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Huge fine for cyclist caught 'speeding' in Richmond Park

Questionable whether speed limits in London’s Royal Parks actually apply to cyclists

A cyclist was fined £200 after being clocked by a speed gun at 38mph while riding in Richmond Park. This is despite the fact that a Royal Parks spokesman has previous said that speed limits in the places it manages don't apply to cyclists.

Paul Harness was riding down Sawyers Hill on January 11 when he was stopped by a police officer who had been parked behind a tree with a speed gun.

Harness says he was charged with speeding and driving without due care on a bicycle. When he subsequently appeared at Lavender Hill Magistrates on October 10, he was fined £200 for each offence, plus £200 court cost and a £20 victim surcharge.

Harness told that he pleaded not guilty in the belief that the speed gun was not designed to work on cyclists and that he did not by law need a speed measuring device on his bike.

“I thought the whole affair was a waste of time and money and the policeman was way over the top and the judge would think the whole thing ridiculous. There were crimes going on all around Richmond that day and this fella was hiding behind a tree with a speed gun and I was having a Sunday cycle going down Sawyers Hill.”

As we reported in 2013, there is a large degree of doubt about whether speeding restrictions in London’s Royal Parks actually apply to cyclists. At the time, we concluded that that anyone issued a fine for doing so might have grounds for challenging it.

Indeed in 2014, Royal Parks told Radio 2 presenter Jeremy Vine that there is no speed limit for cyclists in Hyde Park and, by extension, any of the other 10 parks or open spaces it manages in London. However, none of this seems to have prevented cyclists from being charged.

In March, Rory Palmer was fined for riding his bike at 41mph in Richmond Park on January 2 – again on Sawyers Hill. After pleading guilty to breaking the park’s speed limit of 20mph, magistrates fined him £65 plus a £20 surcharge and he was also ordered to pay prosecution costs of £65.

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