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.
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.