Bepton braces itself for another 850-strong cycling event

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Bepton villagers have asked for warning signs and consideration from cyclists as they brace themselves for another major event along their narrow rural lanes.

The call comes in the wake of an incident during last year’s event when a Bepton couple claimed their car was forced off the road by cyclists taking up the whole road, cycling at speed on a narrow lane.

UK Cycling Events has announced that its annual Wiggle 100 South Downs Sportive will take place on Sunday, October 2.

It will start from Chichester College between 7.40am and 9.30am and organisers have warned Bepton Parish Council that some 850 cyclists are likely to pass through their village.

Advertising the event on their website UK Cycling says all routes for the ‘non-competitive’ cycling event start and finish in Chichester.

“The shortest of the three is 43 miles long and is well suited to beginners with a well-measured mix of tough climbs and fast, flowing terrain to help keep both average speeds and morale high.”

But chairman of the parish council Howard Ewing has contacted the organisers calling for assurances that the event will be managed safely and that cyclists will consider other road users.

“I should like to remind you of the incident that took place last year when UK Cycling Events organised a similar event,” he said.

“Two local residents were ‘forced off the road’ and stuck for some time before they were able to be ‘rescued’.

“I should be grateful if you could assure us that there will be sufficient warning signs and that cyclists will behave appropriately to show consideration to other road users, which include cars, walkers, and children cycling.”

Last year Bridget Davies and her husband Carl called for more safety controls after the incident.

“It was quite scary with cyclists coming at us all the time and taking up the whole road. We are used to cyclists on the lanes but never in these numbers,” said Bridget. “The sheer scale of it was utterly ridiculous.”

She said there were no signs warning motorists of the event and no road closures.

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