Slowing the towpath cyclists

Published: Wednesday, 17 June 2009

British Waterways has today (Wednesday 17th June) unveiled a temporary piece of artwork on the Regent's Canal towpath in Islington as part of a series of measures to help keep cyclists and pedestrians on the move safely.

The artwork, which features a ‘canyon' in the towpath, forms part of the TwoTings campaign that encourages cyclists and pedestrians to share the towpaths, and abide by a code of conduct to avoid any collisions or clashes along the canal. The artwork is one of several activities British Waterways is organising as part of national bike week.

British Waterways' towpath ranger, Joseph Young explains:

"The majority of cyclists and pedestrians who use the towpaths share the space amicably and recognise that the waterways offer a peaceful, scenic, and vehicle-free route through the city.

"However there are a handful of users who refuse to slow down and share the space with their fellow pedestrians and cyclists. That's why we've commissioned this piece of art. We hope that it will shock them into slowing down to avoid falling into the canyon we've created. Once they've slowed down it gives us an opportunity to talk to them and explain how their speeding puts both them and other users at risk."

Joe, pictured here, regularly patrols the capital's canals promoting the Two Tings safety campaign and offering cycle-friendly solutions to getting around the city. He also works closely with Transport for London and council officers to help identify parallel off-towpath routes for cyclists who want to travel at speed.

With an increase in users, however, comes potential conflict. Pedestrians have priority on London's towpaths and many feel vulnerable as a result of the number of cyclists sharing the space, some of whom are unaware of the towpath Code of Conduct and the considerate behaviour that it promotes. Others are aware of the rules, but refuse to observe them.

For this reason, British Waterways London commissioned this exciting art installation on the Regent's Canal, aimed at shocking speeding cyclists into slowing down and moderating their behaviour.