I hear that BW has used National Bike Week to try and get towpath cyclists in London to slow down and follow the Towpath Code. So they launched a Two Ting campaign.

I applaud this….

Cyclists and walkers are expected to follow the code, which in essence, sends the message “be courteous and considerate”.

Now I am first and foremost a walker of the canals. My observations are that out of the towns and cities the code is practised quite well. However, I live overlooking the canals in Birmingham centre and use the towpaths to get around the city. My experiences with cyclists are not good. In general, they ride far too fast and do not ring their bell (most haven’t got one). They pass very close to pedestrians assuming that they have been heard when approaching from behind. They need to realise that with the wind in your ears and your concentration given to the conversation with your companion, they will not be heard. I have been passed by a cyclist travelling at more that 20mph on many occasions with inches separating us. Most pedestrians are very variable in the direction they walk and are easily distracted by happenings around and can swerve and point at random and so collisions are very likely!

What cyclists don’t realise is that if they collide with a pedestrian at this speed they will cause serious injuries and will be sued for compensatory damages – and quite right too! Even without this collateral injury, the shock of having someone race passed you at high speed without warning is shaking to say the least.

The offending cyclists are not just people on their way to and from work, many are out for the recreation both in built up areas and in the countryside. A need to speed for an appointment or for fun for some is a big danger for others!

The canals are deliberately regarded by most as retreats from the hustle and bustle of the modern world including road rage and city impatience. They are, and should be by their heritage nature, places of peace and relaxation.

We must discourage any infringement of this. But HOW!

BW can’t afford signs about cyclists and the way to behave, and we don’t want any more signs thank you!

Any laws would be totally useless as they cannot be enforced (witness cars speeding, drivers using mobile phones, dropping of litter and dumping of rubbish, etc, etc).

So what can be done?

If you have any ideas please leave a comment below.