Commuter cyclists urged to avoid Regent's Canal

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Media captionSome walkers have been injured on the towpath by cyclists riding too fast

Cyclists rushing to work are being urged not to use the Regent's Canal.

The trust which manages the London waterway said up to 500 cyclists an hour were commuting on the tow path every day, sharing space with walkers, joggers and leisurely cyclists.

A spokesman said the paths were good for travelling at a leisurely pace, but were not the best place for cyclists who wanted to get from A to B quickly.

The trust is asking the riders to consider alternative routes.

The Canal and River Trust spokesman said the narrow tow path, which is used by people including children and the elderly, had limited capacity.

'Sheer numbers'

"The capital's canals and canals generally are enjoying this huge renaissance and more people now than any other time in their history are using them for leisure and commuting," he said.

The trust said the main hotspots for commuter cyclists were westbound routes along the City Road basin in Islington and at Victoria Park during the morning rush hour.

The spokesman stressed that it did not want to ban cyclists from the tow paths.

"We don't have many people reporting collisions to us, but anecdotally, we do hear some stories," she said.

The trust has appointed a coordinator to work with Westminster, Camden, Islington, Hackney and Tower Hamlets councils to create alternative cycle routes.

The coordinator, Rosie Tharp, described the capital's canals as "havens".

"At peak times, however, it gets very busy and some pedestrians and cyclists are overwhelmed by the sheer numbers of commuter cyclists," she added.

A spokeswoman from Living Streets, which campaigns for pedestrians and public spaces, said the organisation supported proposals to create parallel cycle routes along the canal.

She added: "Narrow, busy urban canal towpaths do not lend themselves easily to catering for pedestrians and cyclists.

"In tackling this issue we hope pedestrian priority will be upheld, while affording cyclists safe accessible routes."

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