Thursday, 17 June 2010


British Waterways is delivering a week long series of events on the capital’s towpaths during National Bike Week, Monday 21 to Sunday 27 June, in a bid to educate speeding cyclists to slow down and share the towpath amicably.
British Waterways, working with Transport for London, runs the Two Tings campaign that aims to tackle the issue of conflict between speeding cyclists and pedestrians who have right of way on the towpath.

The campaign was started over three years ago following an increase in the number of complaints received about incidents of conflict on the towpath between cyclists and pedestrians. Cycling, walking to work and free outdoor exercise have all seen a surge in popularity in recent years, and the towpaths, as traffic-free, green routes through the city, have, in-turn, seen an increase in the number of users enjoying the scenic, and normally tranquil waterside routes.

British Waterways’ Towpath Ranger, Joseph Young explains: “The canals in London are brilliant routes across the city, without the usual hassles of cars, traffic lights and pollution. There’s a towpath Code of Conduct, which advocates common sense and courtesy that we expect users to abide by to make sure everyone enjoys their time by the water.

“Unfortunately a minority of speeding cyclists give the majority a bad name with other users, particularly pedestrians. We run education and safety events on the towpath at peak commuter hours to remind all users of the towpath Code of Conduct.”

Throughout National Bike Week, British Waterways’ Towpath Rangers are running a series of events from live music to gallery rides and towpath information events, to help remind people about the need to share the towpath and travel safely with consideration for others.

The culmination of the week’s events is a boat tour, with bikes allowed on-board, through the Islington Tunnel. Cyclists and pedestrians normally have to follow an above-ground route over the tunnel, so these trips offer canal users the chance to get a rare glimpse of the inside of the tunnel from the water.

Joseph Young adds: “We think that fun, sociable events on the towpath reminding people to slow down, look out for their fellow commuters and remember that pedestrians have the right of way are more effective than us shouting at people to slow down.

“More and more cyclists are remembering to slow down, ting their bells to warn pedestrians they are approaching and generally using the towpaths sensibly. It would be great to see a bit of self-policing with other users reminding those who give them a bad name to slow down or use an alternative route that’s better for travelling at speed.”

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