Cyclists put in the firing line

SOCIAL BOOKMARKS

CYCLISTS have been accused of intimidating and abusing walkers who use a shared path in Wylam.

At the latest meeting meeting of Wylam Parish Council, a group of residents presented a letter to councillors highlighting what they saw as an escalating problem on the village’s waggonway.

The letter claimed that various incidents had taken place, including a cyclist riding deliberately at walkers, regular abuse of dog walkers and elderly people being too scared to use the track due to speeding cyclists giving them no warning of their approach.

One member of the public spoke to councillors about an alleged incident when a cyclist got off his bike to kick a dog which had walked in front of him, when he approached without warning.

“Most of the time they don’t ring their bell when they approach,” she said.

“It can be quite frightening when someone comes speeding past with no warning, particularly for some elderly people.”

Residents are calling for the shared walking and cycling route, which is part of the National Cycle route 72, to be provided with larger and more frequent signage, as well as speed calming and enforcement measures.

Councillors agreed with their concerns and said they would write to Northumberland County Council, which has responsibility for the path, and the National Cycle Network charity Sustrans, to highlight the residents’ concerns and ask for extra signs to be considered.

County councillor Karen Quinn added that she had already contacted the county council and was waiting for its response after asking about having signs installed to remind route users that the waggonway was a shared bridleway.

Coun. Tom Martin added: “In no way are we blaming all cyclists; this is just a small proportion of cyclists.

“We want to stress the shared usage of this area. That is the key issue.”

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