Canal charity issues safety guidance

Judith Norris after her accident
Judith Norris after her accident

A NEW safety campaign is encouraging cyclists and walkers to be aware of each other when using the borough’s network of canal towpaths.

The Canal and River Trust’s initiative has been launched within weeks of a horrific incident in Wigan which left an elderly woman with serious injuries.

Last month 76-year-old Judith Norris lost four teeth and required 12 stitches after being knocked to the ground while walking with friends close to Horrock’s Flash.

The cyclist involved in the collision did stop at the scene but then rode off without leaving his full name.

If the safety campaign’s message of slow your pace and share the space had been adhered to, the collision may well have been avoided.

Chantelle Seaborn, waterway manager at the Trust, said: “For many people our towpaths are among their most precious green spaces, antidotes to the pace and stress of the modern world and places to relax and unwind.

“They are ‘super slow ways’, providing a slice of peace and calm through the centres of our busiest cities.

“Today they are more popular than ever, with more investment in improvements and better signage, but with that success there are also problems, which is why we are calling on visitors to help make our canals preserves for old fashioned good manners.

“We can all help by slowing down and remembering we are all there to enjoy the space.”

Recent figures show towpaths across the country have seen more than 400 million visits in the past year.

And the safety initiative is not just aimed at cyclists and walkers but anglers, boaters and runners who also use the often narrow waterside paths across the borough.