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Petition claims Surrey residents 'pestered' by cycling events

by Nick Gregory

Surrey has always been a popular cycling country. Its close proximity to London, its pretty lanes and scenic climbs have made it particularly suited for South East cyclists. But one man, and nearly 1600 others who have signed his petition, claim to feel "pestered" and "confined to their homes" by Surrey cycling events.

The county has hosted the Olympic road races, RideLondon 100 and many weekened cyclosportives. Many of the events take in Box Hill, which is owned and managed by the National Trust, who now charge for licences to use the zig zag route over the climb in a bid to control numbers on the road.

Surrey

The petition, started by Ian Huggins, 68, a resident of Esher is called "Stop Surrey being turned into a cycle track". It reads:

"Apart from the obvious dangers to cyclists, Surrey roads are not suitable. Surrey County Council have, without consultation, decided it would be a great idea to use Surrey as a race track. This in itself is a thoughtless act but far more importantly residents and numerous businesses are being effected by road closures."

It continues: "This prevents residents of Surrey from leaving their own property and going about their normal business. The road closures were a necessary inconvenience during the Olympic Games but now it looks like Surrey County Council are to make this an annual event."

Surrey County Council has said it did all it could to keep roads accessible and keep disruption to a minimum during closed road events.

Surrey County Council has also started a consultation into the future of cycling in the area.

A spokesman for Surrey County Council told the BBC: "We do all we can to help keep our roads accessible, and work with cycling event organisers to keep disruption to a minimum.

"Last month we and Surrey Police launched the Cycle SMART campaign asking all road users to respect the highway code and each other."

Riders who took part in the RideLondon 100 will have experienced huge roadside support from residents and visitors, especially in Surrey.

Surrey

The Tour of Britain visits the area on Saturday [21st September 2013] and rolling road closures have been put in place. Details of the closures have been sent to around 5,000 Surrey residents, as is usual practice for closed road events.

The race passes through the towns of Leatherhead, Dorking, Cranleigh, Shere, Woking, Chobham and Farnham, as well as other villages inbetween.

What do you think? Do cycling events in Surrey need to be better managed? Is the small amount of inconvenience for residents worth it for the health and participation benefits of thousands of cyclists? Comment below.





2 Comments

22nd September 2013 6:47am wrote:

In France towns compete for the honour of hosting stages of the Tour de France. It showcases the region, brings trade to local businesses and brings cycling to the heart of the local community. It comes as no surprise that a small group of residents and businesses in Surrey have signed a petition opposing cycling events in their area, however having watched yesterday's stage of The Tour of Britain passing through Surrey's towns, villages and leafy lanes it was evident that far more Surrey residents support cycling in the area. The crowds were incredible and even included newly weds taking time out of their special day to be photographed at the roadside. The petition is predictable, but will quickly be forgotten. Cycling is more popular than it has ever been and it is here to stay where ever you live.

Terence Harkin
27th September 2013 10:14pm Terence Harkin wrote:

The answer is simple enough.
Stop using Surrey as a venue for international and national events.
There are any number of other beautiful and challenging places to stage a ride where support would be at least as good as Surrey.
The Derbyshire and Yorkshire Dales are blessed with stunning scenery and challenging routes that are the equal to the Surrey hills. I'm sure there are any number of potential centres of cyclo-excellence around the country that would welcome the publicity and business opportunities that develop from the larger cycling events.