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Worried canal users welcome chicanes on danger towpath in Islington

PUBLISHED: 15:09 26 September 2011

Pictured from left are Parents Rachel Thomas, Kate Johnstone, Nafanta, kids from left are Jibril Diop 5, Margot Johnstone 7, Henry Thomas 6, Nafissa Diop 6 and Elliott Trevelyan 3 holding blue bottle.

Pictured from left are Parents Rachel Thomas, Kate Johnstone, Nafanta, kids from left are Jibril Diop 5, Margot Johnstone 7, Henry Thomas 6, Nafissa Diop 6 and Elliott Trevelyan 3 holding blue bottle.

Dieter Perry

»Parents and pedestrians have welcomed moves to tackle “aggressive and ­intimidating” cyclists blighting a canal used by dozens of schoolchildren every day.

British Waterways is ­considering installing up to four chicanes in the Islington section of the Regent’s Canal towpath to slow speeding bikes.

Users of the path – including worried parents of children at Hanover Primary School in nearby Noel Road – hope the measure will put a stop to reckless riding.

Kate Johnstone, 40, of ­Rydon Street, Islington, whose seven-year-old daughter is at the school, said: “There are 30 to 40 children who use the towpath every day and a lot of parents are really anxious about it.

“It feels so dangerous, ­cyclists bomb along and don’t make allowances for kids.

Blind spots

“My daughter gets really nervous about being knocked in and I have seen children and parents hit. Chicanes would make a real difference.”

There are blind spots and very narrow sections around Danbury Street and Wharf Road which are particularly troubling, she said.

The Islington stretch is one of the busiest on the ­canal with up to 1,000 people passing an hour, including hundreds of cyclists at peak times.

There is no speed limit but walkers have long ­complained of bikers dangerously racing along the path – 1.2 metres at its widest – at breakneck pace.

Peter Streatfield, 54, of Ockendon Road, Islington, who regularly walks his dog by the canal, said: “There’s a significant minority of very aggressive people who are i­ntimidating the users of the canal and it’s got worse in ­recent years.”

Chicanes would make ­cyclists slow or dismount and could persuade them to choose routes off the canal.

Cllr Martin Klute, Labour member for St Peter’s ward, said: “There have been collisions and it’s intimidating and unsettling for pedestrians. If there are four ­chicanes to slow them down hopefully it will do the trick.”

Dick Vincent, a towpath ranger for British Waterways, said the plan was not yet definite but added: “We share people’s concerns and there is an issue. We have to find a way to make it safe and usable for everyone.”


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