Shared Use Paths


Thanks to reader Peter (comment from White Van Driver) , for this link to some DFT guidelines for using cycle paths.

From Dept of Transport: Annex D: Code of Conduct Notice for Cyclists using shared lane paths.

The following key messages are suggested as the basis for a code of conduct notice for cyclists. The code could be posted at points of entry and at intervals along the route. This will be especially useful when the facility is new.

  • * If a feature segregating cyclists from pedestrians is present, keep to the cyclist’s side. This will be indicated on blue and white road signs and by cycle logos on the surface.
  • * Ride on the left hand side of the area available to you. If you need to overtake another cyclist, give a gentle ring on your bell or say ‘Excuse me’.
  • * When coming up behind pedestrians, always pass them at a safe distance, and slowly enough so that you could avoid them if they made a sudden change in direction.
  • * Remember that some pedestrians may be hard of hearing or visually impaired and hence might not be aware of you. If in doubt, give a gentle ring on your bell or say ‘Excuse me’.
  • * Always respect pedestrians even if they stray onto the cycling side (if there is one); they are entitled to do so. Always thank people who move out of your way.
  • * Ride at a sensible speed for the situation and ensure you can stop in time. As a general rule, if you want to cycle quickly, say in excess of 18 mph/30 kph, then you should be riding on the road.
  • * Use lights at night.
  • * In pedestrianised areas, only ride your cycle if there aren’t too many pedestrians about; otherwise dismount and push it. When visiting shops etc, park your cycle so that people will not trip over it; use formal cycle parking if available.

from: web archives

I particularly like the section, that if you intend to ride quickly, it is advisable to use the road. Personally, I think rather than 18mph, I would suggest 13-14mph. If you are riding 17mph, you don’t want to be sharing the cycle path with pedestrians and their dogs!

I also agree with their advice about offering courtesy to pedestrians, even if they stray into the designated cycle lane.

Nothing will change my view that pavements are primarily for pedestrians, and as a cyclist I want to cycle on road. However, if appropriate, cyclists should be allowed to use pavements, but, only at slow speeds.


7 Responses to Shared Use Paths

  1. Lewis January 30, 2011 at 7:32 pm #

    I really think that there is little use in shared use cycle paths, mainly because pedestrians have the priority. There’s no point. You can’t cycle at a decent speed and you have to be constantly wary of pedestrians as they may suddenly move in your path/lane (especially if they have children or dogs); and the Highway Code states that they are entitled to do so! Then what’s the point? The road is a much more suited place for bikes where road users are trained (hopefully!) to abide by sets of rules and be aware of other road users, also it is possible to reach certain speeds.

  2. Lisa Baker August 2, 2010 at 3:32 pm #

    My children and I walked along the path today, staying in the left lane, with our dog on a lead, of course. A cyclist was in our path, on his right, heading towards us, and was very aggressive shouting “cylists this side!!). After checking several sites, it isn’t clear where pedestrians should walk on a shared cycle path but my understanding is on the left. Can someone (not aggressively, enlighten me?

    Lisa from Mangotsfield

  3. James July 9, 2010 at 10:37 am #

    In Bristol they have a cycle path all the way to Bath where pedestrians are all over the place and jumping out.

    Personally I go slow-ish <12mph if its clear but you never know what will jump out and walking speed around pedestrians and use my bell-which fellow club riders hate!

    I have seen other 'fellow Roadies' sprint through pedestrians, it is true-if you're going fast-find a country lane/road.

    And as a cyclist -join CTC for 3rd party cover.

  4. botogol July 9, 2010 at 9:19 am #

    I think 8mph is probably too fast for a pavement-based cycle lane. Pedestrians do have the disconcerting habit of suddenly leaping to one side.

    but I agree with you – bikes are for roads.


  1. Complete Guide to Cycle Paths | Cycling UK - June 27, 2011

    [...] One of the biggest complaints about cyclists is when they use the pavement. Many pedestrains (especially old people feel uncomfortable when people cycle on the pavement. Shared use paths often aggravate this by taking a pavement and painting a white line on as a shared use cycle path. Where possible I tend to avoid these. Unless it cuts a corners, makes journey quicker or is much safer. When using it I do remember pedestrians should be given priority and go slow. Not much room with bus stop. See: Shared use cycle paths [...]

  2. Tips for Commuting by Bike | Cycling UK - April 24, 2011

    [...] than usual as old ladies can easily get frightened by cyclists. (To be honest, I try to avoid shared cycle paths, except for short [...]

  3. Cycling on Pavements | Cycling UK - August 17, 2010

    [...] See: shared use paths [...]

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