Richmond Park MP Zac Goldsmith chaired a public meeting last night (December 17) to discuss how to end the growing conflict between cyclists and motorists in the park.
On Saturday mornings, cyclists can make up over 70% of the park’s traffic, with a number of different cycling clubs using the picturesque setting for training.
But concerns have grown over ‘packs’ of cyclists taking up the road, and speeding drivers endangering both riders and pedestrians – problems that are hard to curb within the Royal Parks.
Richmond Cycling Campaign’s Tim Lennon told Cycling Weekly: It’s all private land, so policing in the Royal Parks is different to policing outside.
“One thing that came up [in the meeting] was that the police have very few ways of dealing with speeding cyclists other than issuing a written warning or taking them to court, and it’s a bit drastic to take a cyclist to court.”
Figures released in the meeting show that 126 speeding tickets have been issued to cars since April, with one driver clocked at 56mph – 36mph above the park’s limit – while 30 cyclists have been issued written warnings for going too fast.
While no solutions were agreed upon at the meeting, several ideas to reduce the traffic in the park were raised by attendees, many of whom were concerned about motorists using Richmond Park as a cut-through, rather than using the busy surrounding roads.
“The key thing from our point of view was that there was a lot of talk about there being too much traffic in the park,” Lennon continued. “The biggest rounds of applause came when people suggested stopping drivers rat running.
“There were a number of ideas discussed about how to lower the levels of motor traffic – one idea was to extend the period in which the park is closed to cars, which currently is during the hours of darkness.
“There was another idea, which has been around for a while, about making cars go one way around the park and cyclists go round the other way.
“To be honest that’s a bit rubbish because it doesn’t reflect the idea that the purpose of the roads is for people to get somewhere in the park.”