Support road.cc

Like this site? Help us to make it better.

"Arrogant" cyclists blamed as dog needs leg amputated after shared-use path collision — how can safety be improved for everyone?

The incident on the outskirts of Bangor has prompted an all-too-familiar 'us vs them' debate in the local press, with some blaming speeding cyclists while others demand dog walkers control their pets...

Shared-use paths are back in the spotlight again after an incident near Bangor in North Wales left a dog needing a leg amputated following a collision involving a cyclist.

The Daily Post reports Buddy the 11-year-old springer spaniel lost a leg after being struck by a cyclist in Gwynedd, suffering a badly crushed ankle while being walked off-lead on the Ogwen Trail, which is part of the National Cycle Network's Route 82, and described as a "spectacular traffic-free" route by Sustrans.

Bob Hutchinson's dog was hit by a cyclist who "zoomed past" as he walked three other dogs with two friends.

Bangor dog needs leg amputating after shared-use path collision (screenshot Daily Post video)

"We had no idea he was coming. When he hit Buddy, the dog yelped loudly," the 74-year-old recalled.

"The cyclist dismounted and there was an altercation – he claimed he’d rung his bell, but none of us heard it."

Despite being able to limp home, two days later the much-loved pet was in visible pain and unable to put weight on the damaged leg.

An x-ray showed a lower leg fracture and gave Bob the uncomfortable decision of deciding between having Buddy put down, operated on, or the leg removed.

"I was worried about long-term problems and I didn’t want him to suffer, so I went for amputation. When the limb was removed, the vet said the ankle joint was so badly shattered, an operation wouldn’t have succeeded anyway," the local resident said.

Questioning the "arrogant" attitude of some cyclists, Mr Hutchinson claimed using the path, which was tarmacked 20 years ago, has "become a frightening experience".

"A majority of cyclists are courteous but some are incredibly arrogant," he said. "From Glasinfryn to Bangor Dock it’s all downhill all the way and on some sections, cyclists can reach speeds of 30-40mph.

"Some of them use it as a race track. It’s crazy and it’s frightening. If they’re going at the speed, you’ve no time to react and often you won’t even hear them coming. It’s beautiful around here, with woods at the side of the path, but if children run out when a cyclist is coming, there could be a really serious accident.

"When these cyclists zoom pass you, before you know it they have gone. Unless they’re local, there’s no way you’ll ever find out who they are."

Mr Hutchinson has complained to Gwynedd Council before about the path which is shared by pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders, and his story had an all-too-familiar polarising effect with the local news website's readers.

Some took the opportunity to point the finger at reckless riding by some using the path to cycle, with one woman telling the Daily Post she is too scared to use the path after her three-year-old child was nearly "killed" by a cyclist.

A dog walker also reported being knocked over by a cyclist while using the shared-use path.

"No warning – the wind behind the cyclists – and bang......right into me as I went to pull my dog out of the way. The cyclist hit my left side and landed on top of me. Tyre marks remained on my leg for three-and-a-half weeks. Bruised and battered and aching for months," they said.

"I hate walking anywhere near cycle routes now and feel quite scared when I have to."

However, others labelled out-of-control dogs off leads as the main danger to path users.

Mr Hutchinson insists his dog was under control at the time of the collision, even if he was not using a lead.

Wendy Challis-Jones told the online news outlet: "On a cycle path dogs should be on a lead!"

Another reader added: "There are lots of safe places where you can let your dog off the lead, a footpath where there are other pedestrians and cyclists is not one of them. This gentleman epitomises everything that's wrong with a lot of these irresponsible dog walkers. Its heartbreaking that the poor dog has had to pay the price for his folly."

Last month, a district council in Devon made headlines after enforcing a new public space protection order requiring dog walkers to use leads shorter than a metre near cycle paths and highways.

The safety of cyclists was cited for the rule, which does not apply for parks and beaches, but could see owners who walk their dogs on leads longer than a metre fined £100, or face prosecution, with maximum fines reaching £1,000.

So how can shared-use paths be made safer for everyone? Let us know your thoughts in the comments...

Dan is the road.cc news editor and has spent the past four years writing stories and features, as well as (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. Having previously written about nearly every other sport under the sun for the Express, and the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for the Non-League Paper, Dan joined road.cc in 2020. Come the weekend you'll find him labouring up a hill, probably with a mouth full of jelly babies, or making a bonk-induced trip to a south of England petrol station... in search of more jelly babies.

Add new comment

152 comments

Avatar
Rik Mayals unde... replied to Simon E | 2 years ago
2 likes

"While there is obvious logic in asking dog owners to keep their animals under control on shared paths I feel it is unfair on the dog for them to be on a lead everywhere, particularly in rural locations like this. Much as I dislike long leads, I detest seeing dogs, especially energetic ones like spaniels, restrained all the time. It's just not natural or fair on them."

Yes, but remember, most councils have byelaws which state that in public places dogs must be on a lead. Failure to adhere can result in a fine. Also, if a dog is running around 100 yards from the owner, how can the owner see if it is having a shit to be able to pick it up?

Avatar
Sriracha | 2 years ago
10 likes

If I as a cyclist badly injured a dog, or a child, I'd feel like shit. Placing the blame would not assuage my feelings.

Therefore, on a shared use path, where there are dogs, and children, running about, I ride cautiously. So far it has worked. I would not be one militating for dogs and children to be kept under "close control" just so that I could be freed of the imperative to ride cautiously around them.

Avatar
SimoninSpalding replied to Sriracha | 2 years ago
4 likes

This.

 

Avatar
brooksby replied to SimoninSpalding | 2 years ago
5 likes

TBH I'd be riding cautiously even if the dog was on a short lead.

But, on a path shared with cyclists, I would still expect the parent/owner to keep their child/dog under close control...

(Letting the dog - or child - wander loose while you chat on the phone doesn't count as 'close control, BTW)

Avatar
TriTaxMan replied to Sriracha | 2 years ago
1 like

Sriracha wrote:

If I as a cyclist badly injured a dog, or a child, I'd feel like shit. Placing the blame would not assuage my feelings. Therefore, on a shared use path, where there are dogs, and children, running about, I ride cautiously. So far it has worked. I would not be one militating for dogs and children to be kept under "close control" just so that I could be freed of the imperative to ride cautiously around them.

Most cyclists, myself included, feel the same way.... but what happens when your luck runs out. 

Could be the case that you read about the incident in the press weeks or months later where the "victim" is accusing you of cycling recklessly despite the fact that you did nothing wrong.....

Avatar
Hirsute replied to TriTaxMan | 2 years ago
1 like

This dog thing came up on uk dash cams.

Fortunately for the driver, the one behind had video otherwise it would have all been the driver's fault for the owner failing to control their dog.

https://youtu.be/RnzVxZqnNx0?t=341

Avatar
TriTaxMan replied to Hirsute | 2 years ago
0 likes

hirsute wrote:

This dog thing came up on uk dash cams.

Fortunately for the driver, the one behind had video otherwise it would have all been the driver's fault for the owner failing to control their dog.

https://youtu.be/RnzVxZqnNx0?t=341

I also saw that video yesterday.... my thoughts were that the drivers reactions were a bit poor though.... about a second from the dog being fully onto the active lane before the driver braked. 

Mind you poor driver reactions are commonplace in dashcam videos... most of the reactions are.... horn, shout......wait..... brake.

Avatar
AlsoSomniloquism replied to TriTaxMan | 2 years ago
0 likes

Although as others pointed out in the comments of that one, closer to the dog might have meant it was more hidden by the bonnet. 

Avatar
Jimwill replied to Sriracha | 2 years ago
0 likes

This.

Avatar
joe9090 | 2 years ago
0 likes

Wonder how many maimed dogs and children are in the wake of the Rapha wearing phruckwit with a Strava KoM on that stretch of SUP.  I am as pro cyclist as many of you... but many tits on carbon who spend more on Rapha per month than I spend on clothes per year are utterly irresponsible and lacking in all common sense.
They are, in my opinion, not 'cyclists', they are guys who used to play golf or drive Golf GTIs, but now buy 5k+ bikes and then treat everywhere as their racetrack.

Avatar
EddyBerckx replied to joe9090 | 2 years ago
7 likes

joe9090 wrote:

Wonder how many maimed dogs and children are in the wake of the Rapha wearing phruckwit with a Strava KoM on that stretch of SUP.  I am as pro cyclist as many of you... but many tits on carbon who spend more on Rapha per month than I spend on clothes per year are utterly irresponsible and lacking in all common sense.
They are, in my opinion, not 'cyclists', they are guys who used to play golf or drive Golf GTIs, but now buy 5k+ bikes and then treat everywhere as their racetrack.

bore off you ignorant bigot

Avatar
joe9090 replied to EddyBerckx | 2 years ago
0 likes

Outed much? Sorry if you are offended, but I am thinking you might fall in the category I outlined? 

Avatar
srchar replied to joe9090 | 2 years ago
11 likes

joe9090 wrote:
  • Rapha wearing phruckwit
  • Strava KoM
  • I am as pro cyclist as many of you...
  • tits on carbon
  • spend more on Rapha per month than I spend on clothes per year
  • in my opinion, not 'cyclists'

Would you like a burger to go with all those chips?

Avatar
joe9090 replied to srchar | 2 years ago
0 likes

Maybe I was a little bit Keyboard Conan on that one. I dunno. I see alot of mindless dudes on racer bikes and maybe that was a vent too far...

Avatar
don simon fbpe | 2 years ago
21 likes

Some cyclists are knobheads.

Some dog owners are knobheads.

The poor dog is the victim here.

 

Avatar
mdavidford replied to don simon fbpe | 2 years ago
4 likes

don simon fbpe wrote:

Some cyclists are knobheads.

Some dog owners are knobheads.

The poor dog is the victim here.

Was the dog wearing hi vis and a helmet, though?

Avatar
don simon fbpe replied to mdavidford | 2 years ago
0 likes

smiley

Avatar
TriTaxMan | 2 years ago
8 likes

I'm in the same category as the little onion being a cyclist and a dog owner.  I have no issues with dogs being off the lead on shared use paths provided they are under close control, by which I mean close to the owner and well trained enough to respond to basic commands. 

I regularly walk my dog in a local country park which has a very nice shared use path and very rarely is she on the lead, but to caveat this she walks to heel at the edge of the path and whenever I see or hear a cyclist she is made to sit and wait until the cyclist is past.  If the path is very busy with cyclists then she is on the lead.  And I am frequently checking for cyclists including ones approaching from behind.

However, not all dog owners show the same courtesy I have had issues with dogs not on leads coming racing out from undergrowth at the side of the path with the owner nowhere to be seen, or dogs on the extendable leads running all over the place blocking the entire path with their lead.

While I feel sorry that the dog has had to have its leg amputated there is something off with the mans story.  It smacks of a he said they said scenario.... but with only the dog walkers perspective.  He says they never heard the cyclist ringing their bell..... did they not hear it or did they choose to ignore it or did the cyclist not ring their bell?

Too many variables to make a call on who was at fault.

Avatar
nosferatu1001 replied to TriTaxMan | 2 years ago
3 likes

Indeed, it could also be they weren't listening out - same as drivers dont always look for cyclists. 

Avatar
giff77 replied to TriTaxMan | 2 years ago
1 like

You sir are a rarity.  Every dog owner I've encountered on shared use paths that are either using a long/extending lead or have their animal off lead seem to be incapable of keeping them under control. The ones that use a short lead are few and far between. This is the reason why I make a point not to use this particular piece of infra. On my commute I have no choice but to use a stretch for about half a mile due to the layout of the road and have on occasion had to stop. Get off my bike and walk for a number of yards ensuring that my bike is between me and the dog before remounting. Simply because the owners seem to be incapable of controlling their dogs. They then bleat at me that they're harmless. The only dog owner I know who was able to keep his dog to heel without lead was a dog handler in the police. He had a beautiful German Shepherd who was as placid as anything until my mate gave a command. 

With the huge uptake in dog ownership during the lockdowns I've noticed it has gone hand in hand with poorly disciplined dogs. Bring back Barbara Wooodhouse I say

Avatar
DonnyJohnny | 2 years ago
15 likes

As a cyclist, dog owner and motorist, I'm fed up of inconsiderate drivers, cyclists and dog owners who drive, ride or walk without any regard for others. It's about time we cyclists recognise that we are the juggernauts of shared use paths and ride as we would like to see motorists drive on the roads, with care. My bikes all came with brakes and I often use them when in the vicinity of pedestrians, horse riders and dog walkers. It's a fact that the elderly sometimes don't hear the high register of bells but not to call out or stop when a SUP user is seemingly unaware is an invitation for trouble. I hate bullies whether or not they are behind a wheel, on a bike or clad in anoraks claiming that others "shouldn't be here". 
It's one world, one life, learn to share with care or stay at home.

Avatar
EM69 replied to DonnyJohnny | 2 years ago
1 like

Well put...

Avatar
OldRidgeback replied to DonnyJohnny | 2 years ago
1 like

This exactly - I'm  a very keen cyclist and a dog owner too. Shared use paths are not suitable for fast cycling. I've told off my sons for riding quickly on shared use paths. It's not acceptable. Dogs and children are unpredictable. Even responsible adults can often find their dogs or children heading off in an unexpected direction.

Avatar
Rich_cb replied to OldRidgeback | 2 years ago
1 like

Responsible adults should have their dogs on a short lead therefore negating your point.

There's only so far in an unexpected direction a dog on a short lead can possibly go.

I agree re the fast cycling though.

Avatar
mdavidford replied to DonnyJohnny | 2 years ago
3 likes

DonnyJohnny wrote:

It's a fact that the elderly sometimes don't hear the high register of bells but not to call out or stop when a SUP user is seemingly unaware is an invitation for trouble.

I don't know who's at fault in this case, but if you're running into paddleboarders on your bike, one of you is definitely doing something wrong.

Avatar
chrisonabike replied to mdavidford | 2 years ago
1 like

mdavidford wrote:

I don't know who's at fault in this case, but if you're running into paddleboarders on your bike, one of you is definitely doing something wrong.

True, amid all the Highway Code furore people are clearly forgetting the Waterways code or even the Colregs.

Avatar
GMBasix replied to chrisonabike | 2 years ago
4 likes

Oh, no!  you've only started the life jacket debate!

Avatar
chrisonabike replied to GMBasix | 2 years ago
1 like

GMBasix wrote:

Oh, no!  you've only started the life jacket debate!

Damnit - I'd checked he was wearing a hat too...

Avatar
visionset | 2 years ago
0 likes

Leaving it unsurfaced would have helped and it'd be better for it.  Too much tarmac sanitation.

Avatar
Seventyone | 2 years ago
9 likes

Shared use paths are a bit rubbish.  What a revelation!  

Pages

Latest Comments