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Cyclists to get 8mph speed warning on canal towpaths in West Midlands

A warning device linked to a speed tracker will be trialled on canal towpaths in the West Midlands and Staffordshire to encourage cyclists to slow down.

 

 

The Canal & River Trust is urging cyclists to 'Stay Kind, Slow Down' after an increase in people using the towpaths during lockdown.

The device will be set up so anyone cycling below 8mph will get a 'Thank You' message while faster cyclists will be told to '#StayKindSlowDown'.

The automated signs will be trialled by the waterways and wellbeing charity for a month in Wolverhampton, Birmingham and Coventry, along with Stone in Staffordshire.

Gavin Passmore, community engagement manager at Canal & River Trust, said: "We know that our canals played a crucial role during lockdown for exercise and wellbeing. This was particularly important in urban areas where many people don't have back gardens, as people stayed local and discovered these amazing wildlife corridors on their doorstep.

 

"We want people to use the canals, including cyclists, but ask everyone to be considerate of others on the towpath. Whilst most people are kind and courteous, if you are on a bike, it can just mean slowing down and cycling at a leisurely pace.

"We're hoping this speed awareness trial makes the cyclists who sometimes do go too fast to think about their speed, acting as a reminder to be considerate."

 

Trial locations include The Birmingham Main Line Canal at the Wolverhampton Lock Flight, in Birmingham at Cambrian Wharf, and The Trent and Mersey Canal in Stone.

 

Other spots are at The Worcester and Birmingham Canal at Selly Oak and at Coventry Basin – with the locations chosen due to them being the most popular in the region.

Chiefs have said that in instances where the towpath narrows, or is busy, the considerate speed may be less than 8mph, due to visitor numbers still high amid Covid-19.

 

Mr Passmore added: "We're asking cyclists to be sensible and to think about where they are and the people around them. Those on foot, including boaters accessing the water, have priority on our towpaths and, quite simply, those on bikes who need or want to travel quickly should use a route away from the canal.

"On busy stretches of canal or where the towpath is narrow, the safest option may be to get off your bike and walk."

 

Cyclists to get 8mph speed warning on canal towpaths in West Midlands | Express & Star (expressandstar.com)

Edited by Alan de Enfield
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  • Alan de Enfield changed the title to Cycling speed monitoring / tracking to be used on Canal.

Mr Passmore is in cloud cuckoo land if he thinks that will work. C&RT have encouraged cycling but now we see electric bikes going even faster. Which planet are Parry & Co on?

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Just now, Alan de Enfield said:

 

I reckon they'll be seen as a challenge - "can we get the unhappy face / warning"

I think you might be right. Let’s face it cyclists aren’t known for common sense. 

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4 minutes ago, matty40s said:

Ah, yes, Coventry Basin being the most popular in the region.....

 

 

Its got a lovely long stretch of pristine tarmac towpath now, no doubt for the City of Culture and to impress ‘ol Big Ears on his recent visit.

On our recent trip up there we saw quite a few cyclists, all behaving themselves, and one (insert expletive of choice here) on an electric scooter doing the best part of 30mph who near bowled over a bloke pushing a pram. We could see it was about to happen as scooter approached from behind at speed giving one ping on a bell, bloke with pram had earpods in so no chance of hearing. We figured if we shouted a warning by the time the chap had removed his earpods and enquired what we were on about it would be too late, plus if he turned toward us as well there would definitely be impact. So we just had to let it unfold and commiserate with the pram chap afterwards whilst hi-vis scooter bloke sped into the distance, no doubt on the lunchtime sandwich run from work by the look of him.

As far as i’m aware these e-scooters are illegal unless used on private land, or from a hire scheme.

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Posted (edited)

 

ON OUR CANALS (is the key point), but your perception is wrong anyway - the speed limit is actually just below that that causes waves - depending on boat hull shape, depth and width of the waterway this could be as low as 2mph.

 

If you try to acheive 4mph then you will be most unpopular.

 

 

10.9.6. ............. not create waves or excessive wash. If the Boat’s wash is hitting the bank, You should slow down, regardless of the speed limit

Edited by Alan de Enfield
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1 hour ago, Idle Days said:

I thought the speed limit on our canals is 4mph. 

 

50 minutes ago, Alan de Enfield said:

 

ON OUR CANALS (is the key point)

 

The towpath is legally part of the canal. So does the 4mph speed limit for boats on the water also apply to cycles on the towpath?

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13 minutes ago, David Mack said:

 

 

The towpath is legally part of the canal. So does the 4mph speed limit for boats on the water also apply to cycles on the towpath?

 

Maybe CaRT should give the same importance to maintaining the cycle tracks (towpaths)  as they do the canal. Leave overhanging vegetation, don't repair potholes (analogous to little dredging) and so on. In about five years the speeding cyclist problem would be solved by the low hanging branches over the towpath and not knowing where the bank finishes and the canal starts.

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24 minutes ago, David Mack said:

The towpath is legally part of the canal. So does the 4mph speed limit for boats on the water also apply to cycles on the towpath?

 

I'd be interested to see the source of that as all the definitions I can find quote a canal as being "a man made body of water for ............."

Documents state (such as) "canal and towing path" suggesting they are different entities.

 

“towing path” includes any way alongside a canal provided for hauling or towing boats along the canal together with anygantries, bridges or other works thereon

 

The towpath maybe an ancilliary to the canal, and part of the canal system but I'd question that when you say "on the canal" that would include the towpath anymore than saying on the towpath would include being 'on' the canal.

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25 minutes ago, Tony Brooks said:

 

Maybe CaRT should give the same importance to maintaining the cycle tracks (towpaths)  as they do the canal. Leave overhanging vegetation, don't repair potholes (analogous to little dredging) and so on. In about five years the speeding cyclist problem would be solved by the low hanging branches over the towpath and not knowing where the bank finishes and the canal starts.

They do, its other organisations who are maintaining them, local councils, Sustrans and other grants funded bodies..

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7 minutes ago, ditchcrawler said:

They do, its other organisations who are maintaining them, local councils, Sustrans and other grants funded bodies..

 

I know but I bet its CaRT who organise the vegetation cutting.

 

That is what gets me. Non-CaRT bodies upgrade the towpaths so pedestrians are put in danger and then sit on their hands and refuse to enforce the law. It's aiding and abetting bodily harm in my book.

Edited by Tony Brooks
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The only answer is to install the barriers that makes cyclists get off every half mile, but still allows for prams, wheel chairs etc. as they have near places frequented by scooter/motorcycle boy racers .

 

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4 minutes ago, dunfixing said:

The only answer is to install the barriers that makes cyclists get off every half mile, but still allows for prams, wheel chairs etc. as they have near places frequented by scooter/motorcycle boy racers .

 

 

 

I have an old BW document on this subject (it appears not be available on the C&RT website) on this subject (27 pages of how they cannot stop motorcycles, scooters or even bikes without affecting other users)

 

1.2.2 Problems with barriers A common response is to erect a barrier or access control of some kind. Generally, if motorcycle access is restricted or prevented, so is access for legitimate users, particularly disabled people, older people or people with pushchairs. The needs of other users such as cyclists, anglers or horseboaters should also be considered. Responses other than erecting a barrier should always be considered first. It is questionable how effective barriers are in stopping motorcycle use anyway. Poorly designed barriers can also detract from the waterway environment.

 

1.2.3 Responsibilities of a service provider to disabled people The DDA 1995 requires service providers to consider provision for disabled people equally with that of all other users. The DDA 2005, which amends the 1995 Act, requires providers to be proactive in the provision and promotion of their services to disabled people. There may be a particular vulnerability under the DDA in respect of barriers; they form an obstruction and have been put there by design. The Code of Practice to the DDA says: where a physical feature makes it impossible or unreasonably difficult for disabled people to make use of any service which is offered to the public, a service provider must take reasonable steps to: • remove the feature; or • alter it so that it no longer has that effect; or • provide a reasonable means of avoiding the feature; or • provide a reasonable alternative method of making the service available to disabled people. ‘Reasonable’ is not defined in the Act or its Code of Practice and is likely to be determined over time by Case Law. However, factors that might be considered in determining reasonableness include practicality, cost, health and safety and environmental and heritage aspects.

 

 

6.2 Assessment You should assess the problem and attendant risks as in Section 4 and only consider an access control if the management responses in Section 5 are unlikely to be effective on their own. Any design solution must be proportionate to the problem and ensure that wherever possible other legitimate users are not unreasonably affected.

 

6.3. Design of access controls A good design will not only be effective in doing its job but will also look well in its setting, taking account of landscape and heritage considerations. It is important that ALL potential users, including the 15-20% of the population who have disabilities, should be able to enjoy access to our waterways without impediment. Nevertheless, in circumstances of considerable nuisance or damage, or threat to the safety of other users, there is likely to be a need to consider an access control. Controls can be broadly grouped into those intended to result in inconvenience to, restriction of, or exclusion of, unauthorised users. Their impact on legitimate users must always be carefully considered. Design solutions which aim to inconvenience or restrict some motorcyclists can reduce misuse to tolerable levels. Barriers which aim at absolute exclusion will clearly be expected to achieve that purpose. However, determined motorcyclists will often go to extreme lengths, including vandalism, to cross a barrier. Consider also surrounding boundaries; if these have weak points or are too low, motorcyclists will easily circumvent a barrier. If a physical control has to be installed, consider whether it is suitable to locate it at an access point rather than across the towpath itself.

 

The objective of total exclusion may never be one hundred percent achievable and must be seen alongside the certainty that considerably more legitimate users will also be excluded.

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2 hours ago, Tony Brooks said:

 

Maybe CaRT should give the same importance to maintaining the cycle tracks (towpaths)  as they do the canal. Leave overhanging vegetation, don't repair potholes (analogous to little dredging) and so on. In about five years the speeding cyclist problem would be solved by the low hanging branches over the towpath and not knowing where the bank finishes and the canal starts.

Actually, that is an interesting question. As we know, the towpath improvements have not been directly funded by CaRT but I wonder what provision has been made for the long term upkeep. This is oft a problem with projects where they are funded by external input (fund raising etc) but the annual upkeep is expensive - at times almost as much as the initial capital cost. 

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1 hour ago, Mike Todd said:

Actually, that is an interesting question. As we know, the towpath improvements have not been directly funded by CaRT but I wonder what provision has been made for the long term upkeep. This is oft a problem with projects where they are funded by external input (fund raising etc) but the annual upkeep is expensive - at times almost as much as the initial capital cost. 

I would say that is the case with the majority of restored canals and probably all current attempts at further restoration

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5 hours ago, dunfixing said:

The only answer is to install the barriers that makes cyclists get off every half mile, but still allows for prams, wheel chairs etc. as they have near places frequented by scooter/motorcycle boy racers .

 

They already have those, but because of the promoting of cycling the gates are now left open, hence all the motorbikes on the towpath as well as speeding cyclists.

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7 hours ago, Alan de Enfield said:

 

I'd be interested to see the source of that as all the definitions I can find quote a canal as being "a man made body of water for ............."

 

British Waterways Board General Canal Bye-Laws 1965:

 

“canal” means any canal or inland navigation belonging to or under the control of the Board and includes any works, lands or premises belonging to or under the control of the Board and held or used by them in connection with such canal or inland navigation

 

So that definition of "canal" includes the towpath.

 

I note however that the speed limits in the bye-laws apply only to "vessels", so as far as the bye-laws are concerned, cyclists (providing they have the Board's consent to be there in the first place) can go as fast as they like.

Edited by David Mack
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Whilst I apprecaite that is what it can be interpreted as saying , that also says that an office block, or maintenance stores building (if used in connection with the canal) that is owned or managed by C&RT is also canal.

 

I doubt that the man on the Clapham ominibus would agree with that.

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Just to take this on a slight tangent, do any boaters actually know what speed they are doing? If so, how do you gauge it?

 

Personally, being a cyclist and a boater, I found that my Garmin tracker which I use when cycling also works well at low speed, so I bought another and use it on boat.

 

Today I came from 5 miles before Hilmorton, through the locks and to Braunston, through the locks there and am now on the Leicester arm hoping to get through Watford locks in the morning. The distance I covered was just shy of 17 miles, the average pace was 2.8 mph and the maximum speed was 3.9 mph.

 

I will also admit that 2 years ago on the Trent with a lot of fresh pushing me along, I did watch the speed increasing and decided just to see if I could - and at 2100 revs the speed maxed out at 10.1 mph.

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15 hours ago, Kendorr said:

I will also admit that 2 years ago on the Trent with a lot of fresh pushing me along, I did watch the speed increasing and decided just to see if I could - and at 2100 revs the speed maxed out at 10.1 mph.

 

Our PB is 12mph (as per my Garmin GPS) going upstream through Gainsborough on the flood.

 

The bendy bits beyond the bridge were 'interesting' when the back of the boat tried to catch up with the front!

 

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On 05/06/2021 at 09:58, Hudds Lad said:

 

Its got a lovely long stretch of pristine tarmac towpath now, no doubt for the City of Culture and to impress ‘ol Big Ears on his recent visit.

On our recent trip up there we saw quite a few cyclists, all behaving themselves, and one (insert expletive of choice here) on an electric scooter doing the best part of 30mph who near bowled over a bloke pushing a pram. We could see it was about to happen as scooter approached from behind at speed giving one ping on a bell, bloke with pram had earpods in so no chance of hearing. We figured if we shouted a warning by the time the chap had removed his earpods and enquired what we were on about it would be too late, plus if he turned toward us as well there would definitely be impact. So we just had to let it unfold and commiserate with the pram chap afterwards whilst hi-vis scooter bloke sped into the distance, no doubt on the lunchtime sandwich run from work by the look of him.

As far as i’m aware these e-scooters are illegal unless used on private land, or from a hire scheme.

Doh the towpath is private land

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