Petition calls on Hackney to tackle dangerous towpath

The Regent's Canal tow-path has become dangerous due to the heavy cycling traffic. Pic: David Judge

The Regent’s Canal tow-path has become dangerous due to heavy cycling traffic. Pic: David Judge

Campaigners are asking the council to tackle the danger of aggressive cycling on the Regent’s Canal towpath.

Susan Laker, 26, accountant, said: “I haven’t used that path in a very long time because I’d rather make a detour than get squashed by cyclists.”

An anonymous petition, currently circulating online, calls on Hackney and Islington councils to improve the junction, on the boundary of the boroughs, where Eagle Wharf Road and Poole Street intersect with New North Road.

The road junction is considered dangerous and  commuting cyclists flock onto the canal tow-path at peak hours with knock-on effects for pedestrians on the path.

Christian Wolmar, prospective Labour mayoral candidate and a transport expert in London, said: “The canal is becoming too crowded to have very many cyclists and it is a problem. A safe alternative route would be ideal. Prioritising the cyclists rather than the cars would make complete sense in that particular junction. Unfortunately, if this does not happen, there are very few alternatives. Cycling on the Commercial Road is not ideal for anybody.”

Modifications to the narrow tow-paths on the canal have been issued in the past in order to slow down speeding cyclists. In 2011, British Waterways installed speed bumps after pedestrians complained that they were being driven away from the tow-path by commuter cyclists bearing down on them at speed, particularly during peak hours.

However, the measures have been branded as “virtually useless” by campaigners and had the unintended consequence of becoming major obstacles for disabled people on wheelchairs or on mobility scooters. Therefore, the campaigners want to make the junction safer to lure cyclists off the canal tow-path.

Frank Myers, 42, a construction worker who uses the tow-path on his commute to work, said: “I always get off my bike when I’m around here, because I feel that cyclists should give way to pedestrians at all times. It’s not a common practice among fellow commuters, so I definitely support this petition.”

To view the petition, go here

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