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Claims of 30mph over Swan Bridge, shared with pedestrians

 

Cyclists in Swansea who ride along the city's promenade at speeds of up to 30mph according to Strava are being urged to slow down.

Local resident John Roberts checked the ride-sharing site after becoming concerned at the speed some cyclists were riding at, reports the South Wales Evening Post.

Hehe discovered one rider had clocked more than 30mph crossing the Sail Bridge over the River Tawe, which is shared by pedestrian and cyclists.

Mr Roberts told the newspaper: "Our daughter is severely autistic and loves the outdoors and running, we tend to spend each dry day outside.

"We used to take her down to the sea front in Blackpill and Mumbles but we find speeding cyclists a safety hazard as they are fast, silent and seem to have disregard to pedestrians. We have to keep our daughter on reins but even then she has had a few near misses.

"We very rarely hear cyclists with bells and even so, if they did use their bell my autistic daughter wouldn't understand what the noise meant and I'm sure other young children wouldn't know what it means."

He asked: "Cars on the road where there are limited pedestrians have speed limits; why doesn't the same apply to cyclists on walkways?"

Cyclists using shared use facilities such as the Bristol & Bath Railway Path, which is maintained by Sustrans, to chase the fastest times on Strava segments have been a source of conflict with other users.

Sustrans' Cycling Code of Conduct for Shared Use Paths says riders should "cycle at a sensible speed" and "not use the paths for recording times with challenge apps or for fitness training."

Jane Lorimer, National Director at Sustrans Cymru, said: "In hot-spots where Sustrans has been made aware that cyclists are regularly travelling excessively fast in the past we have asked our local volunteers to help draw attention to the issues this causes other users.

"In these cases our volunteers have set up an information stand on the route, giving out copies of the Code and generally drawing attention to the need to share with care."

David Naylor, secretary of local cycle campaign group Wheelrights, said most cyclists and pedestrians using the routes concerned were courteous to each other, but added the speeds some riders had logged on Strava were "completely indefensible."

A spokesman for Swansea Council added: "All cyclists using shared paths need to use them responsibly and understand that these routes are also being used by pedestrians.

"It is not acceptable for cyclists to be travelling at high speeds and risk putting pedestrians and themselves at risk of injury if a collision occurs."

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.

27 comments

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hawkinspeter [887 posts] 1 year ago
7 likes

This is always going to be a problem with shared use paths i.e. when people are not "sharing" the resource. It can go both ways though, pedestrians not caring about blocking both sides, unruly dogs and excessively fast cyclists. I always think that if you go more than 15mph then you should be using roads rather than shared paths (unless the path is empty with good visibility). Of course, the problem with using the road is idiot drivers complaining that you're not using the cycle path ("that path is for you lot, you shouldn't be on the road"), but that doesn't excuse the bullying of pedestrians.

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alexb [162 posts] 1 year ago
3 likes

Strava does need to start getting a handle on this and simply prevent riders from creating segments that include cycle paths and shared spaces. It shouldn't be too hard to have the option to flag part of a route as unsuitable for a segment and give the reason why.

 

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djpalmer32 [88 posts] 1 year ago
1 like
alexb wrote:

Strava does need to start getting a handle on this and simply prevent riders from creating segments that include cycle paths and shared spaces. It shouldn't be too hard to have the option to flag part of a route as unsuitable for a segment and give the reason why.

 

Strava segments can be flagged. It just needs local users to flag them.

And regarding bells on bikes. Granted this requires bells to be on bike but it also begs the question "Why aren't parents educating their kids about what the bells mean?"

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mrmo [2093 posts] 1 year ago
1 like
djpalmer32 wrote:

Strava segments can be flagged. It just needs local users to flag them.

And regarding bells on bikes. Granted this requires bells to be on bike but it also begs the question "Why aren't parents educating their kids about what the bells mean?"

 

Read the article, the key point "severly autistic" 

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vorsprung [282 posts] 1 year ago
1 like

If you are doing more than 18mph you should be on the road

 

http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/+/http://www.dft.gov.uk/consul...

 

Unfortunately people are keen to live in a world of ignorance so the above sensible advice for harmonous living is not widely known

 

If I am doing 20mph+ on a road more than once idiot drivers have cut me up and shouted "get on the cyclepath"

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SuperG [120 posts] 1 year ago
1 like

Its a case of manners, if the path is clear you can go faster, if there are pedestrians/other bikes/dogs/children etc you slow down and chill out.

I use this path and the road running alongside is a nightmare!

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walkingfun24 [2 posts] 1 year ago
1 like

Obviously a lot of these posts are from guys who don’t have small children. If they did then they would know that young children are not all the same, some have learning difficulties and some have physical difficulties but it doesn’t matter who they are they should be allowed to enjoy the costal path and do so in safety. It is difficult to teach a child with learning difficulties what a bell is and what it means. Most parents who have children, especially ones with learning difficulties do look after their children but children do like running, some fall over and hurt themselves and are oblivious to where they are and do not understand the difference between the lanes and might not have time to move out of the way to speeding cyclists.

 

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thereverent [443 posts] 1 year ago
2 likes
Quote:

Hehe discovered one rider had clocked more than 30mph crossing the Sail Bridge over the River Tawe, which is shared by pedestrian and cyclists.

The current KOM is 27.8mph just having looked it up on Strava. Still too fast, but the newpaper has exaggerated the speed.

It just takes one person to flag the route, but I thik you have to have ridden it first.

 

 

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Hamster [103 posts] 1 year ago
2 likes

Isn't this a case of rule 1 applying?

For the uninitiated:

Rule 1 Don't be a dick

 

Though we are talking about Strava!angel

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Jimmy Ray Will [733 posts] 1 year ago
1 like

Again it's all about the lowest denominators... With good visibility, conditions, equipment etc, 30mph is hardly a wild speed.
I.e. you should be able to slow down well and truly in time should there be a pedestrian etc on the path.
I'd hate to have strictly adhered to controls in place to mitigate from the odd knobber that doesn't respect other users.

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P3t3 [411 posts] 1 year ago
2 likes

Its not a Strava problem, its people problem.  There may or may not be eveidence that the cyclists were doing 28mph when there were people around; but if there were then its clearly dangerous given how under-engineered the public space appears from images of it.  There are knobheads on bikes, give them a big open space and they will be reckless and stupid in exactly the way people are when they jump in a car for similar reasons.  

At the weekends parents are bound to take their kids to this car-free space, if you are going fast near kids then you need your head looking at.  

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Deltavelo [16 posts] 1 year ago
1 like

A quick look shows the current KOM is indeed over 30 mph for the bridge. However it's clear he wasn't really that fast as the analysis shows he was never above 28.6 mph on this section, or indeed any part of his ride. Strava can be very inaccurate for short segments so cannot be relied on in this way. It doesn't alter the fact that on shared use paths speed has to be used with common sense - if there are pedestrians about slow down, if not who cares how fast you go? 

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BrokenBootneck [218 posts] 1 year ago
1 like

Agreed it looks narrow and you would hope that people don't go too fast when it's busy. KOM is 30.2 QOM19.4 and out of 1015 people who have recorded a segment over it, only 26 of them have done it at over 20mph. So we are talking about a tiny percentage really.

 

had a quick look, there is two defined sides, maybe pedestrians are not keeping to their side, still 30mph is too fast really .

 

It does look like pedestrians in the cycle path side are the biggest issue. 

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Carton [387 posts] 1 year ago
2 likes

Cyclists? One guy was doing over 25mph. Just 9 over 21mph. And that's the personal bests. So 1,006/1,015 (PBs) on Strava probably means that 99% of cyclists are going well under 20mph on that stretch.

Yeah, some people on bikes really need to slow down around pedestrians. If you see a young child, please do. I basically come to full-stop stop around small kids without a hint of a frown.

But this is a likely a case of one parent of an autistic kid having a real issue being used as a prop in a piece that uses drummed up strava stats to spur anti-cyclist sentiment.  And I'm guessing actual incidents there are really rare, since he couldn't drum up anything more than a "near-miss". Which is probably far less dangerous than those that happen with cars on nearly every single trip taken by bikes on the road.

BTW there are plenty of "cycle path" segments that catch those on the road next to them, even when they're on the pavement. One near me has a top speed of 40mph, which is absolutely imposible, given the path conditions, without losing a kidney. My lowly top go of 20mph was also achieved on the road, not without someone urging me to "use the f-ng cycle path". Which I promptly dismissed, because as with the vast majority of cyclists I know I'd rather take my (far riskier) chances on the road and inconvenience motorists that scare pedestrians on the cycle paths if I'm going that fast.

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ragweasel [14 posts] 1 year ago
1 like

I know this section well & can verify that pedestrians almost invariably manage to walk on the cycling side (because the surface is better).

 

30mph is probably too fast, but then again the bridge has good visibility & doesn't get much traffic so you often have a clear run.

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walkingfun24 [2 posts] 1 year ago
1 like

I dont want to think about what injuries a 20 stone man dressed in lycra hurtling across a foot bridge doing 26mph hitting a 3 year old girl would do. Even a near miss would scar the poor child for the rest of her life.

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brooksby [2488 posts] 1 year ago
2 likes
Quote:

He asked: "Cars on the road where there are limited pedestrians have speed limits; why doesn't the same apply to cyclists on walkways?"

I don't know the area, but looking at BrokenBootnecks photo it would appear that any cyclists aren't likely to be riding on the "walkway". Rather, the bridge is divided into a side for cyclists (call it a "cycle path") and a side for pedestrians (for the sake of argument, call it a "footpath"). Neither side appears to actually be "shared use".

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BigglesMeister [65 posts] 1 year ago
1 like
djpalmer32 wrote:
alexb wrote:

Strava does need to start getting a handle on this and simply prevent riders from creating segments that include cycle paths and shared spaces. It shouldn't be too hard to have the option to flag part of a route as unsuitable for a segment and give the reason why.

 

Strava segments can be flagged. It just needs local users to flag them.

And regarding bells on bikes. Granted this requires bells to be on bike but it also begs the question "Why aren't parents educating their kids about what the bells mean?"

 

It's very easy to get around the flagging by creating a new segment which is slightly longer or shorter.  This can be done by anyone who's ridden the route so the current KOM can easily reinstate themselves as "new" segments also consider any rides recorded before the new segment was created. 

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alexb [162 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

The argument that "if the route is clear and open, I should be able to go as fast as I like" wouldn't wash if it was a car driver's excuse.

 

I think Hamster has it right "Rule one" should apply - however, I always think of Rule 1 as referring to Rule 1 of the Highway Code - "thou must overtake the cyclist"

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hawkinspeter [887 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes
alexb wrote:

The argument that "if the route is clear and open, I should be able to go as fast as I like" wouldn't wash if it was a car driver's excuse.

 

I think Hamster has it right "Rule one" should apply - however, I always think of Rule 1 as referring to Rule 1 of the Highway Code - "thou must overtake the cyclist"

If the route is clear and open, then it's not a problem how fast you go as long as you slow down to a sensible speed to pass other users.

Also, even if pedestrians are on the wrong side, they still have priority.

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horizontal dropout [296 posts] 1 year ago
1 like

I think there is a point being missed here. Anyone used to cycling on the road knows the difference between riding on an empty road and riding on one with even a small amount of traffic. You can zone out when it's empty. It's the same for pedestrians sharing with cyclists. Riding even quite gently you can see pedestrians suddenly have to shift perspective. It's also telling that quite a few pedestrians will move to the edge or into the verge when you approach.

I'm not sure what the law is on Sustrans shared segregated paths but on footways that have been converted to shared segregated pedestrians have right of way over the whole path whereas cyclists only have right of way on the cycling side.

Lastly many of the the Sustrans routes have paths that cross or join. If you are travelling at 30mph you probably wouldn't spot the joining path and wouldn't be able to stop in time if people came out of a side entrance. Adults might look but kids and dogs almost certainly won't.

Basically don't steal the pedestrians comfort zone.

Some info here: http://cyclinginfo.co.uk/blog/1835/cycle-lanes/shared-use-paths/index.html

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arfa [849 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

Pretty simple really, flag shared use paths as inappropriate on strava. It takes a couple of clicks of the mouse and avoids providing ammunition for the vociferous anti cycling brigade and goals for knuckle heads who see a 50 metre sprint as something worth risking it for. It shouldn't be necessary but sadly it is

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ironmancole [346 posts] 1 year ago
1 like

Firstly of course no one should feel or actually be unsafe on a transport network. However, reality is cyclists are expected to tolerate levels of violence and intimidation that would be jumped on in any other scenario, such as we see here.

Bigger question is why are pedestrians protected from cyclists whilst cyclists (and other motorists) are not protected from the nutters out there?

 

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dafyddp [437 posts] 1 year ago
1 like

20mph+ on a shared path is anti-social and should be clamped down on. I think the most effective step would be to turn the whole thing on it's head, and use Strava data as evidence to bring prosecutions (just as YouTube footage is used). 

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bison_555 [8 posts] 1 year ago
1 like

A Department for Transport consultation document that never turned into anything other than a consultation: The 2004 Local Transport Notes on Walking and Cycling document had an annex D Code of Conduct Notice for Cyclists which recommends "As a general rule, if you want to cycle quickly, say in excess of 18 mph/30 kph, then you should be riding on the road."

However, despite the fact that speed limits do not apply to bicycles, you can be prosecuted simply for cycling too fast - under the charge of 'cycling furiously'. You can also be prosecuted for riding dangerously or carelessly.

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Wolfshade [198 posts] 1 year ago
1 like

This highlights the problem of shared cycle spaces. When there is a speed differential it creates problems, it doesn't matter if you are on different modes of transport or not it causes problems.

Let us dispell some myths there isn't a pedestrian side, (un)fortunately (depending on your view of things). It is frustrating that people on bikes are limited to one side and people not on bikes aren't so consequently you can have pedestrains quite legally on both sides. One would hope that the demarkation of signage would "encourage" pedestrains to keep out of the dedicated cycle path.

We also kind of expect pedestrians to behave like traffic, like what we as cyclists do, keep left look before changing direction etc.

Blaming Strava isn't the option either, though as others have said you have to be mindful of the accuracy of it (I once had a ride clocked at mach 1.9, though managed no KOM :s). Personal GPS units are accurate to 5-10m 95% of the time, so on a 200m section it could be out by 10%

Saying strava doesn't encourage racing is a little naive, it enables it in terms of making it very easy to share data. But flagging a section and having it removed won't stop people from cycling quickly over it, perhaps this sort of reporting would actually let people know that this is achieveable and target the section specifically. But whatever we do there are people that want to make a competition of it:

  • Who can ride down that hill the fastest,
  • who can eat hotdogs the quickest,
  • who can lift the heaviest weight, and etc.

People will gravitate together and find a way of sharing that data.

At a conference I attended there was a conversation about the problem of "excessive speed" on shared use paths. It is really a two edged sword, on the one hand you don't want people to go "too fast" (whatever that means) on the other it shows that the facility is of sufficient quality that it is being used and enables people to cycle confidently. There are essentially two options, you put infrastructure in to prevent faster speeds (though making sure that you don't affect the accessibility for "non-standard cycles" or restricting other users) or try and modify people's behaviour though other means.

Blanket comments like saying a speed on a shared use facility is anti-social is a little narrow minded as it doesn't take into account the number of other users for that facility (if no one else is on the shared use path to whom are you being anti-social?) the geometry of the facility or any other extraneous factors that might provide mitigation.

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Matt eaton [741 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

Replace the word 'pedestrian' with 'cyclist', the word 'cyclist' with 'driver' and the word'path' with 'road' throughout this article and it becomes clear why quick cyclists are using this sort of infrastructure in the first place. That's no justification for antisocial or reckless behaviour but it does explain some of these conflicts.

I also find it curious that many pedestrians find it completely acceptable to be passed within a few feet by heavy motorised vehicles at much higher speeds than we are talking about here when walking on a road footway but are so intimidated by a cyclist whizzing by in similar circumstances at much lower speed.