I would like to add some comments to the already heated debated over the animosity between dog walkers and cyclists using the Eve Black Walkway between Blyth and Seaton Sluice.
Firstly, it is a shame that this path was named ‘walkway’ as it was partly funded by Sustrans, to be used by cyclists riding one of the national cycle routes.
The matter of dog leads has been raised. According to the Highway Code, rule 56, ‘A dog should be kept on a short lead when walking on a path shared with cyclists’.
Unfortunately, there is no mention of this on the erected signs along the walkway.
I have seen dog walkers using extendable leads, with their dogs on the other side of the path to them, thereby using the full width of the path.
Not only does this create a hazard to other path users, but it greatly diminishes the control of their dogs. Extendable leads, I believe, should be banned.
Recently a cyclist was awarded over £60,000 for extensive injuries, including a fractured skull, he sustained when his machine was entangled in one of them.
While walking on this path I have witnessed on several occasions dog walkers throwing a tennis ball for their pet to chase and fetch, often directing the ball towards an approaching cyclist.
When dog walkers stop and talk to other dog walkers, it would be courteous of them to stand on one side of the path, along with their collective pets, allowing cyclists to pass freely on the other side. This politeness would stop the ringing of bicycle bells.
I don’t believe any cyclists would intentionally drive into a dog because he/she could quite possibly end up worse than the dog.
Finally, dog owners can’t think that much of their pet if they allow it to run freely among traffic. In this case that traffic is bicycles.