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Shock tactics employed amid fears cyclists could take over Bath canal towpath

Posters expressing concern about ‘speeding cyclists’ feature photo of a woman’s bloodied face

Those who fear that improvements to a Bath canal towpath could lead to it being overrun by cyclists have been moved to shock tactics, reports the Virtual Museum of Bath blog. Posters featuring a photo of a woman’s bloodied face claim that there is ‘widespread evidence for an increase in speeding cyclists where towpath upgrades have already been done’.

The Kennet and Avon Canal towpath between Sydney Gardens and Bathampton is one of the most heavily used sections and is part of the Two Tunnels circular cycle route. Improvements to it have been made possible thanks to a successful bid for Cycle City Ambition funding by the council, which has been allocated £3.8 million over the next three years, of which £650,000 is available to undertake the works on the towpath.

However, it seems not everyone is in favour of the work. “Many cycling experts say that 2.5 metres is not wide enough for a busy shared path,” reads the poster. “The views of all canal users need to be heard.”

Accompanying this is a photograph of Judith Norris, a 76-year-old woman from Bury in Lancashire, who had four teeth knocked out after being knocked to the ground by a cyclist on a Wigan canal path in May. The poster also urges people to attend two upcoming consultations on the proposals: on Friday, August 28 at Bathampton Village Hall from 2pm to 8pm and on Saturday, August 29 at the New Oriel Hall in Larkhall between 10am and 5pm.

In announcing the consultations, Councillor Anthony Clarke, Cabinet Member for Transport, said:

“Bath and North East Somerset Council has been awarded a significant amount of money by Government for this project and so we are keen to ensure it is spent in a way which benefits all users of the towpath. We will therefore be consulting carefully with residents and towpath users on these proposals before final plans are agreed.”

Mark Evans, waterway manager at the Canal and River Trust emphasised that despite the money being from the Cycle City Ambition funding, the project was not just about making the towpath better for cyclists. “It will give us a hard-wearing surface that’ll last for years and allow everyone easier access to the canal. I’d encourage anyone who’s interested in the plans to come down to the event in August to find out more.”

Alex has written for more cricket publications than the rest of the team combined. Despite the apparent evidence of this picture, he doesn't especially like cake.

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