Each month, we are emailing a bulletin to everyone who has signed up on this site. Below is last month's mailout. If you like it, please sign up on our Get Involved section - you will be showing your support for our work and you will receive our free monthly bulletins a month before they appear here. Have a look at our first bulletin to find out more about how RPC was formed and why we are progressing the idea of reducing traffic in the park by charging for shortcut journeys.
Welcome to our third bulletin - and hello to all our new subscribers! Building our mailing list is a key goal as we want to reach out and speak for as many people as possible, so we are grateful to all who forwarded our last email to their friends and those who have signed up.
Thanks, also, to everyone who provided feedback to our draft guidelines for cycling on the road in Richmond Park. We have modified them in light of comments received and will be shortly putting them up on our website for all to see - and hopefully act upon.
As part of our ongoing effort to advance the idea of reducing the number of shortcut journeys through the park, we have managed to secure two meetings with local politicians. We recognise that in order to garner support for intelligent road charging, the benefits of less motor traffic must be plain for all to see. It’s not just about cyclists.
We should be able to let you know more about our progress in our next bulletin. For now, we can tell you that initial responses from local stakeholders and politicians have continued to be warm and largely receptive. “Some things are too important to be left to politics”, more than one influential consultee has said to us. Watch this space.
In the meantime, we are focusing on motorist behaviour in Richmond Park. Next month we’ll be venturing off-road.
DRIVING IN RICHMOND PARK
Most of you will probably drive as well as cycle and may have driven in Richmond Park, whether to visit, avoid the South Circular or use it as a shortcut. In recent years, we have all noticed an increase in the number of cyclists using the park’s roads - and as we have previously noted, tensions between road users can rise when traffic builds.
So how can motorists play their role in sharing a sometimes crowded road space - and perhaps improve the behaviour of other road users by driving in a considerate way?
Here, we provide some simple guidelines and invite you to give us your views.
Obey the Highway Code. In particular, remember that pedestrians and cyclists have no crumple zones, airbags or safety belts. The vehicle you are driving could be lethal if a more vulnerable road user hits it – or if it hits them.
Read the road ahead, look for potential hazards and adjust your driving to reflect the conditions. Slow down if necessary.
Drive responsibly – that means only overtaking when it is safe to do so. Try to judge closing speeds and distances well. Leave lots of space for the user you are overtaking – in particular cyclists who can wobble and may have only a helmet for impact protection.
We recommend cyclists ride in a group of no more than eight people, but there is no rule on this. A group you overtake could be bigger than you first thought and will therefore take longer to overtake than you expected.
Some road users are vulnerable and more easily frightened than others. You may judge your actions to be acceptably safe but others may not. So before making your manoeuvre, ask yourself if it could cause fright or be perceived as discourteous or disrespectful. If so, hold back and rethink.
If you need to stop, make sure you do so in a car park or a side road. If you break down, be sure to switch on your hazard warning lights.
The courtesy crossings are there for pedestrians to safely cross. Give way if they are waiting by them. You should also give way to horse riders and deer.
Apologise if you are in the wrong, show your appreciation when other users give way and always respect the Royal Parks Police.
This is by no means an authoritative list, but we believe that promoting good behaviour will increase motorists’ good reputation and standing in the park. So please let us know what we may have missed from these guidelines.
Thanks for taking the time to read, and have a great month riding. We’ll have another update for you next month.
And if you know any cyclists - or non-cyclists - who you think may be interested in our work, then please forward this email to them and encourage them to sign up for further updates at the website below.
All the best,
Richmond Park Cyclists