Advice on using shared-use paths

National Cycle Network

Over a third of the National Cycle Network is traffic free, with nearly five million people using it every year

Woman cycling over bridge

From commuters and school children to dog walkers and weekend cyclists, lots of different people – going to and from different places – use and love the National Cycle Network

Shared use path

We want everyone to share the space and love the path they're on

Shared use paths away from the road help many people make their everyday journeys safely and they are also important for leisure.

Many people including young, elderly and disabled people benefit from shared paths, which provide valuable opportunities to travel in a traffic-free environment, and to relax, unwind and play.

All users of shared use paths have responsibilities for the safety of others they are sharing space with.

People riding bikes tend to be the fastest movers on these paths and particularly need to consider their speed so not to startle other people, particularly those who are frail or who have reduced sight, hearing or mobility.

Top tips for sharing the space

  • Use the path in a way that is considerate to the comfort and safety of others.
  • If there is a dividing line segregating cyclists from pedestrians, keep to the appropriate side; this is normally indicated on blue and white road signs and by logos on the road surface.
  • When it's dark, or in dull conditions, make sure you are visible to others, use lights at night.
  • Be particularly careful at junctions, bends, entrances onto the path, or any other ‘blind spots’ where people could appear in front of you without warning.
  • When riding a bike, travel at a speed appropriate to the conditions and ensure you can stop in time.
  • Be courteous and patient with other path users who are moving more slowly than you and slow down as needed when space is limited or if you cannot see clearly ahead.
  • Please be aware, especially of more vulnerable users such as older people, people with small children, people in wheelchairs, or the hearing or visually impaired.  
  • Give way to slower users and wheelchair users and take care around horse riders leaving them plenty of room.
  • When riding a bike, ring a bell well in advance if approaching people from behind.
  • Keep your dog under control which may require a short lead.

Search our online map for traffic-free routes near you

Read our tips on cycling with children