Not only cyclists make it a danger
I HAVE to totally agree with the fact that some cyclists are a genuine danger to other users of the Bristol to Bath railway path. Being a cyclist myself I regularly see these cyclists who seem to have no regard for other people at all.
The ones with the racing bikes and lycra gear seem to think that it's a race track and that they have priority over other users of the path.
Few of them, if any, use a bell, and some of them just call out "coming through" which isn't anywhere near as effective as a bell and could easily be mistaken as part of a conversation, not a warning. Sometimes, even though I have a rear view mirror, they just seem to appear alongside me out of nowhere, and they are so close that it startles me. Then other times they are in a single file slipstreaming each other nose to tail and going at a breakneck speed. It absolutely amazes me that I have heard of no really serious accidents caused by these thoughtless morons.
I actually know of a middle-aged gentleman who decided to dust off his bike after a long lay off and took to the old railway path at Staple Hill. He felt so intimidated by other users that he refuses to go on there again!
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As much as some people may seem to think that it is a cycle track, in actual fact it is most definitely not, it is for everyone. It's for pedestrians, dog walkers, nature lovers etc. South Gloucestershire. Council actually put up some signs asking cyclists to take more care but they were destroyed.
In another vein, some horse riders seem to think they can use it too, whereas they can only use a very small section near Shortwood. Horse droppings are very messy and not welcome on the path and horse riders never clean up their mess, whereas at least some of the sensible dog owners do. Isn't there a by-law that covers that?
If there was a police presence on the path, things might just change. I was once told by a community police officer that they regularly patrol the path.
I put this to the test one day by cycling from Warmley to Trinity Road and then back to the end of the path in Newbridge, Bath, and then back to Warmley. I did not see any police on my ride at all.
Other factors that are potentially dangerous are cycles with only one or even no brakes at all. Yes, I've seen them. Large groups of cyclists, especially young boys who are all over the path and never look behind them, and dare I say it, some of the organised rides by mature cyclists who seem to think that because there is a group of them that think they can do what they like and the path is just for them.
Oh, and don't forget the pedestrians who insist on walking three or four abreast, or the pairs of chattering mothers side by side with their buggies, the dogs on extending leads or no leads at all, and the joggers with headsets who are in a world of their own. No, it's not just the cyclists who make it dangerous, far from it.