David Cameron backs 'Wiggins effect' road cycling boom

Bradley Wiggins
Image caption Bradley Wiggins won this year's Tour of Britain race

The prime minister has backed road cycling events and the "Wiggins effect" riding craze in south-east England.

Surrey roads have hosted a number of races and rides since the London 2012 Olympics, including the penultimate stage of the Tour of Britain.

But some residents feel "pestered" by events, according to an online petition calling for them to be scrapped.

David Cameron said he understood the challenges of the "cycling revolution" but said it was great for the UK.

The online petition, which has been signed by nearly 3,000 people, claims Surrey's roads are not suitable for cycling events, the mass participation races trap people in their homes and large groups of people riding together create major problems for motorists.

Mr Cameron, speaking to BBC local radio, said: "I'm a big fan of this cycling revolution taking place in Britain.

"In my constituency in Oxfordshire at the weekend you just see swarms of people in Lycra on their bikes.

"We need to be a fitter, healthier country and we need to encourage sport and competitive sport.

Cycling's a great sport, we're very good at it now. The idea when I was little of British people winning the Tour de France was unthinkable.

"Now, not only are we winning the Tour de France but we're hosting the start of it in Yorkshire in the coming year so I think it's very exciting."

'Respect each other'

He added: "It can be challenging for drivers when you have these pelotons weaving through the roads of Sussex and Surrey, but I think we should be encouraging cycling and motorists have to think carefully about how to deal with the peloton."

Surrey County Council is currently holding a consultation into the future of cycling in the county.

It said it did all it could to keep roads accessible and keep disruption to a minimum during organised events.

Following the London 2012 Olympics Surrey Police warned motorists to expect extra cyclists trying to ride the Olympic cycle route and urged road users to respect each other.

The cycle road race on the opening weekend of the Olympics took riders from the Mall, through west London, out to Surrey and back again, and included a 9.6-mile (15.5km) circuit around Box Hill.

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