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Boris Johnson urges Royal Parks to open up more paths to cyclists

Wider route availability in green spaces would help capital's cyclists avoid busy main roads...

Mayor of London Boris Johnson says that he would like to see cyclists to be allowed to ride their bikes on more footpaths in London’s eight Royal Parks. At the moment, bicycles are allowed on a total of 27 miles of off-road paths, but the Royal Parks Agency is being urged to let riders use more footpaths to help them avoid main roads.

According to a report in the London Evening Standard, Rotten Row in Hyde Park – which is also home to a number of Barclays Cycle Hire Scheme docking stations – is thought to be the busiest cycle path in the capital.

Cyclists can of course use the roads in the eight Royal Parks, with many of London’s keener riders undertaking laps of Richmond Park, the Outer Circle at Regents Park or repetitions of the hill in Greenwich Park as part of their training regime.

The other four Royal Parks are St James’s Park, Green Park, Kensington Gardens and Bushy Park, while Brompton Ceremony, which has a cycle route running through it, also comes under the Royal Parks Agency’s remit.

Quizzed as to whether he agreed with what were described as “widespread restrictions” on cycling in the royal parks, Mr Johnson: "Improving the provision for cycling is something that I am keen to work with the Royal Parks Agency on, so that more Londoners can enjoy the benefits of cycling in such fantastic environs.”

He added: "I accept that in providing facilities we need to seek to balance the wishes of cyclists with those of pedestrians and other park users," a reflection of the fact that any moves to increase the network of paths available for cyclists to use would be likely to face opposition from those who would prefer to see them remain bicycle-free.

Caroline Pidgeon, Liberal-Democrat chairwoman of the London Assembly's transport committee, was quoted in the Standard as also supporting the initiative, saying: "We are keen on seeing the rules relaxed in Royal Parks, with TfL working with the Royal Parks Agency to ensure proper cycle routes to help prevent conflict between cyclists and pedestrians."

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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