A member’s recent experience which was sent to the Canals and Rivers Trust:
I was cycling southwards along the towpath en-route from Carnforth to Hest Bank. Between bridges 127 and 126, where the towpath surface is badly rutted, as it is for much of the way to Lancaster, when the rear wheel of my bike caught in a rut causing it to skid. Fortunately I was travelling at no more than 5mph but in order to prevent ending up in the canal I had to throw the cycle to the floor and jump off. I landed head first but fortunately on the grass between the surfaced path and the water’s edge and with the front wheel of my bike overhanging the water. If I had not been able to take appropriate action, or if I had been travelling faster, both the bike and myself would have ended up in the water.
There were no other cyclists or pedestrains in the vicinity and I believe the incident was caused by the poor state of repair of the towpath, which as you will know is signed as a long-distance cycle path between Lancaster and Carnforth.
Fortunately there was no damage to the bike and my cycle helmet prevented any damage to my head or face. I did however suffer a strained finger, which took the force of the fall.
I feel I ought to report this as the condition of the towpath could cause similar accidents to others and could leave the Trust open to personal injury claims.
We’d all echo his comments about the poor state of the towpath. The response from the Canals and Rivers Trust was to copy it to the local engineering manager . . . but does s/he have the resources to fix it?