Walkers and cyclists on a shared-use path
Walkers, cyclists - and animals - share space happily

Sharing paths with walkers: a Code of Conduct for cyclists

In most circumstances, cyclists and walkers are able to co-exist happily when they use the same routes, but mutual respect and consideration are a vital part of this. The Code of Conduct from Sustrans, endorsed by CTC, helps encourage responsible behaviour on shared-use paths.

Shared-use paths are popular with people who are looking for motor-traffic free routes, either for leisure or for getting to work or the shops, for example. Inconsiderate cycling undermines the tranquillity of these paths and is particularly intimidating for people with reduced mobility, or who have hearing or vision difficulties.

Speeding is a growing problem. More people are riding along shared-use paths for fitness training or to record personal bests, for instance - activities that are much better suited to quiet roads.

To encourage harmonious interaction on shared-use paths, therefore, all major organisations involved in promoting cycling, including CTC and British Cycling, support the Code of Conduct issued by Sustrans.

The Code advises cyclists to:

  • give way to pedestrians and wheelchair users and take care around horse-riders, leaving them plenty of room, especially when approaching from behind
  • be courteous and patient with pedestrians and other path users who are moving more slowly than you – shared paths are for sharing, not speeding
  • slow down as needed when space is limited or if you cannot see clearly ahead
  • be particularly careful at junctions, bends, entrances onto the path, or any other ‘blind spots’ where people (including children) could appear in front of you without warning
  • keep to your side of any dividing line
  • carry a bell and use it or an audible greeting – avoid surprising people, or horses
  • however, don’t assume people can see or hear you – remember that many people are hard of hearing or visually impaired
  • in dull and dark weather make sure you have lights so you can be seen

CTC has a series of briefings on Access and Rights of Way with more information on this and other topics.