More towpath cycling items – from the local Labour party

The following are items on canal cycling from Westminster North Labour Party’s October 2015 Newsletter:

Regent’s Canal cycling – what you say

“I do think cyclists should not be allowed to cycle there at all. The towpath is narrow and there is always the danger of the pedestrians especially those with children being startled and knocked into the canal!”

“Westminster should do much more to encourage cycling, including on the canal tow path. If you can get a broader demographic cycling speeds would be lower, and hence safer for all; not just youngish men in Lycra.”

“As a cyclist and a walker, I understand the issue from both sides. The problem is often due to the width of the pathway, which is very narrow in places. In my opinion, TFL and the Mayor missed a huge opportunity when planning the London cycle superhighway, in not considering the canal network as the best place to run this. All the canal paths desperately need upgrading. The fact that there are several points where the path ends, forcing users back onto busy, polluted roads is also a major problem. In the short term, it’s clear cyclist users and walkers need educating. Aggressive riding and failure to use their bells is commonplace. But from a cyclist’s point of view, pedestrians are often ignorant too, refusing to move out of the way, even with a gentle bell-ringing warning. One short term solution could be a clear demarcation of a cycle lane, where this is possible, and much better signage, informing users to be aware of the mixed-use nature of the canal.

In the long term, a massive upgrade to the canal paths would be of huge and lasting benefit to all of London, providing a safe, clean and fast cross-London route that would prevent accidents and also allow traffic to flow more smoothly, bringing economic and health benefits.”

Little Venice canal path – what you say

“I can add my voice to those who have experienced aggressive cyclists on the Little Venice canal path. I had a cyclist actually swear at me and my 3 young children to get out of the way as they passed at high speed under the bridge beside the Browning pool. I noted that there are signs on the walls that say that pedestrians have priority but I think it is necessary to actually paint them on the pavement to make it more obvious to those who might actually just be ignorant and not intentionally delinquent. “

“I don’t normally respond to your emails – but in this case I really want to underline the issue raised by one of your correspondents – the bit about cyclists on the canal towpath. A few do ring their bells when they come up behind you – but the majority think that a) they own the towpath and b) pedestrians are a nuisance. Anything that can be done – more sleeping policemen? – would be appreciated by those of us who use the towpath as a walkway”

“I would like to echo the concern expressed about cyclists on the canal path. I have seen a number of elderly people startled by a cyclist coming up behind them having to move quickly out of the way and not knowing whether to go toward the canal or into the greenery. The canal path being quite narrow at some points a fall into the canal could well happen. I am particularly concerned over the possibility that the canal path is going to be become integral to the plans to extend cycle routes in the city. If this happens then inevitably many cyclists will be attracted to the path and walkers will no longer be able to enjoy the rare pleasure of a quiet peaceful walk by the canal.”

Little Venice canal path

We have written to the Canal and River Trust about this issue:

“I often walk to work along the Little Venice canal path between Harrow Rd and Paddington. Despite clear signage that cycling is prohibited on the canal path, cyclists are a constant presence on the path. There is a wide and clearly signed cycle path next to the canal path (on the other side of some fencing) and yet they persist in cycling along a very narrow stretch which is supposed to be prioritised for pedestrians. I agree that cycle paths are important and encourage a healthy way of life, but it seems that pedestrians are starting to be affected more by the ‘anything goes’ attitude of many bike riders.”

Delamere Terrace cycling – what you say

“Whilst I take the point that it is not possible to cycle east along about 200m of Delamere Terrace because the road is one way gong west and this section of the canal no cycling, I think it is a mistake to mix pedestrian pavement and cycle tracks. There is always a minority of cyclists who travel very fast and very close to pedestrians. This also occurs and is much worse on the section from Delamere Terrace along the towpath to Paddington Station. I have been deliberately bumped into by impatient cyclists several times on this section, and one occasion I was carrying a months old baby in a baby-sling. It would be much better to segregate pedestrians and cyclists on both these sections with a cycle lane on the canal towpath and a contraflow cycle lane on the street along Delamere Terrace.”

“It is indeed uncongenial and risky because that bit is only for pedestrians, and he probably makes himself very unpopular if he cycles there: when the towpath reaches Westbourne Green eastbound the cycle route forks away from the towpath, which is no entry to cyclists here, The cycle route then proceeds over Westbourne Green for a short distance and ends at Delamere Terrace/Lord Hills Road.  Here you are theoretically supposed to walk your bike for 3 or 4 minutes eastwards until you may rejoin the towpath, past the bridge. A shared use path along Delamere Terrace for cyclists and pedestrians is something the London Cycling Campaign has been wanting for a long time.  I don’t see why it should be a problem – the cycle paths in Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park are all shared with pedestrians”

Delamere Terrace cycling – what you say

I feel I must speak up for those of us who cycle along the canalside pavement in Delamere Terrace. I am sure we are all aware that it is technically an offence, but it is really a question of harm: what harm are cyclists actually doing by cycling there? It is a very wide pavement and is little used by pedestrians, not surprisingly since there are no dwellings on that side of the road, and pedestrians have the alternatives of the pavement outside the flats and the canal towpath. Would your correspondent really prefer cyclists to cycle along the towpath, which is narrow and uneven, and obviously beside the canal? The risks would manifestly be greater. Since the towpath is a recognised cycle route, but that particular short section is very uncongenial and risky, it is not surprising that cyclists divert onto the broad, safe pavement of Delamere Terrace. Furthermore, WCC and TFL have created a cycle path alongside the canal, across Westbourne Green, which ends at the corner of Delamere Terrace and Lord Hills Road; it is obvious that any eastbound cyclist will proceed from there along the Delamere Terrace pavement, and that was clearly the intention when it was created: it is disingenuous to suppose otherwise. Live and let live is my advice, and if the cyclists ring their bells they are clearly trying to do the right thing.”

Delamere Road

We have asked the Council to investigate the following problem:

“I wonder if you could advise how I could ask you to investigate the cyclists to use the pavement on Delamere Road W2 on the canal side. Westminster Council and the police have confirmed that this is not a cycle route but there is no money to paint signs on the floor to make this clear. There is permanently but more so in the morning, a stream of cylists speeding down that road who feel that ringing there bell means you should move aside for them. Please could you let me know how to officially get you to take this up with Westminster Council as I have reached dead end after dead end.”