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The charity making life better by water

Stay kind, slow down

Towpaths are popular places to walk, exercise, and cycle, not to mention mooring boats and fishing. They can make you feel happier and healthier, but the pace needs to be slow so that they remain safe.

We've launched a campaign to urge everyone using our canal towpaths, especially those who cycle, to be thoughtful, stay kind and slow down, or find an alternative route.

Ease off the pedal power and stay safe

Some individuals are simply cycling too fast and need to slow down or someone will be hurt. Towpaths are shared spaces and pedestrians have priority.

If you're cycling, you must go slow enough to mind and give way to other people, and to be able to stop safely if you need to. If you're in a hurry, you need to take a different route away from the canal.

On the towpath, ease off the pedal power, enjoy the slow ride and make sure the canal can be enjoyed safely by everyone.

Know your stopping distances

When you're cycling on towpaths, it's important that you do things differently to how you might on the road and really consider your stopping distances.

Points to remember for everyone on a bike

  • Look out for people, pets and wildlife on the towpath.
  • Pay special attention to people mooring their boats. Mooring isn't always an easy thing to do, especially on a windy day. Approach them slowly and avoid causing any alarm.
  • One good tip is to make eye contact with people approaching you, so that you can start to decide in advance the best way to pass each other.
  • A nice clear stretch of towpath can present surprising obstacles and people can sometimes unexpectedly move into your path. Riding slowly will allow you enough stopping distance to avoid an accident.
  • If you're new to cycling, towpaths are a great place to gain confidence. For more helpful hints on getting started, why not try out Transport for London's free online cycling skills course?
photo of a location on the canals
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