Cycle events statement

cycle hats

Published Thursday 10 April 2014

Statement from the New Forest National Park Authority regarding cycle events.

Members of the New Forest National Park Authority have consistently shown their support for responsible cycling in the National Park, whether for work or pleasure, to enjoy its special qualities. There is also continued support for initiatives to encourage people to travel car-free to, and around, the National Park and in particular to encourage family cycling. Members recognise the valuable contribution cycling makes towards the local economy as well as the benefits to people’s health.

However, National Park members have noted concerns amongst local residents regarding mass cycle events, particularly the scale of some of the larger events and the behaviour of a minority of participants.

The New Forest is a working forest, with forestry, farming and equestrian activity on its narrow roads and tracks. The National Park Authority has taken the lead on enabling different interest groups to better understand each other’s views, recognise the benefits of responsible cycling and find ways in which impacts of cycle events on the National Park and its communities can be minimised.

To help this process, the Cycling Liaison Group was formed last year of more than 20 organisations including New Forest District Council, Hampshire Highways Authority, Hampshire Constabulary, forest organisations and cycling groups. In December the Liaison Group agreed a New Forest Cycling Code which encourages cycling which is in keeping with the special qualities and purposes of the National Park. The Cycling Code can be found at www.newforestnpa.gov.uk/cycling-code

Good progress is also being made on a charter for event organisers, which will set out how events can best be managed and accommodated in the New Forest’s special environment. The latest draft of the charter will be discussed at the next Liaison Group meeting on 29 April.

In the meantime, members of the New Forest Safety Advisory Group, including the police and Highway Authority, have been working with UK Cycling Events ahead of their Spring Sportive to ensure there is no racing within the event, to ensure safety for event riders and the public and to minimise nuisance and disruption to local residents.

The Police also launched an investigation into allegations of cyclists breaking the law by causing (being) a public nuisance and committing traffic offences in the New Forest last year. They consulted with the Crown Prosecution Service which found no offences by the event organiser.

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About the New Forest National Park Authority

Protect - Enjoy - Prosper

The New Forest National Park Authority’s statutory purposes are to:

  • Conserve and enhance the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage of the Park - Protect.
  • Promote opportunities for understanding and enjoyment of its special qualities – Enjoy.

We also have a duty to:

  • Seek to foster the social and economic well-being of local communities within the Park – Prosper.

The New Forest National Park was designated in March 2005. Its unique landscape has been shaped over the centuries by grazing ponies, cattle and pigs which roam free. Majestic woodlands, rare heathland and a spectacular coastline provide fabulous opportunities for quiet recreation, enjoyment and discovery.

Visit www.newforestnpa.gov.uk to find out more.

Media Contacts:

Sion Donovan, Communications Officer, New Forest National Park Authority

Tel: 01590 646639

Email: sion.donovan@newforestnpa.gov.uk

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