Craven will increasingly see groups of cyclists coming into the area to ride the Tour de France route, police have warned.

Villages on the National Cycling Route have already seen a large rise in cyclists, with some of them acting anti-socially and travelling at high speeds, Craven District Council’s select committee was told last Wednesday.

And those numbers are likely to rise considerably as every keen cyclist for miles around will head for the area to cycle the route to be used by the 2014 Tour de France, a senior police officer has warned.

Councillor Andy Quinn (Cons) asked Chief Superintendent Alison Higgins what could be done about some cyclists flouting laws as they sped through villages such as Embsay.

He said packs of cyclists, sometimes riding three abreast, tore through the village on the National Cycling Route, reaching speeds of 40 to 50mph.

“They are a law unto themselves. We have an elderly population in Embsay and we’ve had incidents where car wing mirrors have gone missing. Something needs to be done,” said Coun Quinn.

He said he had also regularly seen cyclists ignoring temporary traffic lights or crossing pelican crossings when they were on red.

Ch Supt Higgins told the meeting that she agreed that cyclists were an increasing problem on roads and likened it to that of speeding motorcyclists.

She said they needed to be re- educated, particularly because their number was likely to increase dramatically with the arrival in the area of the Tour de France in a year’s time.

“We are aware there is a problem, but it will not change overnight,” she said.

She said it would be up to the area’s traffic sergeants, who are responsible for safety on the roads, to engage with cycling groups and re-educate them, as had been done with motorcyclists.

Craven police commander Chief Inspector Simon Lovell added the number of cyclists heading for the area would increase as the date of the race got closer.

He believed half a million people would come to Craven for the weekend itself, but until then “every cyclist worth his salt” would want to cycle the route.