Mayor of London Boris Johnson says that he would like to see cyclists to be allowed to ride their bikes on more footpaths in London’s eight Royal Parks. At the moment, bicycles are allowed on a total of 27 miles of off-road paths, but the Royal Parks Agency is being urged to let riders use more footpaths to help them avoid main roads.
According to a report in the London Evening Standard, Rotten Row in Hyde Park – which is also home to a number of Barclays Cycle Hire Scheme docking stations – is thought to be the busiest cycle path in the capital.
Cyclists can of course use the roads in the eight Royal Parks, with many of London’s keener riders undertaking laps of Richmond Park, the Outer Circle at Regents Park or repetitions of the hill in Greenwich Park as part of their training regime.
The other four Royal Parks are St James’s Park, Green Park, Kensington Gardens and Bushy Park, while Brompton Ceremony, which has a cycle route running through it, also comes under the Royal Parks Agency’s remit.
Quizzed as to whether he agreed with what were described as “widespread restrictions” on cycling in the royal parks, Mr Johnson: "Improving the provision for cycling is something that I am keen to work with the Royal Parks Agency on, so that more Londoners can enjoy the benefits of cycling in such fantastic environs.”
He added: "I accept that in providing facilities we need to seek to balance the wishes of cyclists with those of pedestrians and other park users," a reflection of the fact that any moves to increase the network of paths available for cyclists to use would be likely to face opposition from those who would prefer to see them remain bicycle-free.
Caroline Pidgeon, Liberal-Democrat chairwoman of the London Assembly's transport committee, was quoted in the Standard as also supporting the initiative, saying: "We are keen on seeing the rules relaxed in Royal Parks, with TfL working with the Royal Parks Agency to ensure proper cycle routes to help prevent conflict between cyclists and pedestrians."
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.