Bulletin #9, July 2018

Each month, we are emailing a bulletin to everyone who has signed up on this site. Below is the mailout from July 2018. 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.


LOOK, MUM - NEW SPONSORS!

Many of you will undoubtedly know of bike cafe, bar and workshop Look Mum No Hands! - and we are delighted to announce that the well-loved Old Street institution has become our first sponsor. Welcome aboard, chaps! Cycling clubs that use Richmond Park are also set to swell our coffers and we are confident that local cycling-related businesses will support our ongoing activities. We will update you in our next newsletter.

Having a small raft of sponsors will cover our modest running costs and enable us to keep Richmond Park Cyclists as a free service to you and all our subscribers. You can do your bit by forwarding this bulletin to any of your cycling pals who you think may be interested in having their voice heard by the authorities who run the park, or anyone who would appreciate receiving regular updates on park-related events and developments. As ever, you can sign up on our website here.

A BIT OF A SETT-TO

As you cycle past Robin Hood Roundabout on your way to Roehampton Gate, you may not realise that shadowy creatures sometimes lurk barely more than a foot from your wheels. And you’ll not see them - because they are UNDER your bike.

Industrious badgers have created a network of tunnels that sit a mere 40cm beneath the tarmac - and their labyrinth, which resembles a Swiss cheese, has actually left the road vulnerable to collapse. As their sett is in a National Nature Reserve, the humane destruction of this protected species is out of the question. Other permanent solutions are being weighed up, but in the meantime some temporary options likely to be considered include “plating” - a low-level bridge over the road surface - or one-way traffic.

Badgers are thought to have lived in Richmond Park for centuries. There is sometimes freshly-excavated soil just past the roundabout - so wave if you see one of our venerable black-and-white buddies digging away!

 

OPEN INVITATION

A reminder that you can meet us in September  at the Richmond Park Open Day in Holly Lodge, where we will be sharing a stand with bike clubs Kingston Wheelers, Twickenham CC and London Dynamo. This will be a superb opportunity for our organisation to promote the group and cycling in general, especially as the lodge is open to the public only every two or three years. Do come along and say hi - it’s a simple way to show your support for what we do. 

We will have some bike exhibits and are hoping to host a Wattbike challenge, so bring along a little energy if you fancy a fun competition.

The Royal Parks has handed us another sort of challenge. Its theme for the day is the First World War, so we are looking for a bike from that era to exhibit. Do you know where we might find one? Get in touch with Paul Harknett at pharknett@virginmedia.com if you have an idea. In the meantime, have a look at event co-hosts the Holly Lodge Centre, a unique charitable organisation that runs educational activities focussed on the heritage and natural environment of the park.

 The date for your diary is Sunday, September 23, 11am-4pm. We’ll see you there!

 

TIME TO GET FITTER?

Congratulations to all the cyclists who took part in both Richmond Park Time Trials last month. The 20mph speed limit is suspended for the event and the flow of motor vehicle traffic is restricted, which makes it a great opportunity for anyone who wants to try time trialling. The unique 10-mile event is open to anyone who owns a road bike - so there is plenty of time to get fit if you want to be one of the 120 riders on the start list. We’ll let you know when event organisers London Dynamo open online entries next summer.

 

SUNDAY CLOSING

Good luck to everyone participating in the Prudential Ride London this Sunday, 29th July. And if you’re not taking part, please be aware the park will be closed to all traffic for the ride as well as the professional race in the afternoon. If you fancy watching the pros race through Richmond Park, they should be there by around 2pm.

 

SEE YOU NEXT MONTH

That’s all for this bulletin. As ever, share this newsletter with your cycling friends - and if they like what they read, encourage them to sign up to our mailing list.

All the best, and enjoy the terrific cycling weather. 

Richmond Park Cyclists

 

website: richmondparkcyclists.org

twitter: twitter.com/richmondpkcycle

facebook: facebook.com/richmondparkcyclists

Bulletin #8, May/June 2018

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.

APPENED SO FAST

Like flowers blooming in spring, dockless hire bikes have been appearing all over London - so it was inevitable that they would come to Richmond Park. You probably already know that simply by using an app on your phone you can unlock one of these bicycles and de-hire it, ready for the next user, once you have pedalled to your destination. But like every innovation, change can produce some unexpected challenges - as The Royal Parks has revealed to us.

Dehiring in remote locations within the park has left numerous semi-abandoned bikes, sometimes in unsafe positions. The bike hire firms need to pick up and relocate their bicycles to more popular areas such as train stations - but they do not yet have an agreement to collect from Richmond Park. If they did come in and round up the bikes, the police would fine them for breaching the park’s general ban on commercial vehicles. So at this moment of impasse, TRP is collecting the hire bikes and keeping them locked up near Holly Lodge.

TRP has offered the bike hire companies an opportunity to discuss a solution which, of course, we hope they take up.

In the meantime, we would like to know what YOU think about dockless hire bikes in the park. Do you welcome them? Do you think the number of bikes waiting to be hired in the park spoils the natural landscape? Should the bike hire companies penalise dehiring in the park with very high rates?

Hit that reply button and let us know what you think. We’ll make sure your views are heard by the people who run the park.

VERGE ON THE RIDICULOUS

Like us, you may have found it difficult to get in a few laps of the park during the first May Bank Holiday due to the huge number of motor vehicles. The car parks became full very quickly, causing long queues to get in - and some drivers, perhaps at their wits’ end or simply thinking they could take a risk, chose to leave their cars on grass verges where there were no wooden stumps to stop them.

The last Bank Holiday was a different story. At a prior meeting we had with the police, their representatives agreed to ticket illegally parked cars sooner in the day to deter others who may have been thinking of doing the same thing later on. Officers also placed Met Police cones in dense lines to ward off parking and erected temporary signs at the entrances to car parks warning that it is illegal to leave a car anywhere else in the park.

As a result, there was significantly less fly parking, making the roads safer and less heavily trafficked. So, hopefully, you managed to cycle a lap or two (or more).

TRP is looking into installing more posts to make parking more difficult (although it will not place them on descents as they are hazardous to cyclists if they lose control) and funding is being sought for more temporary signage warning about illegal parking. We’ll keep you (sign)posted!

JOURNEY CONTINUES...

The way ahead for Intelligent Road Charging levied at motor vehicles using the park for shortcut journeys is coming into sharper relief. The ability to raise money for much-needed money for maintenance on roads, car parks and maintenance infrastructure has not been lost on The Royal Parks, so we hope to arrange a meeting once it hires new specialist staff after the summer. Roll on autumn!

CLOSED CALL

Finally, news on imminent road closures. Routes leading to Robin Hood Roundabout will be closed tomorrow (Tuesday 12) and Wednesday 13 June for both days and overnight. This is for resurfacing works and cutting back a tree.

You should be able to ride up to the tree and the roadworks but you will need to dismount to get around the barriers. Alternatively, choose a different route - and be aware that works may overrun.

SEE YOU NEXT MONTH

That’s all for this bulletin. As ever, share this newsletter with your cycling friends - and if they like what they read, encourage them to sign up to our mailing list.

All the best, and enjoy the terrific cycling weather.

Richmond Park Cyclists

website: richmondparkcyclists.org

twitter: twitter.com/richmondpkcycle

facebook: facebook.com/richmondparkcyclists

 

 

Bulletin #7, April 2018

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.

GOING LIVE

Make a note in your diaries - for the first time, Richmond Park Cyclists has scheduled a live event!

The Royal Parks have invited us to put on a stand in collaboration with local cycling clubs at Richmond Park Open Day. It takes place between 11am and 4pm on Sunday, September 23 at Holly Lodge and is expected to draw up to 3,000 visitors. We see this as a great opportunity to promote the group and cycling in general, especially as TRP only opens up the lodge to the public every two or three years. The Friends of Richmond Park, the Wildlife Group and other stakeholder groups will be exhibiting.

Initial ideas for our stand include a Wattbike challenge and an exhibition of bicycles new and old. There is a First World War theme this year, so The Royal Parks have asked us whether we can exhibit a bike from that era. We might need some help with that one!

We will give more thought to the size and content of our stand in the coming weeks. Stand by for an appeal for exhibits and possibly some assistance with manning on the day.

In the meantime, you may want to have a look at the Holly Lodge Centre, the charitable organisation that is co-hosting the event, to find out more about this unique organisation. With shire horses, a Victorian classroom and an amazing apothecary - all of which will be available to the public at the open day - the centre runs educational activities focussed on the heritage and natural environment of the park.

And we might have another live event coming up as a local business has got in touch offering its premises for a meeting. We’ll keep you posted!

RUNNING ORDER

As we mentioned in last month’s bulletin, there’s going to be a running event taking place next month. The Timothy James & Partners London 10 Mile on Sunday, May 13 will see the park road partially shut, so look out for advisory signs closer to the day - and good luck to everyone taking part!

POLLING DELAY  

With local politicians focussed on the imminent local elections, our efforts to explore Intelligent Road Charging for shortcut journeys through the park have taken a necessary pause. But we will renew our efforts soon, so please forward this email to anyone you know who cycles in Richmond Park. We would love to add them to our mailing list so we can have as big a voice as possible.

All the best,

Richmond Park Cyclists

website: richmondparkcyclists.org

twitter: twitter.com/richmondpkcycle

facebook: facebook.com/richmondparkcyclists

Bulletin #6, February/March 2018

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.

 

CLOSED ENCOUNTERS

Do you ride through the park in the mornings or after dark? Then you will probably have noticed that the gates have been closed for the first of the bi-annual deer culls.

It began on the 6th of this month and lasts approximately six weeks. During this time, the pedestrian gates will be locked in rotation from eight each evening and opened in the morning by 7:30. Consequently, it would be wise to avoid entering the park after 8pm or before 7:30am as you could find your exit gate locked.

The Royal Parks carries out the culls as a sensible measure to control the number of deer. Once it has achieved the necessary quota, the process ends. For that reason, TRP is unable to give an exact date for when it will finish - so keep an eye out for signs on the gate.

 

RACE SCHEDULE

Every year, Richmond Park hosts a number of sports events. Here are three that have been confirmed for later in 2018:

Sunday, May 13 - Timothy James and Partners ten-mile run

Sunday, July 29 - Pru Ride London and London Classic Road Race

Sunday, September 16 - London Duathlon

 

You may want to note them down in your diary because the park will be partially shut for all three. And good luck if you’re taking part in any of them!

 

THERE MAY BE A SHORT WAIT...

After many months of speaking to MPs and council leaders, we are close to completing our initial consultations on Intelligent Road Charging. Naturally, the focus for our elected representatives is now on the local elections in May, so we recognise that the next phase of talks will have to wait until after the votes have been cast.

During our discussions, it has become clear that the reduction in the grant given by the Government to the Royal Parks will affect TRP’s finances. Obviously, charging for shortcut journeys could be a viable means of making up the shortfall.

If you regularly use the perimeter road in the park, you won’t have failed to notice that the roads have deteriorated in many places over the winter. The Royal Parks receives no grant from the Highways Agency, Transport for London nor local boroughs for the shortcut journeys made in motor vehicles through the park. It is also worth noting that the official list of TRP’s key aims - which it refers to as Charitable Objects - does not include accommodating motorists who use the park as a through route.

Up to 90 per cent of the eight million annual journeys in the park are by people using it as a shortcut. A small charge, we feel, could go a long way in helping maintain the fabric - as well as the roads - of this special place.

 

RUBBISH TIPS

Finally, a few pointers on discarding litter which is created by cyclists who use the park for training.

An environmentalist who frequently visits the park asked us to pass on the message that TRP’s rubbish-pickers frequently find discarded gel and bar wrappers next to the road. We appreciate that you might never knowingly drop litter, and in this weather cold fingers can sometimes fail to locate a jersey pocket when you are trying to keep an empty wrapper. But whether your rubbish is dropped accidentally or not, the fact remains that deer happily munch on your used plastic, and eating it can cause pain or even kill them. So take care - and take your litter home.

Thanks for taking time to read our newsletter - and, as ever, special thanks to everyone who has passed our monthly missives to their cycling friends. Feel free to forward this to anyone you may think will want to join our mailing list.

All the best,

Richmond Park Cyclists

website: richmondparkcyclists.org

twitter: twitter.com/richmondpkcycle

facebook: facebook.com/richmondparkcyclists

Bulletin #5, December 2017

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 the final bulletin of Richmond Park Cyclists’ inaugural year - and thank you to everyone who has signed up since our last monthly missive.

Richmond Park’s biannual Stakeholders’ Breakfast Meeting, which we mentioned in our previous bulletin, took place a few weeks ago. We attended the meeting to introduce Richmond Park Cyclists to the various stakeholder groups and outline the case for charging motor vehicles using the park as a shortcut. Our representative at the meeting graciously bore the brunt of one local councillor’s somewhat robust response to the intelligent road charging idea.  Others present were clearly less sanguine and proffered quiet words of support. Cool heads, we hope, will progress the idea as talks continue next year and beyond.

 

CROSSING THE LINES

Encouragingly, one of the authorities at the Breakfast Meeting who we always wanted to reach out to cyclists through RPC has asked us to include an item in this bulletin. So here is a useful couple of tidbits from the Parks’ Police which we are passing on...

You will probably have noticed double white lines when you cycle up Broomfield Hill and Dark  Hill. But did you know that it is actually legal to cross double white lines in some circumstances?

In accordance with rule 129 of the Highway Code, drivers can overtake provided you are cycling at 10mph or less and the road is clear. They can overtake horse riders or road maintenance vehicles as well - but not cars or other vehicles.

Also, do be mindful of queuing traffic behind you when riding two abreast. There is a considerable grey area surrounding the interpretation of rule 66 of the Highway Code (“never ride more than two abreast, and ride in single file on narrow and busy roads and when riding around bends”) but showing consideration to other road users instead of holding them up goes down a treat. The Parks’ Police suggest singling out for a few seconds when safe to do so if there is traffic behind so that it might pass..

 

FROST REPORT

No doubt you will have noticed ice on the park’s roads if you cycled there during the past week or so. We have been speaking to The Royal Parks to establish what can be done to make conditions as safe as possible for cycling when the temperature drops to around freezing point or below. But you may be asking why it seems that the park’s roads and paths are not always salted or gritted in icy or snowy weather.

The answer is partly explained by environmental concerns. As Richmond Park is a National Nature Reserve, TRP tries to avoid adding salt unnecessarily, which can have an effect on the ecology and landscape. The other factor is unpredictable weather: residual water can freeze in isolated areas even if the overall temperature is above freezing, and when the roads are gritted, overnight rain can sometimes wash it away.

So bear in mind that TRP staff do check for ice, sometimes as early as 3am, and they will often lay salt and grit. But there are also steps you can take to make sure you cycle safely.

  • Check the weather forecast before you set out - and remember the air temperature in the park can be 3C colder than the surrounding areas.

  • Look at the notice boards at the entrance gates. If TRP are concerned that conditions may be sketchy, it will put up “Caution: Ice” signs.

  • Consider switching to winter tyres with a softer compound when the temperature drops. The grip will help you stay upright, as will reducing the tyre pressure. Tyres with a grip tread typically used on mountain bikes will assist on snow and have a limited benefit on ice.

  • The off-road Tamsin Trail might be a grippier alternative to slippery tarmac. But if in doubt, dismount. Walking may take you longer - but you’ll get to your destination in one piece!

 

ENGENDERING CHANGE

We happened to meet women’s cycling advocate Belinda Scott by chance at an event in Sigma Sport bike shop. We subsequently had a successful meeting with her where we explained the aims and purpose of Richmond Park Cyclists. Belinda runs a Facebook group for women cyclists called Bellavelo and we hope to work with her in the future.

Increasing the number of women cyclists using the park - as well as children, the disabled and the elderly - is an important aim for RPC. As we mentioned last month, we have had an unexpectedly high number of women signing up to our mailing list, and we’ll be reaching out to as many of them as possible. So if you are one of them, keep an eye on your inbox!

 

WE’RE MAKING A LIST…

Next year, we’re aiming to keep you informed about everything bike-related going on in the park as well as anything that may impact your cycling there, such as the gate closures for the annual deer cull. We’ll put together a calendar of events - and as usual, our wonderful subscribers will be the first to know what’s happening in the month ahead. Another great reason to encourage your cycling friends to sign up!

We also want to keep RPC a free service. To this end, we have begun speaking to local clubs and businesses about the possibility of a little financial support.

In the meantime, you can help us by forwarding this email to anyone you think may want to receive our bulletins. The bigger our mailing list, the more people we can represent when speaking to the park’s authorities and stakeholder groups.

Have a great Christmas and New Year, wrap up warm and enjoy your cycling in the park.

All the best,

Richmond Park Cyclists

website: richmondparkcyclists.org

twitter: twitter.com/richmondpkcycle

facebook: facebook.com/richmondparkcyclists

Bulletin #4, November 2017

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.

MEETING POINTS

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. 

TRAIL TRAVEL

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

website: richmondparkcyclists.org

twitter: twitter.com/richmondpkcycle

facebook: facebook.com/richmondparkcyclists

Bulletin #3, October 2017

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

website: richmondparkcyclists.org

twitter: twitter.com/richmondpkcycle

facebook: facebook.com/richmondparkcyclists

Bulletin #2, August 2017

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 second bulletin - and thank you for the positive reaction to our first monthly missive!

We’ve had so many encouraging messages in response to the concept of charging for shortcut journeys made by motor vehicles through the park. Over the coming months we will have more discussions with stakeholders and other interested parties to explore what is clearly a persuasive and popular idea.

This month, though, we are focusing on the safest and most considerate way of riding on the roads of Richmond Park. In the coming months we will look at off-road cycling and how motorists can make the park a safer place.

THE BEST WAY TO SHARE
In recent years, roads in the park have become busier. As the number of cyclists using them grows and traffic builds, tensions between road users can rise.

So how can cyclists play their role in sharing a sometimes crowded road space? And could riding in a considerate way improve the behaviour of other road users?

Here, we give you an easy list of guidelines and invite you to give us your views.

Obey the Highway Code. In particular, that means overtaking only on the right (unless passing stationary or queuing traffic), negotiating roundabouts correctly and allowing as much space for overtaking a fellow cyclist as you would like a passing motorist to leave for you.

Always look for potential hazards ahead and adjust your riding to reflect the conditions. Slow down if necessary.

Some road 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 road.

Riding in a group? Stick to around eight people. It makes it easier for cyclists and motorists to safely overtake.

The courtesy crossings are there for pedestrians and horse riders to safely cross. Give way if they are waiting by them. You should also give way to and 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 road 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 the park. [delete when it goes on website>] 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 at the beginning of September.

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

website: richmondparkcyclists.org
twitter: twitter.com/richmondpkcycle
facebook: facebook.com/richmondparkcyclists

Bulletin #1, July 2017

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 future bulletins a month before they appear here.    Hello, and welcome to Richmond Park Cyclists’ inaugural bulletin!     Firstly, thanks for your patience. As you are one of the scores of people who have signed up on our website, you have probably asked yourself what we have been up to. The answer is, quite a bit. We’ve set up a not-for-profit bank account with three of us as trustees, making our organisation a little bit more official. And following the publication of The Royal Parks’ draft report into traffic levels, and subsequent meetings with park stakeholders, we have decided to promote a clear, sensible idea to improve visitors’ experience of Richmond Park.    The idea is   Intelligent Road Charging  . We believe it will complement the park’s status as a National Nature Reserve, help promote it as a space for public recreation and sport (which are among the charitable objectives of The Royal Parks) and benefit every user. For all these reasons, we hope you will want to get behind it.    If you like the idea of Intelligent Road Charging, please forward this email to anyone - cyclists and non-cyclists - you think might be interested in supporting it. But before you do that, you will probably want to know more about the concept. So here’s some background to Richmond Park’s relationship with cyclists and the events that led to us forming Richmond Park Cyclists.    HOW WE BEGAN    Richmond Park is run by The Royal Parks. This charitable body regularly consults with stakeholder groups that represent the diverse types of park users and the Metropolitan Police. These meetings help shape the way The Royal Parks runs Richmond Park.    For years, The Royal Parks and the Met have sought ways of improving how they communicate with the cycling community. Reaching out to cycling clubs was only scratching the surface as most bike riders are not members of a club. So some of the cyclists who attend these meetings contacted a number of their cycling friends and acquaintances to form Richmond Park Cyclists.    In essence, we are a partnership that represents all types of cyclists - young and old, commuter or competitive, able-bodied or disabled - to the highest level of Richmond Park’s authorities and stakeholders.    This, for the moment, is our organising committee.     Paul Harknett – Former Chair, London Dynamo   Duncan Adamson – Slipstreamers' Coach   Peter Cunliffe – South Western Road Club   Derek Griffiths – Kingston Wheelers   Tim Lennon – Richmond Cycling Campaign   Justin Levene – Weir Archer Academy and Get Kids Going   Marina Lim – Commuter   Martin O'Sullivan – Deputy Head of Turing House School   Martin Winter – Twickenham Cycling Club    We welcome more support, so please get in touch if you would like to help out.    A WAY FORWARD    In December 2014, long before Richmond Park Cyclists formed, Zac Goldsmith MP held a public meeting in response to concerns he had received from constituents regarding the tensions between cyclists and motorists in the park. Such was the strength of opinion on both sides that the Richmond Park MP confessed to being nervous about the atmosphere that might have developed.     He needn’t have worried. The 250 attendees listened to the panel, which included representatives of the Royal Parks, Met Police, as well as councillors, stakeholders and traffic experts. And   the biggest applause of the evening - which came from cyclists and non-cyclists alike - was in response to the idea of charging drivers whenever they use the park as a shortcut.       Judging by the public’s reaction that night, implementing the concept of road charging in Richmond Park would be warmly welcomed by a good proportion of park users.    TOO MUCH TRAFFIC    Paul Harknett, who would later set up Richmond Park Cyclists, became part of the working group that Goldsmith convened on a number of occasions to pick through the various ideas proposed at the meeting.  Meanwhile, the Royal Parks carried out a traffic survey to gauge the level and types of motor traffic in Richmond Park.    A    draft report    from the Royal Parks published in March confirmed what you, as someone who visits the park, would probably have already suspected: there is too much unnecessary traffic.   Depending on the time of the week, between 68 and 91 percent of motor vehicles in Richmond Park are using it as a shortcut.    AN INTELLIGENT SOLUTION    Given the public support at the Goldsmith meeting for levying a fee against motor vehicles using the park as a shortcut, and the subsequent traffic statistics revealed in The Royal Parks’ report, it is clear to us that road charging is an idea worth exploring.     This is how we believe Intelligent Road Charging could work.    Drivers who have parked - either to have a walk, a run, a bike ride, a cup of tea or enjoy any other activity in Richmond Park - would pay nothing. But motorists simply passing through who enter and leave the park within a set time period would pay. They would not be excluded, but they might be deterred.    Details of motor vehicles that use this private road as a through route would be logged by Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) - a technology which is readily available to authorities these days. If the drivers of these vehicles do not register to pay, there would be a penalty charge. Displaced traffic - journeys that take place outside the park - is already accommodated when the gates are closed, including morning and evening peak periods in the winter, which shows there is capacity on these roads.    The London Congestion Charge has been running for more than 14 years. Transport for London has developed a sophisticated, cost-effective and easy-to-use model that, in our view, could be rolled out in Richmond Park. We will be engaging with The Royal Parks, park stakeholders, the three bordering London boroughs and Zac Goldsmith MP to explore how such a system could be most fairly deployed.    The advantages of Intelligent Road Charging are clear. It would:    *Reduce pollution and congestion in the park, which is an official National Nature Reserve    *Create a calmer atmosphere    *Make the roads safer to cross (for pedestrians and deer)    *Create an emptier road space that would be safer to enjoy by genuine park visitors     *Attract more people out of their cars and onto bikes. Women, children and disabled riders who are put off cycling by traffic and speeding cars (the draft report shows a significant number do this) would be offered a more welcoming environment     *Create revenue for the underfunded and overstretched Royal Parks which could be invested in the park and spent on its upkeep    THE NEXT STEPS    Intelligent Road Charging would take legislation to implement and could not be rolled out without proper consultation, so at this stage we are looking for as much support as possible. We believe the idea deserves broader consultation and support because it would improve the park for everyone - not just cyclists. So if you like what you have read, please   forward this email to your family, friends and acquaintances - regardless of whether they cycle or not - and encourage them to sign up to our mailing list so they can receive our updates.       There are many other more cycle-centric issues we would like to tackle, so if you can spare the time to help run our organisation, do get in touch by dropping us an email.     One of the areas we would like to have an impact upon is rider behaviour in the park. Unsafe and disrespectful cycling - even though it is practiced by a small minority - can create friction and hostility on the road and pathways that we all enjoy, so we aim to minimise such conflict by drafting advice for courteous riding. We hope all our supporters will see the value in following the advice, and that they will politely ask fellow cyclists to modify their behaviour if they see obvious transgressions. We know only too well that some motorists are prone to poor behaviour too, and as drivers ourselves we will also draft guidelines for driving in the park.    GET IN TOUCH    Thanks for reading. We welcome any feedback, so please email    richmondparkcyclists@gmail.com    with your comments - good and bad. We aim to get another update out in a month’s time. Until then, enjoy your cycling - and we’ll see you in the park!

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 future bulletins a month before they appear here.

Hello, and welcome to Richmond Park Cyclists’ inaugural bulletin!

Firstly, thanks for your patience. As you are one of the scores of people who have signed up on our website, you have probably asked yourself what we have been up to. The answer is, quite a bit. We’ve set up a not-for-profit bank account with three of us as trustees, making our organisation a little bit more official. And following the publication of The Royal Parks’ draft report into traffic levels, and subsequent meetings with park stakeholders, we have decided to promote a clear, sensible idea to improve visitors’ experience of Richmond Park.

The idea is Intelligent Road Charging. We believe it will complement the park’s status as a National Nature Reserve, help promote it as a space for public recreation and sport (which are among the charitable objectives of The Royal Parks) and benefit every user. For all these reasons, we hope you will want to get behind it.

If you like the idea of Intelligent Road Charging, please forward this email to anyone - cyclists and non-cyclists - you think might be interested in supporting it. But before you do that, you will probably want to know more about the concept. So here’s some background to Richmond Park’s relationship with cyclists and the events that led to us forming Richmond Park Cyclists.

HOW WE BEGAN

Richmond Park is run by The Royal Parks. This charitable body regularly consults with stakeholder groups that represent the diverse types of park users and the Metropolitan Police. These meetings help shape the way The Royal Parks runs Richmond Park.

For years, The Royal Parks and the Met have sought ways of improving how they communicate with the cycling community. Reaching out to cycling clubs was only scratching the surface as most bike riders are not members of a club. So some of the cyclists who attend these meetings contacted a number of their cycling friends and acquaintances to form Richmond Park Cyclists.

In essence, we are a partnership that represents all types of cyclists - young and old, commuter or competitive, able-bodied or disabled - to the highest level of Richmond Park’s authorities and stakeholders.

This, for the moment, is our organising committee.

Paul Harknett – Former Chair, London Dynamo
Duncan Adamson – Slipstreamers' Coach
Peter Cunliffe – South Western Road Club
Derek Griffiths – Kingston Wheelers
Tim Lennon – Richmond Cycling Campaign
Justin Levene – Weir Archer Academy and Get Kids Going
Marina Lim – Commuter
Martin O'Sullivan – Deputy Head of Turing House School
Martin Winter – Twickenham Cycling Club

We welcome more support, so please get in touch if you would like to help out.

A WAY FORWARD

In December 2014, long before Richmond Park Cyclists formed, Zac Goldsmith MP held a public meeting in response to concerns he had received from constituents regarding the tensions between cyclists and motorists in the park. Such was the strength of opinion on both sides that the Richmond Park MP confessed to being nervous about the atmosphere that might have developed.

He needn’t have worried. The 250 attendees listened to the panel, which included representatives of the Royal Parks, Met Police, as well as councillors, stakeholders and traffic experts. And the biggest applause of the evening - which came from cyclists and non-cyclists alike - was in response to the idea of charging drivers whenever they use the park as a shortcut.

Judging by the public’s reaction that night, implementing the concept of road charging in Richmond Park would be warmly welcomed by a good proportion of park users.

TOO MUCH TRAFFIC

Paul Harknett, who would later set up Richmond Park Cyclists, became part of the working group that Goldsmith convened on a number of occasions to pick through the various ideas proposed at the meeting.  Meanwhile, the Royal Parks carried out a traffic survey to gauge the level and types of motor traffic in Richmond Park.

A draft report from the Royal Parks published in March confirmed what you, as someone who visits the park, would probably have already suspected: there is too much unnecessary traffic. Depending on the time of the week, between 68 and 91 percent of motor vehicles in Richmond Park are using it as a shortcut.

AN INTELLIGENT SOLUTION

Given the public support at the Goldsmith meeting for levying a fee against motor vehicles using the park as a shortcut, and the subsequent traffic statistics revealed in The Royal Parks’ report, it is clear to us that road charging is an idea worth exploring.

This is how we believe Intelligent Road Charging could work.

Drivers who have parked - either to have a walk, a run, a bike ride, a cup of tea or enjoy any other activity in Richmond Park - would pay nothing. But motorists simply passing through who enter and leave the park within a set time period would pay. They would not be excluded, but they might be deterred.

Details of motor vehicles that use this private road as a through route would be logged by Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) - a technology which is readily available to authorities these days. If the drivers of these vehicles do not register to pay, there would be a penalty charge. Displaced traffic - journeys that take place outside the park - is already accommodated when the gates are closed, including morning and evening peak periods in the winter, which shows there is capacity on these roads.

The London Congestion Charge has been running for more than 14 years. Transport for London has developed a sophisticated, cost-effective and easy-to-use model that, in our view, could be rolled out in Richmond Park. We will be engaging with The Royal Parks, park stakeholders, the three bordering London boroughs and Zac Goldsmith MP to explore how such a system could be most fairly deployed.

The advantages of Intelligent Road Charging are clear. It would:

*Reduce pollution and congestion in the park, which is an official National Nature Reserve

*Create a calmer atmosphere

*Make the roads safer to cross (for pedestrians and deer)

*Create an emptier road space that would be safer to enjoy by genuine park visitors

*Attract more people out of their cars and onto bikes. Women, children and disabled riders who are put off cycling by traffic and speeding cars (the draft report shows a significant number do this) would be offered a more welcoming environment

*Create revenue for the underfunded and overstretched Royal Parks which could be invested in the park and spent on its upkeep

THE NEXT STEPS

Intelligent Road Charging would take legislation to implement and could not be rolled out without proper consultation, so at this stage we are looking for as much support as possible. We believe the idea deserves broader consultation and support because it would improve the park for everyone - not just cyclists. So if you like what you have read, please forward this email to your family, friends and acquaintances - regardless of whether they cycle or not - and encourage them to sign up to our mailing list so they can receive our updates.

There are many other more cycle-centric issues we would like to tackle, so if you can spare the time to help run our organisation, do get in touch by dropping us an email.

One of the areas we would like to have an impact upon is rider behaviour in the park. Unsafe and disrespectful cycling - even though it is practiced by a small minority - can create friction and hostility on the road and pathways that we all enjoy, so we aim to minimise such conflict by drafting advice for courteous riding. We hope all our supporters will see the value in following the advice, and that they will politely ask fellow cyclists to modify their behaviour if they see obvious transgressions. We know only too well that some motorists are prone to poor behaviour too, and as drivers ourselves we will also draft guidelines for driving in the park.

GET IN TOUCH

Thanks for reading. We welcome any feedback, so please email richmondparkcyclists@gmail.com with your comments - good and bad. We aim to get another update out in a month’s time. Until then, enjoy your cycling - and we’ll see you in the park!


Headline photography provided by
Andrew Robertson