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Cycling on Shared Use Paths

There was a post on another FB group last week about a group of six e-bikers on the coastal path that upset the poster: they whizzed past withhout slowing down or ringing a bell. That triggered a lot of other people giving off about cyclists on the CP.

Let's take a step back and look at the bigger picture. The North Down Coastal Path is no different from the roads around the peninsula: both the CP and the roads have a hierarchy of users. Shared paths and roads only work smoothly if users respect each other and give each other plenty of room.

The CP is used by walkers (adults and children) with dogs who may or may not be on a lead, runners, and by cyclists on pushbikes and on ebikes. The cyclists and ebikers are at the top of this particular hierarchy and must ride with consideration for the other users of the path.

Anticipate the unexpected. A dog is as unpredictable as a small child. A walker with earbuds or headphones going full blast is totally oblivious to his or her surroundings. If you use earphones, don't blame cyclists if they pass you and you get scared: they probably rang their bells and shouted a warning, neither of which you heard because your pod cast drowned that out, just like the sound of the waves and the wind you tuned out...

On the peninsula's lanes and roads from the perspective of cyclists the hierarchy is reversed and the tables are turne: here they are at the bottom of the totem pole: close passes are a daily occurence. Some of those close passes are probably committed by the same people someone on a bike upset on the CP by passing them too closely or without warning - probably not deliberately, but that doesn't matter. The effect a close pass by car or a fly-past by bike has on the victim is the same - it is scary and potentially deadly.

Ride and drive with consideration for other path and road users. Those six ebikers mentioned in the Facebook post are the two-wheeled equivalent of those pedestrians who walk four-abreast on the CP and refuse to move aside when a cyclist encounters them, or a car driver who feels entitled to own the road and that because a bicycle is not taxed a close pass is ok as "that biker shouldn't be there"...

With a little more tolerance and respect for each other the roads and the coastal path will be more pleasant to use for everyone. We all need to realise that not all cyclists or drivers are careless - maybe five percent or even less. So don't tar all of one cohort with the same brush because you encountered a black sheep or six...

PS: A request to drivers - please give cyclists at least 1.5m of space when passing them, as set out in the 2022 revision of the Highway Code. Yes, that one. That revision the Northern Ireland Department for Infrastructure in its infinite wisdom declined to implement here. If the road is clear, pull out into the opposite lane to pass, just like you would if passing another car or a tractor. Use as much of the road as you safely can.

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Thanks achim


Cars stopped at traffic lights but in the painted green cycle part… is this a offence does it warrant 3 penalty points…?

Replying to

The short answer to your question is “yes” but it depends… 😉

That is a bike box, for bicycles only. The Highway Code states that cars and motorcycles are required to stop at the FIRST solid line and not enter the box.

Running over that line would equate running a red light and then stopping in the middle of an intersection.

Whether you’d collect three points or not would be down to the discretion of the police officer stopping to you.

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