LETTER: Conflict over cyclists and pedestrians on the canal towpath

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From Mr Bill Bankes-Jones

Sir: I was delighted to read how much Steven Norris enjoyed his bicycle ride, at the invitation of the Independent, along the towpath of the Regent's Canal. I was also rather sorry to read that Mark Bensted, on behalf of British Waterways, felt that

We do not want to encourage commuters on to the towpath. It is for leisure and recreation, not for cyclists in a hurry, as there is too much source for conflict between pedestrians and cyclists.

For years, I have been making my way to work along the section of the canal where British Waterways has recently banned cycling. I set off rather earlier than I would need to were I cycling along roads, deliberately travel rather slowly, in order to enjoy the trip, and have never had any sort of conflict with pedestrians.

What makes me terribly sad is that British Waterways cannot envisage enjoying one's journey to work. I do hope that your excellent article will help them to understand this, and that they go on to lift this preposterous ban.

Yours faithfully,

Bill Bankes-Jones

London, N1

22 August