1. ITV Report

Chew Valley cyclists face lockdown abuse as the sport's popularity surges

Cyclists say they are facing a growing tide of verbal and physical abuse from non-cyclists, who accuse them of flouting lockdown rules by cycling in groups and straying from their home areas.

In Litton in Somerset's Chew Valley, "Covidiot cyclists go home" was painted on a road, while in Blagdon a cyclist was pushed off his bike, breaking his collarbone as a result. Drawing pins have also been scattered on roads in the area, and a mother was shouted at while cycling with her young children.

"Stirring up anti-cycling sentiment can encourage a different small minority of idiots to go out and attack people, the result usually being that innocent people are the victims. Most people out on bikes are following the rules and are simply exercising to maintain their physical and mental health."

– Mark Jerzac, Chairman of Chew Valley Cycling Club

The tension comes as more and more people have taken up cycling during the coronavirus pandemic. At Temple Cycles, a bike manufacturer in Bristol, orders have gone up 30% since the start of the lockdown as people look for new ways of getting their daily exercise.

Another bike in production at Temple Cycles, Bristol. Credit: ITV West Country

British Cycling and Cycling UK have called for the cycling abuse to stop, but are also reminding all cyclists to ensure they follow their lockdown guidance:

  • Cycle alone or with members of your household
  • Do not cycle in groups
  • Choose familiar routes that are close to home

“While our organisations will continue to stress the need for responsible riding for as long as is required, we also ask the public to show tolerance, warmth and care towards the overwhelming majority who continue to do so.”

– British Cycling and Cycling UK

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