Cycling will be banned in Richmond Park from tomorrow due to the numbers of cyclists who have been riding through. A spokesperson said other Royal Parks remained open for cyclists as there was “no current evidence of congestion.”
Last weekend, Richmond Park Cyclists urged people to ride alone or risk being banned after images emerged showing cyclists queueing at one of the refreshment kiosks.
Rules on social distancing have been ignored by a number of visitors – not just cyclists – resulting in motor vehicles being banned from three Royal Parks and the closure of a number of cafés and kiosks.
Yesterday, Royal Parks threatened to close its parks to cyclists if rules weren’t respected.
▶️ Stay 2m+ away from others
▶️ Stick to designated cycle routes
▶️ Respect the speed limit and other park users
▶️ Don’t race or spit
These are rules, not requests. Work together or we will have to close the parks to cyclists. #CoronavirusLockdownUK
— The Royal Parks (@theroyalparks) March 26, 2020
A similar tweet was addressed to joggers, only without the threat of exclusion.
ITV now reports that cycling will be banned in Richmond Park from tomorrow (Saturday March 28) due to the volume of cyclists and the failure to observe social distancing rules.
A Royal Parks spokesperson explained: “It is necessary to suspend all cycling in Richmond Park to protect public safety and ultimately help keep this vital green space open for everyone. Cycling is still permitted in the other Royal Parks, where there is no current evidence of congestion.
“We’re continuously monitoring the situation and intervening where appropriate, with the support of the police, to reduce congestion in all areas across all our parks.
“Many parks are closing across the UK because people aren’t following the Government’s guidelines and people are gathering in groups of more than two.
“We really want to keep our eight parks open across London as they are such important green spaces for those that can reach them safely for daily exercise and to walk in nature.”
NHS workers can continue to cycle though the park if they show their staff pass.
A number of cyclists have questioned the move, arguing that there was little evidence people were failing to maintain distance from one another.
Unless things changed dramatically yesterday, social distancing by cyclists seemed pretty appropriate on Wednesday. Without cars there was plenty of room to allow overtaking at safe distances
— Toby M. Wilkes (@TM_Wilkes) March 27, 2020
Please rethink this policy @theroyalparks . I solo cycled in RP once a day this week and it was blissful without cars and I only saw good social distancing being observed by the diverse folks also enjoying the park for what it’s designed for; recreation.
— Tim Lorimer (@bluetube43) March 27, 2020
This, I believe, is the reason. Hearsay from privileged locals. pic.twitter.com/h4L6hgaKxy
— Elisabeth Anderson (@velobetty) March 27, 2020
Reporting from the park on Monday, our news editor Simon MacMichael shot the footage below.
"There are lots of cyclists around but all being sensible,” he said. “No-one's drafting, almost all are riding on their own bar a few couples.
"I've been here long enough to have seen everyone do a full lap. No one's taking the piss. The message seems to have got through."
In a statement responding to Royal Parks' decision, London Cycling Campaign said the capital needed more safe cycling spaces, not fewer.
— London Cycling Campaign (@london_cycling) March 27, 2020