In a bid to reduce cycling speeds to 10mph, Royal Parks has revealed plans to build speed bumps on Broad Walk in Hyde Park. Radio 2’s Jeremy Vine has been among those to criticise similar measures employed in Kensington Gardens, describing the cobblestones used as being “so big it’s ridiculous.”
The London Evening Standard reports that the plan is to fit 28 rows of raised granite setts – or "rumble strips" – between Speakers Corner and Hyde Park Corner. New signage will also be put up, reminding cyclists of the presence of pedestrians.
Simon Richards, who leads The Royal Parks’ Cycling Board, said: “Everyone has to recognise that when they come into a park they’re entering a very different environment; for everyone’s sake we want to encourage cyclists to adjust their behaviour when moving from busy roads to peaceful paths, and similarly pedestrians need to be aware there are a whole variety of other users they have to watch out for.
“Our parks welcome a range of visitors, all of whom come to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. While we welcome cyclists and offer 68 miles of cycle routes, pathways and horse tracks, it is important we do all we can to ensure everyone can enjoy our parks in safety.”
The Royal Parks wants cyclists to ride at a “considerate cycling speed” of 8-12mph – although this is not legally enforceable.
Royal Parks statistics showed 1,200 cyclists used cycle paths through Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park during rush hour. 6.6 per cent were clocked riding at over 20mph, 29.5 per cent at 16-20mph, 43.1 per cent at 12-16mph, 13 per cent at 10-12mph and 7.7 per cent at 10mph or below.
One cyclist was clocked riding at 32mph.
There were no reported collisions between cyclists and pedestrians but two “near misses” a week were spotted.
A Royal Parks spokesman said: “If we have cyclists racing up and down a pathway at speed with pedestrians trying to cross that really doesn’t make for a pleasant visit, especially when we also have cases of pedestrians being shouted at for walking on pathways in the way of cyclists.”
Cobblestones were introduced last year on Mount Walk in Kensington Gardens and cyclists are reported to be either going round them onto the grass or speeding up to minimise the discomfort when going over them.
Royal Parks is such an odd organisation. Even if some of the old guard hate bikes, is defacing the park like this really better? pic.twitter.com/SL8FPyMDCW
— Andrew Gilligan (@mragilligan) March 10, 2017
Radio 2 presenter Jeremy Vine – who was stopped for speeding in Hyde Park in 2014 (and was subsequently told that “there is no legal speed limit for cyclists in Hyde Park”) – said that he was a daily user of the Kensington path on his way to the BBC.
On Twitter, he said of the speed humps: "They are so big it's ridiculous." He added that a policeman had told him that they hadn't worked and were being removed.
London Cycling Campaign (LCC) said that the measure could hit the users most in need of cycling through the park hardest and would fail to address the real dangers.
“The Royal Parks have installed cycle speed bumps with cobbles in elsewhere in the parks and these have been a disaster. They are steep, uneven and hazardous to ride over. They are widely avoided by road bike riders with skinny tyres – with visible worn grass patches on either side of wherever they are installed.
“Worse, however, for those unable to avoid them – on adapted cycles, in wheelchairs etc – they represent a real barrier. The Royal Parks say these ones are a softer, gentler design - but we haven't seen their new design. And the previous designs don't give us confidence that the Parks fully understand the issues.”
LCC adds that Royal Parks has failed to take action regarding the dangers presented by motor vehicles in several parks.
“The Regent's Park has more collisions than the surrounding areas, vehicles doing high speeds and there is a scheme on the table to close key gates to get rid of through traffic – if The Royal Parks is intent on reducing danger in its park, removing through motor vehicle traffic from them should be a far higher priority than this excessive response to the issue of cycling speeds.”
A little reminder of why people cycle along the eastern edge of Hyde Park. pic.twitter.com/YvCitum4W1
— Bikebot (@bicyclebot) March 8, 2017