THE organisers of last weekend’s Ring of Beara cycle have defended criticism from angry residents of Glengarriff who claim that some of the 4,300 participants showed such blatant disregard for the rules of the road that it was lucky nobody was killed.
They further claimed that some of them urinated in a local graveyard and left litter and bikes strewn about.
This was the fourth annual charity cycle which includes a 110km or 140km route along the Beara peninsula, passing through Ardgroom, Eyeries, Castletownbere, Adrigole and Glengarriff – where one resident described the scene as ‘chaotic.’
It was also claimed that some driveways were blocked by race vehicles.
Kenmare gardai confirmed that one complaint regarding the behaviour of cyclists had been made to them, and is in the early stages of investigation.
Kelly Crichton of Elite Events management, who run the event, said she was not aware of any misbehaviour by cyclists, who came from all over the country, as well as from the UK and Australia.
‘We absolutely appreciate the support of the people of Glengarriff and are very disappointed if the actions of a few caused upset,’ she said.
She said portaloos were available by food stops in Glengarriff and that a crew of people were on hand to pick up litter along the route.
‘We can’t take responsibility for every individual’s behaviour. It’s disappointing that people would choose to do this, 4,500 is a lot of people. We put on the services for them, but some people will chose to do their own thing,’ she said.
The event, which costs €65 to enter, is growing year-on-year with numbers up by a few hundred on last year. It’s estimated to have generated €3.6m for the region over the weekend.
Last year, some €35,000, or approximately 15% of the money raised, went to charity, with Ms Crichton saying the arrangement would be similar this year with Castletownbere Community Hospital, Castletownbere Day Centre, Kenmare Family Resource Centre, Kenmare Special Needs Group, St John of God Services Kenmare and Kenmare Special Olympics sharing the 15% takings.
One Glengarriff resident posted on Facebook: ‘The cyclists showed a total disregard and disrespect for other road users. Rules of the road and even common regard for others does not seem to apply to them.’
She said two cyclists started ‘laughing and jeering’ when she opened her passenger window and asked them to move back from her car.
The post has been shared over 30 times and attracted over 70 comments, including one from a cyclist who had taken part in the event and who agreed with opinions expressed.
Another wrote: ‘I was appalled driving through the village (Glengarriff) observing the bikers’ attitude to basic rules of the road. Cyclists having left their bikes wherever they wanted, then cyclists walking across the road not even looking at oncoming traffic.’
Another said a cyclist overtook them on the inside on a narrow stretch of road in Eyeries: ‘Was lucky I didn’t kill him. Total disrespect for other road users. I lost count of the amount of times I met them on wrong side of the road.’
Another comment read: ‘Used my home to rest there bikes against and even thou there was bins provided couldn’t bother using them. As for our graveyard such disrespect for our dead to be used as a place to urinate in.’
Another angry comment read: ‘I tried to pass them in Adrigole and one guy pulled straight out in front of me well over the white line. I told him ‘you idiot you nearly got killed’ all I got was the finger. They should have numbers on so you can report them.’
Last week saw three major events either based in, or passing through, Glengarriff – the Bay Run, the stage end of Rás 2018, and the Ring of Beara Cycle, which took place last Saturday and had the biggest number of particpants, with 4,500 cyclists partaking.
Some motorists said Glengarriff ‘ground to a halt’ with tailbacks on all three converging roads.