Cyclists use roads as race tracks

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A former international cyclist has slammed a website and phone app which he fears is encouraging riders to turn the roads of Leyland into racetracks.

Peter Ward, one of the men behind the Guild Wheel project at Preston, has warned unofficial time trials on open roads in the town could prove fatal.

California-based Strava, which allows riders to time themselves against others over measured sections of the road network using their mobile phone GPS systems, has hundreds of members across Lancashire.

Each day scores hit the saddle trying to set the fastest time and earn themselves top spot on the leaderboard.

One of the most popular trials in and around Leyland is a 1.3km stretch of the A6 at Whittle-le-Woods which the fastest rider so far has covered in one minute 39 seconds, hitting speeds of 48 km per hour.

A 1.1km section from the A6 called Buckshaw Downhill, attempted by 1,120 budding Bradley Wiggins, has seen one rider touch 61.5 kph.

The fastest clocked in the Leyland area has come on the 0.6km Dawson Lane Sprint where a top speed of 86.1 kph has been recorded.

And a 1.4km section of Leyland Lane known as the “Flypast” has attracted almost 1,900 riders to test their pace.

“I’m all for cycle racing, it’s a terrific sport,” said Peter, who was awarded the MBE for services to cycling last year.

“But it has to be in controlled circumstances and there aren’t many safeguards doing it this way.

“You never know when a pedestrian or a car is going to come out in front of you.

“I dread to think what could happen if there was a collision.

“To me these cyclists are just posers. If they want to race and see how they compare to other riders then there are plenty of organised races, especially time trials, they could enter which are properly marshalled and supervised.

A spokesman for Strava was unavailable for comment.