South Yorkshire cycle races suspended

Doncaster Festival of Cycling 2015'Womens 3/4 Race'Whinfrey Briggs Grand Prix
Doncaster Festival of Cycling 2015'Womens 3/4 Race'Whinfrey Briggs Grand Prix

All cycling road races have been suspended across South Yorkshire amid safety concerns.

The decision by South Yorkshire Police follows complaints about races in Rotherham and an incident involving cyclists and a combine harvester.

Dozens of events take place across South Yorkshire every year involving elite and amateur cyclists, attracting thousands of spectators.

A competitive race in Braithwell called Tumby’s Road Race which was due to take place on Sunday but it was cancelled.

The popularity of competitive cycling has soared after crowds of 380,000 people watched the Tour de France travel through South Yorkshire last year.

An estimated 2,000 people watched the Sheffield Hallam Grand Prix just last month, and days later top cyclists from across the country descended on Barnsley for the prestigious National Circuit Race Championships.

In Doncaster, hundreds of people gathered in the town centre to watch 300 riders take part in the second Doncaster Cycle Festival in May.

Organisations are due to meet next week to review the safety of the races.

But if the situation cannot be rectified then South Yorkshire could lose out on hosting part of next year’s Tour de Yorkshire cycle race.

A South Yorkshire Police spokesman said the decision was made by the force, British Cycling and council highways departments.

He said: “To clarify, we have not banned road racing in South Yorkshire.

“Concerns and complaints have been made to us about safety issues surrounding these races.

“A decision was made by us, British Cycling and Highways to suspend road races until we meet next week to review the safety of these races.

“We want everybody to be able to enjoy these races, however, our main concern is the safety of the cyclists and public in South Yorkshire.”

A British Cycling Yorkshire said it was necessary to tackle any concerns raise by police, who authorise the events.

A statement said: “Following further complaints recently about cycle events in the Stainton and Braithwell area of South Yorkshire, Sergeant Bellamy of South Yorkshire Police has suspended authorisation of cycle races in South Yorkshire Police area.

“This is so South Yorkshire Police can get around the table with British Cycling Yorkshire and relevant highways and organisations for the road race courses in South Yorkshire and to agree what will happen going forward.

“Regional events officer, Peter Sutton, spent most of Thursday trying to save the Tumby’s Road Race but couldn’t get past the issues being raised, some of which go back years.

“There has been a recent incident involving riders and a combine harvester which have not helped. Although, we are not sure if this was race related as there hasn’t been a race held in Stainton since April.

“Most of the events British Cycling promote need police authorisation, so whilst it is never good for riders and clubs to lose events, it is also necessary to tackle any ongoing problems that are concerning the people that authorise these events.

“British Cycling Yorkshire are working to eradicate further complaints and make easier for all concerned.”

He added it was hoped the situation could be resolved before the next race – the Out of the Saddle Summer Road Race, in Braithwell, on Sunday, August 30.