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Speeding fine for Richmond Park cyclist clocked riding at 41mph - but is penalty lawful?

Rider prosecuted for breaking speed limit – just 4 months after Royal Parks spokesman said limits don't apply to cyclists...

A cyclist in London’s Richmond Park has been fined for riding his bike at more than twice the speed limit – just four months after a Royal Parks spokesman said that speed limits in the places it manages don't apply to cyclists.

Rory Palmer, aged 42, pleaded guilty to breaking the park’s speed limit of 20mph on Sawyers Hill on 2 January this year, reports This Is Local London.

Wimbledon Magistrates’ Court was told that police officers spotted the cyclist overtaking cars as he headed towards them from the direction of Richmond Gate.

The officers were conducting an anti-speeding operation close to Barn Wood, said to be busy with vehicles at the time in question.

The rider, from Shepherds Bush, admitted when stopped that he had been travelling too fast, telling officers, "I know, I'm sorry."

Mutahir Ahmed, speaking in mitigation, said: "Cycling is his hobby and he understands how dangerous it was. It was a windy day and he was coming down the hill.

“He did realise at the time he was going above 20mph but did not have a speedometer."

Magistrates fined him £65 plus a £20 surcharge and he was also ordered to pay prosecution costs of £65.

As we reported in October 2013, however, there is a large degree of doubt over whether speeding restrictions in London’s Royal Parks, unlike those on public roads elsewhere in the country, actually apply to cyclists as well as motorists.

Our article concluded that it appeared police might be going beyond their powers for fining cyclists for exceeding the speed limit, and that anyone issued a fine for doing so might have grounds for challenging it.

While we were unable to obtain a definitive response from a parks police spokesman at the time about whether or not speed limits in the Royal Parks applied to cyclists, BBC broadcaster Jeremy Vine had more luck in November last year when he was stopped for 'speeding' in Hyde Park.

A Royal Parks spokesman subsequently told him that there was no speed limit for cyclists in Hyde Park - and, by extension, any of the other 10 parks or open spaces it manages in London.

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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