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Bikes on canal towpath

From Susan Quick

Sunday, 3 April 2016

Please could we have signs along the towpath asking bike riders to respect walkers, noting that we include parents with small children and disabled people who can't leap out of the way. There is a friendly notice on the path between the station and Mytholmroyd. Please could Hebden Bridge have one too?

From Myra James

Monday, 4 April 2016

As someone who cycles on the towpath I would support Susan's suggestion. The way some cyclists behave makes me ashamed. If you are in a hurry you need to be on the road.

From Andrew B

Monday, 4 April 2016

I don't think signs will make much difference. I had a big Lycra wearing fellow threaten to punch me one for not getting out of his way when I was walking with my two young daughters just out of Hebden.

People like that are not likely to become more reasonable because a sign asks them to be.

From Bob Deacon

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

The Hebden Bridge Partnership have requested that the same Route 66 signs that advise cyclists to respect pedestrians which are all along the route towards Sowerby Bridge are posted here. We await a reply and update when we do.

From Bernard B

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Speaking as a considerate cyclist with a bell, those signs are just a waste of metal and paint.

First ting: most bikes don't have, and are not obliged to have, bells.

Second ting: a lot of people out for a stroll don't react to cycle bells in the way you might expect.

Probably the best thing would be just a bit of give and take on both sides and no signage. I have to say when I'm on the road and yet another one of you car drivers comes way too close and too fast in your race to the next hold up, I just shrug it off, I don't think oh I must write to the council to get a sign erected.

From Susan Quick

Monday, 11 April 2016

I'm sorry Bernard B but I never jump out of the way when a cyclist rings his/her bell as a matter of principle. The cyclist should slow down, recognizing that pedestrians have priority.

From Bernard B

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

I never suggested you should. I just think that oafs don't pay any attention to signs.

From Paul D

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Perhaps bear in mind that the towpath offers cyclists a safer option than the road so may be used by less experienced or confident riders. So the users may not be representative of cyclists in general.

That said, I notice that a lot of cyclists don't slow down much for children. Many seem largely unaware of the probability that a four year old will do the exact opposite to what is expected, yet strangely they seem very wary of big dogs. And locking a back wheel as a sort of warning as they come up behind is just naff. they may as well say "vroom vroom" as they power past. Childish. Cyclists should be so much classier than that.

From Julie C

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

For pedestrians with poor hearing, it's a real hazard when bikes come up from behind - fast or slow, ringing a bell in a considerate way, or slamming the brakes on at the last moment. Riders on a bridleway or towpath need to ride as if all pedestrians are deaf to their approach please.

From Paul M

Friday, 15 April 2016

I would just like to reply to some of the comments made by the previous posts.

No one is over forty, we are all thugs and we do not appreciate been in the country side. All of these misconceptions are untrue in my case.

I would like to speak about my views on walkers (this is something that I also do in my spare time) when I am riding, I always pull over on public bridle ways when I come to a walker, and always I get the same look that I should not be on this track spoiling their day, even though I have a right to be there. This is something which then puts me in a bad mood and causes a divide between the two groups of people who are out enjoying the fantastic country side we have.

If everyone tried to be a little more understanding to each other and stop making stereotypes which are untrue, it would be a nicer place for everyone.

It is unfortunate that the walkers have all the best routes and unlimited access to every trail, and bikers can only ride 5% of the tracks which walkers are intitled to use.

Also, walkers have been laying traps to injury bikes on trails. Which surely would put some of the walkers into the thug bracket surely.

From John Baker

Thursday, 21 April 2016

Moans about cyclists pop up on these boards from time to time:

Get off the road
Get off the footpath
Get off the bridleways
Get off the towpaths
Should have bloody bells
I ignore their bloody bells

The section of canal through Hebden Bridge is part of National Cycle Network Route 66. It's also recommended as a cycle route by the AA.

And I have to say, that when I'm cycling on the canal with my kids, no matter how cheerful, careful and courteous we are, we get scowled at and muttered at by the odd pedestrian, some of whom are rude, and refuse to step to one side, just for a moment, to allow us to pass.

Having a bell or not makes no difference. Some people are offended by bells, and ignore them "on principle", as evidenced by this very thread.

To people who refuse to allow cyclists to pass "on principle", is it any wonder that they experience conflict with other towpath users?

Yes, we could put up a sign asking cyclists to be courteous. Can I please also have a sign saying that this section of towpath is a just as much a cycle route as it is a footpath.

Or maybe we don't need to start an arms race with signs. Maybe we all just need to accept each others' presence, and exercise courtesy and manners.

From Mo Norwood

Saturday, 23 April 2016

I'm a walker, horse rider and sometimes a cyclist too. Just want to say a very big thank you to all the walkers and cyclists who have helped me to be safe on the horse by being courteous, understanding and quiet. Just a note to cyclists, and runners, about horses... however well trained they may be, they can sometimes jump sideways if alarmed. It's best to make yourself known by saying hello and slowing down and giving a wide berth if possible, especially on narrow roads if you are flying fast downhill. I will always stop and move over out of the way when we can. Seriously though - thanks - in 7 years on bridleways, we've met very few unsafe country sharers.

From Graham Barker

Thursday, 28 April 2016

In many years of walking I've never felt at risk from another walker but have regularly felt at risk from cyclists. I used to enjoy canal walks but don't bother now because having to stay constantly alert for cyclists takes away much of the pleasure. It's particularly disturbing to see how few cyclists slow down for children. Narrow towpath, water close by - a lot of hazard present, but some cyclists seem oblivious to everything but the urgency of their own mission.

I'd say less than 50 per cent of cyclists - usually the older or female ones - show enough consideration for those on foot, which is probably why there is escalating ill feeling. The truly bad ones may be a minority but it only takes a couple of them to destroy a good mood, and only one to cause an accident.

Maybe the root problem is that aggressive cycling and countryside are fundamentally out of sympathy with each other. Footpaths and tracks were never meant to be travelled at speed, and certainly not at the reckless downhill speeds of some cyclists. I walk, and I think many people walk, to enjoy the slowness and calmness of everything, and the feeling of being both free and safe. It's an environment in which speed and close shaves have little place, and that's what makes the behaviour of too many cyclists so alienating.

From Bernard B

Friday, 29 April 2016

Can I again flag up (more directly this time) the rank hypocrisy of any forum reader who drives inconsiderately in their motor vehicle, (nip in here, force my way past this cyclist at speed, 30s fine in a 20, I'll just reply to this text, I can't see round this bend but I'll overtake anyway) yet then agrees with Graham Barker's post about bikes on towpaths.

In many years of cycling I've never felt at risk from another cyclist but have regularly felt at risk from motorists. I used to enjoy road rides but having to stay constantly alert for motorists takes away much of the pleasure. It's particularly disturbing to see how few motorists slow down for anything unless they absolutely have to. Narrow road, blind bend, vulnerable road user ahead, but some motorists seem oblivious to everything but the urgency of their own mission. The truly bad ones may be a minority but it only takes a couple of them to destroy a good mood, and only one to cause an accident. Today's congested roads are an environment in which speed and close shaves should have little place, and that's what makes the behaviour of too many motorists so alienating.

From Adrian Crowther

Friday, 29 April 2016

I personally have never experienced aggression or particularly bad riding from cyclists whilst walking on the towpaths - in my experience, the "off roaders" are usually more careful, considerate and aware of other path users.

Road cyclists, however, are a completely different matter !

From Myra James

Monday, 25 July 2016

I notice that signs indicating pedestrian priority, as requested at the start of this thread, are now in place. As already pointed out, the worst offenders are unlikely to take any notice. However, the signs establish the principle which I describe as "feet before wheels". Please note that this is from someone who most often proceeds along the towpath on a bike!

From Allen Keep

Saturday, 30 July 2016

For those that don't know, at long last the short section of the towpath in Charlestown just before lock 12 which has been closed for months is open again.

You can now walk/cycle right through without having to come off at Valley Fuels and back on again at Callis. If heading towards Tod, being able to cross lock 12 without having to go round also opens up the many paths on the South side of the valley through the woods that allow lovely circular walks back to Hebden or up and out over the tops to Cragg Vale or Stoodley Pike etc.

I'm asked a lot on the path whether you can walk right through to Tod yet. I don't know as I don't go all that way but I think the answer is still no by accounts?

From Andy M

Monday, 1 August 2016

Towpath still closed west (towards Tod) of Shaw Wood Road bridge.

From Allen Keep

Thursday, 4 August 2016

No sooner had I confidently posted that the path was open and they shut it again for best part of three days for some surface dressing. Open late this afternoon and really can't see any reason now why it shouldn't remain so.