A charity is installing "duck lanes" alongside canals, to promote its highway code for towpaths

Image: Getty.

An oft-neglected issue in traffic management (bear with us here) is the free-for-all on towpaths beside canals. They're narrow – a bit like pavements, only with the crucial difference that there's a sharp drop into water one side.

They also lack well-understood rules about how best to share limited space – something that wouldn't be such a problem, if they weren't simultaneously used by cyclists and pedestrians.

And, of course, ducks.

The Canal & River Trust is the charity responsible for maintaining more than 2,000 miles of inland waterways in England and Wales, and as part of its "Share the space, drop your pace" campaign, it's installed temporary "Duck Lanes" along waterways in London, Birmingham and Manchester. Its hope is that the reference to cute waterfowl will encourage cyclists and pedestrians to be more considerate of surrounding wildlife.

The lanes are also meant to highlight the paths' narrowness: cyclists and pedestrians can't be properly segregated along these routes due to their width, so it's everyone's responsibility to stay alert and watch out for walkers or bikes coming in the opposite direction. The Trust is asking users to stick to something called the "Greenway code for towpaths", which includes giving way beneath bridges and giving pedestrians priority. 

The ducks themselves, though, have not so far seemed keen to stick to the new regulations. This one is following the rules (though to be honest, she looks like she's travelling in the wrong direction): 

But this rebel isn't having any of it: 

Meanwhile, these ones are terrified of passing bikes:

Quite right too.

Aww.

Images: Getty. 


 

 
 
 
 

Podcast: Brizzle

Bristol mayor Marvin Rees, in Bristol. Image: Getty.

This week, we’re off to an English city that, to my shame, I’ve been neglecting: Bristol, the largest city in the south west, and indeed the largest city in the south outside London.

I’m joined by Sian Norris, founder of the Bristol Women’s Literary Festival, to talk about the city she’s lived in since her childhood. She tells me what makes Bristol so liveable, why it’s struggling with inequality, and how it’s coping with the recent influx of London expats bidding up house prices.

Since we’re on his patch, I also spoke to Marvin Rees, who since 2016 has been the elected Labour mayor of the city. He tells me why he was so keen for Bristol to host the Global Parliament of Mayors, and why local politicians need to work together after Brexit. Oh, and he talks about his transport plans, too.

The episode itself is below. You can subscribe to the podcast on AcastiTunes, or RSS. Enjoy.

Jonn Elledge is the editor of CityMetric. He is on Twitter as @jonnelledge and on Facebook as JonnElledgeWrites.

Skylines is supported by 100 Resilient Cities. Pioneered by the Rockefeller Foundation, 100RC is dedicated to helping cities around the world become more resilient to the physical, social and economic challenges that are a growing part of the 21st century.

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