Follow the rules, obey the signs, motorists! In the Oaks Park, in the London Borough of Sutton, there is a new shared path. It is a vast improvement over the previous rough, unmade surface on this stretch of National Cycle Network route 20 and the Avenue Verte to Paris. As the pix show, it is great for cyclists, pedestrians, people using baby buggies, wheelchairs etc., etc.
All praise to the London Borough of Sutton and the parks managers for doing this…. However there is a problem.
As you can see, the path is wide. It is marked with shared used signs on bollards every so often and there are the usual, if ambiguous, cycle silhouettes on the surface. If cyclists and pedestrians are considerate- and most of the time they are – this can work very well in circumstances such as this. The problem is that there are other road users who are not considerate.
The problem? Motorists in cars are using this path to drive up and down the adjacent car park, instead of keeping to their side of the route. And the shared path is probably not built to carry their weight. And they drive straight at you as a cyclist, expecting you to get out of the way. Do they do that to pedestrians too?
Is it a design issue? Can the signage be improved to make it clear to motorists that they are driving up what is in effect the pavement?
What a shame that good intentions are subverted by motorists who don’t like driving up a bit of unmade road- the same unmade road that pedestrians and cyclists had to struggle with before and that was a complete no-go area for baby buggies and wheelchairs. If only motorists would obey the Highway Code!