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.
Thank you to everyone who has forwarded our last bulletin to their cycling friends and acquaintances - and hello to those who have signed up as a result. It’s especially heartening to see a relatively high number of women joining our mailing list. Increasing the participation of female riders (as well as children, disabled cyclists and the elderly) is an idea that we would like to develop, so in the coming weeks we will try to reach out to as many women who have signed up as we can.
In the meantime, our talks on Intelligent Road Charging continue. Over the past month or so we have met with Richmond Park MP Zac Goldsmith and the Green Party as well as arranging meetings with local MPs Ed Davey and Vince Cable. We also hope to present to the leaders of three boroughs adjacent to the park.
Local councillors whose wards are already affected when the park’s gates are shut from dusk until dawn are understandably concerned about the effects of Intelligent Road Charging. We have stressed only motorists using the park as a through route would be targeted and these drivers would not be excluded - they would just pay a toll. Groups such as blue badge holders, park residents and park workers would have dispensation, hence our emphasis on Intelligent Road Charging. And overall, we anticipate a reduction in motor traffic, which we would say is the right thing to do.
We met with The Royal Parks prior to commencing consultations and anticipate contact again soon. Its engagement and, ultimately, willingness to take the idea forward is key to making the road ahead less challenging.
We always want you to tell us about specific issues that would improve your experience of cycling in the park. With this in mind, we thought it would be useful to outline two important forums where we represent your interests.
The first is the Richmond Park Police Panel which meets quarterly and sets priorities for the Met Police team. The panel has recently reestablished a road safety sub-committee, and we represent cycling interests there, too.
The second is the biannual Stakeholders’ Breakfast Meeting where The Royal Parks and the Met Police provide reports, as do the various other groups which are represented.
Senior figures from the abovementioned authorities attend both sets of meetings. Other attendees include the Friends Of Richmond Park, Richmond Park Wildlife Group, councillors
from Kingston, Richmond and Wandsworth, the Holly Lodge Centre (an active charity in the park), the Royal Ballet School and Pembroke Lodge. Dog walkers, the Parkrun and similar groups also send representatives.
We are your eyes and ears, but more importantly we contribute to social, personal and environmental welfare in the park.
Getting away from traffic is a something we all want to do from time to time - and going off-road is a great way to explore Richmond Park by bike.
The principal and best-known track is the Tamsin Trail which pretty much circumnavigates the park. There is also a designated Transport for London Quietway through the middle featuring raised crossings at the two points where it intersects with the ring road. This route is designed to appeal to less confident cyclists. Other cycle tracks run parallel with the road.
To see all the routes, have a look at the map on our website. Remember that these are the only routes that cyclists are authorised to use and the police could give you a Fixed Penalty Notice if you cycle anywhere else. This rule is enforced to avoid soil erosion caused by tyres creating rivulets.
Bridleways are for horse riders only. Maybe they should be shared - let us know what you think.
Most cycle tracks in the park are shared with pedestrians, which includes their dogs (which may not always be on a lead) and children. There is also the occasional deer to contend with and, on the stretch from Ham Cross to the ballet school, the odd car or two. So keep your wits about you!
With so many different types of park users on these paths, tensions can rise. Here, we focus on the safest and most considerate way of riding off-road in Richmond Park - and, once again, we invite you to give your opinions or offer anything we may have missed.
THE BEST WAY TO SHARE OFF-ROAD
Stick to the authorised trails.
Remember that the speed limit is 10mph and pedestrians have priority.
Look ahead for potential hazards and slow down or adjust your riding to reflect the conditions.
A cycle bell is a valuable off-road tool. Give it a ding to alert others to your presence, especially when approaching other park visitors from behind.
Overtaking should be performed as you would on the road - it is what’s likely to be expected and most obvious. Leave plenty of space.
Thank other park users for acknowledging you and giving you space to pass.
Some path users are vulnerable and easily frightened. 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 get off the path.
Riding in a group? Single out as you slow down when encountering traffic. There are no hard-and-fast rules governing group size, but four riders is a good, manageable number.
The courtesy crossings at Sheen Cross and Ham Cross are for pedestrians as well as cyclists. Be aware that road users do not have to stop to let you cross.
Be alert to dogs off leads and stray deer.
Apologise if you are in the wrong, show your appreciation when other users give way and always respect the Royal Parks Police.
Ride a well-maintained bike and carry a spare inner tube, tyre levers and a pump or gas cartridge. If you see a fellow cyclist by the side of the trail who may need any of these, you could make his or her day by offering to help!
This is by no means an authoritative list, but we believe that promoting good behaviour will increase cyclists’ good reputation and standing in the park. Let us know what you think.
PASS IT ON
Thanks for taking the time to read. Keep enjoying your riding in the park - even as the winter weather begins to creep in - and please feel free to forward this email to anyone you think may want to join our mailing list. Alternatively, direct them towards the Get Involved section of our website - richmondparkcyclists.org/get-involved/
All the best,
Richmond Park Cyclists