Bumpy start for speed humps as Regent’s Canal towpath cyclists give them a miss | Islington Tribune

The Islington Tribune reports:

Safety measures branded ‘virtually useless’ and an obstacle to wheelchair-users

Published: September 16, 2011


MEASURES to slow down speeding cyclists on narrow towpaths along the Regent’s Canal in Islington were branded “virtually useless” by campaigners for safe walking this week.

The speed humps installed by British Waterways do, however, have one unintended consequence: they present major obstacles for disabled people in wheelchairs or on mobility scooters.

The humps were introduced by British Waterways (BW) after walkers complained that they were being driven away from the towpath by mainly commuter cyc­lists bearing down on them at speed, particularly during peak hours.

St Peters ward Labour councillor Martin Klute and chairman of the Friends of Regent’s Canal, Ian Shacklock, gathered at Danbury Bridge at Angel on Monday to see one set of new humps in action.

The group, including retired teacher and disabled driver Hilary Norris and a Tribune reporter, observed cyc­lists simply riding over the humps, often at speed, or riding around them.

Ms Norris described how she had been unable to drive her mobility scooter over similar humps installed on the towpath close to her home in King’s Cross. “In some cases I’ve been unable to go any further on the towpath because the hump has been a major obstacle,” she said.

Cllr Klute said Ms Norris and other disabled people might have a case against British Waterways under disability legislation over lack of access to the towpath.

“The edges of the hump are far too steep for wheelchairs,” he added. “At the same time they don’t deter speeding cyclists. They do what speeding motorists do and swerve around them or even go over them at speed.”

Cllr Klute believes that a three-sided chicane (a barrier which forces cyclists to slow down or dismount) would be the answer. “I understand BW does plan to introduce chicanes along the towpath eventually. That will be good news. Maybe they are finally listening,” he said.

Mr Shacklock said that conflict on the towpath between cyclists and walkers caused the biggest number of complaints at Friends of Regent’s Canal meetings.

“I speak as both a cyclist and a walker,” he added. “There was no consultation about the humps. They just arrived. They obviously don’t work – we’ve just seen that. “

A BW spokeswoman said the humps were part of a trial and the organisation welcomed any feedback.

“Obviously, if they are a problem for the disabled we will have to look at them again,” she said. “We are investigating widening them so that cyclists can’t slip through the sides but if it appears they are not a proper deterrent then we may have to look at other measures, including a chicane.”

via Bumpy start for speed humps as Regent’s Canal towpath cyclists give them a miss | Islington Tribune.

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