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Cyclist tells of “guilt” after Richmond Park crash that claimed rider’s life last weekend

Rene Taylor says he came down on same corner last month but didn’t report concerns over gravel

A London cyclist has spoken of his “guilt” at not reporting the presence of gravel on a corner in Richmond Park where he came off his bike last month, and where another rider died after a similar crash last weekend.

A 40-year-old man died in the Royal London Hospital after being taken there by air ambulance following a crash in the park last week, when he is believed to have lost control on his bike after skidding on the gravel while descending. He has not yet been officially named.

No other cyclists or vehicles were involved in the incident, but another cyclist, 40-year-old Rene Taylor from Raynes Park, has now come forward to speak of a similar crash he was involved in five weeks ago, reports the Richmond & Twickenham Times.

He told the newspaper: "I was going to meet someone at the Richmond Gate and I went down and everything was fine and at the bottom where it bends, there is gravel which meant I wouldn’t be able to brake.

"I landed on the grass verge and the bike went behind me. Fortunately I was OK but I have been racked with guilt thinking I should have reported the gravel.

"That is the steepest hill in Richmond Park and as the bend goes round, you do pick up speed.

"I just think the roads could do with being cleared up a bit and the gravel taken away."

Tim Lennon from the Richmond Cycling Campaign said that the Royal Parks, which manages Richmond Park, a popular destination for cyclists, needed to examine the road surface in places where people ride. 

He said the group was "deeply saddened to hear of the death of a cyclist in Richmond Park and our thoughts are with the victim's family.

"We do regularly hear about incidents in Richmond Park, whether involving cars, bicycles, or pedestrians, and we're keen to work with the Royal Parks to understand the circumstances, and whether this has lessons to be learned for how we all use the park and its facilities,” he went on.

"In particular, it may be that the Royal Parks need to look at the state of the road surface at the edge, where more cyclists tend to be," he added.

A spokeswoman for the Royal Parks commented: "At the moment this is still a police matter so we have nothing further to add."

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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