A Ting Ting Lesson In Towpath Etiquette

Collisions and clashes can be replaced by bicycle bells along River

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British Waterways has teamed up with Debrett’s to promote a polite code of conduct aimed at cyclists using local towpaths. It’s hoped that by reminding people how to behave on the towpath, collisions and clashes can be replaced by the tinging of bicycle bells, and the sound of locals bidding a good morning with a thank you and a smile to their fellow towpath users.

Hundreds of cyclists, walkers, joggers, dog walkers and boaters use the Thames and its towpaths to travel around London each week. With commuting cyclists and pedestrians in particular taking advantage of the car-free, and often picturesque, routes through the city and beyond.

British Waterways’ towpath ranger, Joseph Young, said: “In most instances pedestrians and cyclists share the towpath with no problems, but we are seeing an increase in the number of speeding cyclists, who seem to forget, or aren’t aware, that pedestrians do have right of way. Sometimes cyclists can forget how fast and threatening they can be if they are passing you at speed.

“British Waterways, working with Transport for London, is promoting the Two Tings campaign asking cyclists to slow down, and pedestrians to listen out for bikes. It’s all about sharing the route and remembering how your actions could be perceived by others.”

Debrett’s, the modern authority on all matters of etiquette, taste and achievement, offer advice about how to behave on all modes of transport. They have identified five top tips to help Londoner’s travel the towpaths safely and politely.

Etiquette expert, Jo Bryant of Debrett’s said: “The towpaths are a lovely escape from the hustle and bustle of the roads and pavements of the city. They should be a more tranquil and relaxing place to travel along. But it seems that some people are forgetting their manners and speeding past other people, or refusing to move out of the way. Here at Debrett’s we hope that these top tips will be a gentle reminder to towpath users, and encourage a return to more polite and amicable behaviour along the waterways.”

Debrett’s top tips for safe, shared towpath use are:

  • Cyclists must be aware of pedestrians at all times. Remember that pedestrians have priority – ring two tings on your bell to warn them that you are approaching. Pass people carefully and slowly, and never cycle too quickly.
  • Pedestrians should allow cyclists to pass wherever possible. Don’t forget to listen out for the two tings warning you that a cyclist is approaching.
  • Both cyclists and pedestrians should be considerate to each other, as well as both being extra careful at bends and entrances along the towpath. A smile and polite ‘thank you’ is courteous if someone has let you pass.
  • Respect the environment and the waterway’s natural beauty. Never drop any litter.
  • Dog walkers must always clean up after their dog.

September 29, 2010