As more and more people venture outdoors into the countryside, whether it’s walking, running, cycling, horse riding or whatever other hobby you choose, there will inevitably be some conflicts – some people are just ignorant and selfish no matter what they’re doing.
But by a majority of people being more considerate and aware of others, we can keep this to a minimum and everybody can enjoy themselves. There is no ‘us and them’. At some point, we are all pedestrians, car drivers and people who ride bikes (walk dogs, ride horses etc.) To help people get along, we’ve produced a few guidelines for cyclists, a Code of Conduct if you will.
Sharing paths with walkers
In most circumstances, cyclists and walkers are able to co-exist happily when they use the same routes, but mutual respect and consideration are a vital part of this. This Code of Conduct from Sustrans, endorsed by CTC and British Cycling, helps encourage responsible behaviour on shared-use paths.
Cyclists are advised to:
- Give way to pedestrians and wheelchair users and take care around horse-riders, leaving them plenty of room, especially when approaching from behind
- Be courteous and patient with pedestrians and other path users who are moving more slowly than you — shared paths are for sharing, not speeding
- Slow down as needed when space is limited or if you can’t see clearly ahead
- Be particularly careful at junctions, bends, entrances onto the path, or any other ‘blind spots’ where people (including children) could appear in front of you without warning
- Keep to your side of any dividing line
- Carry a bell and use it or an audible greeting – avoid surprising people, or horses. Don’t assume people can see or hear you – remember that many people are hard of hearing or visually impaired
- In dull and dark weather make sure you have lights so you can be seen
Guidelines for cycling off-road:
- Ride Responsibly. Show respect for all other users, and take care of the environment
- Leave No Trace. Practice low-impact cycling to protect trails and avoid wet and muddy trails. Keep to the line of existing trails, avoid skidding and take your litter home
- Control Your Bike. Stay focussed, check your speed, and think about other people
- Always Give Way. Let people know you are there. Pass wide and slow, particularly with horse-riders and approach with caution on blind corners and descents
- Avoid Disturbing Animals. Farm, pet and wild animals are startled by sudden noise, be considerate
- Always Plan Ahead. Know your bike, your equipment, your ability and the area, and wear appropriate safety gear, and helmet.
Share the space, share the road, be nice; a wave, a smile and a thank you don’t cost anything.