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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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Rendel Harris | 2 months ago
13 likes

It appears not to be disputed in the case of Ms Griffifths that she stepped in front of the cyclist when they were two metres apart. If he was doing the highest quoted speed of 29mph, he would have had 0.07 of a second to react and take avoiding action. If he had been doing the motor speed limit of 20mph as RP are requesting cycle clubs to do, he would have had 0.12 of a second to react. Clearly this was a case where at either speed it would not have been humanly possible to react, let alone take avoiding action, and certainly an extra 0.05 seconds would have made no difference whatsoever. That being the case, Royal Parks using this tragedy as a reason to tell cyclists to slow down in a way that would have made no difference seems to smack of a determination to say that the cyclist was responsible rather than taking any meaningful action.

In the other case, if the cyclist did hit the pedestrian because they overtook a car on the wrong side of the traffic island as she was crossing, they should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, severely sanctioned and made to pay substantial compensation, ridiculous behaviour.

Avatar
john_smith replied to Rendel Harris | 2 months ago
5 likes

A cyclist travelling at 29 mph will have more than double the kinetic energy of the same cyclist travelling at 20 mph. As a ped you are arguably going to be better off being hit by the slower cyclist.

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squidgy replied to john_smith | 2 months ago
1 like

I guess if they had to stick to 20mph they either would have missed her entirely, or just went somewhere else to do their training

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Rendel Harris replied to squidgy | 2 months ago
1 like

squidgy wrote:

I guess if they had to stick to 20mph they either would have missed her entirely, or just went somewhere else to do their training

As per my post above, no he would not have missed her because she stepped out in front of the rider when he was two metres away, if he had been riding at 20 mph instead of 29 mph he would've had an extra 0.05 of a second to react, which could not possibly have made any difference to whether they collided or not.

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squidgy replied to Rendel Harris | 2 months ago
0 likes

He would as their paths probably wouldn't have crossed.

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Rendel Harris replied to squidgy | 2 months ago
0 likes

squidgy wrote:

He would as their paths probably wouldn't have crossed.

That's a ridiculous argument, you might as well say the rider is to blame because if he had got out of bed fifteen minutes later their paths would never have crossed. Or perhaps the pedestrian is to blame, if she had gone to the park five minutes later their paths would never have crossed.

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squidgy replied to Rendel Harris | 2 months ago
0 likes

You might also argue that that the group as a whole were in part responsible.

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Mr Hoopdriver replied to Rendel Harris | 2 months ago
1 like

I'm struggling as to why she even stepped out and this happened.  If he was riding alone, there is a chance that she didn't see him and stepped out but he was part of a group that will have been big and very noticeable - possibly even more noticeable than a car.  The group must've been very close as well so could have filled her field of view.

Has anybody any thoughts - am I over thinking this, have I missed something.  I really am at a loss as to how this could have happened from the descriptions given.

 

Avatar
Rendel Harris replied to Mr Hoopdriver | 2 months ago
2 likes

Pure speculation but as she was an elderly lady her eyesight may not have been of the best, possibly if the line of cyclists was at a slight angle she looked she may have only seen/registered the front one, been distracted by something, her dog maybe, and had it in her mind that there was only one cyclist so once one had passed it was safe to cross? Sheer guesswork but that's one way it could've happened.

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stonojnr replied to Mr Hoopdriver | 2 months ago
2 likes

It was reported in the newspapers Fitzgerald was the 3rd rider in a group of 4, the first 2 riders had somehow manged to avoid the collision.

Which raises more questions I know.

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squidgy replied to Mr Hoopdriver | 2 months ago
0 likes

I assumed they were in a chain gang so looking straight at them she may not have seen a large group.

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brooksby replied to squidgy | 2 months ago
3 likes

squidgy wrote:

I assumed they were in a chain gang so looking straight at them she may not have seen a large group.

"Sand People always ride single file, to hide their numbers."

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