What is a Shared path?
A shared path is designed for all types of users including pedestrians, wheelchair users and cyclists. Some Shared paths maybe identified by signs showing a white bicycle and pedestrians on a blue background.
If you come across shared paths with a dividing white line, segregating the cycle and pedestrian space, please keep to the correct side. Remember to always Share with Care.
Top tips for cyclists using shared paths
Whether you use them for a nice and safe family cycle ride in the great outdoors, or use them to commute from A to B avoiding busy roads, shared paths are really useful and fantastic for cyclists. Following our top tips for cyclists will ensure using shared paths is a positive experience for everyone.
- Put a bell on your bike! Pedestrians welcome a polite warning of your approach. If you don’t have a bell, use a friendly greeting instead and always do this in plenty of time so you don’t surprise people or animals when approaching from behind.
Important: don’t ring your bell near horses, instead talk to the rider and check it is safe to pass.
- Take care when passing other path users and ride at an appropriate speed. If necessary wait to pass until there is enough room.
Important: don’t ride fast when pedestrians are around.
- Give way to pedestrians and wheelchair users, if you need to.
- Be aware that pedestrians may have hearing impairments or be wearing in-ear headphones so might not hear your bell, so pass slowly and give as much space as possible.
- When cycling on segregated shared paths, always keep to your side of any dividing lines.
- Say a quick ‘thank you’ as you pass. Polite behaviour encourages others to share the space better.
- Keep to the left when passing oncoming pedestrians or cyclists. Overtake on the right of any pedestrians and cyclists going the same way as you (like on the road). Again, do not ride too quickly. Think... if a pedestrian stepped into your path could you stop in time?
- Be particularly careful at junctions, bends, entrances onto the path, or any other ‘blind spots’ where people or animals could appear without warning.
- Groups of cyclists should ride in single file when approaching pedestrians on a shared pathway.
- In dull and dark weather make sure you have bike lights on so you can be seen. It’s also a good idea to wear hi-visibility clothing too.
Top tips for pedestrians using shared paths
Whether it’s a leisurely walk with the dog, or a quick jog around the park, shared paths are a safe and pleasant way to enjoy the great outdoors. Following our top tips for pedestrians will ensure using shared paths is a positive experience for everyone.
- Make sure you are aware of your environment. A variety of people use shared paths and some may need more space than others.
- If another path user stops or waits for you to pass, thank them as this encourages everybody to share the space better.
- Keep dogs under control - on a lead if necessary. Don’t trail leads across the path causing an obstruction.
Please remember: if you are walking with a dog and it answers the ‘call of nature’, any mess needs to be cleared up and put in a dog litter bin or taken home with you.
- If listening to music, try using one earpiece instead of two so you can hear cyclists or pedestrians approaching.
- If you’re walking a dog, or have children with you, help them to move over when cyclists or horses are passing.
- Listen out for the sound of a bike bell or greeting, warning you that a cyclist is approaching and is looking for a safe place to pass.
- If a cyclist approaches, try to acknowledge that you have seen or heard them (ideally with eye contact), and if necessary make space for them to pass safely.
- Be careful not to step into the path of an oncoming cyclist, if you hear a bike bell it’s best to keep to your left.
- Keep to your side of any dividing lines indicated on shared paths.
- Take care around horse-riders, leave them plenty of room especially when approaching from behind.