A cyclist who was left unconscious following a head-on collision with a hit-and-run rider in Richmond Park has appealed to the man to turn himself in, describing his decision to flee the scene as “particularly disappointing because we cyclists are a sociable tribe”.
Adam Kelliher was treated in hospital for concussion, a cracked rib, and cuts to his hands after being struck by the cyclist while riding with a friend in the southwest London park on Bank Holiday Monday.
Following the incident, Kelliher’s wife Cathra also called for the rider to be “named and shamed” and argued that people on bikes “have got to be responsible” if cycling is to be promoted to a wider audience.
The 61-year-old cyclist, a life science entrepreneur and former BBC cameraman who also owns Taransay, the UK’s largest island without a permanent population and the setting for BBC reality series Castaway, said the rider appeared to be distracted by his bike computer and had crossed over to the wrong side of the three-metre-wide path when the collision occurred.
“He seemed to me to be a normal MAMIL,” Kelliher, who says he only remembers “glimpses” of the incident, told the Times.
“He seemed to be concentrating on his timing and keeping up his speed. He hit me head-on. I am quite a big guy and I was knocked off my bike and on to my back. My helmet was smashed like an egg.”
The stricken cyclist, who was left unconscious in the crash, was helped by neighbour and riding partner Philip Weston and several passers-by, including three members of the emergency services.
“Philip was busy helping me and when he looked up the other rider had gone,” the father-of-four said.
“It is particularly disappointing that he fled because we cyclists are a sociable tribe. All he would have seen is that someone was pretty seriously injured. He made a second error of judgment by fleeing the scene.
“The paramedics said if I wasn’t wearing a helmet I would have been taken away in a helicopter or probably a hearse.”
Kelliher’s wife Cathra also called for the hit-and-run rider, described as white and wearing black and white cycling kit, to be “named and shamed” following his actions in Richmond Park.
“If we want to promote cycling and this wonderful sport, we have got to be responsible,” she said.
“The danger is from a few irresponsible people and they have to be aware of their consequences. This guy should be named and shamed because next time it could be somebody like a five-year-old child and they might not survive.”
As well as owning Taransay, the Wimbledon-based Kellihers also own the Borve Lodge Estate on the Isle of Harris. After joining the BBC from the Times, where he worked as a foreign correspondent, Kelliher was shot in an ambush in Croatia in 1995, which saw reporter John Schofield killed.
Monday’s collision comes less than a year since The Royal Parks – which manages several parks in the capital, including Hyde Park, Green Park, and St James’s Park – warned bike riders who do not observe speed limits in the parks under its management that they will be subjected to a crackdown, including fines and even prosecution, for recklessly endangering others.
Despite cyclists technically not having to adhere to speed limits on roads in the park, as bicycles are not required by law to be fitted with a speedometer, the agency said in August 2022 that they were nevertheless expected to observe those limits on the “park, road, or path in question,” and could be fined if they were believed to “intentionally or recklessly interfere with the safety, comfort, or convenience of other visitors”.
In April, we reported that plans to introduce a 10mph speed limit on a section of Richmond Park were criticised by local cyclists, who argued that people on bikes will be unable to comply with the proposed restriction while riding downhill.
According to the Richmond Parks Cyclists organisation, which aims to represent all types of cyclists and para-cyclists who use the London park, a meeting of the Safer Parks Police Panel revealed that The Royal Parks is intending to introduce a 10mph speed restriction on the road between Broomfield Hill car park and Robin Hood Gate roundabout.
The cyclists’ group, which said it was not consulted on the new measure, criticised the change, set to be implemented on a sweeping, hilly section of the park which currently features a 20mph limit.
“It seems unlikely that many cyclists will be able to comply with this restriction descending the hill, even if they try to,” Richmond Parks Cyclist said. “Speed differentials are likely to increase and the road is likely to become more hazardous.”
Ryan joined road.cc as a news writer in December 2021. He has written about cycling and some ball-centric sports for various websites, newspapers, magazines and radio. Before returning to writing about cycling full-time, he completed a PhD in History and published a book and numerous academic articles on religion and politics in Victorian Britain and Ireland (though he remained committed to boring his university colleagues and students with endless cycling trivia). He can be found riding his bike very slowly through the Dromara Hills of Co. Down.