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Strava asked to remove popular segment after pedestrian death in cyclist collision

The Royal Parks said it would also be working with police and cycling groups as it considers further safety measures

The charity that manages London's royal parks has requested that Strava deletes "Regent's Park as a segment on the app" following the death of a pensioner who died from her injuries sustained in a collision with a cyclist riding laps of the park.

The Royal Parks believes it would remove incentive for cyclists to ride at high speeds on the route, a spokesperson adding that the organisation would also be working with the police and "local stakeholders, including cycling groups, to inform our approach".

It comes following the death of Hilda Griffiths in 2022, the story attracting attention in the past week since a coroner's inquest heard that Brian Fitzgerald — the cyclist riding laps of the park as part of a group ride and travelling at between 25-29mph when he hit the 81-year-old pedestrian as she crossed the road, causing her several broken bones and bleeding on the brain, injuries she died from in hospital two months later — would not face prosecution as the Metropolitan Police deemed there was "insufficient evidence for a real prospect of conviction".

Mr Fitzgerald told the inquest that he had "zero reaction time" to avoid Ms Griffiths, who had been walking her dog and was crossing the road to a pedestrian island, when she stepped out in front of the group of cyclists. While the speed limit in the park is 20mph, the Metropolitan Police confirmed that it does not apply to people riding bicycles.

Regent's Park Outer Circle (via StreetView).jpg

The Telegraph also reported that on May 1 of this year a dog walker had been left with facial injuries and knocked unconscious after she was hit by a cyclist at the same spot where Ms Griffiths was fatally injured. The newspaper reported that Paolo Dos Santos was left with fractures to her eye socket, jawbone and cheekbone when she was hit by a cyclist overtaking "a car which was said to be observing the 20mph speed limit".

"Apparently, the cyclist didn't slow down but overtook the car by going around the pedestrian island on the wrong side of the road where I was crossing," she said. "It means he was very likely speeding and was on the wrong side of the pedestrian island."

In response to the incidents, The Royal Parks has contacted Strava to request the removal of the Outer Circle segment. It is not clear whether the charity has requested the removal of all segments on the Outer Circle or just the one covering the entire four-kilometre loop, but road.cc has contacted Strava for comment.

Other safety improvements are also under review, The Royal Parks suggesting it could install raised pedestrian crossings and cited Richmond Park in south-west London as a case study for where it has introduced "additional measures to encourage safe cycling". Additional measures, it could be pointed out, that have not been without controversy and criticism.

> Changes to Richmond Park road layout branded "unusable" and "increases danger for cyclists"

However, addressing the Regent's Park latest, a spokesperson for the charity said: "We were extremely sorry to hear of the incident which resulted in the death of Hilda Griffiths. We take visitor safety extremely seriously. The speed limit for motor vehicles in Regent's Park is 20mph and this is clearly signposted on both the Outer and Inner Circles.

"We are working closely with the police and other partners, notably the Crown Estate Paving Commission, to review if there are any additional measures we can put in place to encourage safe cycling in the park, as we have done in Richmond Park where we have introduced raised crossing points, improved signage and other road infrastructure."

In a second comment, the charity added: "We will continue to work with local stakeholders, including cycling groups, to inform our approach. We have made contact and will follow up with cycling apps such as Strava to request removal of the Outer Circle in the Regent’s Park as a segment on the app."

It has also been reported that a letter was sent to cycling clubs asking cyclists to observe the "motor vehicle speed limit for the park" and stating that "pedestrians have priority within the royal parks, as they make up the majority of park visitors".

In light of the media attention that the situation in Regent's Park has attracted, including renewed calls from some for stricter regulation of cyclists including number plates and registration, former Top Gear presenter James May today called the talk "nonsense".

James May (CC BY-SA 2.0 licence by Airwolfhound:Flickr)

"I don't think people should try to achieve personal bests through places like London. And I don't think people should race around the park. I think that is disrespectful and irresponsible and can lead to accidents," he said.

"The vast majority of people can't achieve even 20 miles an hour on a bicycle. I ride a lot in London, and I'm not particularly fit and I'm getting quite old. But even so, my average speed is usually ten to 12 miles an hour and I'm putting my back into it.

"Trying to cure the world's problems by adding more admin is pointless and expensive and makes life miserable. I've been listening to various debates, including one yesterday on another radio station. There were some terrible things being said on that about regulating bicycles, and bicycles were being blamed for drivers speeding and people were saying insurance would make bicycles safer and all sorts of things that were, to my mind, nonsense," he told Times Radio.

Last week, Transport Secretary Mark Harper said tougher laws for dangerous cyclists are "under review" and will be considered "with an open mind", the comments coming after Conservative Party colleague Iain Duncan Smith tabled a series of amendments to the Criminal Justice Bill that would see cyclists, as well as riders of electric scooters and "personal transporters", subject to stricter laws if they ride dangerously and kill or injure.

Dan is the road.cc news editor and has spent the past four years writing stories and features, as well as (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. Having previously written about nearly every other sport under the sun for the Express, and the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for the Non-League Paper, Dan joined road.cc in 2020. Come the weekend you'll find him labouring up a hill, probably with a mouth full of jelly babies, or making a bonk-induced trip to a south of England petrol station... in search of more jelly babies.

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42 comments

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Oldfatgit | 2 months ago
1 like

Once Strava has deleted the segment, what's to stop someone adding it again ... either as Public or Private?

What about Garmin? Wahoo? FitBit et al?
Do their users get to keep the segment?

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bikeman01 | 2 months ago
7 likes

These are the same royal parks that think its perfectly safe to be clogged up with commuters short cutting through them by their thousands in cars every day.

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Carior | 2 months ago
5 likes

Just imagine if every time a motorist killed or seriously injured someone there was a national story/hullaballoo about it - for info its around 5 deaths and 81.5 KSI per day - it would get pretty old pretty quickly!

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Patrick9-32 replied to Carior | 2 months ago
9 likes

Realistically, every time someone is killed or seriously injured, no matter by what, investigations should happen with the potential to implement changes to mitigate that risk. The fact that car related deaths are criminally under investigated and accepted as normal doesn't mean cyclist related collisions should be ignored as well. 

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Secret_squirrel replied to Carior | 2 months ago
0 likes

Not sure where you are getting those figures from, they are far too high for the UK.  1 death per day (392pa) is a much better approximation and thats if you include any driver of a motor vehicle as a motorist (eg buses and lorries too).

Table 3 below -

Deaths  = (2018-9-48) / 5 = 392pa

SI's ~5300pa

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/reported-road-casualties-great-...

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john_smith replied to Secret_squirrel | 2 months ago
0 likes

The numbers you linked to relate to pedestrians. What about the other road users?

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OnYerBike replied to john_smith | 2 months ago
1 like

Looks like genuine confusion.

Secret_squirrel's comment focused on pedestrians - probably reasonable in the context of this story. As they say, on average around one pedestrian per day is killed following a collision involving a motor vehicle, and yet they rarely make the news. The one or two pedestrians per year killed in an incident involving a pedal cycle always do.

But Carior's point and figures are also accurate - across all road users, approximately five per day are killed, which is also a tragedy (and also the vast majority do not make the news). https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/reported-road-casualties-great-...

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Secret_squirrel replied to john_smith | 2 months ago
1 like

Total road deaths for 2022 was 1694 which is about 4.6 a day which is probably where the OP got their numbers from.  They are not attributable all to motorists though which shows the important of providing sources. 
 

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/reported-road-casualties-great-...

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FionaJJ | 2 months ago
7 likes

I agree with the sentiment that cars are far more dangerous and more focus should be on that. However, based on my own experience I've long considered that that Strava has a lot to answer for when it comes to the minority of cyclists (and runners) that fail to ride to the conditions or do the cycling equivalent of cutting people up. 

I have wondered more than once if my local stretch of shared cycle and pedestrian path would be a nicer space for more people if the Strava timed segments were removed. Realistically there will still be people who would still treat it as a race with themselves, timing their entire journey, or reviewing particular segments. Not to mention some people are simply in a rush to get to wherever they are going and are careless/reckless/narcissistic enough to act as if the path is clear.

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bikeman01 replied to FionaJJ | 2 months ago
4 likes

As a club cyclist even our keenest cyclists dont seek strava KOMs on shared cycle paths. This is nothing more than hearsay often repeated.

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FionaJJ replied to bikeman01 | 2 months ago
3 likes

That may be, but there are some cyclists (and joggers) who are clearly in some kind of competition with themselves to get better times on routes that I use (as a cyclist, jogger and pedestrian). And also know some pedestrians do their best to get in the way of other, even moderately paced pedestrians. Every group has people that don't know how to share nicely.

I use Strava myself, and find it interesting to see the times. When I review my run or even my regular commute, which includes some very busy shared spaces, I get told how well I'm doing on particular stretches against my previous efforts, and other people. It's hard to believe that doesn't influence some people who are tempted to beat their previous best. 

The same can be said for other apps, and as I already said, some people don't need apps to care too much about maximising their own speed. It is probably more of a general mentality of some cyclists who can't help thinking of every cycle as a competitive sport, but I don't think the app culture is irrelevant to that either. 

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stonojnr replied to FionaJJ | 2 months ago
0 likes

I don't think the app drives that culture though, undoubtedly some obsess about their rides in that way, and it leads them to ride without consideration, but that's more to do with their personality, and they'd be doing the same with or without Strava.

Maybe it's because I'm firmly in the James May camp of Captain slowness, but the Strava community as a whole doesn't strike me as obsessed by times and speeds.

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Dnnnnnn replied to stonojnr | 2 months ago
2 likes

stonojnr wrote:

the Strava community as a whole doesn't strike me as obsessed by times and speeds.

Out of curiosity, who are the "Strava community as a whole"?

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brooksby replied to Dnnnnnn | 2 months ago
4 likes

Dnnnnnn wrote:

stonojnr wrote:

the Strava community as a whole doesn't strike me as obsessed by times and speeds.

Out of curiosity, who are the "Strava community as a whole"?

I think they are a splitter group from the Evil Cycling Lobby.

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stonojnr replied to Dnnnnnn | 2 months ago
1 like

They have their own forum for members, go check them out.

Strava themselves claim 2 out of 3 rides in London are commutes and if you cycle more than 3000 miles in a year, you are in their top 10% of distance riders.

So as a whole I'd say the Strava community is mainly commuters, who cycle less than 3000 miles per year. Not chain gangers doing laps in Regents Park.

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Rendel Harris replied to stonojnr | 2 months ago
1 like

stonojnr wrote:

They have their own forum for members, go check them out. Strava themselves claim 2 out of 3 rides in London are commutes and if you cycle more than 3000 miles in a year, you are in their top 10% of distance riders. So as a whole I'd say the Strava community is mainly commuters, who cycle less than 3000 miles per year. Not chain gangers doing laps in Regents Park.

I suspect you're probably right, Strava is much more generally suited to people (like me) who just like to keep a log of their journeys and mileage; people who take their numbers more seriously are more likely to use programs that can give one a more detailed breakdown of one's efforts, such as Garmin Express or similar.

On a sidenote I don't know why anyone would bother trying to chase KoMs in London as most of the segment leaderboards are topped by times clearly achieved on illegal electric motorcycles or in cars; 90kph speeds are not uncommon, or sometimes even 300kph where people have obviously left the app open when on planes coming into Heathrow. Interestingly though, looking at the two main Regent's Park full circuit segments, any time above 50kph seems to have been removed, so Strava appear to have at least partially reacted to Royal Park's request.

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john_smith replied to stonojnr | 2 months ago
1 like

There's a combined ped/cycle path near us, which is used by quite a lot of cyclists, as it leads out of town. It's interesting to see how different riders behave. Generally the fast riders ride slowly and keep out of people's way, and the wannabe racers go as fast as they can, swerve all over the place, whizz past peds, cut other users up, etc.

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Secret_squirrel replied to FionaJJ | 2 months ago
1 like

Im dubious of the influence of Strava tbh its just the whipping child, other PR apps exist.  If someone wants a to aim for a PR they will.

That said the PR benefits of losing the Regents Park PR are well worth having IMO even if I despise its necessity as its driven by outrage seeking media rags.

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Global Nomad | 2 months ago
4 likes

Having been riding regulalry in Regents Park for almost 20 years, there has always been plenty of unfortunate behaviour, from all users of the park. Plenty of cyclists being hit by cars, plenty of cyclists taking risks with pedestrains and plenty of vehicles driving poorly or danegerously. Removing strava segments will not change anything, as I do not believe that is the defining motivation for most cyclists there. 
Everyone needs to become more aware and share the space, slowing when necessary and expecting the unexpected. Riding at pace does not have to be dangerous. 
Removing cars from the park may actually make the space more dangerous to ride as pedestrians will wonder freely across the road. 

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espressodan replied to Global Nomad | 2 months ago
0 likes

[deleted]

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espressodan | 2 months ago
4 likes

Key Point to remember for the pub: When the data is normalised (which isn't perfect given the vast difference in scale), cyclists are 14.64 times safer from a pedestrian safety perspective, than vehicle drivers.

In 2022 in Greater London, there were 13 pedestrians seriously injured in accidents involving cyclists. None were killed. There were 1,607 pedestrians who were killed or seriously injured (KSI) in accidents involving motor vehicles. 37 were killed. Sources: (Transport for London)​​.

In Greater London in 2022, 4.5% of all journeys were made by bike. In contrast, motor vehicles accounted for approximately 38%, of journeys.

So even if we account for that difference,

Safety comparison= KSI rate for cycling / KSI rate for driving​

=2.89 / 42.29​

≈14.64

This means that, from a pedestrian safety perspective, cycling is approximately 14.64 times safer than driving.

The focus in cycling in the media is fucking depressing.

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Pub bike replied to espressodan | 2 months ago
0 likes

Intuitively 14 seems too small.  I think the reason for that is that in terms of those killed in 2022 cycling is infinitely safer from a pedestrian safety perspective.

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espressodan | 2 months ago
9 likes

In Memorium

Regents Park and Surrounds.

Killed and Seriously Injured by Drivers

2019-2021

"But cyclists"
 

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miffed | 2 months ago
5 likes

Why not make the whole park car free? make the major crossings a shared space and place encouragements for cyclist to slow down by good design.  

Would make the whole space more friendly and inviting for recreation rather than a rat run for rushing motorists

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kingleo | 2 months ago
2 likes

Minor news: Scottish motorist kills three boys and seriously injures three other people.

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Sriracha replied to kingleo | 2 months ago
0 likes

And your point about how the Royal Parks should respond?

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HoarseMann | 2 months ago
7 likes

From the Telegraph article:

“Just days before Hilda Griffiths suffered fatal injuries in a collision with a speeding cyclist in Regent’s Park, the 81-year-old was uncharacteristically forthright about the perils she faced on her early morning dog walk.

"Those bloody cyclists are getting worse, you know,” she told her son, explaining how the famous London park owned by the Crown Estate had become a race track for middle-aged and invariably middle-class men dressed in Lycra recording, sharing and comparing their best lap times."

"Mr Fitzgerald said Mrs Griffiths stepped out without looking at the oncoming cyclists. A jogger witness claimed the collision was not the cyclist’s fault."

It seems odd to me that you would be so concerned about 'those bloody cyclists', seemingly acutely aware of the likely presence of cyclists, that you would then cross the road without looking.

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john_smith replied to HoarseMann | 2 months ago
1 like

Concerned or resentful?

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wycombewheeler replied to john_smith | 2 months ago
3 likes

john_smith wrote:

Concerned or resentful?

or perhaps the son just made that conversation up.

 

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john_smith replied to wycombewheeler | 2 months ago
2 likes

It certainly reads as if they just threw together all their favourite cycling cliches.

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