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UK Cycling event’s Welshpool dilemma

 
Created on 07/07/2011 @ 16:30
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Welshpool is gearing up for one of its biggest ever sporting events in September, but an outdated bizarre law could put the brakes on cycling’s biggest stars.
 
The fastest men on two wheels will pedal their way through the UK for the Tour of Britain which will start Day Four from Powys Castle on September 14.
 
The cyclists are then expected to take a tour through the town centre by following the one-way system before heading out into the Montgomeryshire countryside and towards south Wales.
 
But a barmy law, which has been changed across Europe except for the UK, means that the cyclists as well as accompanying cars and motorbikes could be fined for speeding if they exceed the limit, despite the roads being closed!
 
And the issue could be complicated further if Welshpool’s bid to become a 20mph zone is passed, meaning cyclists may only be permitted to amble through the town.
 
A campaign led by British motorsport’s governing body is lobbying the government for change and cycling chiefs are hopeful it will come into place ahead of September.
 
“Any amends to the Road Traffic Act that benefits events being held on closed roads, whether motorsport or cycling, would be a help to The Tour of Britain and other cycle races,” said Tour spokesperson Peter Hodges. “That said we still do quite well without full road closures thanks to cooperation from the police and local highways.
 
“In terms of Welshpool town centre's speed limit, then because the town centre falls into the first section of the stage, then it's highly unlikely that they'll be exceeding the speed limit. In theory, yes, if they did go faster and were caught in a speed trap, then they could be fined, but more often it is the cars from the race convoy that set off speed cameras, if indeed they do, or the police outriders on their motorbikes.”
 
Mr Hodges added that the Tour doesn't condone any unnecessary use of speed by drivers in the race convoy, but added that inevitably at some moments they will temporarily exceed the speed limit.
 
 “We are working with the police in each area so they are aware of the event and so unlikely to face mobile cameras on roads with rolling road closures,” said Mr Hodges.
 
Welshpool’s one-way system has had a problem with speeding drivers since it was introduced in February but the local police force has insisted its priority is helping to educate the drivers rather than catch them out with cameras.
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