London

Debrett's cyclist etiquette guide for London canals

  • 29 September 2010
  • From the section London
Little Venice on Regents Canal
Image caption Regents Canal is the busiest canal in London

Cyclists are being asked to adopt Victorian-style manners and make sure they "ting ting" when approaching pedestrians on London's busy towpaths.

British Waterways said complaints from pedestrians and cyclists sharing Regents Canal led it to issue a guide from etiquette authority Debrett's.

The guide asks walkers to give way to cyclists and riders are reminded to "smile" and say "a polite thank you".

A Victorian-themed event marked the launch of the guide at Regents Canal.

The British Waterways, which first launched Two Tings campaign in 2007, said its research showed people consider Victorian age as the most polite era and it decided to prepare a code of conduct and had now decided to call in Debrett's.

'Be considerate'

London has about 100 miles of canals and Regents Canal, which runs from Paddington in the west to Limehouse in the east, is the busiest walkway in the capital.

During peak times about 400 cyclists and an equal number of pedestrians use the route every hour, British Waterways' towpath ranger Joseph Young said.

"We are seeing an increase in the number of speeding cyclists, who seem to forget, or aren't aware, that pedestrians do have right of way," he said.

"Sometimes cyclists can forget how fast and threatening they can be if they are passing you at speed. The Two Tings campaign asking cyclists to slow down, and pedestrians to listen out for bikes," he added.

The etiquette guide tells cyclists and pedestrians to be "considerate to each other" and also asks people "never drop any litter" and urges dog walkers to "clean up after their dog".

Jo Bryant of Debrett's said: "We hope that these top tips will be a gentle reminder to towpath users, and encourage a return to more polite and amicable behaviour along the waterways."

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