Tackling speeding cyclists on West Midlands' towpaths

We are trialling a new speed awareness device in the West Midlands to encourage cyclists to Stay Kind, Slow Down whilst using our towpaths.

Two men riding bikes on the canal Stay Kind Slow Down

We are trialling a new speed awareness device in the West Midlands to encourage cyclists to be considerate and Stay Kind, Slow Down when using our increasingly popular canal towpaths.

Having been a haven for local people during lockdown, and with visitor numbers to some towpaths doubling throughout the pandemic, we want to remind everyone that the towpaths are a shared space which are used by thousands of people every day.

Trialling speed detection devices

The month-long trial of the portable speed detection devices will remind people, especially those cyclists living in urban and busy areas along the canal network, to take it easy and to slow down. It works by detecting the speed of cyclists as they approach, flashing a ‘Thank you’ if they are cycling at a leisurely pace or the words #StayKindSlowDown if they are going too fast.

Although there isn’t a set speed limit for cycling along the towpath, the trial devices will be set so anyone cycling below 8mph will get a ‘Thank you’ message. In instances where the towpath narrows, the considerate speed may be less.

The trial locations will be along some of the region’s most popular and well used sections of canal and include:

A reminder to be considerate

Gavin Passmore, our community engagement manager, said: “We know that our canals played a crucial role during lockdown for exercise and wellbeing. This was particularly important in urban areas where many people don’t have back gardens, as people stayed local and discovered these amazing wildlife corridors on their doorstep.

“We want people to use the canals, including cyclists, but ask everyone to be considerate of others on the towpath.  Whilst most people are kind and courteous, if you are on a bike, it can just mean slowing down and cycling at a leisurely pace.  

“We’re hoping this speed awareness trial makes the cyclists who sometimes do go too fast to think about their speed, acting as a reminder to be considerate.”

Safety first

Gavin continues: “We’re asking cyclist to be sensible and to think about where they are and the people around them. Those on foot, including boaters accessing the water, have priority on our towpaths and, quite simply, those on bikes who need or want to travel quickly should use a route away from the canal. On busy stretches of canals or where the towpath is narrow, the safest option may be to get off your bike and walk.”