The Metropolitan Police Service has confirmed that cyclists in Richmond Park are not subject to speed limits – but has also underlined that action can be taken against people riding irresponsibly and putting others in danger.
The confirmation follows a statement published last week by the Royal Parks, which manages the popular southwest London beauty spot, that speed limits there did not apply to bike riders.
Now, Twickenham Nub reports that in response to an enquiry to the Metropolitan Police press office, it was told that the statement from the Royal Parks was definitive.
However, the force added that officers would act upon cases of cyclists riding irresponsibly and putting others in danger.
In a statement, it said: “We expect all road users to act responsibly to ensure Richmond Park is a safe place for everybody.
“Officers carry out regular patrols and will take action against those seen to be driving or riding in an irresponsible manner which intentionally or recklessly puts public safety at risk.”
The website added that the Metropolitan Police did not respond to questions regarding previous prosecutions and fines, including whether those subjected to them would be notified that they may have been unlawfully prosecuted
While cyclists are not subject to speed limits on the public highway, the specific bylaws applying to the Royal Parks has long left it open to question on whether or not speed limits apply to them.
The issue has particular relevance to Richmond Park, which is very popular with road cyclists, especially at the weekend, and a number of cyclists have been fined in recent years for riding above the 20mph speed limit that applies to most roads there.
Last month, Twitter user The Department for Parks & Recreation asked the Royal Parks in a tweet: “How was the speed limit in Richmond Park suspended for the purposes of athletes cycling within the park for the London Duathlon, held on Sunday 5th September 2021?”
— The Department of Parks & Recreation 🦌 (@ldnparks) September 30, 2021
In response, an FOI (Freedom of Information) Officer at the Royal Parks said: “The roads in the Royal Parks are Crown Roads managed under the authority of the Secretary of State for DCMS.
(There is one exception – Regents Park, where the roads are managed by a separate body, the Crown Estates Paving Commission).
The FOI Officer continued: “The speed limits on the roads are specified in The Royal Parks and Other Open Spaces Regulations 1997 as amended.
“Section 4 (28) requires that: ‘No person shall drive or ride any vehicle on a Park road in excess of the speed specified in relation to that road in Part II of Schedule 2 of these Regulations.’ (Part II schedule 2 lists the parks that that have vehicular access.)
“These regulations apply to motorised vehicles, not bicycles, and therefore the use of park roads by cyclists on events such as the London Duathlon is lawful. In answer to your specific question, the speed limits were not suspended for this event because they are not deemed to apply to bicycles.”
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.