Road users told stop means stop under British Cycling scheme

Portsmouth North End's Alan Collins, who is one of British Cycling's accredited marshals
Portsmouth North End's Alan Collins, who is one of British Cycling's accredited marshals
  • Motorists face prosecution if they ignore signage
  • Governing body keen to educate public on initiative
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Motorists have been warned to obey British Cycling’s accredited marshals or face prosecution.

Hampshire police force have backed the scheme, which employs Stop – Cycle Race signs at events to ensure the safety of both the cyclists and road users.

The annual Portsmouth North End (PNE) Road Race, which took place last month around Owslebury near Winchester, used the marshals.

They only stop traffic for a short period of time in order to make junctions safe for the passing of the race.

It is a legal requirement for road users to stop when they see one of the signs being held up. And failure to do so can result in prosecution.

British Cycling regional events officer Dan Greenwood said: ‘The scheme is going well and it is making racing safer, which is obviously the main objective.

‘A lot of work has been put in to get it to where it is now and the cycling community are well aware.

‘It’s an amazing scheme. We just need to raise awareness in the general public now.

‘The scheme is run very, very well. It is faultless.

‘It is run and monitored by volunteers and I can’t speak highly enough of the work they are putting in behind the scenes.

‘From those appointing marshals every weekend to the marshals themselves going along and standing on corners for two or three hours at a time to put their sign up.

‘Considering where road racing was 10 to 15 years ago, the safety element is huge and this allows us to almost guarantee that for the riders.’

During February’s Perfs Pedal – which features laps of Portsdown Hill – a car ignored a stop sign.

Quick thinking from another marshal, on the adjacent side road, ensured the safety of the peloton was not jeopardised.

But the police felt unable to prosecute because of a lack of public knowledge of the scheme and a community resolution was enacted instead.

Greenwood added: ‘Ninety-nine per cent of races go completely without problem, drivers are very polite and respectful of the marshals and what they are doing.

‘The incident at the Perfs Pedal was an exception rather than the rule.’