Posted: 19.02.21 at 15:19 by Sian Bayley, Local Democracy Reporter
Residents and politicians have raised concerns about safety in Richmond Park after yesterday’s horror crash left a car crumpled and a cyclist suffering facial injuries.
The London Cycling campaign called on the Royal Parks to close the park to through traffic.
They said: “End this preventable and senseless road menace.
“It is unacceptable that our parks have become places where these kinds of preventable incidents are so common.
“We call on the Royal Parks to take real action – stop the rat running, close the park to through-traffic to reduce this road menace.”
The group added: “We wish the cyclist makes a full and speedy recovery from this tragic and preventable incident.”
Police said the cyclist’s injuries were not life-threatening.
But many fear more accidents will happen if there are no changes.
In August the Royal Parks charity implemented a series of six month trials to reduce cut through traffic in their parks.
The trial is due to finish in Richmond Park at the end of the month, when Royal Parks will decide if they should extend, make permanent or revoke the measures.
Now many more people are calling for the parks to completely close to through traffic.
Local resident Jonathan Callaway says he regularly walks and cycles in the park, and that “covid-driven overuse” is making through traffic issues worse.
Mr Callaway said: “It’s a lovely green space and important SSSI [Site of Special Scientific Interest] but groaning under the sheer weight of human users. Better traffic policing including more speed checks would help.”
Another person said they enjoyed using the park as a cyclist weekly but also travel with their family by car, and do not want to see them banned from the park as they help to make it more accessible for older and disabled residents.
“I would like to see more education, fines and enforcement on bad driving and cycling,” he said.
A spokesperson for The Royal Parks said: “We can confirm that a road traffic accident took place in Richmond Park between a driver and a cyclist on the morning of Thursday, February 18.
“The police and ambulance service both attended the site and we understand no-one was badly injured. We wish both parties a speedy recovery.”
“The Metropolitan Police will investigate the cause of the accident.”
The police said yesterday: “Officers attended a collision between a car and a cyclist this morning near to Ham Gate in Richmond Park resulting in the car leaving the road.
“The cyclist has facial injuries and has been taken to hospital. Injuries not life threatening.
“When driving, you must be able to stop in the distance you can see to be clear. The driver had minor hand injuries. Wishing all a speedy recovery.”
We are awaiting a response from the police about the cause of the accident and whether an appeal for witness will be issued.
Opposition transport spokeswoman at Wandsworth Council, councillor Jo Rigby said: “Everything I read about Richmond Park puts me off walking or cycling there. It sounds completely mismanaged as a public space. This was collision was preventable.”
She added: “I’m here to campaign for safe walking and cycling. This incident shows the park isn’t set up for that.”