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Surrey Bicycle Race Road Closures Anger Residents

Published 04 August 2013

Ian Mason of West Byfleet has raised a number of objections to today's road closures in Surrey that may appear reasonable to some and churlish to others. You are welcome to discuss this below.

He writes:

545 road closures over 42 miles of roads, with thousands of residents 'road-locked' from 5am to 7pm on Sunday 4th August.

For some, this is the fifth  road-lock in two years.

It affects:

Frail elderly people whose carers cannot get to them.

Family reunions cancelled.

Farmers who cannot tend their livestock or harvest crops

Businesses shut on what historically is one of the busiest weekends of the year.

Staff laid off and unpaid for the day.

Expensive tickets for sporting/cultural events forfeited.

Families that cannot get their kids to those children's sporting events. etc. etc.

We have organised an on-line petition to try and stop more of these closures (which are now planned for every August).

If you have a look at the petition, you will see a lot of anger, but also stories of real hardship caused.

Like me, many feel that the Olympics was OK as a one off, but to have  our road network closed every year is taking this too far.

The 'unintended consequence' of all this, is a growing resentment of cyclists by Surrey motorists. That's a great shame.

This resentment is fuelled by the fact that many hundreds of cyclists now use the same route every weekend for 'practice'

They cycle in packs on roads (many of which are B roads) making passing impossible.

Journey times at weekends are now doubled, tripled, or worse, for residents (have a look at the petition website to see what I mean).

It is very hard to get the mainstream media to give any publicity to dissenting voices. It's almost blasphemy these days to question  anything to do with the Holy Grail of cycling.

I may be old fashioned, but I believe the road network was built to allow people get from A to B in pursuit of their lawful business, and  not as a suburban Velodrome.

These events are organised by a private commercial company called 'Sweet Spot'. Surrey County Council closes the road  network on behalf of this company using draconian powers and without any consultation of local residents or business. Really outrageous!

Petition Link: Stop Surrey Being Turned Into a Cycle Track

Share the petition on Facebook: Stop Surrey Being Turned into a Cycle Track

To prove he is not entirely humourless, Ian sent us this photo of himself in his protest uniform.

Ian Mason In His Lycra


Colin Liu    on 4 August 2013

Ian Mason need to chill and not over exaggerate everything. If there this the only worries in life, once a day a year, the world would be such a better place.

Karen Hester    on 4 August 2013

Pleased to see that this misery's petition has picked up only a few hundred signatures. Why don't you put your energy into something morer constructive? You do realise that the majority of these people were raising money for charity, don't you?

Chris Spencer    on 4 August 2013

I fully agree with Ian Mason.It is ridiculous that thousands of people should have their precious summer weekend ruined for the sake of the few interested in this minority activity.

Chris    on 4 August 2013

Ian Mason sounds like a fun chap to be around with a firm grasp on reality and perspective.

Mrjaydeeem    on 4 August 2013

Even the Tour de France changes urban routes every year to avoid this kind of thing. A bit of variety in the route would help I imagine

Jim McG    on 5 August 2013

It's a couple of days a year. And it's not as if these road closures were a surprise - it's been publicised for ages. What an idiot.

Philip    on 5 August 2013

Have to agree with Ian Mason. Surrey has become a cycling Mecca since the Olympics which causes inconvenience for residents on a daily basis. Boris Johnston hopes this event will be run every year along the same route which will perpetuate the misery of roads clogged by cyclists. Why not let some of the other home counties have the "privilege" of hosting this event in future years. That way the cyclists will want to practice on the other routes and dilute their impact on the road users of Surrey.

Sailor    on 5 August 2013

Well I believe Mr Mason has a point, sorry to all of you who are obviously born again cyclists. We all agree that sport is a great thing, it is a shame however when one event leads to cancellation of others, I happen to sail a racing dinghy, races at my club were cancelled because of road closures around it. As to the comment that these closures were publicised, I can tell you that two roads in Leatherhead were shut by police on Sunday, even though they were not publicised to be so. I think what infuriates residents is the assumption that there is a god given right for events like this to take place. A little politeness and a thank you from the organisers to those inconvenienced would go a long way, rather than showing a self righteous entrant on news at ten signing on to the event and saying what a great thing it was to block in all those residents in Surrey! Why not a rolling road block for the serious competitors and an off road course for the charity riders has to be the way, a little bit of give and take both ways surely? One thing is for sure, with the recent upsurge in cycle racing Surrey roads will continue to be dangerous, and care and consideration must be used by all concerned.

A doctor writes    on 5 August 2013

Ah yes, racing cycling.
As a sport such a brilliant role model for youngsters. A sport with likely more doping-related suspensions,bans, cancelled medals, expulsions and event drug-related deaths than another sport I can think of. A sport that needs almost as many drug investigators as it does competitors. Over the years, a multitude of lycra-clad pill poppers have swallowed or injected a mind boggling pharmacopeia, including erythropoietin (EPO), amphetamines,cortisone, human growth hormones, nandrolone, Aranesp, ephedrine, Ronicol, Palfium, Reactivan, Coramine, Ritalin, methylphenidate, testosterone, blood
tansfusions, anabolic steroids and many more ‘performance-enhancing’ chemicals. In January this year one leading cyclist admitted using doping for much of his pro career. He alone had used EPO, growth hormone,testosterone, DHEA, insulin, IGF-1, cortisone and transfused his own blood. Just recently (24th July) a French Senatorial commission released a list containing the names of more than 20 cyclists who tested positive for EPO in a single Tour de France race. And they close our roads for a weekend and stop our freedom of movement for a ‘sport’ like this? In the few days this petition has been open, I see it has attracted more signatories than there were competitors in the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey Classic road race! Listen up Surrey County Council and the Prudential. Well done Mr Huggins!

James Harding    on 5 August 2013

Philip - Who's Boris Johnston?

Flivoless    on 5 August 2013

Think I might request holding a tennis match on the M25. I'm sure if the price was right it would get the nod. Racing of any type is for purpose built tracks not the public highway - in fact doesn't the Highway Code state as much? - it is safer for everyone

Pauline Terry    on 15 September 2013

If Surrey CC think they are actually promoting cycling for the "average" cyclist trying to go to work or do non-competitive cycling then they're having a laugh. Unlike the race participants, we don't get the use of the entire road to commute on and where we do cycle at the edge of the road, the conditions are appalling and verging on the downright dangerous. So, Surrey, spend the money invested in these events instead on improving road conditions for everybody, not just a handful of elite and club cyclists.

Sarah Smith    on 18 September 2013

Whilst I agree with the need for these cycle events, especially the charity aspect, I'm a local business in Fetcham that loses thousands every time the roads are closed! It is killing my revenue. I run a weddings business and need the roads at weekends. Surely there must be a compromise somewhere? Alternate the routes, only block a few hours before rather than from 5am! And whilst there are some considerate cyclists there are an increasing number of 'gangs' that cycle 6 abreast, block the road and shout abuse if you dare to challenge them! Have some consideration for those that need the roads for business and help to find a solution rather than just being abusive or dismissive and reinforcing the 'anti' cycle movement! It really isn't helping.

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