Don’t let the nimby drivers deflate cycling


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The Independent Online

Surrey residents’ objection to cycle races is yet another depressing reminder that the two-wheeled revolution that has swept the UK is by no means universally welcomed.

It’s the assumption behind the protest that needs to be questioned: that roads are for cars, that they “belong” to the people who live nearest to them, and that cyclists are an intrusion.

It’s hard not to see this as an attack on cyclists generally. One Surrey protester was quoted by the BBC as saying that cyclists “practise months in advance of the event, riding the route in very large numbers from very early in the morning shouting at each other” – absurd claims all of them. As someone who frequently rides out to Surrey from London, I can vouch that the presence of cyclists is negligible compared with the number of cars.

It may be time for pro races that want to visit London to explore other routes out of the city. Surrey’s hills are what provide the appeal, but there are hills in Kent, too. By all means let’s spread the races around a bit – but for variety’s sake, not to appease the nimby car lobby.