Real root of tension in Richmond Park is confusion over pedestrian priority, group says

By The Editor

3rd Apr 2021 | Local News

The report on the responses to the current traffic trial in Richmond Park, which was published three weeks ago when the Royal Parks announced that the restrictions are being extended for a year, revealed that alongside the increase of traffic in surrounding areas, "dangerous interactions between cyclists and other park users" was the joint-second concern of respondents. One respondent in Kingston feared "dangerous speeds" of cyclists were putting pedestrians at risk, while another in Richmond predicted a fatality.

That's the perception. What about the reality?

At the last Police Panel meeting, the park's police said no accidents in recent memory have been reported that have resulted in the hospitalisation of a pedestrian after a collision with a cyclist – and, remember, that is after a period of time when more people have been riding bikes in the park than ever before. So it isn't actual danger that is the cause of concerns.

The real root of the tensions between visitors walking in the park and cyclists is most probably confusion over pedestrian priority. Outside the park, cyclists generally understand that they should stop at crossings. Inside the park, they do not automatically know that pedestrians always have priority (although our Code of Conduct now exists to start getting that message across, as well as reminding everyone that the speed limit of 20mph applies to cyclists).

We have asked the Royal Parks to create a sense of shared space on the roads next to gates, car parks and junctions to calm traffic flows and allow easier crossing for pedestrians trialing of zebra crossings.

We've also asked for more signage to get road users and pedestrians to yield and take care. Royal Parks is understandably averse to making the environment of the park, which everyone values, look more urban. But in the interests of making everyone feel safe, we think some of these measures should be implemented.

Read more:

New code of conduct for cycling in Richmond Park praised

12-month extension to traffic reduction trial in Richmond Park

Royal Parks to defy public and introduce parking fees in Richmond Park

Concerns over parking on roads near Richmond Park once fees are introduced

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