Triathlon reply

SIR - I would like to offer a retort to the lady (Mrs Clare Holmes) who seemed to be a little put out last week by the fact that cyclists were using the road between Barnstaple and Bideford on Sunday, October 2 for the cycle leg of a triathlon.

I would like to point out to her that the event as a whole was fully risk assessed and was issued a public liability insurance certificate.

Torridge Distric Council also had copies of all risk assessments and were happy to issue an event license for the race. Also, a representative of Devon Highways was taken around both the cycle and the run courses and also had copies of our risk assessments.

They, too, were happy with our requests to hold the race. The road was also very well signed so that drivers joining the road were made aware that cyclists would be on the road that day. We even wrote the time of possible traffic interuption on the signs. Many read these signs and made a point of lining the route clapping, cheering and shouting encouragement. I can only assume that Clare Holmes was not one of these people.

If she encountered cyclists three abreast on the road it is highly likely that they were in the process of overtaking each other, This is something that happens occasionally during a race.

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All competitors were told at race briefing that once out on the road ‘rules of the road apply’. I’m afraid I cannot personally police every rider in the race. Rules of the road also apply to car drivers as well. There is no law preventing one cyclist from overtaking another when on the road, there is also no law saying that cylists are not allowed to overtake cars. I’m afraid that bikes have just as much right on the road as Clare Holmews in her air poluting motor vehicle.

As for being dangerous to car drivers, I don’t see how. Surely they are fully in control of their speed so that if they were to come around a corner and experience some cyclists they would be able to brake accordingly and then pass them when it is safe to do so.

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I’d like to also point out that the event generated huge interest and brought in nearly �10,000 in entry fees. After race costs the event stands to make a profit in excess of �3,500 - that’s about �14 per competitor, all of which will be given to charity, the Children’s Hospice South West being one of the beneficiaries.

There were also 75 marshals who gave up their time free to help the event go smoothly. We had competitors from London, Liverpool, Edinburgh and from all over the South West. Most came with friends or family and many stayed in B&Bs or camp sites in and around Bideford. Many went out for meals and did a bit of shopping in the town.

The car park at Bank End was full on an October day. This just shows how many people came to watch or take part in the race. Thats about �1,000 income in parking fees alone for our local council.

The cyclists were on the road for approximately one-and-a-half hours that morning on one eight-mile stretch of main road, If Clare Holmes could not put up with being behind a cyclist for a short time or distance then she should have heeded the signs and taken a different route, such as the Link Road.

Hundreds of spectators lined the bridge in Bideford to watch the race and in total it was watched by a couple of thousand people. I have received more than 50 emails praising the event from competitors and the public alike. Clare Holmes’ has been the only complaint as yet. The testimonials i’ve received can’t all be wrong.

As soon as I have the date fixed for next year’s race I will try my best to advertise it in the local papers (as I tried to this year).

Rob Floyd,

Bideford Triathlon

Race Organiser)

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