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Canal and River Trust urge cyclists to stay below 8mph on towpaths

Automated signs will give anyone cycling below 8mph a 'Thank You' message while faster cyclists will be told to '#StayKindSlowDown'...

The Canal and River Trust is urging cyclists to 'Stay Kind, Slow Down' and will be  encouraging riders to stay below 8mph. 

A speed tracker will be trialled on canal towpaths in the West Midlands and Staffordshire to encourage cyclists on the shared use paths to slow down.

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, The Express and Star report.

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."

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.

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."

https://canalrivertrust.org.uk/

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66 comments

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Daclu Trelub | 2 years ago
0 likes

Many stretches of canal towpath that look so inviting to cycle along - well, you have to pick your time. If you get it wrong, as if by magic on the return journey, the bank and towpath will be strewn with anglers and their kit.

I only ran over one rod.

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Awavey | 2 years ago
1 like

I'm surprised this clip hasnt been used in this discussion yet, it was from 2018,but has gone viral again in the last week https://www.msn.com/en-gb/money/other/speedy-cyclist-falls-into-scottish...

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Captain Badger replied to Awavey | 2 years ago
1 like
Awavey wrote:

I'm surprised this clip hasnt been used in this discussion yet, it was from 2018,but has gone viral again in the last week https://www.msn.com/en-gb/money/other/speedy-cyclist-falls-into-scottish...

Ouch

Always travel at a speed at which you can stop safely in the distance you can see to be clear....

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Hirsute replied to Awavey | 2 years ago
1 like

Lol. Paths under bridges are narrower too, so always be cautious.

I have done narrow boating a bit and a lot of paths are barely used, so speed is not an issue (subject to "at which you can stop safely in the distance you can see to be clear"). Always best to be fairly slow around locks though as you never know when a boater may appear as they can come from any direction.

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AlsoSomniloquism replied to Awavey | 2 years ago
0 likes

Looks to me that the "filmer" is on a de-restricted electric bike as no obvious noise or signs of cycling for him to be going the speed he seemed to be going. Of course he might have just let off before the filming starts. 

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nicmason | 2 years ago
4 likes

The point of a limit is its a clear rule not relying on an individuals perception of whats correct and safe. A towpath is primarily pedestrians so that sets the safe speed.

A lot of these comments could be paraphrased as a driver saying "when the road is empty I can drive as fast as I like because I am safe".

Drivers used to use the same argument about drinking. "I know how much I can drink and be safe"

its all really about ego and individuals thinking their journey is the only thing going on.

 

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Projectcyclingf... | 2 years ago
1 like

WHY FOCUS & DISCRIMINATE AGAINST CYCLISTS⁉
How about urging motorists to 'Stay Kind, Slow Down' and encourage them to stay below 8mph too >and actually prevent the unabated mass death n destruction they cause...
Below is just one example of 10000s of murderous motorists annually to focus on much more over cyclists⤵...
https://road.cc/content/news/teenage-cyclist-killed-collision-bus-283879

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AlsoSomniloquism replied to Projectcyclingfitness | 2 years ago
6 likes

Because along the canal paths, cyclists are the fastest and probably most dangerous thing on there (apart from the scrotes with knives and geese). The Canal and River Trust cannot tell cars on roads to slow down. All they are literally stating is a speed that is always quoted for cyclists and peds mixing in the same area. I don't know about you but I have been almost a victim of speeding cyclists along those on both my bike and when walking.

And until we know what happened with the report above, why call it murder? 

 

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wycombewheeler replied to AlsoSomniloquism | 2 years ago
2 likes
AlsoSomniloquism wrote:

Because along the canal paths, cyclists are the fastest and probably most dangerous thing on there (apart from the scrotes with knives and geese). The Canal and River Trust cannot tell cars on roads to slow down. All they are literally stating is a speed that is always quoted for cyclists and peds mixing in the same area. I don't know about you but I have been almost a victim of speeding cyclists along those on both my bike and when walking.

And until we know what happened with the report above, why call it murder? 
 

are the scrotes tooling up with killer attack geese now? pit bulls out of fashion?

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AlsoSomniloquism replied to wycombewheeler | 2 years ago
1 like

I'm more scared of the Geese then the pitbulls / scrotes. Especially in hatching season. 

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Captain Badger replied to AlsoSomniloquism | 2 years ago
1 like
AlsoSomniloquism wrote:

I'm more scared of the Geese then the pitbulls / scrotes. Especially in hatching season. 

Geese are cowards. It's swans that you need to watch....

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Steve K replied to Captain Badger | 2 years ago
1 like
Captain Badger wrote:
AlsoSomniloquism wrote:

I'm more scared of the Geese then the pitbulls / scrotes. Especially in hatching season. 

Geese are cowards. It's swans that you need to watch....

Has there ever actually been a recorded case of a swan breaking someone's arm?

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Captain Badger replied to Steve K | 2 years ago
0 likes
Steve K wrote:
Captain Badger wrote:
AlsoSomniloquism wrote:

I'm more scared of the Geese then the pitbulls / scrotes. Especially in hatching season. 

Geese are cowards. It's swans that you need to watch....

Has there ever actually been a recorded case of a swan breaking someone's arm?

Swans leave no evidence.....

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AlsoSomniloquism replied to Steve K | 2 years ago
1 like
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Ihatecheese | 2 years ago
3 likes

Good idea. Common sense is all well and good but people seem to ignore it when they're in a rush or blame the person they saw running really fast, so 20mph on a bike is completely reasonable. So many kids and grown idiots zoom around the towpaths here. 

8mph is fine when trying to be courteous of pedestrians, boat folks and others on a towpath, (not to be confused with a cycle superhighway) perhaps can even go a bit quicker if empty, using that common sense ! 
 

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wycombewheeler replied to Ihatecheese | 2 years ago
4 likes
Ihatecheese wrote:

Good idea. Common sense is all well and good but people seem to ignore it when they're in a rush or blame the person they saw running really fast, so 20mph on a bike is completely reasonable. So many kids and grown idiots zoom around the towpaths here. 

8mph is fine when trying to be courteous of pedestrians, boat folks and others on a towpath, (not to be confused with a cycle superhighway) perhaps can even go a bit quicker if empty, using that common sense ! 
 

20 mph is unlikely to be reasonable on a towpath at any time, but 12 - 14 should be fine when the path is empty

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the little onion | 2 years ago
11 likes

Here in west Yorkshire, Canal and Rivers Trust have recieved about 10 million pounds in the last 8 or so years from the City Connect DfT project. This money has been spent 'upgrading' the towpaths on various canals around towns and cities (Leeds-Liverpool canal, Huddersfield canal etc) with the explicit aim, amongst other things, of increasing commuting cycling - getting people out of their cars and cycling to work on the canal. Local cycle campaigns explicitly asked whether there would be a speed limit, and were told there wouldn't be.

The delivery was woefully inadequate (deliberately so, in my opinion) for cyclists, and not very family/disability friendly - narrow A-frames, speedbumps, loose gravel and hard-packed earth surfaces, which are a pain on a bike as well as in a recumbent, wheelchair or pram.

I maintain that CRT create a facade that they want cyclists on towpaths when it comes to applying for government grants, then this facade quickly disappears when the money is spent. I'm not in a position to judge whether their actions are legal or not, but I would certainly consider their actions immoral. I'm actually totally fine with them putting restrictions on cyclists on busy canals, but it is total hypocracy on their part to also claim millions of pounds of funding designated for cycling infrastructure. 

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CXR94Di2 | 2 years ago
7 likes

8 mph overall is ridiculous. However, I always slow to walking pace when navigating around pedestrians. I would ride around 16mph on clear sections and slow when necessary.

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qwerty360 | 2 years ago
13 likes

I don't have much of a problem with this given the width of most tow paths.

 

I do have a MASSIVE problem with the infra in question being advertised as a cycle route on mapping or used as a justification for not installing proper cycle paths elsewhere (We don't need a path here, they can use the tow Path...)

I also have an issue with funding for cycling rather than walking/disabled access/general leisure being used. Given normally the above tend to come out of the same active travel budget and should still be done it doesn't matter from a funding perspective, but it shouldn't then be used by the council/gutter press to proclaim they have spent X million on new cycling infra, what are the cyclists complaining about...

Some respondants proclaim the infra is for familys cycling etc... Remember on the flat (which is basically a definition of a canal tow path) a slow cyclist is still expected to average 11 mph...

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grOg replied to qwerty360 | 2 years ago
1 like

Shared paths should never be considered as a commuting route for cyclists; shared paths are strictly recreational, in that shared path speed limits preclude the speeds that commuting cyclists would reasonably want to travel at.

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Secret_squirrel replied to grOg | 2 years ago
2 likes

Then why are the CRT taking money to build out commuter routes as per "little onions" post?

Seems like they are employing double standards to me.  They want our cash but arent prepared to provide suitable paths for a commuter.

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AlsoSomniloquism replied to Secret_squirrel | 2 years ago
0 likes

Communting speeds, like recreational speeds, vary per person. Pre Pandemic weight gain, I used to do my 8 mile undulating commute at between averages of15-20mph depending on build up of traffic / ability to filter easily. I would never dream of using shared paths at those speeds. However I cycled near them and would see people commuting in at 8-10mph as well. 

And when I'm on the heavier hybrid bike that brought my averages down to 10-12mph, I would use them or canal paths depending on weather, etc. So I don't subscribe to the these routes should only be valid for commutes if allowed to go fast "commuting" speeds. 

 

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Cycloid | 2 years ago
7 likes

The UK Canal system is a wonderful resource, it's almost as extensive as the motorway network (or it used to be when I was a lad). You can get from anywhere to almost anywhere along the canals.

Near the towns there are lots of peds on the towpath, walking dogs on long leads and listening to music. Away from the towns the paths are almost empty.

The rules are simple pedestrians always have absolute right of way, adjust your speed to suit the conditions.

Ride your bike the same way you would like motorists to drive their cars

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Titanus replied to Cycloid | 2 years ago
1 like
Cycloid wrote:

The rules are simple pedestrians always have absolute right of way, adjust your speed to suit the conditions.

They do on footpaths. On shared use paths I believe everyone has equal right of way. This does not alter duty of care to others but slower people should allow faster people to pass. Failing to do so causes issues. I agree we should slow down when passing people.

Pedestrians are often considered the more vulnerable user when compared to a cyclists. I don't get this. Imagine a situation were you had to defend yourself against an attacker. You would be more vulnerable if you were still astride the bicycle (unless you can flee). I can't do a round house kick to smeone's head if I am on a bike. Also if I am on foot, that makes me better able to stay upright if I am pushed. On a bicycle I will end up on my face. If you crash into a pedestrian while on a bike, you will likely come a cropper too.

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Hirsute replied to Titanus | 2 years ago
1 like
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Cycloid replied to Titanus | 2 years ago
5 likes
Titanus wrote:
Cycloid wrote:

The rules are simple pedestrians always have absolute right of way, adjust your speed to suit the conditions.

They do on footpaths. On shared use paths I believe everyone has equal right of way. This does not alter duty of care to others but slower people should allow faster people to pass. Failing to do so causes issues. I agree we should slow down when passing people.

That sounds just like motorist logic for getting impatient with cyclists on narrow lanes

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Jetmans Dad replied to Cycloid | 2 years ago
3 likes
Cycloid wrote:

That sounds just like motorist logic for getting impatient with cyclists on narrow lanes

I haven't ridden a towpath for a long time, but my question would be ... are the safety implications the same for a pedestrian moving aside to allow a cyclist to pass, as for a cyclist moving aside on a narrow lane to allow the car to pass?

If a narrow lane is nonetheless wide enough to allow a safe overtake if the rider is not riding centrally, then I do understand the drivers' impatience. If not, tough. 

For my money, same would apply on the towpath. If it is wide enough to allow a safe overtake of the ped by the cyclist if the ped walks less centrally then  the same common courtesy should apply. If not, tough, the cyclist should wait. 

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seanie1965 | 2 years ago
6 likes

I use the Leeds Liverpool canal to commute to Leeds and average 12 - 14mph, so this advice would add 50% more to the commute. I get it though, but funds for cycling were used (I believe) to resurface this NCR. Canal Trust can't have it both ways

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Hirsute replied to seanie1965 | 2 years ago
4 likes

Presumably you were sensible anyway and slowed down at various points. I don't see the need to stick to 8 when there is no one around, so I wouldn't expect much difference for your journey time.

Like any shared path, you should be slowing down where there is potential conflict (and one reason why I rarely use them).

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Titanus replied to Hirsute | 2 years ago
1 like
hirsute wrote:

Presumably you were sensible anyway and slowed down at various points. I don't see the need to stick to 8 when there is no one around, so I wouldn't expect much difference for your journey time.

Like any shared path, you should be slowing down where there is potential conflict (and one reason why I rarely use them).

 

Exactly, it's called common sense. When there's nobody about just go as fast as you like.

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