Outrage over cyclists using bushes as a loo during Tour of Wessex
The organiser of a cycling event has said he will report riders to the police next year after shocked Somerton residents complained about participants urinating in public.
The Tour of Wessex endurance cycling event was held last month and started and finished at Somerton Sports Ground, in Gassons Lane.
But people living nearby complained to the town council after several riders were spotted relieving themselves in the bushes nearby.
Now event organiser Nick Bourne, of Pendragon Sports in Wincanton, says he will take more drastic action against offenders who ignore clear guidelines.
He said: “Unfortunately this is something that happens at all sporting events, even the marathon. However that does not excuse the fact that people should not be urinating in public.
“In the past we have tried to tell people in a polite and understated manner but in the future we will be issuing riders with a rear number for identification purposes and anyone seen urinating in public will be disqualified and we will inform the police.
“As far as we are concerned it is totally unacceptable.”
Somerton Town Council received several complaints from residents who sent in pictures of the offensive behaviour.
At a meeting, chairman Eirian Williams said he was sorry for the people who had to see it but added that the event brought a lot of people to the town, giving a boost to local businesses.
He said: “The event was very well attended and it brought a lot of money to the local community. We do want to keep it coming to town.”
The Tour of Wessex is one of the biggest cycling challenges in the UK with riders coming from all over the country to compete and it also raises money for charity.
Despite the problems with some riders, this year’s challenge was a huge success with 1,697 riders signing up.
Mr Bourne said: “All the reports we heard back from riders was that the event was top notch and one of the best they’ve ever been to worldwide.
“The tour is growing and becoming more popular but we would like to increase the number of local riders.
“We hope in years to come to try and promote Somerset and make it a key visitor area for cyclists.”
Proceeds from the event will be split with half going to the main charity this year, the Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance, and the rest being given to local charities.