Bring Back Cycling through Duke’s Head Passage!

The Royal Parks still won’t fix Duke’s Head Passage. Despite a petition now numbering over 1,300 supporters, they refuse to change their minds on letting people cycle down the passage, to avoid using the A308 and A311 roads around the park.

Since the closure, there’s been more analysis, especially by the ‘Save Our Shared Path’ local community group, who put together the petition.

A number of groups are now looking at this: Richmond Borough’s cycling officer, the Royal Parks’ Walking and Cycling Group, London Cycling and Richmond Cycling, and Save Our Shared Path. In addition, campaigners have gained support from a large number of local groups and individuals, including the Teddington Society, former local MP Vince Cable and many local Councillors.

When we attended the last Walking and Cycling Group at the Royal Parks, the unofficial feedback was that the path would only be re-opened to cycling when it had been upgraded to the standards described in TfL’s London Cycle Design Standards.

However, as pointed out by campaigners, little needs to be done to the path to make it compliant with LCDS standards: the path is used by low volumes of walkers and cyclists, with just two reported incidents in the last five years. Although there are other anecdotal reports of incidents in the passage, and no-one wants to see this, we question the evaluation of the very low level of risks  in the Duke’s Head Passage, versus the proven very high level of conflict and danger experienced by people choosing to cycle on the alternative routes:


All we ask is for a fair and proportionate response: all path users need to show consideration to others. And, given that the passage has been successfully used for decades, this is all that is needed at present. Certainly, the path could be better for all, by being wider, with a more consistent surface, etc., but we should not wait for this to happen before people are again allowed to cycle safely along the passage.  .

The Royal Parks are sadly not very clear as to how they justify the changes to Dukes’ Head Passage, and they seem entrenched in their narrative that ‘people can always “just get off and walk their bikes for 500m’. We will be raising this again at the next Royal Parks walking and cycling meeting, in the hope that we can get this decision changed.

But in the meantime your help will still make a difference, so here are the things that you can do:


Richmond’s Quietway Number 1 – Official Response

This is Richmond Cycling Campaign’s Official Response to the Quiet Way Proposals

Richmond Cycling Campaign welcomes these designs as a major change in council proposals for cycling. Although we have a number of concerns, and changes we would like to see, we support the overall proposal. We also welcome the effort and commitment that this quiet way implies, and we look forward to helping to make this a success.  

General Observations

The proposed 20mph limits are an essential element of this project.

We recognise that the budgets for quiet ways are lower than for ‘superhighways’, but it is clear that a number of compromises have been made on these designs which we’d really like reviewed.

Sections of the proposed route, due to the volumes of traffic particularly, are probably not compliant either with LCDS or the new Standards for Highways. Although 20mph limits will make a difference, we think that further changes will need to be part of a wider strategy.

We also recognise the limitations at Teddington Lock, and urge the council to look seriously at improving river crossings in the area

Specific Comments

Comments linked to specific design sheets from the consultation. A copy of these are on Cyclescape.

Ham Gate to the junction of Ham Common and Petersham Road

  1. Our optimal solution would be to stop parking on this road, widen it slightly, and use clearly marked cycle lanes each side (find Dutch example)
  2. If the existing path is to be used for shared walking and cycling, it will need more marking, and needs to be – as proposed – a continuous, plain, machine-laid surface. The present surface is no more suitable for cycling than a gravel track is for driving. We’d like it to be clear that the path should also have priority across drives, and should smoothly cross them.
  3. At the junction with Petersham Road, cyclists travelling away from the park have to make two movements to cross a road, where cars making the same journey have to make only one. This is repeated from the other direction as well – we would prefer a better solution to this.
  4. The dropped kerbs which access the quiet way may need to be further one way or the other, in order to ensure they’re not obstructed by queuing traffic.
  5. This area is also prone to flooding.

Ham Common – junctions with Martingales and Ham Common

  1. We support the new raised-table design proposed at these junctions. This emphasises speed and safety.
  2. We would like consideration to be offered to continuous pavements here: it’s a clear area where we should do our best for walking, and the low volumes of traffic turning in should make these possible.
  3. It would probably be preferable to have parking on one side of the road for this entire length, as there are regular point of conflict, depending on where people have parked.

Ham Common into Lock Road

  1. This junction will also need signing clearly.
  2. In general, consideration needs to be given to passing places on Lock Road, especially if it is to see an increase in volume.
  3. One option could be the use of raised tables instead of speed humps, to provide obvious pedestrian crossing points, and dissuade people trying to avoid the humps.

Lock Road leading to Hardwicke Road

  1. This section of the route will need to be signed clearly.
  2. We welcome the removal of barriers that prevent easy access by bicycle.

Hardwick Road to Riverside Drive and across to Teddington Lock

  1. We like the cycling zebra crossing.
  2. This route has a gate which is often closed – this may need review, to ensure that there’s a continuous route.

Teddington Lock

  1. We recognise that Teddington Lock is heavily used by foot traffic: if it proves to be very popular as part of this route, then this will hopefully give the council some urgency to look at how to upgrade the bridge.

Teddington Lock to Manor Road and Twickenham Road

  1. The change in priority on this road will make accessing the lock by bicycle much easier.
  2. At the Manor Road junction, we welcome the early release, but this is still likely to be a highly intimidating junction for cycling. (Though the new 20mph limit may have some beneficial effects.)

Teddington High Street (Twickenham Road to Udney Road junctions)

  1. Move to 20mph will make a difference here, though this could still be an intimidating environment.
  2. We like the improvements in pedestrian facilities, which bring more emphasis to this as an area for people, rather than for transit.

Teddington High Street (Udney Road to Vicarage Road junctions)

  1. Welcome the new pedestrian crossing.
  2. As earlier, the introduction of a 20mph zone will improve the accessibility of the road.

Teddington High Street to Broad Street

  1. The access from Waldegrave Road is quite steep, and could be problematic for people with mobility impairments, etc.
  2. In general, the proposed solution for the mini roundabouts is still not ideal, asking cyclists to make multiple stops and starts compared to motorised traffic.
  3. Other ways to deal with this could include traffic lights at both or one of the, roundabouts.

Park Road and Adelaide Road

  • No specific comments

Victoria Road, Clarence Road, Avenue Gardens

  • No specific comments

Avenue Gardens / Park Road / Bushy Park

  1. This seems very confusing for cyclists leaving the park, with three independent movements to go straight ahead. If the road either side is deemed safe enough to cycle, then the junction needs to be, as well. Why not traffic light control the junction?
  2. Another option could be a mini roundabout with a clearly raised centre to control speeds.
  3. Or there could be a raised table from the park to Avenue Gardens.


Rides for Explorers – January 8th – Box Hill

Box Hill Ride

Meet Twickenham Riverside – by Eel Pie bridge 10.00.

Our traditional post-turkey jaunt. On/off road quiet route to Box Hill then a steady climb to the viewpoint and lunch in NT Cafe at the top (as the pub we used to patronise is now a trendy wine-bar). Enjoy  a switchback descent taking us most of the way home. About 40 miles in total. Better bring lights but expect to get back before 4.

Eight of us met up with rather more “locals” than usual but with two riders who had already cycled from NW London. The weather was “atmospheric misty” but not cold and the surfaces across Horton Country Park / Ashsted Common not bad. We took our soup outside as the cafe was rather full and the weather still mild. The downhill return was marred a bit by drizzle encouraging us not to linger – we were back in the Borough soon after 3.



The Quietway Needs You!

Richmond’s first quiet way needs your help!

HT @rantyhighwayman

Quietways encourage more cycling like this! HT @rantyhighwayman

TL;DR – respond positively by email or online form or via Richmond Cycling Campaign

The council is consulting on a quiet way route which runs all the way from Bushy Park to Richmond Park, taking in key areas along the way. This is a route which not only helps people who want to make a journey along the whole route, but also people making a journey using part of it. For example, if you live near Teddington High Street and want use your bike to go shopping there, this will become more easy and less stressful.

The route includes the borough’s first cycling and walking zebra crossing, and will also link to changes in Richmond Park to accommodate cycling.

cycling and walking zebraThe whole quietway route will also be 20mph – even this small change will be a significant improvement for both walking and cycling.

You can see the discussion on our Cyclescape pages.

We need your support on this: even though there are things we ‘d like to improve on the route Richmond Cycling Campaign very much supports the ambition and the plans which this new route represents. We need you to
– write to the council [email ] or
– fill in the consultation form [online form] or
– drop us an email [email RCC]
to show your support .. and to see more cycling like this …
Panniers and all HT @jitensha_oni

Panniers and all
HT @jitensha_oni

Cycling Strategy – We need your help

The new cycling strategy is really (web page and document) quite good. With commitment to 15% of all trips by bike within ten years, broadening the demographic of people who cycle in the borough, and plans to work more closely with stakeholders, there are good ideas, backed up with some serious thought.

Obviously, funding is going to be a concern, and much is this is contingent on allocating scarce council funds, or persuading Transport for London to pay, but the strategy does recognise that there are things that can be done, and that making cycling better involves real change to our roads and our public space.

So we need you to give the council your qualified support on this one. Sure, there are lots of things we’d like to tweak / improve, and they’re listed below, but you can respond to the council quickly – here’s how:

1. You can email the consultation team with a response

2. You can fill in their form here

3. You can drop us a note and we’ll collate your responses:

But here are some ideas we’d like to add. Feel free to copy and paste these, add your own bits, etc.!


Supporting local businesses who want to try cargo bikes.
Like Homebase is trialling:

Help schools more
All our local schools should have enough bike parking, and should be priority areas for 20mph zones and safe spaces to cycle
The borough could also support schemes like the one in Camden, where children can buy and sell bikes they’re growing out of. (This is hinted at in B4, but when someone says they’ll ‘investigate the feasibility of facilitating’ something, it sounds awfully like it will never happen.)
A good example of an organisation we could work with is

Work with businesses
We love this idea, but we’d like active development here to support proper parking at every new business, and access by foot and bicycle to be the number one transport priority for any new business in the area.

Filtered permeability
This should be a full programme of work, not just a trial. We already use it on dozens of roads around the borough, and many more roads would benefit from less through traffic.

But the big one: segregation
We know that cycling really takes off only when you provide people safe spaces to ride – like on the Embankment, or in Tavistock Place. We’d like to see the cycling strategy actively commit to building more safe space to cycle

Enforcement and Safety
The recent policy change by West Midlands police make real sense to us. Cycling UK describe it as ‘the best cycling road safety initiative ever’. WM Police have said

“If poor driving makes people too scared to cycle, it’s a police matter.”

We want Richmond Council and local police to step up to the crease on this one: it’s not good enough to talk about ‘targeting any road user’ – they need to target the danger. We don’t endorse or support people who break the law when they’re on a bike, but we if more effort is going to be spent on enforcement of the law, it needs to take into account the genuine danger in the offences being looked at: we can’t be moaning about a few cyclists on the pavement when the borough is plagued with people driving cars and vans when they can’t look up from their phones.

Our response to the cycling strategy

This is a Richmond Cycling Campaign’s detailed response to the Cycling Strategy.

You can see the current cycling strategy document here

You can see the consultation page here

General Notes

We welcome the new cycling strategy for

  • Its evidence-based approach to making
  • The emphasis on improving cycling through proper measures
  • The clear drive from both officers and councillors to understand cycling as an everyday mode of transport rather than an occasional leisure activity

As might be expected, we have a number of comments, and a number of areas we would like improved in the strategy.

These notes use the original copy of the Strategy Document, and their section numbers.

We’d like to see the possibility of many more 20mph areas – as in Wandsworth and many neighbouring boroughs – included in the strategy.

We would like the strategy to be much clearer about how cycling needs to be accessible to all. Our experience talking to council officers and councillors makes it clear that they understand that cycling can benefit almost everyone, with a wide range of impairments, and we’d like to see this knowledge shared more clearly in the strategy. An example would be a commitment to engage with organisations like Wheels 4 Wellbeing.

This should also be read in conjunction with our notes on this page.

Specific Comments

2.2 With regard to funding, we would like to see the borough commit to more clearly identifiable funding streams, including prioritisation of all s106 funds and CIL funds.

A1. Draft network plan: Ideally we would like to see some more analysis of this in the cycling strategy, to show that there is a clear plan to provide more routes, in a more dense configuration, throughout the area. It is also important to establish proper consultation on these: may people may object to specific local schemes if they can’t see how a change in their area is going to have a very beneficial impact to their area directly, as well as to the wider area. We think it is inappropriate to subject each specific change to the whim of overly-specific areas. Rather, the council must make the case for a comprehensive network of routes which will serve everyone, walking or cycling.

A2. While it is useful to review accident data, this doesn’t tell us the full story of why people choose not to cycle. Lots of evidence shows that things like close passes, dense traffic and inconsiderate driving all take their toll on someone’s willingness to try cycling. We would like the council to consider how it can find out why people in the area don’t cycle, and addressing this as well.

A4. “Integrating cycling into new schemes”. This needs strengthening. No traffic or construction scheme should go ahead without clear provision for safe walking and cycling both around the location, and to get to the location.

A7. FORS certification. The borough could be more ambitious here. 2020 is fully 4 years away, and we should be able to achieve gold by then. We would also like to see the council look at what jurisdiction it has over other larger vehicles using our roads – for example school buses, etc.

A8. We applaud this, but we would like the council and local police to follow the example of West Midlands Police and focus their enforcement activity on those behaviours which create the highest level of danger / risk. It’s fine to increase enforcement of cycling on footways, etc., but in reality this is far less dangerous to borough residents than driving while using a mobile phone, for example. The latter should be receiving far more police attention than the former.

A9. Speed limits and traffic calming. London now has clear guidance, with the London Cycle Design Standards. We’d like to see these form the basis of any changes and improvements.

B1. Improved cycle parking. A big ‘yes’ from us!

B4. Facilitate bike ownership. We really like this idea, and we would like the council to look at some kind of bike hire library to help families try cargo bikes and other types of bicycle, so that they can better understand their options.

C3. Schools engagement. This is also great news. We’d strengthen this, by asking that all schools have an up to date travel plan, sufficient bike parking, and safe routes for children to get there. We would stress the duty of the council to support schools in their travel plans, and to support parents and children in making healthy choices about their transport options.

C4. Business engagement. This is another great idea: we love the idea of helping businesses to realise the benefits of having more people walking and cycling.

2.2.4. Helping people get to attractions. A good idea – we would actively support making access to places like Kew Gardens and Ham House much better for cycling. As a part of the strategy, we’d like to see this connect better to the Network Plan in A1.

2.2.9. Air quality. This is an important issue for the borough. We’d like to see the borough starting to look at how to ct the volumes of through traffic in our town centres, and other key pollution areas.

2.4.1 This is a bit we’d like changed. We welcome the analysis the council has put into this, but we’d like to stress that people’s fear of safety can only really be addressed by actual, rather than perceptual, changes. We think this includes a commitment to facilities like those we now see in central London and other parts of our city.

2.4.2 This paragraph also discusses the same issue: it’s important to address actual changes to the cycling environment, and not to assume that training and confidence building is going to get more people cycling.

2.4.4 We worry about this bit. It suggests that investment in proper places to cycle is contingent upon people’s behaviour when cycling. We would argue two things here: (1) The council does not link money spent on anything else to behaviour – especially roads. (2) Only by improving the conditions for cycling will we be able to (for example) persuade fewer people not to cycle on the pavement.


A1 Network improvements. We would like to see the proposed corridors included in the cycling strategy, as a clear statement of intent.

A2. Better junctions. This mentions trialling filtered permeability. We think this should be integral to plans not only to improve cycling, but also air quality.

A3. Better bridges. Great! Like many locals, we really support the provision of a new bridge for our borough.

A4. Integrating cycling into new schemes. Another great idea – we’d like to see it strengthened, though – as discussed above, new schemes should be required to actively support walking and cycling.

A8. Enforcement against poor road user behaviour. (See above)

3.2.1 Cycling as an everyday option. We like this too, and would propose that the council engages with cycle parking providers to look at how it can provide temporary bike parking for big events, and to trial new parking locations.

Cycle Hub at Teddington Station

cyclehub….was opened by the Deputy Mayor who arrived by bike (although it later transpired that it had been borrowed from her son. )  She talked about encouraging commuters to leave their cars at home ..but the remark about this leaving space for parents returning from driving their children to school suggests that the message has not fully got through. The Network Rail person’s emphasis on planning for future increase in demand was more welcome.

We get : lots of decent cycle parking – and there is space between the double decker racks to pull down the upper and load your bike from the end-  , a pump which doubles as a maintenance stand and a chained set of tools all overlooked by a security camera with info on trains and weather on a monitor.

Now all we need is good routes to cycle to the station !

Quiet Way 1 – Your Chance to See the Detail – NEW DATE

** UPDATE ** There will be another opportunity to see plans and discuss them with officers in Teddington on 26th November at Teddington Baptist Church. Details are here. 

The council is consulting on a substantial new cycling route through the borough, provisionally called ‘Quiet Way 1’.

Riding on the Tamsin Trail.

Riding on the Tamsin Trail.

The consultation is online here. You can read our earlier discussion here.

There’s now a new opportunity to review these plans on Monday. The borough cycling officer is hoping to bring the plans to our monthly meeting at the Old Ship (details here)

Although we think there are things missing in the quiet way plan, we’d really like to see a major project like this, and we need your support and views. We’ll have a response out soon, but if you want to know more, please come along on Monday evening.