Power to regulate Surrey cyclists 'limited'

Sir Bradley Wiggins during stage six of the Tour of Britain on 20 September Bradley Wiggins won the Tour of Britain, whose penultimate stage was in Surrey

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Police and councillors say they are seeking new ways to regulate cyclists in Surrey after the success of the 2012 Olympic Games road races.

Hundreds of cyclists now head to the Surrey Hills at weekends to ride the routes used in the games.

Councillor Helen Clack said Surrey County Council (SCC) was limited in how much it could regulate cycling outside official races.

But she said the council's new cycling strategy would be a powerful tool.

Speaking at a public debate at the University of Surrey in Guildford, she said there was an agreement with the Mayor of London to co-host the RideLondon 100-mile race for five years.

'Massive increase'

More than 65,000 people took part in the first race in August on a route similar to last year's Olympic road races.

The penultimate stage of the Tour of Britain was also held in Surrey.

"There has been a massive increase in cycling," said Ms Clack.

"If we are in charge of closing a road then obviously we can regulate that race but we are limited about how much we can regulate cycling which is not part of a race.

"We have written to the government and said listen to our cycling strategy."

Chairman of Headley Parish Council David Preedy said road closures for major cycling events were only one problem for residents.

"These big events produce a spin-off of a large number of people who come to practise on the routes," he said.

"They are cycling as fast as they can on roads that are open to other traffic and that is a major safety issue."

Swearing drivers

Surrey's Deputy Chief Con Nick Ephgrave said the Association of Chief Police Officers was reviewing cycling regulations introduced in 1960.

"As a product of the enormous boom in cycling, we have people who are really enjoying it but do not really know how they should behave in a group," he said.

"My officers are aware of the Highway Code but the issue is how enforceable is that in a county like Surrey completely covered in quiet lanes?"

Cyclists in the audience at the debate, hosted by BBC Surrey, said they had suffered from the poor behaviour of motorists.

One said she had been shouted and sworn at by drivers and had water and urine thrown at her.

Another said she was afraid to use her bike on busy roads because of the amount of traffic.

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