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Rider prosecuted for breaking speed limit – just 4 months after Royal Parks spokesman said limits don't apply to cyclists...

A cyclist in London’s Richmond Park has been fined for riding his bike at more than twice the speed limit – just four months after a Royal Parks spokesman said that speed limits in the places it manages don't apply to cyclists.

Rory Palmer, aged 42, pleaded guilty to breaking the park’s speed limit of 20mph on Sawyers Hill on 2 January this year, reports This Is Local London.

Wimbledon Magistrates’ Court was told that police officers spotted the cyclist overtaking cars as he headed towards them from the direction of Richmond Gate.

The officers were conducting an anti-speeding operation close to Barn Wood, said to be busy with vehicles at the time in question.

The rider, from Shepherds Bush, admitted when stopped that he had been travelling too fast, telling officers, "I know, I'm sorry."

Mutahir Ahmed, speaking in mitigation, said: "Cycling is his hobby and he understands how dangerous it was. It was a windy day and he was coming down the hill.

“He did realise at the time he was going above 20mph but did not have a speedometer."

Magistrates fined him £65 plus a £20 surcharge and he was also ordered to pay prosecution costs of £65.

As we reported in October 2013, however, there is a large degree of doubt over whether speeding restrictions in London’s Royal Parks, unlike those on public roads elsewhere in the country, actually apply to cyclists as well as motorists.

Our article concluded that it appeared police might be going beyond their powers for fining cyclists for exceeding the speed limit, and that anyone issued a fine for doing so might have grounds for challenging it.

While we were unable to obtain a definitive response from a parks police spokesman at the time about whether or not speed limits in the Royal Parks applied to cyclists, BBC broadcaster Jeremy Vine had more luck in November last year when he was stopped for 'speeding' in Hyde Park.

A Royal Parks spokesman subsequently told him that there was no speed limit for cyclists in Hyde Park - and, by extension, any of the other 10 parks or open spaces it manages in London.

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.

61 comments

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n8udd [45 posts] 2 years ago
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Was he fined for speeding, or some kind of dangerous cycling offence?

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HalfWheeler [600 posts] 2 years ago
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The Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 states:

“It shall not be lawful for a person to drive a MOTOR VEHICLE on a restricted road at a speed exceeding 30 miles per hour.” (RTRA 81.1)

Maybe someone should tell the judge.

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atgni [428 posts] 2 years ago
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Section 124 of the highway code 'speed limits' doesn't apply to cycles.

It probably should, but it doesn't. (someone may be along to prove me wrong later  3 )

He must have been done for 'dangerous or careless cycling'.

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bikebot [2120 posts] 2 years ago
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I foresee another very long discussion about whether or not the specific byelaws governing the Royal Parks do or do not apply to cyclists.

Unless someone wants to support a test case on that basis, there's probably no definitive answer. And of course, new byelaws can always be introduced.

I do ride regularly in Richmond Park, and find the best way not to get caught speeding on Sawyer Hill, is to ride up it!

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vonhelmet [843 posts] 2 years ago
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The National Parks have their own bye laws, which includes rather more all encompassing speeding laws. I've read them in the past, but can't lay my hands on them right now...

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crikey [1251 posts] 2 years ago
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One fact does emerge from all the associated BS; he'll be telling people about this for years and bloody years because it has the same cachet as an ASBO does in less desirable circles...

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armb [109 posts] 2 years ago
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atgni wrote:

Section 124 of the highway code 'speed limits' doesn't apply to cycles.

You see the bit in the article where it says there's doubt about whether "speeding restrictions in London’s Royal Parks, unlike those on public roads elsewhere in the country, actually apply to cyclists as well as motorists"?

That's a clue that he was done under restrictions that are specific to London’s Royal Parks, and unlike those on public roads elsewhere in the country.

(Also, the Highway Code is, in part, a guide to the law, but it's not the actual law. The poster quoting Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 was closer, but still missing the "restrictions in London’s Royal Parks" bit.)

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atgni [428 posts] 2 years ago
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Thanks, 'doubt'  41

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Bigfoz [125 posts] 2 years ago
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Think I'd have gone with the absurdity defence...

Really? Speeding? More than 20? I had no idea as I have no speedo officer, so I'm completely unable to stick to a speed limit whether it's legal or not.

After all, if a bicycle does not require a speedo by law, how can a speed limit be enforced?

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georgee [177 posts] 2 years ago
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I thought the cclists defence fund or similar had vowed to fight any prosecutiion given the flakyness of the laws in relation to the park?

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Pret [38 posts] 2 years ago
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What I think they got pissed cuz of overtaking cars otherwise he would not get ticket. I am riding there often and I can say if they would like to ticket cyclist "only" for speeding offence that's a gold mine! I admit on descent I am reaching over 40 mph with any pushing to the limits myself or bike. My guess is that it was dangerous overtaking and police gave him ticket for speeding.  103

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crikey [1251 posts] 2 years ago
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Hmmm...

In an area where cars are limited to 20 mph (which is presumably for safety reasons), is it all that sensible to be doing 40 mph on your bicycle?

Even if it was equipped with those new fangled disc brakes, I suspect that it is a tad unsafe and therefore stupid.

Richmond Park seems to have been adopted by the cyclists of that London as some kind of race track and being a dick is being a dick whether on a bicycle or in a car.

Send him down.  19

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2 Wheeled Idiot [432 posts] 2 years ago
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maybe he shouldn't have been done for the speeding as it doesn't apply to cyclists, however 41 mph  29 in a public park where cars are limited to just 20.....doesn't take a genius to work out its a bad idea  39
Just coz its not against the law doesn't mean you shouldn't do it...

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rggfddne [221 posts] 2 years ago
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Bigfoz wrote:

Think I'd have gone with the absurdity defence...

Really? Speeding? More than 20? I had no idea as I have no speedo officer, so I'm completely unable to stick to a speed limit whether it's legal or not.

After all, if a bicycle does not require a speedo by law, how can a speed limit be enforced?

My car does not require breathalyser input.

A government can pass a law and it's up to you to stay within it how you choose.

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torquerulesok [25 posts] 2 years ago
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Most RP regulars know where the speed trappers lurk. From the top of that hill you can see literally for miles (to Canary Wharf at least), and a mile down the road. He was done for careless riding  4 ...

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John Stevenson [285 posts] 2 years ago
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I explored this in tedious detail at the end of 2013:

http://road.cc/content/news/95155-are-police-fining-speeding-cyclists-ri...

I subsequently submitted a Freedom of Information request asking for the legal advice the Met had received when they decided to start fining cyclists for speeding. they were unable to locate any such advice.

It's clear to me that the use of 'vehicle' in the regulation being used by the Met to bring these cases is intended to mean 'motor vehicle', as elsewhere in the regs, when a rule is applied to both cars and pedal cycles, it explicitly says so.

But it's going to take a gifted lawyer to argue that case in a magistrate's court.

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shmooster [24 posts] 2 years ago
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Unless you brake it's incredibly easy to hit 40mph in RP, both on Sawyers and on Broomfield, although Sawyers is a bit safer not having a bend at the bottom. I'm not suggesting it's a good idea to go that fast though, as there are a lot of pedestrians, dogs and deer just waiting to jump out in front of you.

If anyone believes cars stick to 20 and cyclists are the only ones breaking the limit then they've clearly never been there.

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crikey [1251 posts] 2 years ago
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Quote:

If anyone believes cars stick to 20 and cyclists are the only ones breaking the limit then they've clearly never been there.

Ah, the old 'but everyone was being a bell-end' defence.
Works everytime...

The problem with this is that if you want to argue that bikes are different, and should be treated differently, you leave yourselves open to having the 'Ok, no bikes allowed' option.

Sometimes cyclists are so dim.

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700c [1110 posts] 2 years ago
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Moral of the story, don't do twice the speed of the traffic, whatever your mode of transport.

Whether or not they can charge cyclists with speeding in royal parks is kind of missing the point in this case.

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wycombewheeler [1073 posts] 2 years ago
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shmooster wrote:

Unless you brake it's incredibly easy to hit 40mph in RP, both on Sawyers and on Broomfield, although Sawyers is a bit safer not having a bend at the bottom. I'm not suggesting it's a good idea to go that fast though, as there are a lot of pedestrians, dogs and deer just waiting to jump out in front of you.

If anyone believes cars stick to 20 and cyclists are the only ones breaking the limit then they've clearly never been there.

True. But if you don't want to be done, don't be obviously the fastest thing on the road by overtaking the cars.

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Flying Scot [933 posts] 2 years ago
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40mph in a park?

Bad form.

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portec [116 posts] 2 years ago
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700c wrote:

Moral of the story, don't do twice the speed of the traffic, whatever your mode of transport.

Whether or not they can charge cyclists with speeding in royal parks is kind of missing the point in this case.

Thing is he wasn't doing twice the speed of the traffic, he was doing twice the speed limit. I can't find it right now but I remember reading somewhere that the average speed of cars measured in RP is 37mph. This cyclist was traveling only a few percent faster than that. I'm not condoning what he did, just pointing out the inconsistency.

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crikey [1251 posts] 2 years ago
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Quote:

Thing is he wasn't doing twice the speed of the traffic, he was doing twice the speed limit. I can't find it right now but I remember reading somewhere that the average speed of cars measured in RP is 37mph. This cyclist was traveling only a few percent faster than that. I'm not condoning what he did, just pointing out the inconsistency.

Again, for the hard of thinking; bellendery is bellendery, regardless of the number of wheels it is undertaken with.

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embattle [39 posts] 2 years ago
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I used to love Sawyers hill, about 15 years ago on my highly geared heavy mountain bike I managed to hit nearly 47 mph although the amount of wobble and noise from the bike made me never do it again...plus the habit of the police to camp along various sections of the flat after the hill.

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portec [116 posts] 2 years ago
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crikey wrote:
Quote:

Thing is he wasn't doing twice the speed of the traffic, he was doing twice the speed limit. I can't find it right now but I remember reading somewhere that the average speed of cars measured in RP is 37mph. This cyclist was traveling only a few percent faster than that. I'm not condoning what he did, just pointing out the inconsistency.

Again, for the hard of thinking; bellendery is bellendery, regardless of the number of wheels it is undertaken with.

Did you miss the part where it says "I'm not condoning what he did"?

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arfa [847 posts] 2 years ago
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Well the old Bill are regularly camped out at the bottom of Sawyers Hill at the weekend. Ironically Broomfield is the more dangerous descent with a sweeping bend with a bloody great tree on the corner....

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Actium [38 posts] 2 years ago
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See link below right at the bottom it says...
"Special Cases

It is possible for locations to have bye-laws that impose speed limits on bicycles.

It used to be the case that speed limits in royal parks applied to bicycles, because the relevant SIs, The Royal Parks and Other Open Spaces Regulations 1997 amended by the Royal Parks and Other Open Spaces (Amendment) Regulations 2004 stated that speed limits in the parks applied to vehicles (not motor vehicles).

However, The Royal Parks and Other Open Spaces (Amendment) etc. Regulations 2010 include a definition of vehicle that applies only to motor vehicles, here, suggesting that everything which applied to all vehicles in the royal parks SIs now only applies to motor vehicles. Thus, speed limits would not apply to bicycles in royal parks, just as they do not in general elsewhere."

http://www.astounding.org.uk/ian/cyclelaw/speed_limits.html

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TchmilFan [19 posts] 2 years ago
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I suppose now wouldn't be a good time to bring up the Range Rover that sped past me at 50+ (I'm good at estimating speeds, not an exaggeration) down Sawyers a couple of years ago.
In the wet with crosswinds and so close that I got a full wobble on due to the turbulence (bear with me)
There was a queue of 20mph traffic at the bottom.
He sat in that with no attempt of nuttery.
I'm afraid I was so pissed off I made him slow after the mini roundabout.
Surprise! He was a plain clothes police officer, tried to tell me that Advanced Motorists advise that's how to do an overtake (Didn't know they had the power to allow speeding). I'd have been a little more forgiving if he hadn't been holding his coffee in his right hand.
Grrrrr.
Tried reporting him at Hammersmith but got the usual mumbles.
Oh well.

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pullmyfinger [39 posts] 2 years ago
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I'd be happy receiving a ticket if I could hit 41 mph.

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SR2 [6 posts] 2 years ago
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High speeds when coming off the descents in Richmond Park were common when I went there some weeks back. Ok overtaking cars at 41mph is high but at the same time the parks/police need to be 100% certain if this applies to cyclists also...I like to think its for any road user whatever the vehicle but it is so easy to be riding fast without any intention of doing so there.

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