Many thanks to Sally, Paul and Ian for joining me this morning to wave "slow down for pedestrians" placards at cyclists on the Surrey Canal Walk. Great also that Cllr Barrie Hargrove looked in on us.
In the hour or so until 9.15am we must have seen well in excess of 250 cyclists. Nearly all appreciated what we were doing, but inevitably there were a couple whose bad behaviour shamed all of us who take pride in being a cyclist (rather than being just a yob-on-a-bike).
It was also an excellent PR exercise, with a number of pedestrians saying it was about time something was done.
During that rush hour period, cyclists on the Surrey Canal Walk must have outnumbered pedestrians more than 5 to 1.
The conflict with pedestrians is made worse by the fact that the traffic lights release cyclists onto the Canal Path in bunches. Seeing half a dozen or more cyclists heading towards you on a shared path must be quite a daunting sight, let alone having them wizz close past you from behind.
We all need to try and see the other persons point of view, and behave appropriately. Shared use paths require slow cycling when passing pedesrians, as well as giving them as much room as possible. Dogs and children can also behave unpredictably, so need special care. I am stating the blindingly obvious I know.
It is a sad fact that the actions of a selfish few tend to support a general feeling that all cyclists behave irresponsibly. We are then always on the back foot when trying to highlight cycling issues.
Realistically, one has to wonder how effective our placard waving will have been, but it is good to be seen to be trying to tackle the selfish behaviour of the one or two yob-cyclists. We will be repeating the exercise on Monday 26 September from about 5pm to 6pm. If you are free, do stop for a while on your way home.
Secretary, Southwark Cyclists