LBC investigation clocks cyclists doing 27mph in a 20 zone as crash victim urges bikes to slow down

15 May 2024, 08:46 | Updated: 15 May 2024, 13:56

Warning: Contains distressing image

Cyclists are caught doing 27mph in 20 zone in investigation by LBC, bike crash victim and Sir Iain Duncan Smith

Henry Riley

By Henry Riley

The walk from Marylebone through Kent Passage into the picturesque Regent's Park is ordinarily a quiet, calm and highly enjoyable experience, but for Paola dos Santos it brings back harrowing memories.

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The route sees pedestrians attempt to cross the busy Outer Circle of the Royal Park, which is a particularly popular track for cyclists.

On the 1st May this year, Ms do Santos was crossing the road to the park while walking her dog.

The next thing she knew, she had woken up in an ambulance with a multiple fractures to the skull, stitches, shoulder and neck injuries and fractured sinuses after being hit by a cyclist.

She is still unable to eat solid food and has been told she must not travel by plane for the foreseeable future as her recovery continues.

Paola dos Santos injured in hospital after she was hit by a cyclist in Regent's Park
Paola dos Santos injured in hospital after she was hit by a cyclist in Regent's Park. Picture: Supplied

She was hit at the same place where pensioner Hilda Griffiths was hit by a bike back in 2022 and subsequently died.

Ms dos Santos wants to see more protection for pedestrians.

She told LBC: "this is where Hilda lost her life, I was hit at the same place, that was two years ago and yet nothing has changed. The density of bikes has increased and the park is not made for that - it is unsafe and is creating tension".

"Cyclists need to go slower, it's a culture problem. London is not a velodrome".

Ms Dos Santos told The Telegraph: “The male cyclist was seen coming up behind a car which was said to be observing the 20mph speed limit.

“Apparently, the cyclist didn’t slow down but overtook the car by going around the pedestrian island on the wrong side of the road where I was crossing. 

“It means he was very likely speeding and was on the wrong side of the pedestrian island.

“I believe I had looked for oncoming traffic coming from the right. I would not have been expecting a bike coming from the left against the flow of traffic."

Read more: Royal Parks call for cycling apps to remove Regent’s Park route after death of elderly woman in 29mph crash

Read more: Bystander in her 30s injured in Stamford Hill drive-by shooting as London gangs 'take aim at each other'

Sir Iain Duncan Smith launched the investigation with LBC's Henry Riley
Sir Iain Duncan Smith launched the investigation with LBC's Henry Riley. Picture: LBC

Her case is being highlighted by Conservative MP Sir Iain Duncan Smith.

The Tory grandee has proposed amendments to the Criminal Justice Bill which would see cyclists obey the same rules of the roads as cars and other vehicles. He tells LBC "there's a reason for having a speed limit, this argument that it is anti cycling, it is not, it's pro safety".

The former Tory leader says "I have had a very serious set of conversations with the government, I have nearly 40 Conservative MPs put supporting me - more than the government majority, fingers crossed we may get a change in the law".

He added that "too many cyclists pretend to be racers" and that "all road users need to operate within the law, including speed limits"

Indeed the government have hinted they could adopt Sir Iain's amendment. Speaking to LBC's Nick Ferrari at Breakfast the Policing Minister Chris Philp said "we are looking very carefully at what Sir Iain is saying, I am hoping to be in a position to make an announcement, cycling is not as tightly regulated".

Spending a morning at Regents Park it is clear that many cyclists are going much quicker than cars - and perfectly legally too.

Ms dos Santos speaking with Iain Duncan Smith at the scene of the crash.
Ms dos Santos speaking with Iain Duncan Smith at the scene of the crash. Picture: LBC

Thanks to Central Tool Hire LBC was given access to a radar speed gun to monitor how fast the bikes were going.

LBC spent an hour at the location, and found that most cyclists went below the 20 mile per hour speed limit for cars, but some far exceeded it - with the highest speed being 27 miles per hour. Going 27 miles per hour in a 20 zone would be enough to earn a driver points on their licence or require them to take a speed awareness course.

The leaderboard on the exercise app Strava shows that the 'record holder' rode at an average speed of 34.2mph.

The sheer speed that some bikes were going at was striking, and even surprised Sir Iain Duncan Smith who warned cyclists not to use the route as a "racetrack", whilst Paola dos Santos pleaded with users not to use it is a "velodrome".