Oxford

Cassington bikers' event cancelled over safety concerns

2010 bike night courtesy of Alan Elgar and Ken Day
Image caption The Bike Night in 2010 attracted thousands of visitors and raised money for the local primary school

An annual bikers' event in Cassington near Oxford has been cancelled due to health and safety concerns.

Oxfordshire County Council officials wanted £1,500 to close the road through the village and measures taken to separate bikes and spectators.

Councillor Rodney Rose said: "There are obviously genuine safety issues involved in the organisation of a large-scale rally on a public road."

Organiser Peter Carpenter said the demands were impractical.

Mr Carpenter is the president of the British Motorcycle Riders' Club of Oxford which has been holding the event in the village for the last 25 years.

He said the club had no option but to call-off the event on 29 June because two months' notice was required to close the road.

Even if the club could raise the money for the road closure the other regulations required were impossible to meet, he said.

'Legally liable'

"When you've got 8,000 bikes about there is no way you can separate them," he said.

"They emphasised that if anything went wrong it all comes back on the club, which is only a small club, about 35 - 50 members, and we would be legally liable."

Many Cassington residents voiced their disappointment about the cancellation of the event, which raises money for St Peter's Primary School in the village.

David Ferrier, chair of parent teacher association, said: "It's a bit disappointing that they [the council] chose to enforce it at such a late stage that it's virtually impossible to comply."

Oxfordshire County Council stressed that the decision to cancel the event was taken by the organisers.

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