A couple in Plymouth have expressed their frustration at cyclists in the city's Saltram Park after their dog was clipped by a cyclist. Meanwhile the Plymouth Herald reports that another dog was recently killed by a cyclist in the park.
Birgitta and Nigel White are local dog owners and have been walking their dog in the National Trust park to the east of the city for around 10 years. Recently, though, they've become "fed up" with cyclists in the area, stating that they ride "too fast" and that it would be sad for them to be forced to stop using the park because of them.
"There is a growing number of cyclists that ride as fast as they can without bells on their bikes," 68-year old Birgitta said. "[They] come flat out around corners; we have been shouted and sworn at, one even threatened to hit my husband.
"It's not pleasant; you feel awful and intimidated."
Birgitta suggests that the park introduces a designated cycle path or a separate area for people to walk dogs to improve relations in the park.
A spokesperson from the National Trust told the Herald that they "urge people to take care, reduce speed, and be courteous when on pathways that are used both by pedestrians and cyclists."
The spokesperson also highlighted the upgrades currently underway in Saltram park that will "upgrade the paths and signage which we hope will enhance people's experience of Saltram as well as help manage traffic in the future."
Shared use paths, like the country's roads, are divisive issues. Vulnerable road users and pedestrians on shared use paths will naturally feel that more should be done in regards to infrastructure to protect their safety.
Sustainable transport charity Sustrans suggests that everyone who uses shared use paths be considerate of the other users of the road. Their guidelines state that “pedestrians have a priority over all other users on shared pathways,” and that “cyclists are asked to ride at a speed and in a manner that is appropriate to the conditions of the path.”
The benefits to considerate cycling on shared use paths are not restricted to pedestrians and dogs. While, of course, pedestrians and dogs being killed and injured is the primary focus of the Whites in Plymouth, cyclists aren't safe from the dangers of shared use paths.
In 2012 a year a 59-year old cyclist was thrown from his bike after being tangled up in a retractable dog lead when an out-of-control dog jumped in front of him on a shared use path.
Anthony Steele suffered a fractured skull and eventually won a £65,000 payout from the incident.
Elliot joined team road.cc bright eyed, bushy tailed, and straight out of university.
Raised in front of cathode ray tube screens bearing the images of Miguel Indurain and Lance Armstrong, Elliot's always had cycling in his veins.
His balance was found on a Y-framed mountain bike around South London suburbs in the 90s, while his first taste of freedom came when he claimed his father's Giant hybrid as his own at age 16.
When Elliot's not writing for road.cc about two-wheeled sustainable transportation, he's focussing on business sustainability and the challenges facing our planet in the years to come.