New Forest Cycling Charter to be discussed despite strong opposition

Cycling organisations oppose plans to cap cycling events in the New Forest to 1,000 participants but the National Park Authority says organisers should "show respect" to residents

A proposal to cap cycling events in the New Forest to 1,000 participants will be discussed at a meeting of the National Park Authority (NPA) on Thursday.

The proposed Cycling Charter has received strong opposition from major cycling organisations, including British Cycling and the Cyclist’s Touring Club.

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UK Cycling Events’ Martin Barden, who runs the Wiggle New Forest sportives, also opposes the charter, which will also require all riders to wear numbers on their jerseys.

NPA member, and mass cycling event supporter, David Harrison told the Daily Echo: “It would have been so much better if the charter had concentrated on things that are necessary and achievable but stubbornness has meant that we’re likely to publish a charter that the cyclists won’t sign up to.”

The NPA, however, believes organisers like Mr Barden should “show respect” for New Forest locals who are affected by mass participation events.

NPA member Maureen Holding said: “I’m not anti-cycling but I am against flooding the Forest and thus spoiling the quiet enjoyment that’s there for everyone.

“I’ve always said the cycling charter needs more teeth – it hasn’t got the bite that it needs.”

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A report on the charter, which will be discussed on Thursday, reads: “The case for the cap is primarily that it provides a simple, clear way for event organisers to show respect for local people and reduce the impact of large event on other road users, including recreational cyclists, walkers and horse riders, as well as respect for commoners' livestock.

“Events with fewer than 1,000 cyclists have prompted very few complaints and so long as individual cyclists ride considerately and are released in groups with suitable gaps in between, events up to this size should enable other road users to go about their business with minimal inconvenience.”

Mr Barden told the Echo that he would issue a statement on the charter later this week.