Triathlons on public roads under threat, warn race organisers
Calls renewed for new legislation covering all cycling events
Following last week's unwelcome news that this year's Vachery Triathlon will not be going ahead, two of the country's best-known organisers of triathlon events have warned that all UK triathlons held on highways are potentially under threat unless clearer legislation is given.
Brave Events, which organises both Vachery and Xterra England, announced last week that it had ceased trading due to what it described as a dispute with Surrey County Council which left it unable to deliver the two events in 2014.
Speaking to 220 Triathlon earlier this week, Brave Events founder Mark Davis said that a new framework for delivering bike events on highways was recently put forward to him by Surrey County Council, imposing new application processes for this year's event and a timetable that was "impossible for us to meet".
Warning that this could happen to other cycling events in the county, Davis added: "If we aren't careful we won't have triathlons on open roads here in Surrey, or other bike events such as sportives and time trials."
Challenge Weymouth organiser Alan Rose echoed these concerns, telling 220 that he has experienced greatly varying attitudes from local councils. "It seems that Councillors are often driven by their own personal interests – if they like cycling, they are more likely to help.
"Until there is legislation that helps to regulate triathlon on the highway and standardises what can and cannot be done, all triathlon events taking place on the highways are potentially under threat."
For its part, Surrey County Council told us that there has been no dispute with Brave Events, adding: "We told them that if they want to apply to close the roads for the triathlon they must follow our new process […] and so far we have not received anything from them."
These concerns over lack of formal guidance are not limited to triathlon either – last year police in East Riding, Yorkshire started cancelling cycle events in their jurisdiction after the death of a cyclist at a time-trial event held on open roads.
Do you think bike events on public roads are under threat? Is clearer guidance needed? Have your say in the comments below!