A 16-year-old who rode down Sawyers Hill in Richmond Park at 37 mph has been handed a six-month conditional discharge.
According to YourLocalGuardian, the teenager, whose name has been witheld for legal reasons, was also ordered to pay a £15 victim surcharge and £85 in costs by Lavender Hill Magistrates’ Court on Thursday, September 12.
Richmond Park is unusual among British roads in that its speed limit is a Royal Parks bye-law and not set by the local traffic authority. Unlike public road speed limits, the 20mph limit in Richmond Park applies to cyclists as well.
Or does it? The regulations applying to Royal Parks were amended in 2010, and in that statutory instrument, ‘vehicle’ was defined as “a mechanically propelled vehicle intended or adapted for use on a road.”
The regulations did not previously have a definition of a vehicle so were interpreted to apply to bikes as well as cars and motorbikes.
The new definition is the exact phrase used to define a motor vehicle in the Road Traffic Act, so on a layman’s interpretation at least, it could be argued that the Richmond Park speed limit doesn’t apply to bikes after all. If you're curious, BikeHub has lots on cycling and speed limits, and other legal matters.
It seems likely that the young cyclist in this case simply decided to cop the fine rather than fight it. If that’s the case his lawyer - if he even had one - might have missed a chance to make a bit of a name for himself.
Perhaps the most famous example of 'speeding' in Richmond Park is David Millar's 13:35 lap time in June 2011. As a publicity stunt for his autobiography, Millar lapped the park in full time trial kit in a 'race' against BBC presenter Graham Bell. Millar subsequently apologised profusely for steaming round the park at almost 30mph, and the BBC's video of the ride was taken down.
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.