen Holding said: “I was driving through Brockenhurst at 30mph and was overtaken by cyclists.

“Police say the events aren’t races but the riders are timed and given gold, silver or bronze medals according to how fast they went.

“Some of them go very fast and it’s only a matter of time before an old person is hit by a cycle.

“I’m not anti-cycling, but these big, money-making events are getting out of control. The problem has not been managed, it’s simply being looked at in retrospect.”

Oliver Crosthwaite Eyre said the speed and behaviour of the cyclists, coupled with the frequency of the events, was causing “enormous upset” in the forest.

Peter Roberts, chairman of the New Forest Association, said: “The activity is clearly a race, either against the clock or fellow competitors – whatever name is given to it by the commercial organisers.

“A complaint has been submitted to the police regarding public nuisance.”

The head of New Forest Police, Chief Inspector Tony Rowlinson, said the cycling complaint was being investigated by a senior officer.

He added: “The prosecuting authority is the Crown Prosecution Service, and we will look to them for a steer.”

NPA member David Harrison hit out at what he described as the “anti-cycling” stance adopted by some of his colleagues.

He said: “We should be actively promoting and supporting responsible cycling, a much enjoyed, largely peaceful activity that’s a positive for the Forest, not a negative.”

Event organiser Martin Barden said he did not wish to comment.

Last month he said he had listened to concerns raised by residents and imposed a 20 per cent cut in the number of cyclists allowed to take part in the 2014 events.

He also confirmed that motorbike marshals would patrol the route and instantly disqualify any rider seen to be behaving badly.

He said: “While we know our events are run 100 per cent within the current guidelines we hope the adjustments will ease any local tensions.”

Organisers of the New Forest Show have banned mass cycling events from using their land at New Park, Brockenhurst, following criticism of the Wiggle rides.

Mr Barden has now asked Fawley Parish Council for permission to use Gang Warily Recreation Ground.

Comments (5)

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8:38pm Sun 22 Dec 13

TobyB1960 says...

I pay taxes for the police to investigate this silliness, yet ponies are being killed or injured each week. So why don't the police investigate the pony killers. I over heard in the pub, from a couple of idiots, that it was a sport to see how close and fast could drive past ponies and livestock. But then again cyclists are far better target for the curtain twitchers.
I pay taxes for the police to investigate this silliness, yet ponies are being killed or injured each week. So why don't the police investigate the pony killers. I over heard in the pub, from a couple of idiots, that it was a sport to see how close and fast could drive past ponies and livestock. But then again cyclists are far better target for the curtain twitchers. TobyB1960

9:17am Mon 23 Dec 13

ilpirata says...

Why no pressure to control mass participation motoring events (aka traffic jams) that take place far more regularly in the Forest, and excessive speed of cars. Being hit by a car at 30mph or more is going to cause a lot more damage than being hit by a bike. They're targeting the wrong group here
Why no pressure to control mass participation motoring events (aka traffic jams) that take place far more regularly in the Forest, and excessive speed of cars. Being hit by a car at 30mph or more is going to cause a lot more damage than being hit by a bike. They're targeting the wrong group here ilpirata

1:22pm Mon 23 Dec 13

Scarecrow52 says...

It's not the case that they are targeting the wrong group, it's a case of Mr Barden is using the NFNP for financial gain and not for 'quiet enjoyment' as is the remit.
Cyclists have a very big chip on their shoulders and unfortunately that is due to the actions of a minority.
Cyclists do cause a 'public' nuisance' when in such large groups and with the added competitive nature of these events. You only have yourselves to blame!
It's not the case that they are targeting the wrong group, it's a case of Mr Barden is using the NFNP for financial gain and not for 'quiet enjoyment' as is the remit. Cyclists have a very big chip on their shoulders and unfortunately that is due to the actions of a minority. Cyclists do cause a 'public' nuisance' when in such large groups and with the added competitive nature of these events. You only have yourselves to blame! Scarecrow52

3:32pm Mon 23 Dec 13

alexisos1981 says...

And what of the thousands of cars mostly exceeding speed limits through the forest on a daily basis, killing ponies left, right and centre? The greater public nuisance is?!
Perhaps the NPA should check the facts on animals/pedestrians killed in the new forest and see how many are killed by cyclists - precisely zero!
Also if cyclists are overtaking cars doing 30mph on the flat I imagine their name is either Wiggins or Cavendish.
And what of the thousands of cars mostly exceeding speed limits through the forest on a daily basis, killing ponies left, right and centre? The greater public nuisance is?! Perhaps the NPA should check the facts on animals/pedestrians killed in the new forest and see how many are killed by cyclists - precisely zero! Also if cyclists are overtaking cars doing 30mph on the flat I imagine their name is either Wiggins or Cavendish. alexisos1981

3:38pm Mon 23 Dec 13

alexisos1981 says...

As for the toilet/racing aspect complaints these are both laughable. On such events toilets are designated at various points throughout the route, also there are at least two feed stations on the longer routes.
Unless I'm much mistaken I do not know of any races where participants stop on several occasions to munch on flapjack, jam sarnies and cake...
As for the toilet/racing aspect complaints these are both laughable. On such events toilets are designated at various points throughout the route, also there are at least two feed stations on the longer routes. Unless I'm much mistaken I do not know of any races where participants stop on several occasions to munch on flapjack, jam sarnies and cake... alexisos1981

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