CYCLISTS have defended a website which challenges them to plot fast times along some of Oxfordshire’s busiest roads.
Strava.com times rider journeys, which are then ranked into league tables.
Cyclists are not bound by road speed limits, but several members of the website have registered runs that far outstrip vehicle limits on downhill and residential stretches.
Several have even been clocked travelling faster than the speed limit on 40mph roads.
When a user rides along a given segment, data is sent to a website which logs the speed, time, and power generated.
Routes have nicknames such as ‘Kennington Bomb Hole’ – a half-kilometre partially downhill stretch of The Avenue in Kennington, a thin road near a residential area.
A cyclist named Rainman OnWheels reached 44mph on a stretch near Horspath called ‘Gidley Way Descent’. The road is a 30mph residential area and has speed bumps.
And in Bayworth Down in Boars Hill, a cyclist was logged at 46mph along a 40mph road, approaching speeds Tour de France and Olympic gold medallist Bradley Wiggins regularly clocks during sprints.
Taxi driver Jason Atherton said he was angered by the concept of the website and felt cyclists should be bound by road laws.
The 41-year-old, of Auto Taxis, said: “They are the bane of motorists. They should be made accountable for their actions.
“I’ve had three incidents myself with cyclists. I would argue none of them were my fault but I ended up paying out each time. “They seem to think the rules of the road don’t apply to them, when they should be made responsible for their actions.”
But members of the website and cycling groups have said the actions of a small majority were not representative of Oxford’s many cyclists.
Oxford cycling campaign group Cyclox felt the website was being used as another stick to bash unfairly singled-out cyclists.
Chairman James Styring said: “I use Strava and I know loads of other people who do to.
“ It’s for a bit of fun, for off-road cycling. I don’t think anyone purposefully sets out to use it to go faster than cars. If the police feel people are using it dangerously they can take action, but I don’t personally believe there is much of a problem.”
James Dawton, the Oxfordrepresentative of the Cycling Touring Club’s Right to Ride group, said: “It does no one any favours if cyclists are going faster than cars are supposed to. And it doesn’t help a cyclist’s argument.
“But I do know of the site and know plenty of people who use it responsibly. I don’t know of anyone who would use it any other way.
“If you want to race and compete with each other, that is fine, but there is no need to be stupid.”
Another member of Strava website, Nathan Dale, a company director from Bicester, said: “You get to track your times and push each other – you can see how you do0 against other cyclists.
“Yes, people on there are speeding but I think they are going to speed anyway. Motorbikes and cars speed, it’s no different. I don’t think the website encourages anyone to break the law. ”