Royal Parks to Boris Johnson: get those bikes off our lawn

Park bosses fear bike-pedestrian collisions

by John Stevenson   October 14, 2013  

Existing bike paths in Hyde Park are not suitable for increased use, say Royal Parks (CC licenced image by Joe Dunckley:Flickr)

London’s Royal Parks have thrown a spanner into mayor Boris Johnson’s plans to build safer cycling routes across the capital by refusing to allow bikes to use the most direct routes across Hyde Park and Green Park.

The 15-mile east-west route, nicknamed “Crossrail for bikes” because it would roughly follow the train line, is scheduled to be created by 2016. But according to Ross Lydall in the Evening Standard, park authorities are not keen on having the route pass through Hyde Park or for a proposed north-south route to go through Green Park.

The fear is that building safe cycling routes away from motor vehicles would mean people might actually use them, increasing the number of cyclists in the parks and the risk of collision with other park users.

Instead of the route across Hyde Park passing near Speakers’ Corner, Royal Parks proposes a mile-long diversion toward Knightsbridge, and says that a route across Green Park must avoid the body of the park.

In a letter to the Mayor’s cycling czar Andrew Gilligan, Royal Parks deputy chief executive Colin Buttery says there is an “absolute preference” for the route to follow the existing road network in Hyde Park.

He writes: “This means that West Carriage Drive and South Carriage Drive should be used as the option to be investigated to take cyclists from the Bayswater Road to Hyde Park Corner.

“The existing cycling routes along Serpentine Road and the Broad Walk [in Kensington Gardens] are not suitable for larger volumes (in the same way that it would not be appropriate to encourage more cyclists to use Rotten Row).”

A Royal Parks spokesman said: “It is essential that any new routes are safe, not just for cyclists at busy junctions like Hyde Park Corner, but also for the many thousands of other people who use the parks, including pedestrians, children, runners and horse riders.”

A spokeswoman for the Mayor said: “Discussions are ongoing between Transport for London and the Royal Parks about the proposed east-west cycle route. We are working on a solution which ensures a safe and enjoyable experience for both pedestrians and cyclists.”

8 user comments

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I suppose they need to consider that people bring their children and dogs etc. to parks, so there should probably be some kind of system in place to try to keep people safe.

Does anyone know what the cycle lanes are going to look like? Will they be away from the main park paths?

Chiggety check yourself before you wreck yourself

posted by therealsmallboy [110 posts]
14th October 2013 - 12:11

10 Likes

While keeping the route out of the park is a good idea for general pedestrian safety, do they actually think that will keep the cyclists out?

Ride an extra mile or ride the shorter route through the park? hmm.

The official route will have to be spot on to persuade users to stick to it rather than take a short cut, cant really see it happening tbh, setting themselves up for a fall.

STATO's picture

posted by STATO [446 posts]
14th October 2013 - 12:22

9 Likes

I use the north/south cycle lane by Park Lane twice a week on my commute to and from Paddington.
I would heartily endorse the Royal Parks' concern about mixing cyclists with other park users outside the existing road network.
a) the roads inside the park are quiet and have wide cycle lanes already
b) the standard of riding on the path (too fast for the circumstances, poor observation, dangerous overtakes) is not great, especially with a lot of children and dogs around.
c) the standard of observation by pedestrians is not great. It's a real tourist spot and the cycle path really is not well-signed as being one.

The roads in the park are perfectly adequate for our needs. We should keep the rest of the parks free for people to wander and relax, which is why they're so treasured in the first place.

posted by Brooess [72 posts]
14th October 2013 - 12:26

11 Likes

Totally agree with Brooess above, the roads are fine in the park for cycling. Not sure why they want to build one going through it. As for any involvement by TfL well that spells disaster. How can such a well funded body be so hopeless when it comes to cyclists needs?

posted by belgravedave [253 posts]
14th October 2013 - 12:51

7 Likes

Using West Carriage Driveway and South Carriage Driveway would be fine if they closed them to motor traffic.

I've never understod why the roads in Hyde park need to be open for Taxis to take a shortcut. Close to motortraffic and you would have cycle lanes suitable for high volumes of traffic.

posted by thereverent [343 posts]
14th October 2013 - 13:32

9 Likes

I use the north/south route through Hyde park daily and agree with some comments here but also a far better job could be done of managing them. A segregated path for cyclists is the way forwards through the park, the fact the current cycles path is just some paint (in many places the cycle direction signs pointing the wrong way!) is the biggest error. The path is also laid out so peds are also allowed on both the right and left with various benches facing into the cycle lane it does not help, neither does poor management of the route when major events are on ( it will be shut again due to the winter wonderland I bet).

The royal parks are clearly short of good ideas themselves, I've watched every year as they've re-seeded and re-turfed the edges used by joggers wasting thousands of our money instead of putting in a gravel running path similar to Richmond park and have helped out at a number of bike accidents when snow and ice have not been cleared or gritted.

posted by georgee [154 posts]
14th October 2013 - 14:37

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Brooess wrote:
I use the north/south cycle lane by Park Lane twice a week on my commute to and from Paddington.
I would heartily endorse the Royal Parks' concern about mixing cyclists with other park users outside the existing road network.
a) the roads inside the park are quiet and have wide cycle lanes already
b) the standard of riding on the path (too fast for the circumstances, poor observation, dangerous overtakes) is not great, especially with a lot of children and dogs around.
c) the standard of observation by pedestrians is not great. It's a real tourist spot and the cycle path really is not well-signed as being one.

The roads in the park are perfectly adequate for our needs. We should keep the rest of the parks free for people to wander and relax, which is why they're so treasured in the first place.

a) The private highways through the parks are anything but quiet and won't be until they ban motor vehicle traffic. The cycle paths besides the highways in the park are amateur at best.

b) Not seen any bad riding but I see plenty of people walking (deliberately in some cases) on the cycle path "side"

c) see above.

posted by northstar [1113 posts]
14th October 2013 - 15:39

6 Likes

I walk in Hyde Park most days and they really do need to sort out a few things to make it better for cyclists and pedestrians.

Some ideas:
1. Put signs up on the Boris Bike stands saying: "These bikes are not suitable for kids under 8 years old who cannot reach the floor with their feet"
2. Put signs up on footpaths alerting people they are about to cross a cycle lane (especially near Speaker's Corner). Painting warnings on the ground simply doesn't work.
3. Signs above to be written in several languages to alert tourists, particularly from the Middle East.
4. Widen footpath/cycle lane that runs next to West Carriage Drive.
5. FFS sort out some kind of control where the path along the Serpentine intersects the North-South path near to the Achilles statue, right in the SE corner of Hyde Park. There will one day be a horrible collision between two cyclists going at some speed at this junction.
6. On Hyde Park Corner, I think it would be good to have clearly marked and separate 'Cycle' and 'pedestrian' lanes as you cross from Hyde Park onto the roundabout.

Wow...this is my 100th post!!!

I'm a human being, God damn it! My life has value. I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore.

posted by Carl [136 posts]
16th October 2013 - 17:21

3 Likes