Overturn Royal Parks' Cycling Ban: Bushy Park, Duke’s Head Passage

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The Duke's Head Passage (DHP), is a vital 500-metre long access pathway from Hampton Village, into Bushy Park. For over 50 years, the path has been peacefully enjoyed as a ‘dual-use’ shared path by both walkers and cyclists entering Bushy Park or crossing the park to reach Teddington, Kingston or Hampton Court. The pathway also leads directly to the popular Hampton open air swimming pool, through Bushy Park, from Teddington, Kingston or Hampton Court.

Critically, it is also the safest cycling route. The alternative is for cyclists to divert, around the park, along busy local roads, including the Hampton Court Road (A308). The A308 is a well known local accident black spot. It has no provision for cyclists. In 2008-12 alone, 32% of all accidents on the A308 involved cyclists (15 of 47 reported) compared to the national average of 7.4%. The A308 is four times more dangerous for cyclists than the average road. Take a look at the latest A308/311 crash map!

In June 2016 Royal Parks’ management decided to ban cycling on the Duke’s Head Passage, and they erected banning signs at each end of the path. The direct consequence is that now cyclists are diverting around the park onto the dangerous A308.

The local community's response was - and remains - one of shock and dismay. (This forum, on the Hampton People's Network, has had nearly 5000 views, with the overwhelming majority opposing the ban!)

Crucially, no formal consultation has ever taken place between Royal Parks’ management and the local community of users. The decision to ban cyclists was simply imposed! The decision is ill-informed and poorly-judged. More critically, the consequences of this decision for cyclist safety have not been seriously thought through.

Numerous objections and protests against the DHP cycling ban have been raised with Royal Parks’ management by local community members with strong support from the local press, the London Richmond Cycling Campaign, Richmond Council and local councillors. They have all fallen on 'deaf ears', with Royal Parks' management offering the same 'copy-paste' stock response.

So, in October 2016 we submitted a Freedom of Information (FoI) request to the Royal Parks to uncover the full truth behind the DHP cycling ban. 

What it revealed is striking. The overwhelming majority of correspondence sent to Royal Parks about the ban is from local people strongly opposing it. In contrast, just a handful of people (we counted 5) are in favour. Read the full FoI release here (part 1 and part 2).

As for the recorded evidence of dangerous 'incidents' on the pathway, the FoI reveals that:

  • In response to a complaint about cyclists:  "… it is rare for us to receive a letter about the problem you describe …."  Bushy Park management - 23/02/16
  • “there have been no reported accidents … there have been two reported near misses …" Bushy Park management - 05/07/16

Given the clear lack of evidence of the need for such a ban all that is required is a simple notice asking all path users to show mutual care and respect.

It's time for the Royal Parks to come to their senses!!!

Please help to overturn the cycling ban!

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