Riders who litter in next year’s RideLondon-Surrey 100 sportive could be caught on camera and banned from participating in the event again.
Organisers of the capital’s biggest cycling festival have reacted to suggestions from a conservation charity who warned that the increased volume of gel wrappers in Richmond Park is risking the lives of deer.
RideLondon say that they take the matter seriously and as a result will set up cameras in secret locations around the park that will catch and identify riders who litter their used gels, as opposed to placing them inside their jerseys and jackets.
There will also be a dedicated team doing a cleaning sweep after the sportive and after the professional men’s race, which has been promoted to WorldTour status from 2017.
The changes come after the Friends of Richmond Park report that the number of wrappers left after July 31’s RideLondon was almost double that of previous years, which puts the life of deer under threat.
They say that the animals could accidentally eat the plastic wrappers, which could block their stomach and make them unable to eat.
“Deer eat anything and it gets caught up in their guts. They swallow the plastic and if they eat enough it can stop them digesting other food,” trustee of the group Richard Gray told the Telegraph.
“They blow onto the grass, which make them hard to see for litter-pickers. We just don’t want them to get into the deer and preventing them from eating.
“We’re not anti-cyclist, but we wonder why they have to throw the packets on the floor – why can’t they tuck them into their lycra?”