Page last updated at 13:10 GMT, Thursday, 2 October 2008 14:10 UK

Warden starts to police towpaths

jogger and cyclist on east London towpath
Mr Young will mediate in disputes between pedestrians and cyclists

A towpath ranger has been appointed in London to prevent conflict between speeding cyclists, walkers and joggers on the city's canals.

At least 10 incidents of cyclists crashing into pedestrians on London towpaths have been reported this year.

Ranger Joseph Young will patrol the 100 miles (161km) of rivers and canals to prevent further accidents.

He said he will remind people that towpaths "aren't really the place to travel at top speeds".

'Shared resource'

Towpaths have become busier as cycling has increased in popularity, said British Waterways, which created the post with Transport for London.

"Unfortunately a minority of these users don't appreciate that the towpath is a shared resource," a British Waterways spokesman said.

Mr Young said he was keen to encourage cyclists and pedestrians to share the towpath amicably.

"As a cyclist myself I'm all too aware that sometimes I just want to get to my destination quickly," he said.

The narrow towpaths, designed for a completely different use over 200 years ago, aren't really the place to travel at top speeds
Towpath ranger Joseph Young

"But the narrow towpaths, designed for a completely different use over 200 years ago, aren't really the place to travel at top speeds.

"They are great for getting to and from work, but at a gentle pace."

Pedestrian Miriam Lantsbury broke her wrist after a cyclist crashed into her on a Regent's Canal towpath.

She said: "It all happened so quickly I'm not really sure what happened. The next thing I knew I was just in agony and my hand was swelling up."

Mr Young will try to prevent disputes between cyclists and pedestrians, and will mediate between them if they do occur.

He will also monitor the state of the towpath and canals, and ensure repairs are carried out where necessary.


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