Poor state of the canal towpath

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?


About lancasterdynamo

Dynamo is a cycling group, established in 1994, to work with official bodies, other cycling organisations and interested individuals to promote cycling as a safe, enjoyable and healthy means of transport.
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2 Responses to Poor state of the canal towpath

  1. Jon says:

    Yes,there seems to be a real problem with maintenance on the Lancaster Canal. The stone wall that fell down years ago near Ridge Lane is still patched up with temporary site fencing. This Spring someone decided it would be fun to bend it down across the tow path almost to ground level – I came off my bike avoiding it and still have the scars to prove it. I let CRT know but there’s still no sign of the wall being fixed.

  2. Oliver F says:

    I too fell off my bike on the towpath a few weeks ago, though with no damage to anything but my remaining dignity. Braking hard for a suddenly-out-of-control dog (not so unusual), I skidded on a dodgy bit of towpath, also near the Canal Turn pub. I don’t think I’d have come off if the path had been properly surfaced.

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