Lon­don hazards

Canal Boat - - Letters -

MY WIFE AND I have just re­turned from a twoweek cruise from our base in West Dray­ton through Lon­don to the River Lee as far as Stanstead Ab­bots and back.

We last did this trip in 2011, the year be­fore the Olympics, and were as­ton­ished at the changes that have hap­pened since our last visit, sadly not for the bet­ter. The most no­tice­able was the seem­ingly end­less lines of rather shabby un­cared-for boats. As I cruised along, the thought oc­curred to me that if we were un­for­tu­nate to ex­pe­ri­ence an emer­gency such as a fire, there would be nowhere to pull in against the bank to deal with it.

The other more press­ing prob­lem is tow­path cy­clists tear­ing along with no re­gard for their own or, more im­por­tantly, my per­sonal safety! I lost count of the num­ber of times we were both star­tled by cy­clists pass­ing at speed with no warn­ing what­so­ever.

In my opin­ion, the Canal & River Trust is wast­ing its time erect­ing signs ask­ing cy­clists to show re­spect, dis­mount or to ‘be nice, ring twice’ since hardly any of them take any no­tice. But I sup­pose that when the in­evitable hap­pens and some­one is se­ri­ously hurt and lawyers be­come in­volved, they can at least show that they had at­tempted to show a duty of care by putting up such signs.

I feel that, with the ben­e­fit of hind­sight, im­prov­ing the tow­path sur­face has been a ret­ro­grade step as it fa­cil­i­tates cy­clists to speed with ease. When the paths were pot­holed, they had nat­u­ral traf­fic calm­ing.

NIGEL FIRTH, via email

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