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Cyclists riding “at excessive speeds” and causing crashes prompt Royal Parks to review cycling policy, as charity cancels time trial events because “they directly encourage cyclists to go faster than speed limit”

“Following several cycling-related incidents, it is our duty to take action to minimise the risk of accidents and our priority to ensure the safety of all cyclists together with other visitors,” Richmond Park’s manager said

The Royal Parks has confirmed it is currently reviewing its policy on cycling in the wake of what the charity calls “several” incidents “linked to a minority of people cycling at excessive speeds”, a day after it was announced that the annual Richmond Park time trial events have been cancelled due to fears that the races encourage cyclists to ride faster than the park’s 20mph speed limit for motorists.

Yesterday, we reported that the popular time trials in Richmond Park, organised by the London Dynamo cycling club and previously scheduled to take place on 23 June and 7 July this year, have been cancelled by the Royal Parks on safety grounds related to the speeds achieved by participants during the races, along with the apparent threat posed to the cyclists by the park’s deer population.

Starting at 6am, an hour before the gates for motorists open in the south-west London park, the time trials have long been lauded for their inclusivity and for providing a gateway into the sport for young people and beginners, nervous at the prospect of riding alongside fast-moving traffic, but able to race on largely traffic-free roads.

However, yesterday the events’ organisers and local cyclists speculated that the cancellation of the only time trials permitted in London’s royal parks owed much to the media coverage and anti-cycling sentiment surrounding the recent inquest into the tragic death of an elderly pedestrian following a collision with a cyclist in Regent’s Park in June 2022 – a theory since confirmed by the Royal Parks itself in a statement to road.cc this morning.

Richmond Park time trial (London Dynamo CC)

> Royal Parks cancels Richmond Park time trials over fears cyclists will break 20mph speed limit, after inquest into pedestrian fatality in “speeding” cyclist collision “brought this activity to people’s attention”

Last month, a coroner’s inquest heard that cyclist Brian Fitzgerald, while riding as part of a group in Regent’s Park’s Outer Circle travelling at between 25-29mph, hit an 81-year-old pedestrian, causing her to suffer several broken bones and bleeding on the brain, injuries she died from in hospital two months later.

Fitzgerald was not prosecuted, however, for his role in her death, with the Metropolitan Police concluding that there was “insufficient evidence for a real prospect of conviction”.

Following the inquest, the Royal Parks – the charity which manages eight of London’s royal parks including Richmond Park and Regent’s Park – contacted Strava to request that the park’s Outer Circle segment be deleted, believing that this may deter cyclists from riding the route at high speeds, and prompting the ride-sharing app to remind its users and the public that “hazardous” segments can already be flagged and urging cyclists to “prioritise everyone’s safety”.

Richmond Park Cyclists 01

> Strava urges cyclists to "prioritise everyone's safety" following pedestrian fatality on popular segment, states "hazardous" segments can be flagged

And this morning, Richmond Park’s manager Paul Richards confirmed to road.cc that the charity is now undertaking a general review of its policies surrounding cycling and cycling events, along with the parks’ infrastructure, in the wake of “several” high-profile incidents involving a “minority” of cyclists riding at speed.

“The Royal Parks charity takes the safety of all park visitors and road users extremely seriously,” Richards told road.cc.

“Following several cycling-related incidents within the Royal Parks, linked to a minority of people cycling at excessive speeds, it is our duty to take action to minimise the risk of accidents and our priority to ensure the safety of all cyclists together with other visitors.

“We strive to create a relaxing and welcoming environment for the cycling community. We have reduced cut-through motor traffic and invested in safety measures to protect cyclists, pedestrians, and other road users, including the equine community.”

Richmond Park close pass (@ohbee07/Twitter)

> "Disgraceful that vulnerable road users have to put up with this": Renewed call from cyclists for drivers to be banned from using popular park as rat-run

He continued: “We continue to review and explore our current cycling events, our cycling policy, and the infrastructure across the Royal Parks.

“During this period of review, we have taken the decision to not permit the time trial events on 23 June and 7 July, as they directly encourage cyclists to go faster than the speed limit of the road.

“Enforcement of the law and park regulations is the responsibility of the Metropolitan Police.”

> “If we want to promote cycling, we have got to be responsible”: Cyclist calls for hit-and-run “MAMIL” to be “named and shamed” following head-on collision which left him unconscious

Speaking to road.cc on Thursday evening, the organiser of the Richmond Park Time Trials, London Dynamo chairperson Andy Taylor, expressed his disappointment at the decision to cancel the events, pointing out that he believes the charity was placed “under a lot of pressure” to take action due to the anti-cycling sentiment generated by the recent coroner’s inquest into the 81-year-old’s pedestrian’s death.

“We’ve had a very longstanding, good relationship with the Royal Parks,” Taylor told road.cc. “While we’re very disappointed and upset with the decision, we understand where they’re coming from – but I still disagree with it.

“I think they’ve come under a lot of pressure following that media storm around the coroner’s inquest. There was a lot of anti-cycling sentiment around it, so I can see why they did it.

“We offered to meet them and collaborate with them. We did a very detailed risk assessment – every bump and corner in the park was assessed, we have lots of marshals.

“And there’s barely any traffic – most of the time we’re out before the gates have even opened for car traffic. So it’s very frustrating that they didn’t really engage with us and just decided to cancel it. I think they didn’t want to see themselves associated with an event linked to excessive speed in the park.”

London Dynamo Richmond Park time trials (Richmond Park Cyclists)

> Cyclists blast proposals to introduce 10mph speed limit on Richmond Park hill

Taylor said he first “caught wind” that the Royal Parks were raising concerns about the time trials last month, when the media coverage around the coroner’s inquest was at its height, leading to London Dynamo – along with the Richmond Park Cyclists group – moving to lobby the charity to ensure the races could go ahead.

However, despite a prolonged exchange over email, Taylor claims the Parks’ board of directors declined the opportunity to meet face-to-face to discuss the issue.

The cycling club chair notes that one email he received from the Royal Parks claimed that the time trials were “promoting” cyclists riding faster than the 20mph speed limit for motorists and that the park’s deer “posed a danger” to those taking part.

“The deer can be a hazard, but that’s something all the riders are warned about,” he says. “It’s not a new thing, everyone knows the deer are there.

“Neither of these things are new – the 20mph speed limit has been there for quite some time. So you have to question the timing of the decision. They didn’t mention the Regent’s Park incident to us at all, but the two are clearly closely linked.”

Pending the outcome of the Royal Parks’ current review, Taylor says he is now focused on securing another venue for the annual time trial events.

“I asked the Royal Park if this was all just a temporary reaction to current events, but they said it was likely to be permanent,” he says.

“We’re just thinking about what we do next. We’d like to keep a time trial event on our calendar, but it’s unlikely to be in Richmond Park. We’ll have to look elsewhere for another venue.” 

Ryan joined road.cc in December 2021 and since then has kept the site’s readers and listeners informed and enthralled (well at least occasionally) on news, the live blog, and the road.cc Podcast. After boarding a wrong bus at the world championships and ruining a good pair of jeans at the cyclocross, he now serves as road.cc’s senior news writer. Before his foray into cycling journalism, he wallowed in the equally pitiless world of academia, where he wrote a book about Victorian politics and droned on about cycling and bikes to classes of bored students (while taking every chance he could get to talk about cycling in print or on the radio). He can be found riding his bike very slowly around the narrow, scenic country lanes of Co. Down.

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48 comments

Avatar
Hivizalways | 1 month ago
0 likes

Wanna ride fast? Go to a velodrome. I'm not allowed to drive my F1 on public roads.

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Rendel Harris replied to Hivizalways | 1 month ago
7 likes

Hivizalways wrote:

Wanna ride fast? Go to a velodrome. I'm not allowed to drive my F1 on public roads.

Wanna talk rubbish and make stupid comparisons whilst indulging your fantasy of owning an F1 car? Go to the Autocar website.

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perce replied to Hivizalways | 1 month ago
6 likes

Yeah, my F1 is in the garage at the moment. Something wrong with the windscreen wipers. And I can't get Classic FM

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mrb replied to Hivizalways | 1 month ago
0 likes

After you have tidied up your box room in your mums house and hidden away your girls magazine, you can join a grown up conversation.

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Krd51 replied to Hivizalways | 1 month ago
1 like

W⚓️⚓️⚓️⚓️⚓️⚓️

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Clem Fandango replied to Hivizalways | 1 month ago
8 likes

Alright. I'll stick to riding slowly. Drivers seem to love that.

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perce replied to Clem Fandango | 1 month ago
2 likes

I agree.

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belugabob replied to Hivizalways | 1 month ago
3 likes
Hivizalways wrote:

Wanna ride fast? Go to a velodrome. I'm not allowed to drive my F1 on public roads.

Mainly because F1 cars aren't road legal, whereas bicycles....

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wycombewheeler | 1 month ago
3 likes

as much as this is being termed as a bad reaction from royal parks wasn't there guidance from the top  that time trials should stick to 20mph limits where they were part of the course? reducing a richmond park time trial to a hill climb competition, as everyone would be doing the same speed around the flat and downhill sections

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stonojnr replied to wycombewheeler | 1 month ago
0 likes

That was essentially the outcome of
the most recent CTT guidance on the matter.

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Wheelywheelygood | 1 month ago
0 likes

Just everyday events for a biker "let's run down some people in wheelchairs"

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stevemaiden replied to chrisonabike | 1 month ago
4 likes

You do realise in that same time period hundreds of people were killed by drivers? They are in the ground right now, and their families are still grieving, it's only been a short time since their funerals.

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john_smith replied to Wheelywheelygood | 1 month ago
0 likes

Extra points for babies and old people.

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chrisonabike replied to john_smith | 1 month ago
0 likes
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Jakrayan replied to chrisonabike | 1 month ago
1 like

Ah yes, another 'car crashes into building' story 

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stevemaiden replied to Wheelywheelygood | 1 month ago
2 likes

You should really present a solution rather than make a frivolous comment. No one who reads this magazine wants to hit someone. Most incidents and near misses involving bikes are caused by drug dealers or welfare recipients and they don't come on here. There are millions riding bikes every day and each one is an individual.

If you want to class all riders the same you can. But you don't do it with drivers. When 1,500 people are killed each year and 45,000 are seriously injured do you lay the blame at drivers? Do you go on car forums and slag them all down? You don't, you blame the individuals involved, likely because you drive a car safely, as I and most serious bike riders do. If you want to save lives then start by saving the hundreds of dead children every year killed on the roads. How are you going to do that on a cycling forum?

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chrisonabike replied to stevemaiden | 1 month ago
0 likes

stevemaiden wrote:

You should really present a solution rather than make a frivolous comment. No one who reads this magazine wants to hit someone.

I feel I've woken up in the wrong dream - or the wrong era.  Magazine?  Presenting solutions on forums?  Something from my youth!

Well, if this be dreaming, let's dream on *!

Wheely would be counterpoint to the usual hopeful dreams here - or perhaps they're from the world of non-dreamers?  For some, they evoke a sense of deja vu - could they be a visitor from a past lifetime?

* Here are some of mine - CambridgeSeville ... and ultimately some of the qualities of here and here.

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Rendel Harris replied to stevemaiden | 1 month ago
2 likes

stevemaiden wrote:

Most incidents and near misses involving bikes are caused by [...] welfare recipients and they don't come on here.

Please tell me that's an attempt at satire?

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stevemaiden replied to Rendel Harris | 1 month ago
1 like

Most are indeed, you see them everyday on pavements passing people closely at speed. They are junkies, doleys and gang members running drugs around town. You must live a sheltered life. Another fact, more drivers break the highway code than cyclists. 75% speed and speed kills. There's no satire here.

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Hirsute replied to stevemaiden | 1 month ago
2 likes

You are replying to an established troll.

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chrisonabike replied to Hirsute | 1 month ago
4 likes

Couldn't just speed past the troll if it was "established", surely?

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belugabob replied to chrisonabike | 1 month ago
4 likes
chrisonabike wrote:

Couldn't just speed past the troll if it was "established", surely?

When you encounter an established troll, stop...

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PRSboy | 1 month ago
1 like

Im reminded of the April Fool posted on this site... how about a new 'regularity' contest, with the rider achieving the closest time equating to 20mph winning?

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chrisonabike replied to PRSboy | 1 month ago
2 likes

I think that's a "crime trial"?  You know, where you score points for each time a motorist commits a crime (speeding, close passing, dangerous drivingdriving without due care) because they had to pass a cyclist.

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stevemaiden replied to PRSboy | 1 month ago
3 likes

But if they ride anything like drivers they will speed up to 40mph in the 20 zone then slow down passing the camera before tearing off again past a school at home time.

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john_smith replied to stevemaiden | 1 month ago
1 like

And, for some inexplicable reason, they'll slow down to 10 for the camera, so that if you're doing 20 you have to brake so as not to go into the back of them.

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Shades | 1 month ago
5 likes

I seem to spend a lot of my cycle miles on the Bristol Bath Cycle Path; commuting around 2 days a week, all year round.  Once the warmer weather starts and there are usually more cyclists, walkers, joggers etc on the path, I thought to myself the other day, the t#ssers are back ie the cyclists who think it's OK to absolutely rip it down the path when there's a bit of minor congestion with the various users.  If the path is clear, fine, go as fast as you want.  High speed close passes on pedestrians you could say.  No bell, or voice call, in evidence; also club colours in evidence (no names) and sometimes some frustrated swearing from them.  A female friend of mine goes on there with a small ladies group; they're usually in a group chatting.  She said they often get sarcastic comments about riding abreast because someone's been slightly held up; always from male cyclists.  I'll just wait for the inevitable click-bait news story on someone getting injured or lycra louts tearing down the path.  Not sure we help ourselves sometimes.

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stevemaiden replied to Shades | 1 month ago
2 likes

They sound like tossers TBF. You should contact your local community policing team and ask if they can set up a stop and advise effort to pull over these riders and warn them about endangering people. You could also ask them to hand out advice leaflets. Maybe the council can put up signs too. Don't just moan about it!

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john_smith replied to Shades | 1 month ago
1 like

Except that it's not "we". 

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