Council considers closing county roads for major cycling event

Drivers across Essex are set to face travel disruption if roads are closed when thousands of cyclists hit the roads as part of a mass participation event.

Essex County Council is proposing to partner with RideLondon 2022 organisers which would see cyclists from across the country descend on Essex on May 27, 2022.

A route is yet to be proposed but the plans comes with warnings of short term or full day road closures.

The potential partnership with RideLondon comes a year after the inaugural Vélo Essex sportive was cancelled as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Vélo Essex was to see three closed-road routes filled with around 15,000 cyclists of all ages and abilities on Sunday September 20 as part of a ‘Grand Tour of Essex’ centred around Chelmsford.

A year earlier, prior to COVID, Surrey County Council announced its decision to pull out of its participation with RideLondon events to focus instead on smaller community-led cycling events, encouraging a greater variety of participants while minimising disruption for residents.

The event had polarised opinion since it first passed through Surrey in 2013, with some complaining they had been trapped in their homes due to road closures.

The 2021 event – which would have been the last – was also cancelled due to Covid.

The county council is now set to make a decision to take over and allow a similar event in Essex with a decision anticipated shortly.

A statement as part of a council paper on the plans said: “The decision relates to a proposal for the council to be a partner in the RideLondon 2022 event taking place on the weekend of May 27 2022.

“If the council takes part it will see part of the event taking place on the highway in Essex.

“This may lead to short term or full day road closures which could be a key decision.

“We will of course seek to minimise disruption to residents and the travelling public.”

It adds it will “liaise with city, district and borough councils and the community as part of any road closures planned”.

Piers Meyler

Local Democracy Reporter