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Letter: Stamp out these arrogant Forest cyclists

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SIR – There is nothing wrong with cycling as a sport, hobby or social family exercise. Unfortunately, there is a small minority who spoil it for the rest of us.

This has been apparent for some time on our roads with some cyclists ignoring road signs, riding on the pavements, going through red lights, etc.

With the present coronavirus restrictions, this attitude has spread to the New Forest.

The Aldridge Hill campsite, near Brockenhurst, is closed and the barrier just past the car park is also closed with access only for deliveries etc. It seems some people are ignoring government guidelines regarding social distancing and unnecessary travelling for exercising.

The worst offenders are, of course, cyclists – a large proportion of whom travel from far and wide to ride in the Forest, some of them carrying their bikes in their cars.

No one objects to a family enjoying a casual bike ride with their children but there is an element of arrogant self-opinionated riders who seem to have no regard for others, laws of the Forest or common decency.

They ride at excessive speeds on the grass and prohibited footpaths where they can come across cattle, ponies and, of course, decent people out for a walk in the country. They speed past them, and I for one have had to jump out of their way – and, in my mid-80s, do not jump that well. We suffer verbal abuse if we impede their unlawful/unsociable progress.

Last Sunday there was an incident where a cyclist deliberately ripped off a poster by the barrier. This poster was a humorous description of the action of these cyclists and intended to draw public attention to the situation and create awareness of the dangers these irresponsible cyclists are causing.

It is now time for Forestry England to act and act fast. Adequate, proper signs at appropriate places must be erected and some form of supervision, patrols and enforcement must be introduced before the inevitable accident happens.

Sunday’s incident adds weight to the need to stamp out irresponsible users of our wonderful Forest.

I appeal to everyone concerned over this to get in touch with Forestry England as a matter of urgency before the summer sets in and hopefully the easing of restrictions.

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