Notes of Meeting - July 2007
1. Welcome & Introductions
Anthony Austin (Chair), Robert Allen, Anthony Alpert, Andy Braben, Chris le Breton, Ian Calloway, Michael Collins, Ed Coster, Stephen Craven, Tom Crispin, Liz Delap, Julian Dobson, Tim Fitzpatrick, Eric Gauster, John Hearns, Chris Lee, Derek Mark, Ian McPherson, Abizer Nasir, Stuart Parkins, Rekha Patel, John Paton, David Senior, Ray Suomi and Richard Tester.
Apologies had been received from John Clarke.
2. Minutes of Last Meeting.
Approved subject to correction of the date (the meeting was on 6 June, not 2 May). There were no matters arising.
3. Greenwich Park - Response to Fatality.
Anthony reported the facts that had been established from police reports and witnesses. A 53 year old male cycling uphill from the King William Walk gate had been hit by a car coming downhill performing an overtaking manoeuvre. An ambulance was called but the victim was found to be dead. Police have not made any arrests. Representatives of Police and the Park authorities had been invited to the meeting but declined to come.
Liz read out a draft resolution that had been prepared by the Committee. Most of the members present contributed to the discussion that followed. The specific points made were:
A ban on overtaking, visually symbolised by double white lines, was agreed to be the measure most likely to prevent recurrence of the same type of incident; there had already been one near miss of a similar nature in recent days. The road is not wide enough for two cars and a bike abreast. Road markings would also make it feel safer for new cyclists.
- It may not be possible to get a 24/7 ban on through traffic due to the congestion it would cause (though some argued that the traffic would sort itself out) and because the Park is allegedly the subject of a Charter requiring a through traffic route to be provided, but there is no harm in trying. The daytime (10am – 4pm) and weekend restriction was introduced about 8 years ago after campaigning by local groups including cyclists. Only the emergency services have keys to the locks at the bottom gate. If a traffic ban could be introduced it may then be possible to make the southern part of King William Walk two-way again, to the benefit of cyclists.
- Tom, as a teacher, takes groups of children cycling in the park. He considers both the road and the existing (west side) cycle track too dangerous for children because of pedestrians and fast downhill cyclists, and takes them on the east side footpath instead. Others added that dogs straying on to the existing cycle track add to the danger. Having a one-way uphill cycle lane on the east side and expecting downhill cyclists to use the road appears to be the safest option. The danger is both ways: cycling was banned on the narrower paths in the park after a pedestrian was killed in a collision with a cyclist about 10 years ago.
- The speed limit had been 20mph and enforced by the Royal Parks Police until about 10 years ago, but since the Metropolitan Police took over it has been raised to 30mph and is not usually enforced. Reducing it to 20 again would help. Cyclists using the road would of course be expected to observe the same limit. There was some support for requesting traffic calming measures, which are usual in conjunction with 20mph zones, but the majority considered this unnecessary and possibly counterproductive to cycling safety on the hill; average-speed CCTV cameras would be a better form of enforcement.
- Because it is a Royal park, any change to the speed limit would require secondary legislation in Parliament, therefore we should work with Nick Raynsford MP rather than local councillors. A similar change in Richmond Park was introduced, so the request is a reasonable one.
- The route is part of LCN+ (London Cycling Network commuter route) and this strengthens the case for improving cycle safety.
- The Friends of Greenwich Park once included several cyclists but no longer. They meet Park management from time to time, and if several current GC members joined the Friends it would bring cycling up the agenda. Barry Mason is understood to have met the park manager Mr Spur.
- One way of publicising the campaign would be a Critical Mass style slow ride through the park but there was not much support for it. There was more support for a vigil at the site of the accident one month after the event (Thursday 26 July). That would be better as a pedestrian event to demonstrate respect rather than a cycling event, and could be the opportunity for a press photo-shoot. The police would need to be informed in advance, it must not block the road, and the victim's family should be contacted if possible.
Slight amendments were then made to the resolution in the light of the discussion and it was signed by 17 of the 25 people present. The agreed text being:
"This meeting calls for the following:
1. An extension of the prohibition on through motor traffic to include mornings and evenings.
2. In the interim, a reduction of the speed limit to 20mph.
3. A ban on overtaking and a double white line on the centre of the road.
4. A review of cycling facilities and safety, including transfer of the cycle lane to the east side of the road, making it one-way (uphill) only".
Anthony reported that as a result of a CRISP review, funding may now be available for the link as part of the LCN. Action – Liz to draft a letter of support to be reviewed at the next meeting. Ray reported that the rides programme was up-to-date on the Lewisham website though not our own.
5. Tour de France July 7/8th.
Final arrangements were agreed for marshals and outriders for the feeder ride on 7 July. Chris and Stephen to lead, Liz as back marker, Ray as mechanic. A total of at least 75 riders were expected, including a group of 23 adults and children from Tom's school, a group of 26 from St John's church and a group of 12 arranged by Roger Hardman. Chris had arranged tabards for marshals to be overprinted with specific wording. Action – Liz to provide route maps for marshals and registration forms for riders, Ray to provide spare tubes.
6. Any other business
Bike Week had generally been a success with good turnouts on most rides and several new people attracted through the Bike Week website, but a disappointing response from families. The organisers were thanked collectively.
Pedal Power next issue to include articles on Bike Week, Tour de France and the park issue.
Rides Chris as rides co-ordinator said he would lead one ride a month himself but new ride leaders were needed. Ian volunteered to lead occasional family rides.