Home
Mount Walk, with 900 cyclists per hour at peak times, will become part of the Central London Grid, linking to the new East-West Cycle Superhighway

The Royal Parks are currently installing cobble rumble strips on a popular cycling route to prevent cyclists travelling more than 12mph.

Mount Walk, in Kensington Gardens, West London, is a shared space path with pedestrians, currently used by up to 900 cyclists per hour. It will become part of Transport for London (TfL)’s Central London Grid – a network of cycle routes across central London – and joins up with the new East-West Cycle Superhighway on West Carriage Drive. 

According to a study by Atkins consultants carried out for the Royal Parks, in six hours on a Tuesday 70 per cent of cyclists were found to exceed the “design speed” of 12mph for Mount Walk, with 60 of 2,214 cyclists travelling at more than 18mph. The Royal Parks hope the cobbles will reduce conflict as cycling numbers increase, but campaigners fear these can become slippery in the rain and say seeking an alternative route away from pedestrians and motor traffic could be a better solution.

Regent's Park rat running motorists to be banned 20 hours a day

The Royal Parks’ website explains: “Mount Walk is currently a very popular cycle route with up to 900 cyclists an hour using the route during peak times. This number is predicted to increase as more people choose to cycle in the parks.

“Due to its popularity this route experiences high volumes of cyclists, pedestrians and other park users and sometimes this congestion leads to conflict. There are also issues with excessive cycling speeds making some park users feel vulnerable.”

The Royal Parks says because of historic trees lining the path it is not possible to widen it to separate pedestrians and cyclists. The role of the cobbles is to provide a “tactile and visual reinforcement of the concept of shared space and promote considerate use of the pathway”.

However, the London Cycling Campaign’s infrastructure campaigner, Simon Munk, said cobbles can become slippery in the rain and suggested a better approach may be to find a safe alternative route, separate from pedestrians and motor traffic.

He told road.cc: “The parks are popular because they provide alternatives to busy main roads nearby with no good cycling facilities – if the main roads nearby were appropriately tackled, we might see far fewer ‘commuter’ cyclists using the parks and more ‘leisure’ cyclists instead on this route.”

“900 cyclists per hour indicates this is a strong ‘desire line’ – and the issue here is then whether there are alternative routes through the park that would be better to enable easy cycling or that pedestrians could use instead.”

Last week it was announced Regents Park’s Outer Circle, also one of London’s Royal Parks, would see four raised cobbled tables introduced as part of Cycle Superhighway 11 work, which local cycling clubs objected to.

Munk says the main concern with cobble strips is their maintenance, whether they become slippery in the rain, and how they affect cyclists with narrow tyres and kids on bikes.

Pedestrian priority signs will also be installed along the route, which is closed between 4 January and 22 February while works take place, with cyclists routed onto a busy main road in the meantime.

Kensington and Chelsea Cycling Campaign's Martin Carr, who used to commute along Mount Walk, told road.cc: "Most cyclists are considerate and understand how to behave on shared spaces, but I understand that some conflicts have occurred. I did once witness a cyclist have a bad fall after colliding with a dog on this route.

"If CS9 were built along Kensington High Street and Kensington Gore, it would relieve pressure on this route. However, ths is not currently planned due to objections from K&C (Kensington and Chelsea) Council.

"I will reserve judgment on whether I like the rumble strips until I can test them msyelf."

22 comments

Avatar
bikebot [2119 posts] 1 year ago
5 likes

"so why do we design Cycle Superhighways with the inspiration of the Tour de France?"

So that's what he meant, the bloody cobbles!

Avatar
RedfishUK [159 posts] 1 year ago
5 likes

Do you think there is any chnace that cyclists will simply go around the cobbles on the grass? I know that is what has happened on the Leeds Liverpool canal towpath.

Avatar
mrmo [2096 posts] 1 year ago
5 likes

how hard would it be to physically separate user groups. There seems to be this idea that bikes and cars are bad but bikes and pedestrians are fine! Have these designers ever ridden a bike in a shared use environment? There is a reason why slow vehicles are banned from Motorways, yet this escapes the designers when it comes to cycle provision. 

 

 

Avatar
Rocky [6 posts] 1 year ago
3 likes

Not sure about the need for these cobbles.  I have been through here most working days for 5 years and I have to say this is just about the only place on my 15 mile commute where I haven't seen any 'conflict'.  Usually it is a dog running across the path that causes the most chaos(!)   There are always a few speed merchants going too fast but I doubt a few cobbles will slow them down.  I came off my bike at low speed on some cobbles in another part of the park after I had to go around some bloke who was standing in the middle of the cycle lane.  So the cobbles can be slippy.

Avatar
Must be Mad [625 posts] 1 year ago
12 likes

the main problem with cobbles is that you have to gain speed in order to bunny-hop them successfully....

Avatar
brooksby [2709 posts] 1 year ago
2 likes
Quote:

The role of the cobbles is to provide a “tactile and visual reinforcement of the concept of shared space and promote considerate use of the pathway”.

They mean: "The role of the cobbles is to discourage those 'orrible cyclists from riding through our park."

Give it a year, after someone comes off on the cobbles and injures themselves, and lots of 'Cyclists Dismount' signs will start appearing...

Avatar
Username [228 posts] 1 year ago
9 likes
Quote:

70 per cent of cyclists were found to exceed the “design speed” of 12mph for Mount Walk, with 60 of 2,214 cyclists travelling at more than 18mph

 

So that's a "design speed", it's not even a posted speed limit.

 

These 70% of cyclists are quilty of breaking a "rule" no one told them about.

 

Meanwhile in the The Regent's Park motorists have been clocked at 84 mph - which is clearly illegal - and nothing is done about it.

Avatar
kitkat [480 posts] 1 year ago
6 likes
Atkins Consultants wrote:

 carried out for the Royal Parks, in six hours on a Tuesday 70 per cent of cyclists were found to exceed the “design speed” of 12mph for Mount Walk, with 60 of 2,214 cyclists travelling at more than 18mph

So in six hours, 2% of users were doing more than 18mph? Hardly Champs-Elysées in late July.

I suggest the real problem is the volume  of users and that they should be working on accomodating  the modal shift

Avatar
pmanc [210 posts] 1 year ago
15 likes

" There are too many people in cars, and they're going too fast, what shall we do?!

                "Build more roads!"

" There are lots of people cycling, and they're going too fast, what shall we do?!

               "Make cycling harder and less convenient!

Avatar
ianrobo [1213 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

good work Royal Parks, include cobbles as more of a challenge to many who have MTB's ! 

Avatar
the little onion [173 posts] 1 year ago
3 likes
RedfishUK wrote:

Do you think there is any chnace that cyclists will simply go around the cobbles on the grass? I know that is what has happened on the Leeds Liverpool canal towpath.

 

Those things aren't "rumblestrips" no matter what the city cycle people say - they are speedbumps. And a hazard for kids who have smaller diameter wheels. I have seen two crashes which ended up with 7 year old kids in tears and bloodied.

Avatar
kie7077 [933 posts] 1 year ago
2 likes
the little onion wrote:
RedfishUK wrote:

Do you think there is any chnace that cyclists will simply go around the cobbles on the grass? I know that is what has happened on the Leeds Liverpool canal towpath.

Those things aren't "rumblestrips" no matter what the city cycle people say - they are speedbumps. And a hazard for kids who have smaller diameter wheels. I have seen two crashes which ended up with 7 year old kids in tears and bloodied.

This is worth repeating, someone needs to tell these idiots that cobblestone are dangerous to cyclce on, cobblestones are a health and safety issue, they are slippery when wet and you can't control the bike wheels because of the awkward gaps throwing the tyres around. Anyone who cycles knows this, which suggests there has been zero consultation.

Avatar
levermonkey [682 posts] 1 year ago
2 likes

Cynical moment.

1, Royal Parks invent fictitious conflict between cyclists and pedestrians.

2, Royal Parks install cobbles to alleviate fictitious conflict.

3, Cobbles are dangerous (especially when wet)and collect broken glass between them, so, cyclists avoid cobbles by riding round them on the grass.

4, Royal Parks ban cyclists on the grounds that they are damaging the grass.

Please tell me I'm wrong!

Avatar
Jem PT [150 posts] 1 year ago
2 likes

This is complete bollocks from the Royal Parks. The problem is the number of peds and cyclists using a narrow path, and there is plenty of room to widen it as shown in the photo. These rumble strips will just push me and other users onto Kensington Gore. Either that or drive on the grass to avoid the humps. Great result from a so-called cycle route!

Avatar
FrogMom [1 post] 1 year ago
2 likes

I just emailed Kensington Gardens to complain about these cobble strips as they are seriously unpleasant. The contact details are on this page: https://www.royalparks.org.uk/about-us/contact-us.

The speed bumps are so rugged that I've literally opted not to go through the park 50% of the times if I can avoid it and they're on my commute route at least 4 days a week. Why oh why? Why spend so much money and efforts on making a cycling experience worse when they could encourage green transportation? Beats me. Clearly, their engineers need to hop on a bike and feel the pain themselves. Can't even start to imagine what it must be for people in wheelchairs and kids in prams:(

Avatar
barbarus [502 posts] 1 year ago
1 like

Yeah pram commuters, slow down!

Avatar
davel [1998 posts] 1 year ago
2 likes
L.Willo wrote:
FrogMom wrote:

I just emailed Kensington Gardens to complain about these cobble strips as they are seriously unpleasant. The contact details are on this page: https://www.royalparks.org.uk/about-us/contact-us.

The speed bumps are so rugged that I've literally opted not to go through the park 50% of the times if I can avoid it and they're on my commute route at least 4 days a week. Why oh why? Why spend so much money and efforts on making a cycling experience worse when they could encourage green transportation? Beats me. Clearly, their engineers need to hop on a bike and feel the pain themselves. Can't even start to imagine what it must be for people in wheelchairs and kids in prams:(

You could try slowing down, and if that doesn't work, dismount and walk your bike across the cobbles and remount. Too much hard work for you?

You are aware that the primary purpose of a park isn't to facilitate your commute? 

It is a leisure space. Use it properly or not at all.

 

That would be my emailed response to you .... 

Needs moar sweeping generalisations. I'm confident you've got it in you...

Avatar
Wookie [241 posts] 1 year ago
3 likes
L.Willo wrote:
FrogMom wrote:

I just emailed Kensington Gardens to complain about these cobble strips as they are seriously unpleasant. The contact details are on this page: https://www.royalparks.org.uk/about-us/contact-us.

The speed bumps are so rugged that I've literally opted not to go through the park 50% of the times if I can avoid it and they're on my commute route at least 4 days a week. Why oh why? Why spend so much money and efforts on making a cycling experience worse when they could encourage green transportation? Beats me. Clearly, their engineers need to hop on a bike and feel the pain themselves. Can't even start to imagine what it must be for people in wheelchairs and kids in prams:(

You could try slowing down, and if that doesn't work, dismount and walk your bike across the cobbles and remount. Too much hard work for you?

You are aware that the primary purpose of a park isn't to facilitate your commute? 

It is a leisure space. Use it properly or not at all.

 

That would be my emailed response to you .... 

Haven’t you got a Daily Mail article you could be responding to?

Avatar
crazy-legs [946 posts] 1 year ago
1 like

My local canal towpath got upgraded recently and actually most of it is pretty good except that vast sums of money have been spent on putting in mini cobbled speed humps and lots of signs saying "share the path", "cyclists dismount", "pedestrians have right of way and "thank you for slowing down".

An idea of the sign styles can be seen from the dog walking ones which say "to owners - please clear up after your dog; to dogs - grrr, bark woof!" I know, hilarious isn't it...

Most cyclists just ride round the outside of the little speed humps or bunny hop them.

Avatar
arfa [855 posts] 1 year ago
1 like

Good luck getting a sensible answer out of RBKC.
if you want an example of their joined up thinking on cycling, bear in mind them spending tax payers money to block the superhighway and then spending more taxpayers money to warn cyclists of the danger they have persisted in maintaining

Avatar
Rich_cb [489 posts] 1 year ago
1 like

I have seen these cobbled strips in person, they're quite large.

Unfortunately in making the path more difficult to traverse on a bicycle they also make it more difficult for wheelchair users and people with impaired mobility.

I think there is a reasonable case that these cobbles contravene the Disability Discrimination Act as they make the park considerably less accessible.

Avatar
Cynical Tim [1 post] 1 year ago
0 likes

36 harsh cobble strips is too much for me and my old alu frame. Ruined the nicest section of my commute.