In April 2016, Royal Parks erected signs at each end of the Duke’s Head Passage into London’s Bushy Park banning cycling. Campaigners have now launched a petition to have the decision reversed, arguing that there have been no reported accidents involving cyclists and few complaints.
The 500-metre long path leads from Hampton Village into Bushy Park and campaigners say it has been the safest route for cyclists to enter the park.
Speaking in April, when the ‘no cycling’ signs were first put up, councillor for Hampton Gareth Roberts told the Richmond and Twickenham Times that the move was an overreaction. “Pedestrians, cyclists and dog walkers have managed to rub along together perfectly well for decades along Duke's Head Passage with little, if anything, in the way of confrontation.”
A Freedom of Information request put in to the Royal Parks by those who created the petition appears to support this.
Responding in July to an enquiry about why the ban on cyclists had been introduced, park manager Ray Brodie said that it was due to ‘near-misses’.
He said there had been no reported accidents and just two near-misses.
In separate correspondence, dating back to February, assistant park manager Bill Swan informed someone complaining about a lack of consideration by cyclists using Duke’s Head Passage that it was “rare” for the park to receive such complaints.
A Royal Parks spokesman said the passage had never actually been a designated cycle path and was a narrow pathway which had to be managed for the enjoyment of park users.
“We’re not excluding anyone from using this pathway, and we feel that walking with your bike for 10 minutes (at the most) or keeping your dog on a lead are very small compromises that will benefit all park users.”