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Hostility towards cyclists on canal towpath


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FIRST of all I would like to congratulate the Canal and River Trust for the remarkable job of repairing the towpath between Kildwick and Skipton and to celebrate their success in attracting people to use and enjoy it.

In many years of cycling to Skipton and back from my home in Cross Hills, I can honestly say I have never seen so many people there.

But success is often a double-edged sword and recently I have noticed hostility towards cyclists from walkers.

A few weeks ago, while out with my wife and teenage daughter, we were twice told we had no right to use the towpath; the second occasion by a large gentleman who verbally intimidated them and proceeded to physically and verbally threaten me when I remonstrated with him.

 

Full article here :

 

LETTER: Hostility towards cyclists on canal towpath | Craven Herald

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6 minutes ago, Murflynn said:

You use the first person without explanation.    So we can assume your name is either Lesley Tate or Chris Ward.

My guess is Terry Hampson. 😃

 

 

 

Edited by Chagall
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We've been here many times before. There are a few inconsiderate cyclists who think they own the towpath and abuse pedestrians who get in their way. There are a few pedestrians who hate cyclists and deliberately obstruct them or argue with them.

 

I walk the towpath here (West London) for several miles most days, and the worst behaviour I've seen was one cyclist who zoomed up behind a couple walking side by size and had to brake and skid to a stop to avoid hitting them when they didn't get out of his way -- but they had their backs to him and he didn't ring a bell, they didn't hear him coming. Most cyclists give a polite warning "ting" and people then happily step to one side of the towpath to let them past. Most walkers move to one side anyway if they see or hear a cyclist coming. I haven't seen any dangerous riding too close to pedestrians. It's very much live and let live.

 

Maybe this is the exception and it's much worse elsewhere, but one not-really-very-bad incident from the hundreds of cyclist/walker interaction I've seen says that cyclist/walker rage isn't a problem round here.

 

But there will always be a few inconsiderate troublemakers who think they own the towpath -- boaters, cyclists and walkers... 😉

 

 

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38 minutes ago, IanD said:

We've been here many times before. There are a few inconsiderate cyclists who think they own the towpath and abuse pedestrians who get in their way. There are a few pedestrians who hate cyclists and deliberately obstruct them or argue with them.

 

I walk the towpath here (West London) for several miles most days, and the worst behaviour I've seen was one cyclist who zoomed up behind a couple walking side by size and had to brake and skid to a stop to avoid hitting them when they didn't get out of his way -- but they had their backs to him and he didn't ring a bell, they didn't hear him coming. Most cyclists give a polite warning "ting" and people then happily step to one side of the towpath to let them past. Most walkers move to one side anyway if they see or hear a cyclist coming. I haven't seen any dangerous riding too close to pedestrians. It's very much live and let live.

 

Maybe this is the exception and it's much worse elsewhere, but one not-really-very-bad incident from the hundreds of cyclist/walker interaction I've seen says that cyclist/walker rage isn't a problem round here.

 

But there will always be a few inconsiderate troublemakers who think they own the towpath -- boaters, cyclists and walkers... 😉

 

 

On Lockdown we walk the lanes where we live and have often been surprised by a cyclist flying up behind me, some call out and very few ring a bell, I always thank them for the warning. The worst is when one wizzes past fast which startles you and you step out in front of the second, I honestly think they dont realise you cant hare them coming.

 

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A major problem as I see it is that Sustrans have designated a number of towpaths as cycleways but won't warden them to limit the more aggressive or irresponsible cyclists. You only need a few idiots to upset the majority of users and then all cyclists tend to get feedback. Cycling should never have been encouraged on towpaths without a licence and that licence would only be available to people using the canals for another use like fishing or boating.

 

 

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I remember when we had to have a BWB bicycle licence in London. I can't remember how much it was now but even at say £10  bringing that back would make a shed load of money for CaRT

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Just now, Mike Adams said:

I remember when we had to have a BWB bicycle licence in London. I can't remember how much it was now but even at say £10  bringing that back would make a shed load of money for CaRT

But would be unenforceable. 

Back in the days when you were supposed to have a cycle permit I never bothered and nobody ever stopped me.

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1 hour ago, Mike Adams said:

I remember when we had to have a BWB bicycle licence in London. I can't remember how much it was now but even at say £10  bringing that back would make a shed load of money for CaRT

I used to have one, cycling in from Wembley to South Ken every day most of my route was on the towpath. Seem to remember getting it from BWB at Little Venice, but this was forty years ago so could well be wrong...

Edited by IanD
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25 minutes ago, Mike Adams said:

I remember when we had to have a BWB bicycle licence in London. I can't remember how much it was now but even at say £10  bringing that back would make a shed load of money for CaRT

Got one from Braunston Stop House, free to licence holders, A little plastic case to put it in.

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both cyclists and walkers are inconsiderate, cyclists dont realise that walkers cant hear them coming and some ride too fast.  walkers think they own the towpath(3 or 4 of them walking side by side knowing fully well that its being used by cyclists and other walkers coming from opposite side). Some idiots walk exactly in the middle of towpath with a headphone..

 

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2 hours ago, Mike Adams said:

I remember when we had to have a BWB bicycle licence in London. I can't remember how much it was now but even at say £10  bringing that back would make a shed load of money for CaRT

Perhaps you would care to explain how you would police such a scheme?

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Just now, Machpoint005 said:

Perhaps 40 years (or more) ago, people did the right thing simply because it was the right thing to do?

 

 

There were certainly less 'entitled' people and to those the 'world owed a living', maybe it was a more law-abing and respectful society with an acknowledgment that the 'authorities' could tell you what to do and what not to do'.

 

A bit more than 40 years ago but if you were seen scrumping by the house holder you scarpered, today the homeowner would be verbally abused and be pelted with apples.

 

A bit more than 40 years ago you could be dragged home by the ear, by the 'village-bobby' who knew full well that your Father would 'sort it out'.

 

A different era -

better ?,

yes in some ways.

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15 minutes ago, Orwellian said:

Perhaps you would care to explain how you would police such a scheme?

Lend Sustran barges and when their wardens find an unlicensed bike they stick it in the barge, They largely created the problem by waymarking towpaths as cycle routes, them and the local councils so they should enforce and rules required to keep others safe on under width mixed use routes.

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1 minute ago, Orwellian said:

What barges, how many of them and who is going to 'lend' them? What legal powers will be used to take possession of the bikes?

 

The ability to seize the bike would be incorporated into the rules that required them to be licenced. Neither of which exist at the mo.

 

But being realistic in the real world enforcement would be nigh on impossible.

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36 minutes ago, Orwellian said:

Perhaps you would care to explain how you would police such a scheme?

The same way you enforce any other law or bylaw - why is it different?

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26 minutes ago, Alan de Enfield said:

 

There were certainly less 'entitled' people and to those the 'world owed a living', maybe it was a more law-abing and respectful society with an acknowledgment that the 'authorities' could tell you what to do and what not to do'.

 

A bit more than 40 years ago but if you were seen scrumping by the house holder you scarpered, today the homeowner would be verbally abused and be pelted with apples.

 

A bit more than 40 years ago you could be dragged home by the ear, by the 'village-bobby' who knew full well that your Father would 'sort it out'.

 

A different era -

better ?,

yes in some ways.

40 years ago we were getting all the crap on the sea front with mods and rockers having punch ups, car full's coming back for revenge, as a local copper said, why would you want 5 starting handles in the boot of one car.

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36 minutes ago, Machpoint005 said:

Perhaps 40 years (or more) ago, people did the right thing simply because it was the right thing to do?

 

40 years ago nobody had invented the mountain bike or cross bike or trail bike.

2 minutes ago, ditchcrawler said:

40 years ago we were getting all the crap on the sea front with mods and rockers having punch ups, car full's coming back for revenge, as a local copper said, why would you want 5 starting handles in the boot of one car.

That's a bit longer than 40 years ago now.

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13 minutes ago, Orwellian said:

What barges, how many of them and who is going to 'lend' them? What legal powers will be used to take possession of the bikes?

You don't need legal powers, just be big enough and sure enough of yourself the stop the rider and chuck his bike in the canal as an old friend of mine did. Saw it done on a Liverpool train too, when some kids were abusing passengers. One got up at the next station and threw their bikes out.

If I get hassled by a rider my walking stick will probably accidentally get stuck in their spokes. Mostly, they pass nicely. I'm too deaf to hear them unless they speak and possibly wouldn't hear a polite ting either (can't hear high tones these days).

I carried a bike on the boat for years, but after being attacked by two out of control dogs, and the number of walkers that I have to pass, I no longer bother. It's as quick walking.

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It is is difficult to place blame totally as towpath users have different interpretations of what they could do. The CRT has made access to towpaths available to all. But the need to address the aggressive behavior of some should be more firmly addressed. 

 

Those who bring electric scooters on to the towpath probably need exclusion as they seem to have one speed, top that is.

 

But as highlighted by others in this thread the how it can be done is an issue to be resolved. Personally I believe the waterway owner should set up a text address so that miscreants can be reported. Eventually a pattern might develop where personal surveillance could be done and hopeful fines against the CRT  bye laws imposed. 

  

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6 minutes ago, ditchcrawler said:

40 years ago we were getting all the crap on the sea front with mods and rockers having punch ups, car full's coming back for revenge, as a local copper said, why would you want 5 starting handles in the boot of one car.

With us hippies getting trashed by both sides! Much more law abiding place now.

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