Cyclists fail to hit the brakes on canal path

Photo by Emma Mitchell 29.12.15'G.V of the canal, cyclists cycling to fast along canal.
Photo by Emma Mitchell 29.12.15'G.V of the canal, cyclists cycling to fast along canal.

It’s been claimed that a campaign to encourage safe cycling on a canal path has 
fallen on deaf ears - despite a serious accident in the area.

In September, a cyclist careered into the Forth and Clyde Canal 
at Kirkintilloch and almost drowned.

The 40-year-old woman’s bike collided with a pram 
being pushed by a young mum on the path near Townhead Bridge at around 9am.

This led to an appeal to bike riders by the local mum, whose shoulder was injured in the accident, to slow down.

She was joined by police and East Dunbartonshire Council worker Bill Reside, who saved the cyclist’s life after jumping into the canal to pull her out.

But local resident Penny Sinclair, who regularly walks on this stretch of canal path, told the Herald warnings were being ignored.

She said: “You would have thought that after a speeding cyclist ended up in the canal beside Townhead Bridge and an article in the Herald about the walker with a pram being injured at the same time, cyclists would have slowed down.

“Not a bit of it.”

She said she was always calling out to speeding cyclists: “Where’s your bell? Walkers cannot hear you.”

But she added that sometimes all she got in return was “foul language”.

Penny said: Sustrans, the cycling charity, states that on shared use paths, a cyclist must warn 
walkers of their approach.

“However, very few bother.”

Penny said a rambler friend was one of the first people on the scene at last year’s accident,

Penny said: “Dougie is over 80 and regularly walks along the canal from Westermains to get a paper.

“When he saw the woman in the water, he took off his jacket and leaned over with it but the poor lady was so 
paralysed with fright.

“Dougie decided there was no point in jumping into the water at his age as this could have ended in two casualties.

“Fortunately, a young man appeared and leapt into the canal to rescue the cyclist.”

The Herald reported how Mr Reside, who has worked in and around water for much of his career in outdoor education, risked his life to save the woman who was in shock.

He now hopes to set up a lifeguard course at Kirkintilloch Leisure Centre.

The mum who was injured added: “I regularly walk my daughter to school at Lairdsland and the speed of some cyclists on the canal path is terrifying.”