Blanket ban on canoes in tunnels?

Published: Friday, 28 July 2017

IS THE tunnel clear [for canoeists]? That's an interesting conundrum, writes Bill Ridgeway.

• There are a number of tunnels which have a kink
• The exit of long tunnels is seen as a very small dot of light (if it can be seen at all)
•  Harecastle has a door at each end which is closed to assist ventilation.
I dare say readers can list other situations in which it is impossible to make sure a tunnel is clear.

Does not resolve the problem

Whether or not canoeists are allowed in tunnels still does not resolve the problem of a tunnel which may be clear at the point of entry but is then filled (especially if narrow) by an oncoming boat. It is not then a matter of who has the 'right of way' (and who should reverse) but a matter of survival (a dilemma a boat would win nearly every time). It's no good a canoeists saying with his (her) dying breath '"I was in the right'"

One solution would be, possibly, to allow canoeists only into very short tunnels. The problem with this is it would create a situation in which some tunnels are okay tunnels and some are not okay which would be confusing to absolutely everyone and absolutely impossible to regulate—and some canoeists would disregard whatever is not allowed anyway, especially as they would have to find a way over the top.

On balance

On balance it would be best for everyone (CaRT, boaters and canoeists) to have a blanket ban on canoes in tunnels.