London’s new cycling commissioner was today under pressure to halt plans to install cobble-stone speed humps in Hyde Park after a cyclist was clocked at 32mph.
Campaigners called on Will Norman, appointed by Mayor Sadiq Khan, and deputy mayor for transport Val Shawcross to force the Royal Parks to reconsider the £215,000 installation of 28 rows of raised granite setts next week on a key route between Speakers Corner and Hyde Park Corner. The route is part of the Central London Cycle Grid and is used by more than 1,200 cyclists an hour in the morning.
Parks bosses decided to act after a survey last June recorded one cyclist riding at 32mph around 7pm on the Broad Walk, which is split 50-50 between a cycle path and pedestrian walkway. The Royal Parks wants cyclists to ride at a “considerate cycling speed” of 8-12mph though this is not legally enforceable.
The installation of similar cobbled “rumble strips” on Mount Walk in Kensington Gardens last year backfired – cyclists divert round them onto the grass or speed up to minimise the discomfort of riding over them.
The survey found about two-thirds of cyclists rode at what would be regarded as a typical commuting speed of up to 16mph. It clocked 6.6 per cent of riding above 20mph, 29.5 per cent at 16-20mph, 43.1 per cent at 12-16mph, 13 per cent at 10-12mph and 7.7 per cent at 10mph or below.
There were no reported collisions between cyclists and pedestrians but two “near misses” a week were spotted.
Cyclist Jon Stone called the plans “horrifically stupid” as it would lead to riders diverting onto Park Lane. Another said: “Ripping up one of London’s busiest bike tracks, turning it into shared pavement, [is] dangerous for all”.
Simon Munk of London Cycling Campaign said the plan was “outrageous”. Cycling blogger Danny Williams said the Royal Parks was “actively refusing to listen”.
Cycling campaigner Dominic Leggett wrote to Mr Norman and Ms Shawcross asking them to intervene. He said the changes were “not justified by any history of collisions, and discriminate against least able cyclists”. He described them as “idiotic, unnecessary changes that will make a good cycle route uncomfortable and unpleasant for most”.
A Royal Parks spokesman said: “If we have cyclists racing up and down a pathway at speed with pedestrians trying to cross that really doesn’t make for a pleasant visit, especially when we also have cases of pedestrians being shouted at for walking on pathways in the way of cyclists.”
Mr Norman’s spokesman was approached for comment.