Cyclists and mobile phone obsessives turn Britain’s tranquil towpaths into accident black spots –

During a typically busy rush hour at City Lock, on the Regent Canal in Islington last week, dozens of cyclists, joggers and dog walkers jostled for space on the narrow towpath.

Some pedestrians were so engrossed in their smartphone screens they failed to notice oncoming cyclists, forcing them to swerve precariously towards the water. Others had to squeeze along the towpath and tunnel walls to allow other users past.

The CRT survey found that 27 per cent of towpath users named people glued to their phone screens as among their top five bugbears, along with people taking up too much space (25%), cyclists going too fast (23%) and above all dog owners not clearing up their mess (56%).

Indeed 21 per cent of towpath users admitted they had bumped into other people or objects while using their phones.

Intriguingly, there were distinct regional differences in the results, with dogs a particular cause of annoyance in the Midlands; speeding cyclists in London and the South West and people who stop abruptly in Yorkshire.

“Canals are somewhere special for people to relax, breathe, reflect,” said Mr Vincent. “They are a ‘slow way’ not a highway. What we’re saying is that we’re all in the same space together, so let’s be more thoughtful and considerate.”


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