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Accommodating user groups in park is a challenge for police, says club chairman

The rider fined for riding in Richmond Park at 41mph has resigned from his cycling club, London Dynamo, although he was not a member of the club when he was pinged descending the park's Sawyer's Hill.

Rory Palmer, 42, was fined a total of £150 after pleading guilty to exceeding the 20mph speed limit in the park on January 2.

Palmer was facing expulsion from London Dynamo, which insists its members obey the Highway Code.

Paul Harknett, chairman of the club, told road.cc that Palmer had joined the club just three weeks ago, and is "embarrassed and apologetic" about the affair.

Harknett says Palmer was new to the area and had not previously ridden round Richmond Park in the clockwise direction that takes you down Sawyer's Hill.

According to Harknett, Palmer "was certainly unaware of possible police speed enforcement, nor their usual trap location at the foot of Sawyers."

He said: "There was no traffic on the descent down Sawyers according to Rory."

Police stop and fine a couple of riders per year, says Harknett but a look at Strava  segments such as Sawyer's Hill past Holly Lodge and the notoriously fast descent of Broomfield Hill, now flagged as hazardous shows many many riders going as fast or faster than Rory Palmer.

Given the vast numbers of riders using the park, this is hardly surprising.

"Richmond Park might be the busiest road in the world for cyclists," says Harknett. At weekends, cyclists outnumber drivers three to one.

Park authorities have a challenging task managing the numerous user groups. Harknett is more aware of those issues than most as he chairs the Richmond Park police panel, which brings together representatives of the groups that use the park, local residents and and police and park authorities.

His advice to riders using the park is simple: "Don't take the piss, be observant, be respectful."

Police fine many more drivers than riders, says Harknett, and he believes they take a pragmatic approach to policing the park that helps to keep it a relatively tranquil place and, importantly, helps safeguard the large deer population.

"What we have as exists currently in Richmond Park kind of works," he says. "Despite the vast numbers using the roads it's far safer for cyclists to use the park than the local A roads.

"The police come under enormous pressure to clamp down on cyclists and they are surprisingly pragmatic. Just by parking up they slow people down.

"They do a couple of riders a year but the number of riders who go over 30-35mph must be in the thousands.

"The only way things can get better is through dialog and consultation."

Zac Goldsmith, MP for Richmond Park last year called a public meeting to discuss what he called “rising tensions” between park user groups.

But Harknett believes relations between groups, especially cyclists and drivers, have improved recently. "Things are beginning to settle down," he says, "with drivers realising they have to be patient on the hills."

Nevertheless, a follow-up meeting last week set up a working group that is working on initiatives that will improve relations between the different road user groups, improve safety and improve enjoyment of Richmond Park.

"That is the way forward," Harknett says.

Like many cycling clubs that use Richmond Park, London Dynamo has the difficult task of trying to encourage its members to behave responsibly while acknowledging that almost everyone who uses the park breaks the speed limit.

"Police hold us up as an examplar," he says. "They would like more cyclists that enjoy Richmond Park  to be members of clubs because we have a code of conduct, we will discipline riders."

Nevertheless there are stories of London Dynamo riders being a little over-enthusiastic as they ride or train in the park.

"We insist riders on club runs wear club kit so if we get a complaint about say a rider flicking a V at a driver in Weybridge we can track them down," says Harknett.

He added that the club has a code of conduct for members (at section 7 of its membership page) and if they are spotted riding inconsiderately, he wants to hear about it.

He told the Evening Standard recently: "We have not been afraid to eject our members in the past, doing so with two cyclists who jumped red lights.”

Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.

Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.

Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.

The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

51 comments

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ron611087 [356 posts] 2 years ago
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Pity motoring clubs don't expel members for breaking the HW code. Perhaps it's because given time they would end up with no members.

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AJ101 [277 posts] 2 years ago
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Oh dear, poor old Rory, hope he hadn't shelled out too much on kit.

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don simon [1148 posts] 2 years ago
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Bearing in mind a cycle isn't required to have a speedo. What is the threshold speed where the police won't prosecute?
And more importantly, how will I know?
EDIT: And the club sounds like a right barrel of laughs...

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vonhelmet [845 posts] 2 years ago
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don simon wrote:

Bearing in mind a cycle isn't required to have a speedo. What is the threshold speed where the police won't prosecute?
And more importantly, how will I know?

It's up to you to obey the law. If you're in doubt about your speed, buy a speedo.

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ron611087 [356 posts] 2 years ago
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I'm not sure on what basis speed fines are being issued because the statute regarding speed limits is applied to motor vehicles only. You can be done for cycling furiously though.

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bdsl [201 posts] 2 years ago
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ron611087 wrote:

I'm not sure on what basis speed fines are being issued because the statute regarding speed limits is applied to motor vehicles only. You can be done for cycling furiously though.

Read Are police fining 'speeding' cyclists in Richmond Park exceeding their authority?.

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JonD [468 posts] 2 years ago
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ron611087 wrote:

I'm not sure on what basis speed fines are being issued because the statute regarding speed limits is applied to motor vehicles only. You can be done for cycling furiously though.

Not 'cycling furiously' as such, but there are a couple of similar offences that kinda cover it (see down the page):
http://www.bikehub.co.uk/featured-articles/cycling-and-the-law/

Curiously the second example resulted in a ban for driving a car.

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YorkshireMike [92 posts] 2 years ago
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Unless it's specified, speed limits are written for motor vehicles: "A person who drives a motor vehicle on a road at a speed exceeding a limit imposed by or under any enactment to which this section applies shall be guilty of an offence." - Section 89 of the Highway Code.

I don't know what the signage in Richmond Park says though, if it's cycling specific then fair enough. You do have to exercise some common sense though. 41mph in a park is going some.

This could be worth referring to: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2010/1194/regulation/1/made

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Asprilla [6 posts] 2 years ago
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Royal Parks are subject to specific bye-laws that include bicycles within the speed limits.

What gets me is the gall of London Dynamo who seem not to have any issue with their chain gangs regularly dangerously crowding other cyclists in the park as they treat it as their own private race track. But I guess that doesn't make the news.......

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congokid [316 posts] 2 years ago
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vonhelmet wrote:
don simon wrote:

Bearing in mind a cycle isn't required to have a speedo. What is the threshold speed where the police won't prosecute?
And more importantly, how will I know?

It's up to you to obey the law. If you're in doubt about your speed, buy a speedo.

The problem here is that the law is far from clear.

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ashbytaylors [4 posts] 2 years ago
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I agree that the cyclist may have been over doing it - but posted speed limits only apply Motor Vehicles. So wonder what would happen if the fine was challenged in the court? I think my starting point would be to refuse to accept it.

And to the point someone made about buying a speedo, yes you can do that but again it's not a legal requirement, so you don't have too! And a speedo on a car has to be calibrated and be accurate to 3% (from memory) - bike speedo's even GPS ones are not classed as calibrated devices so can't be relied upon to accurately measure speed.

My 'speedo' is often set on a different page to show heart rate and rpm rather than speed anyway, coz not always particularly interested in the actual speed I'm doing at any point in time  11

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mrmo [2093 posts] 2 years ago
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Asprilla wrote:

Royal Parks are subject to specific bye-laws that include bicycles within the speed limits.

Read the link above, more than a strong possibility that the police are exceeding their powers and the speed limit doesn't apply. Mind you at 41mph in a park where the limit is 20mph the police can instigate legal proceedings using other laws.

As for London Dynamo, only encounter was on the Dragon ride a few years ago and plenty of their riders obviously considered red lights as optional. Maybe it Is a London thing???

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finknottle [3 posts] 2 years ago
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"Palmer was facing expulsion from London Dynamo, which insists its members obey the Highway Code."

Really?!? In that case there must be an awful lot of non-members who have bought London Dynamo shirts and like to speed around Richmond Park every weekend.

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fenix [666 posts] 2 years ago
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I did a race at the weekend where the 'You are driving at this speed' signs had me at 33mph - in a 30 zone. Massive tail wind at this point obviously. Should I resign too ?

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finknottle [3 posts] 2 years ago
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London Dynamos won't have any members left if they throw out everyone who breaks the highway code. Can't seem to view the strava segment for Sawyers Hill (guess it has been removed) but 6/10 of the fastest going down Broomfield Hill are members of the London Dynamos and have all clocked over 35mph... https://www.strava.com/segments/5633695

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racyrich [292 posts] 2 years ago
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Someone's lying.

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

From this article: '"There was no traffic on the descent down Sawyers according to Rory."

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DrJDog [413 posts] 2 years ago
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If he joined LD after this event, why is he resigning from the club? Especially when, as others have noted here, London Dynamo members dominate the Strava segments around Richmond Park?

Makes no sense.

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thereverent [443 posts] 2 years ago
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London Dynamo are the most visible in the park (as they have to wear club kit), but are mostly fine.
It tends to be people in relica pro kit that seem to overtaking badly/dangerously.

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deblemund [263 posts] 2 years ago
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finknottle wrote:

London Dynamos won't have any members left if they throw out everyone who breaks the highway code. Can't seem to view the strava segment for Sawyers Hill (guess it has been removed) but 6/10 of the fastest going down Broomfield Hill are members of the London Dynamos and have all clocked over 35mph... https://www.strava.com/segments/5633695

There are police sanctioned time trials that go down Sawyer's every summer, which probably explains that.

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mrmo [2093 posts] 2 years ago
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just thought i would google LD,

http://londondynamo.co.uk/downloads/RichmondPark_Ride.pdf

I may be taking this the wrong way, and it doesn't say chaingang so speeds may not be that high, my local CG averages mid 20's, but even a reasonable group cruising is going to be shifting at over 20mph for a fair part of the ride.

How can you claim you aren't breaking the rules when it is going to be almost impossible not to? and has been stated Strava does suggest a lot of riders aren't sticking to the 20rule.

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kevinmorice [143 posts] 2 years ago
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Surely the 'Club' should also expel any other members who have recorded Strava segments that breach the Highway Code? Starting with any of their members speeding on that stretch, expanding to any other local stretches with regular speed offenders and proceeding to any that fail to record a complete stop at stop signs, and so on.

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Ramuz [292 posts] 2 years ago
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Believe it or not cyclists can break the law, and when they do, they should face the consequences (just as half the posts on this sight are about the need for irresponsible drivers to face consequences).

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Chris Campbell [6 posts] 2 years ago
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finknottle wrote:

London Dynamos won't have any members left if they throw out everyone who breaks the highway code. Can't seem to view the strava segment for Sawyers Hill (guess it has been removed) but 6/10 of the fastest going down Broomfield Hill are members of the London Dynamos and have all clocked over 35mph... https://www.strava.com/segments/5633695

Six riders out of 600 members. Hardly a representative sample.

Try again, Poirot.

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mrmo [2093 posts] 2 years ago
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Chris Campbell wrote:
finknottle wrote:

London Dynamos won't have any members left if they throw out everyone who breaks the highway code. Can't seem to view the strava segment for Sawyers Hill (guess it has been removed) but 6/10 of the fastest going down Broomfield Hill are members of the London Dynamos and have all clocked over 35mph... https://www.strava.com/segments/5633695

Six riders out of 600 members. Hardly a representative sample.

Try again, Poirot.

I got bored after a while, but, 1700 riders have a average above 30mph, 22278 riders are 20mph and above, this is from a total of 25099 riders. How many of the 600 are in the bottom 3000 and how many in the top 22000?

As a point the OP says 6 out of the top 10, if you click randomly plenty more appear throughout the top of the leader board, and if you read comments they know they are traveling quickly.

TBH i don't really care too much, just strikes me as a rather hypocritical stance to take. The evidence exists that plenty of riders are disregarding the rules and are i assume still club members?

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Joeinpoole [444 posts] 2 years ago
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mrmo wrote:

I got bored after a while, but, 1700 riders have a average above 30mph, 22278 riders are 20mph and above, this is from a total of 25099 riders. How many of the 600 are in the bottom 3000 and how many in the top 22000?

As a point the OP says 6 out of the top 10, if you click randomly plenty more appear throughout the top of the leader board, and if you read comments they know they are traveling quickly.

TBH i don't really care too much, just strikes me as a rather hypocritical stance to take. The evidence exists that plenty of riders are disregarding the rules and are i assume still club members?

Makes me wonder if at some point in the future these Strava uploads could be considered 'admissible evidence' for speeding or dangerous cycling charges.

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BigglesMeister [63 posts] 2 years ago
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vonhelmet wrote:
don simon wrote:

Bearing in mind a cycle isn't required to have a speedo. What is the threshold speed where the police won't prosecute?
And more importantly, how will I know?

It's up to you to obey the law. If you're in doubt about your speed, buy a speedo.

Oh for fucks sake. The speed limit in Richmond park of 20mph only applies to MOTOR vehicles. If you're dumb enough to plead guilty so be it, even though there is no such offence. We've been round and round on this so it amazes me that the same old crap gets trotted out again and again. I'll say it loud and clear for the newbies SPEED LIMITS DO NOT APPLY TO BICYCLES as they are NOT mechanically propelled vehicles. Read the highway code which has a table for vehicles and limits, the observant will notice that bicycles are not on the list. If you don't have a paper copy those nice people at HM gov have put it on line. https://www.gov.uk/speed-limits

For reference, here is another cc thread on the very same subject.

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

Now remember children: Just because piglet plod says you've broken the law it does not mean that you have. They are just the enforcers and quite often choose to enforce how they would like the law to be and not how it is.

My final word on the matter, check for yourself - all legislation (aka law) is now on line http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ If plod want to change it then it requires an act of parliament not some nit with with a speed gun avoiding proper police work on a Sunday morning for double time.

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bendertherobot [1434 posts] 2 years ago
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BigglesMeister wrote:
vonhelmet wrote:
don simon wrote:

Bearing in mind a cycle isn't required to have a speedo. What is the threshold speed where the police won't prosecute?
And more importantly, how will I know?

It's up to you to obey the law. If you're in doubt about your speed, buy a speedo.

Oh for fucks sake. The speed limit in Richmond park of 20mph only applies to MOTOR vehicles. If you're dumb enough to plead guilty so be it, even though there is no such offence. We've been round and round on this so it amazes me that the same old crap gets trotted out again and again. I'll say it loud and clear for the newbies SPEED LIMITS DO NOT APPLY TO BICYCLES as they are NOT mechanically propelled vehicles. Read the highway code which has a table for vehicles and limits, the observant will notice that bicycles are not on the list. If you don't have a paper copy those nice people at HM gov have put it on line. https://www.gov.uk/speed-limits

For reference, here is another cc thread on the very same subject.

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

Now remember children: Just because piglet plod says you've broken the law it does not mean that you have. They are just the enforcers and quite often choose to enforce how they would like the law to be and not how it is.

My final word on the matter, check for yourself - all legislation (aka law) is now on line http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ If plod want to change it then it requires an act of parliament not some nit with with a speed gun avoiding proper police work on a Sunday morning for double time.

The Royal Parks and Other Open Spaces Regulations 1997 (SI 1997/1639) is the main operative provision. Later SI's added to its content.

Its Part 2 contains the speed limit of 20 mph (for Richmond Park)

It relates to the use of vehicles. The confusion in this case is whether vehicles includes motor vehicles.

The Royal Parks and Other Open Spaces (Amendment) etc. Regulations 2010 inserted those provisions.

But, they also had an interpretation of vehicle as "“vehicle” means a mechanically propelled vehicle intended or adapted for use on a road." So the provision inserted into the original reads as if it was only intended to apply to motor vehicles.

However, “Royal Parks and Other Open Spaces (Amendment) (No 2) etc Regulations 2010" amended the earlier 2010 regs and removed the definition of vehicle from it and, therefore, from being applied to the 1997 ones.

Result? the original applies to vehicles. Including bikes. Statutory interpretation defaults to usual English usage in the absence of a statutory definition.

So, yes, it does apply to cyclists. The question is why the RP spokesman is now saying that it doesn't. That could create a legitimate expectation that you will not be charged with an offence.

Of course, even if you are not prosecuted under the above provisions you can still be done for the Acts prohibited in the Park provisions (akin to careless cycling).

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bendertherobot [1434 posts] 2 years ago
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Incidentally, Legislation.gov.uk isn't awfully reliable.

Acts of Parliament are mostly updated but it's a slow process. Most Statutory Instruments (Orders, Regulations etc) are not, so the version you see is an old one.

So looking there isn't really very helpful. I had to use my Lexis Nexis access to get to see the most recent stuff.

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SamSkjord [39 posts] 2 years ago
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racyrich wrote:

Someone's lying.

Well the police would never lie about anything, nor continue lying about it for 26 years...

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Chris Campbell [6 posts] 2 years ago
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mrmo wrote:
Chris Campbell wrote:
finknottle wrote:

London Dynamos won't have any members left if they throw out everyone who breaks the highway code. Can't seem to view the strava segment for Sawyers Hill (guess it has been removed) but 6/10 of the fastest going down Broomfield Hill are members of the London Dynamos and have all clocked over 35mph... https://www.strava.com/segments/5633695

Six riders out of 600 members. Hardly a representative sample.

Try again, Poirot.

I got bored after a while, but, 1700 riders have a average above 30mph, 22278 riders are 20mph and above, this is from a total of 25099 riders. How many of the 600 are in the bottom 3000 and how many in the top 22000?

As a point the OP says 6 out of the top 10, if you click randomly plenty more appear throughout the top of the leader board, and if you read comments they know they are traveling quickly.

TBH i don't really care too much, just strikes me as a rather hypocritical stance to take. The evidence exists that plenty of riders are disregarding the rules and are i assume still club members?

So the vast majority of riders who go faster than 20mph are not Dynamos. Many will be affiliated to other clubs. And tellingly, you're not questioning why those clubs aren't ejecting them.

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