Each month, we are emailing a bulletin to everyone who has signed up on this site. Below is the mailout that we sent in April. 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.
BIKES, CAMERA… ACTION!
Our followers on social media will already be aware that we have spread the word about a spate of bike thefts from Richmond Park. Further to the figures that we have already released, we now believe there has been a total of ten incidents that the police are aware of, resulting in 12 bikes being nicked. The first reported theft took place on January 30th, and the latest was on March 17th. One other theft was thwarted when three quick-thinking cyclists confronted the man and took a photo of him, which you can see on our Facebook page along with descriptions of stolen bicycles and some of the suspects (the link is at the foot of this bulletin). Keep an eye out for both - one of the bikes, a Canyon, has already been returned to its owner Tom Boshell after it was put up for sale on Gumtree, so let’s see if we can reunite more victims with their pride and joy!
Richmond Park Cyclists has been speaking to The Royal Parks about granting permission for Colicci cafe to install CCTV outside its premises near Roehampton Gate as that is where all but one of the thefts have taken place (the other was from outside the nearby toilets). The police are alert to cyclists’ concerns, and we are hopeful that this issue will be nipped in the bud quite soon.
In the meantime, we recommend popping a good-quality portable lock in your jersey pocket or bag before coming to the park. Thieves want to make a quick getaway, so removing the skewer from your front wheel, or resting the tyre against the brake pad, as well as putting the bike into its biggest gear are all pretty good deterrents (an additional tip for those of you who you are lucky enough to have electronic gears: remove the battery as well). And if you are riding with a pal, one of you could sit outside to keep an eye on your bikes while the other buys coffee.
If you have any information regarding the thefts or want to report an incident, you can give the police a bell by dialling 101 and asking for The Royal Parks Command Unit. For an emergency, call 999. We’ll provide an update on social media and in next month’s bulletin.
SLOW PROGRESS… AND PROGRESS ON SLOWING
March saw the conclusion of two public consultations that we asked you to respond to - a proposal to make the three east-west roads closest to Kingston Gate one-way, and Richmond Council’s bid to impose a 20mph limit throughout the borough. The former will not go ahead, but the latter will albeit with a few exemptions.
With regard to the Kingston Gate scheme, councillors voted it down at a meeting after 70 per cent of residents on the affected roads objected. Kingston Cycling Campaign was also against the plan, citing concerns that incidents of cyclists riding into opened car doors would increase. But it was residents who held sway: according to one of our contacts, if you exclude their responses, a majority of correspondents were in favour. Even though this particular scheme has been shelved, the council will be holding another meeting that could address the safety issues of these busy roads, especially if there is good representation from cyclists. Slow progress, but we’ll let you know when a date is set.
Meanwhile, Richmond Council’s idea to create a 20mph limit on all its roads prompted 9,910 responses - one of the highest rates for a borough-wide consultation - and is set to go ahead subject to some A roads being excluded. A speed limit order will be advertised and any representations considered before the decision is implemented.
A total of 52.4 per cent of respondents said they believed a 20mph limit will reduce the number of road accidents and their seriousness, although there was no overall majority for the specific proposal, with 47.7 per cent agreeing and 49.7 per cent not in favour. So the council has exempted some roads from the limit, including areas that objected heavily. Richmond Road and Kingston Road are two notable areas that are excluded, along with two A-roads that are controlled by Transport for London and therefore cannot be subject to Richmond Council’s plan. You can see the full list of exempted roads in the report on the council’s website.
One of the six aims of the proposal is to create an environment that is more conducive to cycling, and the council’s report expresses its duty of care to vulnerable road users (those under 19 and the over-75s), so we are pleased that a majority of Richmond’s roads will soon have a safer speed limit. The outcome is also encouraging as we continue to explore the idea of Intelligent Road Charging for shortcut journeys through the park in motor vehicles. After making a big call on speed limits, could Richmond Council also recognise there will be another benefit to cycling if some traffic is displaced from the park to some of its roads?
HOP SPRINGS ETERNAL
As one type of wildlife goes into hiding for another year, another far rarer beast emerges. The annual toad migration near Ham Gate has ended, which means you can cycle all the way down Church Road now the restrictions have been lifted - although your journey to Richmond Park might still be a little slower thanks to a talking hare. That’s because filmmakers are shooting Peter Rabbit 2 around Richmond’s one-way system and other areas around the borough from Thursday. Despite RPC’s HQ being very close to the toads’ road, we have never seen one of the loveable amphibious scamps. Will Peter be just as elusive? Photographs of either will be gratefully received!
SEE YOU NEXT MONTH
That’s all for this bulletin. As ever, please share this newsletter with your cycling friends - and if they like what they read, encourage them to sign up to our mailing list too.
All the best,
Richmond Park Cyclists