A neighbour has paid tribute to a cyclist who died after falling from his bicycle in Richmond Park, a scientist from Oxshott called Dr Sian Tiong Lim.
The 40-year-old lost control of his bicycle on Broomfield Hill in the Royal Park on Sunday, August 24 after skidding on gravel.
Dr Lim, a pharmaceuticals expert, was a father of two and lived in a £750,000 home in Oxshott, eight miles from where the accident happened.
His neighbour, who asked not to be named, said: “They are a lovely family and that is what is so tragic.
“They are just very lovely, a close family.
“He did a lot of cycling so it’s not like he was an inexperienced cyclist.”
They have lived in Charlwood Drive, Oxshott, for about five years, the neighbour said.
Dr Lim was taken in a critical condition to the Royal London Hospital by London’s Air Ambulance after the accident, which happened at about 9.30am, but he died later that day.
Nobody else was involved in the accident.
Popular with cyclists, Broomfield Hill is part of a 1km route in the Royal Park and has gradients from 4 per cent to 12 per cent along with fast descents.
In 2006, Dr Lim, vice-president of pharmaceutical development at MedPharm, was jailed for four months after being stopped by customs officers at Heathrow in June 2004 with more than 100 rare and precious orchids in his suitcase.
He admitted 13 charges of smuggling plants that are protected by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, with plants found including the Lady Slippers, which are only found on the slopes of a single mountain on the island of Borneo.
An orchid expert from Kew Gardens who helped to identify Dr Lim’s haul said illegal collecting and trade was pushing the rarest orchid species to extinction.
A close friend of Dr Lim told the Evening Standard he was an experienced cyclist who cycled to work two or three times a week.
The friend said: "He was travelling way below the speed limit when the accident happened. I was shocked and devastated.
"He was also a very good father and his daughter was his sweetheart. He even had her picture on his phone.
"It was very sad. His wife is still struggling to cope."
After the accident, the Richmond Cycling Campaign (RCC) group spoke out about the conditions of the roads within the Royal Park.
Tim Lennon, from RCC, said: "We do regularly hear about incidents in Richmond Park, whether involving cars, bicycles, or pedestrians, and we’re keen to work with the Royal Parks to understand the circumstances, and whether this has lessons to be learned for how we all use the park and its facilities."
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