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Canal Tow Path

From Rosy G

Wednesday, 6 March 2019

Two weeks ago my friend and myself had a lovely meal at the Secret Café, Tenterfields.

It was a nice day so we decided to take a walk on the canal bank as it was nice and flat (My friend is 80, and deaf in one ear.) This should have been a nice experience. Not so!

The number of bikes who came up behind us was incredible. Very few sounded a bell and the ones that did were very quiet. If I had not kept pushing her out of the way she would have been in the canal. Surely bike riders should have horns and there should be a speed limit at least.

The dog fouling was also very bad.

Has anyone else experienced the above problems?

From Adrian Riley

Thursday, 7 March 2019

Dare I suggest there is a conflict of interests on this narrow path and is likely to get worse when the surface has been improved. 

This was entirely foreseeable but I can't imagine many cyclists will dismount and push their cycles past anyone. 

Dog mess makes stepping out of the way a vigilant hopscotch reserved for nimble people. Consideration by using the traditional rule of "sail before steam" may be useful for circumstances related by Rosy G.

From Myra James

Friday, 8 March 2019

I cycle on the towpath and apply the rule “feet before wheels - especially when there are four” - because dogs are unpredictable and their human might need a few moments to ensure they are out of the way.

A little give and take is required on a shared path, on both sides.

So, a pedestrian wearing headphones can expect sometimes to be surprised if a cyclist passes them having failed to make their bell or voice heard, and groups of people might have to step aside to make a little space for a cyclist, runner or anyone wanting to make faster progress.

A cyclist in a hurry might consider whether the road is a better place for them, because there will be times when you need to slow down, or possibly even stop. 

From Graham Barker

Friday, 8 March 2019

I now try to avoid towpath walking at weekends and public holidays because the situation Rosy describes is sadly all too common. I’d say no more than half of cyclists passing from behind bother with an audible alert, so it’s not small numbers. My heart always sinks when I hear of yet another leisure route that mixes cyclists and walkers/pedestrians, because it means more hazard and less enjoyment for those on foot.

Cyclists seriously need to up their game, particularly as they’re so quick to moan about inconsiderate drivers. All they need to do is ring a bell or shout and if there is no response, slow right down. Bells are cheap, shouting even cheaper so I don’t understand why so many cyclists think it’s OK to be both dangerous and anti-social. I can only assume they share a mentality with dog owners who bag poo, then abandon it.

From Gavin Parry

Monday, 11 March 2019

We have lived on the canal towpath at Charlestown for more than 25 years. Improvements to the surface are long overdue to improve accessibility for pedestrians, especially families, since it is the only safe route for children to walk to school. We have concerns that widening the path and giving it a road-like surface will encourage cyclists to speed up rather than give way to pedestrians. We are also concerned that what was once a peaceful place to walk (or cycle with care) and a welcome sanctuary from the increasingly busy road will be lost for locals and visitors alike.

The design and layout of the improvements should take this into account, ensuring priority for pedestrians and deterring speeding cyclists. (I say this as someone who is more of a cyclist than a pedestrian).

A meeting has been arranged by the Combined Authority’s CityConnect  programme for this Wednesday, 13th March, at Stubbing Wharf pub 6.00-8.00pm. 

We are not sure how extensive or how well advertised the consultation processes have been for the Hebden Bridge to Todmorden stretch of the towpath? Apparently this was agreed in December 2016 and it is now only a question of ‘how these towpath improvements will be delivered’.

We wonder if only residents along the towpath have been informed of this meeting? This would be a shame as it affects many others. So, if anyone has an interest or concern about these changes, or that the consultation process hasn’t been adequate, please come to this meeting and share your views. We are hoping that it will be a forum for some constructive discussion around these issues

From Ms. P. Finch

Tuesday, 26 March 2019

Like others I am concerned at the so called 'upgrade' of the canal towpath. Attempts to convey these concerns to the relevant organisation have fallen on deaf ears. In many places the canal is too narrow to be wide enough for both bikes and pedestrians. 

Many times while enjoying a quiet stroll along the canal, I have been taken surprise by unannounced speeding bikes. No bike lanes here / not a town centre!!  

It is a miracle there aren't more accidents. 

With increased use, there should be better guidelines for bikes when approaching pedestrians. eg mandatory slowing down and mandatory warning by bell or voice.

In addition, widening will lead to loss of biodiversity/valuable wild plant communities. There are several key areas along the canal, previously protected from excessive strimming regimes, because of this, in agreement with the Canal Rivers Trust.

The canal towpath is not a substitute 'road' as funders suggest.

From Andrew H

Wednesday, 27 March 2019

100% agree that cyclists need to be responsible users of this shared space, I use the tow paths regularly and always slow for pedestrians and alert when approaching from behind.

However, those on foot should be responsible too. They should be more aware of their surroundings and how about a mandatory ban for headphones? In my opinion, these are the single most distracting an dangerous piece of equipment that tow-path users use.

From Gideon Foster

Thursday, 28 March 2019

Whilst I agree responsibility should come from both sides, I think maybe a mandatory ban of headphones is a little bit extreme and dare I say it, unenforceable!

The problem is not confined to headphones, presumably you are referring to cyclists approaching pedestrians from the rear? There are numerous reasons why people remain unaware - the wind, people being hard of hearing, the fact that bikes sometimes approach at speed and, of course, the main one being that humans tend to have eyes in the front of their heads!

Whilst we should of course try to consider others, the fact remains that just as cyclists would rightly expect motorists to be aware of their vulnerability on the road, then in this case it is the cyclist riding the potential weapon and the pedestrian who is vulnerable.

Whilst most cyclists tend to be respectful, I have come across others, mainly on Sundays, who seem to think that the bell is a means of making people jump out of the way so they don't have to slow down. 

From Arla R

Sunday, 31 March 2019

Please be aware also that headphones can be disability aids, in particular for people with over-sensitive hearing, like many autistic people, and those who hear voices like some with schizophrenia.

Also some of us have auditory processing conditions and may simply fail to interpret the meaning of a shouted warning or a bell, especially when lost in our own thoughts.  Sadly this often means mouthfuls of abuse from cyclists when we fail to immediately jump out of their way.