By Rhiannon Du Cann
Limited access for runners and cyclists around Bishops park, the Thames path and its north bank is infuriating residents.
A NextDoor post about the restrictions called ‘selfish joggers’ has more than 400 comments and over 100 likes.
Hammersmith and Fulham council discourage runners and cyclists from using the riverfront between 10am and 3pm with signs, leaflets and marshalls.
The post by Alexander Ellerington of Bishop’s Park reads: “As someone who has been avoiding the riverside path due to the high volume of joggers, I was very pleased to hear the council restricting jogging and cycling to before 10 and after 3.
“Walking down there today I was dismayed to see multiple joggers (almost all under 30) completely ignoring the many signs put up by the council.
“How many other people are denied the pleasure of the river because of this?
“As a jogger myself I have no issue with street running and would support on the spot fines for those who completely ignore the new rules. It’s selfish and arrogant.”
One comment by David Krajnyk of North Fulham said: “We are allowed to go running as part of daily exercise – the council has no right to put a time restriction – keep your distance.”
An FOI request revealed the council has no specific risk assessment around Covid-19 for public spaces.
Stephen Gibbs, neighbourhood warden manager’s investigation on February 15 found that 1,000 pedestrians and 400 joggers and cyclists used the Riverwalk from Furnival Gardens up to Craven Cottage in the morning.
One comment on NextDoor from Laura Kudmany of Bishop’s Park said: “I just think Covid has created many more runners, walkers and cyclists as more people have had some time on their hands.”With more people on narrow pathways it’s never going to work is it really.”
Mr Gibbs’ investigation also found on an average day, over 2,000 pedestrians and over 600 cyclists and joggers use the space even with restrictions
Rob Ellis, 27, of Bishops Mansions said: “Quite frankly it’s ridiculous.
“If the issue is footfall and the majority of footfall comes from walkers then why are you restricting running and cycling?
“We pay to maintain and access public space so why can we not use it?”
The H&F report detailing the financial impact of the pandemic on the council revealed that more than £634,000 was spent on enforcing measures in the borough.
A H&F spokesman said: “The highly contagious Covid virus is still spreading and has taken so many of our loved ones.
“We are doing everything we can to help protect our residents and stop the spread of the virus.
“So, we make no apology for asking fit people vigorously exercising to be considerate to protect other, often elderly, people taking a more leisurely stroll.
“It is a measure that has been widely welcomed. The riverside is open to runners and cyclists for most of the daylight hours but should please avoid it at busy times.”
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