Share the Space, Drop your Pace

The Canal & River Trust has launched a new considerate towpath campaign ‘Share the Space, Drop your Pace’. The campaign calls for all those who use London’s towpaths to follow a new Greenways Code and to help keep our historic network of waterways safe and pleasant for everyone to share.

Handing out leaflets on the Regent's Canal
Regent's Canal, London

Cycling, walking to work and free outdoor exercise have all seen a surge in popularity in recent years and the towpaths, as traffic-free, green routes through the city, have seen an increase in the number of users enjoying the scenic waterside routes. With over 500 cyclists per hour using the towpaths through parts of the Regent’s Canal at peak times, and scores of pedestrians, joggers and boaters passing through the same, sometimes limited space, London’s towpaths can become very busy.

Pedestrians have priority on the towpaths, which form part of London’s network of Greenways.  The Canal & River Trust is working to ensure that pedestrians and other users are in harmony with each other and slow down to enjoy the picturesque environment that the towpaths provide.

Share the Space, Drop your Pace asks everyone to follow The Greenway Code for Towpaths –10 points which encourages considerate, safe and courteous use of London’s towpaths. Although the campaign focuses on London's towpaths, we feel that this guidance is worth following wherever you are in the coutry.

The Greenway Code for Towpaths

1. Share the space consider other people and the local environment whenever you’re on a Greenway. Remember some people may move less predictably, for example young children or those with visual or mobility impairments.

2. Drop your pace considerate sharing of the limited towpath space is the key. Jogging and cycling are welcome, but drop your pace in good time and let people know you are approaching by ringing a bell or politely calling out before waiting to pass slowly.

3. Pedestrians have priority towpaths are ‘Greenways’ or shared use routes where pedestrians have priority and vehicles, except bicycles and mobility aids, are generally excluded. 

4. Be courteous to others – A smile can go a long way. Abusive or threatening behaviour is not acceptable and should be reported to the Police.

5. Follow signs and obey local by-laws they are there for the safety of everyone. Cyclists should dismount where required and use common sense in busy or restricted areas, recognising that pedestrians have priority. 

6. Give way to oncoming people beneath bridges whether they are on foot or bike and be extra careful at bends and entrances where visibility is limited.

7. When travelling in large groups, especially if you are running or cycling, please use common sense and give way to others.

8. Try to avoid wearing headphones as this makes you less aware of your surroundings possible hazards and others sharing the same space.

9. Keep dogs under control ideally using a short lead on busy towpaths and clean-up after them. Dog fouling is very unpleasant and is a health hazard.

10. At all times, keep children close to you and encourage them to learn and follow the Greenway Code for Towpaths.