Safety warning after major cycling event through Midhurst

Bridget Davies demonstrates the narrowness of the lane
Bridget Davies demonstrates the narrowness of the lane
  • 800 cyclists took part in the UK Cycling Events annual long distance ride
  • It was claimed there were no warning signs or road closures to alert motorists
  • A couple in a car say they were forced off a narrow country lane by cyclists travdelling at speed taking up the whole road

A BEPTON woman is calling for safety controls during major cycling events after claiming she was forced off the road in her car by cyclists riding at speed on a narrow lane.

Bridget Davies, 41, said: “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.

“The sheer scale of it was utterly ridiculous.”

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

“It beggars belief that if they had no intention of closing the road – which they should have done for that size of event – they did not have any warning signs.”

The ride, organised by UK Cycling Events, began at Fontwell race course starting from 7.15am-9am.

Mrs Davies and her husband Carl had just left home at 8.30am and were travelling along the narrow lane when they started to see groups of cyclists.

“At first we saw a few groups riding three, four and five abreast, coming straight at us.

“Then it was continual with groups coming round the windy narrow bends. We could not move, it was relentless and nobody paid any heed to us at all.

“Then we came round a bend and there were about five abreast taking up the whole road with nowhere for us to go at all, so my husband tried very slowly to get to the verge. We hit a big rock and two tyres burst.

“Nobody stopped. They were the most selfish bunch of people I have ever come across.”

Mrs Davies said the incident had left her very shaken, but she was more concerned about improving safety for motorists and cyclists in future.

“We could have killed someone,” she said. “at the speed the cyclists were going, if they had 
to break suddenly they could have landed up under the car or over the top.”

A spokesman for West Sussex County Council said the event did not require any road closures.

Managing director of UK Cycling Events Richard Marcroft said his company prided itself on organising safe cycling events. Riders were briefed to ride in single file or two abreast where it was safe and to abide by the Highway Code: “Throughout the route, there are signs 
to remind riders to cycle safely and, particularly on narrow stretches of road, in single file.”

He said safety advisory groups, including police and highway officers, 
were made aware of 
events and provided with full plans, routes, 
risk assessment and best-practice guidelines. Marshals were placed at strategic points.

“There were no other incidents reported on this stretch of road but we continuously review the safety measures we have in place for improvements and we will look into this incident to ensure any further procedures that could be implemented to reduce the likelihood of future accidents are addressed.

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