Regent’s Park Cyclists attack ‘misrepresentations’ in row over coronavirus social distancing

Cyclists obeying social distancing rules in Regent's Park. Picture: Regent's Park Cyclists

Cyclists obeying social distancing rules in Regent's Park. Picture: Regent's Park Cyclists - Credit: Regent's Park Cyclists

Cyclists who regularly use one of London’s most popular parks have hit out at elements of the media for misrepresenting them.

Members of the Regent’s Park Cyclists group criticised the suggestion that cyclists were not obeying social distancing rules in Regent’s Park, with the group’s Justin McKie telling this newspaper that misleading images of cyclists have “seen a spike in aggressive driving” towards cyclists using the park for their daily allowed exercise.

Justin, who lives in Belsize Park and is a prominent clean air campaigner in the area, said: “The photographer used a very long lens to take this picture, which compresses the image and makes the cyclists look like they are closer than reality.

“The photograph was taken at the traffic lights, where cyclists were diligently waiting.”

He said that the group had been pushing hard to ensure members are aware of and obey social distancing rules.

Adrian Jackson, a public health and wellbeing campaigner from the Parks for the People group, added: “I was in the park over the weekend and what I witnessed was a lot of good behaviour.

“People were trying their absolute best.

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“There’s obviously occasional bad behaviour from all sides, but the cyclists are following the two metre rule.”

After the weekend, a spokesperson for the Royal Parks, which manages Regent’s Park, said: “The parks are strictly open for exercise only.

“No matter how sunny it is, please don’t be tempted to come for a picnic or to soak up the rays.

“The government has clearly said exercise outdoors will be stopped if people don’t follow the rules.

“Please stay local and don’t drive to the parks: all our car parks are now closed.

“Stay at least 2m from others, don’t gather in groups and use the parks for exercise only. No sunbathing. No picnics.”

Cycling is suspended in Richmond Park – also run by the Royal Parks – but cycling is still permitted” in other parks.

The spokesperson said the situation is under constant review and things may yet change if social distancing is not adhered to.

It is understood that the Royal Parks has been in touch with national media to discuss the representation of cyclists using its parks.