Royal Parks calls off bike time trials after spate of collisions with pedestrians

Bike time trials at a royal park have been cancelled after The Telegraph revealed a speeding cyclist could not be prosecuted[1] over his fatal collision with a pedestrian at Regent’s Park.

The Royal Parks has announced the suspension of two annual time trial events at Richmond Park amid fears cyclists would exceed the 20mph speed limit and pose a threat to visitors.

The charity, which runs 5,000 acres of parkland in the capital, said the time trials were cancelled “as they directly encourage cyclists to go faster than the speed limit on the road”.

Members of cycling clubs, many of whom compete for the fastest laps and monitor their speed through GPS apps such as Strava[2], can routinely exceed the speed limit because those road rules do not apply to them.

The Richmond Park Time Trials, which are organised by the London Dynamo cycling club and attract more than 100 entrants, were due to be held in June and July.

A spokesman for the Royal Parks said the cancellation was due to “several cycling-related incidents” within the eight parks it oversees.

Hilda Griffiths

Hilda Griffiths, 81, died from her injuries after being hit by a speeding cyclist at Regent’s Park

In May, The Telegraph revealed how Hilda Griffiths, 81, died weeks after receiving serious injuries in the collision with a cyclist in a “fast group” doing time trials in Regent’s Park.

Brian Fitzgerald, a director at Credit Suisse and member of the Muswell Hill Peloton cycling club, was travelling at up to 29mph in an aerodynamic “pace line” formation to maximise speed when he struck the retired nursery teacher who stepped into the road in June 2022.

Mr Fitzgerald told an inquest he had zero-reaction time, explaining how cyclists are not legally required to obey speed limits.

Police concluded there was “insufficient evidence for a real prospect of conviction” and the case was closed because there were “no specific” speed limits for cyclists.

Mrs Griffiths, from Marylebone, central London, succumbed to her injuries after 59 days. 

Because she died more than a month after the collision, her death is not counted as a pedestrian dying from a collision with a cyclist on official data.

Gerard Griffiths, the son of Mrs Griffiths, voiced concern at speeding cyclists

Gerard Griffiths, the son of Mrs Griffiths, told of his concern over cyclists

Credit: Geoff Pugh

The Telegraph then revealed how a woman suffered severe facial injuries at the same spot when a cyclist[3] on the wrong side of the road overtaking a car collided with her.

Gerard Griffiths, the son of Mrs Griffiths, voiced concern[4] at speeding cyclists, saying: “I believe attitudes need to change among cyclists who use Regent’s Park for training.”

He added that the park had become a “velodrome for those who take cycling seriously and have high-performance carbon fibre bikes, riding in groups sometimes as large as 25, and in full club kit”.

The coverage of such incidents prompted the Royal Parks to contact Strava to ask it to remove the parks from its platform in an attempt to prevent cyclist clubs from using public roads as race tracks.

A Royal Parks spokesman said: “Following several cycling-related incidents within the Royal Parks, linked to a minority of people cycling at excessive speeds, it is our duty to take action to minimise the risk of accidents and our priority to ensure the safety of all cyclists together with other visitors.

“We strive to create a relaxing and welcoming environment for the cycling community. 

“We have reduced cut-through motor traffic and invested in safety measures to protect cyclists, pedestrians and other road users, including the equine community.”

She added: “We continue to review and explore our current cycling events, our cycling policy and the infrastructure across the Royal Parks.

“During this period of review, we have taken the decision to not permit the time trial events on June 23 and July 7, as they directly encourage cyclists to go faster than the speed limit of the road.”

‌It is understood the ban could be made permanent.

Andy Taylor, chairman of London Dynamo, told The Telegraph he was “disappointed” that their “key events”, which have been held for 15 years, had been cancelled and he was eager to discuss with Royal Parks future cycling strategy.

He insisted the organised trials had a full risk assessment conducted beforehand and were held from 6am when few pedestrians or cars were in the park.

Although he admitted some cyclists could exceed the 20mph limit on downhill sections, Mr Taylor said the cancellation of the events would affect youngsters and para-cycling groups, some of whom go on to take up the sport at a high level.

Both Labour and Conservatives have now pledged to modernise laws so that cyclists who kill or maim can face new tougher sentences.

Cyclists who kill while riding recklessly or dangerously are currently only likely to face a maximum two years imprisonment under a Victorian “wanton or furious driving” charge.

Relatives of those killed after collisions with cyclists – some riding on the pavement or on bikes with no front brakes – say they should face the same life sentence as motorists convicted of causing death by dangerous driving.

Sir Iain Duncan Smith[5] tabled a series of amendments to the Criminal Justice Bill that would lead to those riding pedal bicycles, e-bikes, electric scooters, unicycles and “personal transporters” facing new tougher penalties if they injure or kill pedestrians.


  1. ^ speeding cyclist could not be prosecuted (
  2. ^ compete for the fastest laps and monitor their speed through GPS apps such as Strava (
  3. ^ woman suffered severe facial injuries at the same spot when a cyclist (
  4. ^ Gerard Griffiths, the son of Mrs Griffiths, voiced concern (
  5. ^ Sir Iain Duncan Smith (