London's Royal Parks threaten closure if cyclists can't adhere to social distancing guidelines

Boris Johnson has said he will introduce stricter measures if people continue to not comply with social distancing rules

A deer crosses the road in Richmond Park (Adrian Dennis/AFP via Getty Images)
(Image credit: AFP via Getty Images)

London's Royal Parks have warned cyclists to follow guidelines on social distancing or face being banned.

Cyclists have been told to not congregate in large groups and stay two metres away from other riders at all times in order to help limit the coronavirus outbreak.

Cars were banned from Richmond, Bushy and Greenwich Parks over the weekend after large numbers of people failed to adhere to social distancing measures and socialised in the parks, after pubs and restaurants were shut by the Government from Friday evening.

On Sunday evening, Boris Johnson threatened stricter measures if people continued to not respect social distancing guidelines put in place to try and halt the spread of the virus, with UK deaths having risen by 47 to 281.

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In a statement, London's Royal Parks said: "We are not banning cycling from any of our parks. We have temporarily banned cars from Richmond, Bushy and Greenwich Parks, following police advice, because these parks saw a huge surge of traffic on Saturday and Sunday morning with large numbers of people pouring in and ignoring the Government's advice on social distancing. We hope that by closing these parks to cars we will help mitigate this situation.

"Cyclists are welcome to continue cycling in the parks but please cycle carefully and considerately and do not congregate in large groups. Social distancing is vital so please stay at least two metres apart at all times.

"We understand the importance of being able to continue cycling in our parks for both physical and mental wellbeing, but if cyclists do not adhere to these guidelines, we will have no choice but to close the parks."

Former Olympian Chris Boardman had earlier said people should follow what the Government are telling them or they would lose the right to cycle outdoors while the crisis is dealt with.

"[For] those asking, this is official government guidance right now: ‘You can go for a walk or exercise outdoors if you stay more than 2 metres from others’," he said on Twitter, "for isolation to be sustainable, perhaps for months, this is a vital tool. Abuse it and we will lose it."

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