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Why Cycle Races Should Be Illegal on Public Roads in the UK

by Leona Freebush 3 years ago in legislation

And yes, this includes time trials.

Here's some interesting information to learn before we get into this heated topic that we think is extremely relevant.

First of all, let's look at speeds. This will all become relevant, so bear with us here.

How fast do you think a road cycle can go? Well let's take a look.

The fastest a road cycle has ever gone was in 1985 when John Howard, Olympic cyclist and Ironman triathlon winner, managed to break the world record and ride his bike at 152mph. In 2011, Markus Stockl flew down Nicaragua’s Cerro Negro volcano at a staggering 102.4 mph. The highest speed officially recorded for any human-powered vehicle (HPV) on level ground and with calm winds and without external aids (such as motor pacing and wind-blocks, but including a defined amount of gravity assist) is 89.59mph set in 2016 by Todd Reichert in the Eta Speedbike. However, these are extreme examples.

So how fast do other bike riders ride their cycles?

The average Tour de France rider maintains an average speed of 25 to 28 mph on flats and hitting top speeds of 81mph.

So remember all this and then look at this.

An average 50cc moped has a top speed of around 30mph.

So a road cycle can officially go faster than a moped. However.

A cycle does not need insurance.

You do not need a licence or any road education to ride a cycle on the road.

They do not pay any form of tax.

They are not licenced, regulated, or safety checked in any form.

You need to be a certain age and have certain types of licences for bigger more powerful motorbikes. Anyone, of any age can ride a cycle that can do any speeds.

Mopeds need MOT's. Cycles on the road do not require any kind of safety or reliability tests.

So, bearing in mind what we have learned so far about cycles and the speeds that they can obtain, why is it that it is legal to race them on open, public roads. Not closed, not shut down whilst the race/time trial is on, I mean actual open, traffic flowing, pedestrians crossing, etc.

"Speed limits only apply to mechanically propelled vehicles, so they do not apply to cyclists"

So cyclists can race at any speed on a public road and there is no law against it! How can this be?

Whereas the Road Traffic Act 1988 clearly states;

"12 - Motor racing on public ways.

(1) A person who promotes or takes part in a race or trial of speed between motor vehicles on a public way is guilty of an offence.

(2) In this section, “public way” means, in England and Wales, a [F1highway] and, in Scotland, a public road."

So, according to British Law, you can legally race multiple road cycles at say, 50mph, on a 30mph road that is open and being used by the public, but you cannot race 30mph mopeds, for example, at the speed limit.

How does this make any sense? Bearing in mind that if a cycle racing on the road hits you, whether you are walking, driving, or riding, most are uninsured, so you will bear the brunt of any damage, repairs, time off work for injury, etc.

In 2016, 18,477 cyclists were injured in reported road accidents, including 3,499 who were killed or seriously injured. These figures only include cyclists killed or injured in road accidents that were reported to the police. Many cyclist casualties are not reported to the police, even when the cyclist is injured badly enough to be taken to hospital. The figures also exclude cycling accidents that occur away from the road. Although the number of deaths is accurate, there could be two or three times as many seriously injured cyclists and double the number of slightly injured.

How many cyclists, pedestrians, horse riders, car drivers, and other road users have to be injured before this is amended by our Government?

It is high time for a law change.

No one should be racing on our roads. No one. If anyone wants to race, then they should do so on private tracks or close the roads for the safety of everyone, including the cyclists racing.

Here are some interesting links that may make you realise how dangerous racing cycles on public roads is.


Belfast Live

The Guardian

The Guardian UK

Cycling Weekly

If you agree, please sign this petition.

Let's make the roads safer for everyone.


Leona Freebush

Just stating the obvious...

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