Shared-use paths are a great way to get around by bike, but they’re also used by many other people. It’s important to follow a few basic rules so that everyone can enjoy them as much as possible.
Many young, elderly and disabled people benefit from shared paths. They provide valuable opportunities to travel in a traffic-free environment, and to relax and unwind.
We all have responsibilities for the safety of others we are sharing space with. It’s important not to startle other people, particularly those who are frail or who have reduced sight, hearing or mobility. The tranquillity of these paths is something people value greatly, and all path users need to respect this.
A code of conduct for cyclists
Cyclists tend to be the fastest movers on these paths, but the paths aren’t suitable for high speeds so it’s important to keep cycling speed under control. Remember that they are for sharing, not for speeding. If you wish to travel quickly, train for fitness or record personal best times, this is better done on quiet roads.
Following this code of conduct will ensure that everyone can benefit from shared paths:
- Give way to pedestrians and wheelchair users;
- Take care around horse-riders, leaving them plenty of room, especially when approaching from behind;
- Be courteous and patient with pedestrians and other path users who are moving more slowly than you – shared paths are for sharing, not speeding;
- Cycle at a sensible speed and do not use the paths for recording times with challenge apps or for fitness training;
- Slow down when space is limited or if you cannot see clearly ahead;
- Be particularly careful at junctions, bends, entrances onto the path, or any other ‘blind spots’ where people (including children) could appear in front of you without warning;
- Keep to your side of any dividing line;
- Carry a bell and use it, or an audible greeting, to avoid surprising people or horses;
- However, don’t assume people can see or hear you – remember that many people are hard of hearing or visually impaired;
- In dull and dark weather make sure you have lights so you can be seen.
Tips for other path users
- Keep your dog under control;
- Keep to your side of any dividing line.