Battle erupts between 'speeding cyclists ' and walkers on Downs Link near Horsham
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Angry walkers are accusing cyclists of using the link ‘as a race track.’
And a row has erupted over who should give way to who on the link – a long-distance route for walkers, horse riders and cyclists along disused railways lines from Guildford to Shoreham.
It followed an incident when a woman’s dog was hit by a speeding cyclist near Southwater. People later took to social media to remonstrate with the cyclist for going too fast ‘with no regard to pedestrians.’
Others agreed. One woman said: “They ride too fast and they don’t ring their bells.” Another added: “I'm nearly deaf and don't hear the cyclists coming sometimes – some go so fast.”
Another pointed out: “The issue is the speed that some cyclists ride at … if they adhered to a sensible speed and didn't use the link like a race track, they would be able to stop. Hitting a dog means they were riding too fast with no consideration for other users.”
A male walker said: “The Downs Link makes you really hate cyclists, they force you out the way most of the time, ringing until you move, when it is indeed them causing the problem.”
Another woman walker agreed: “For me the cyclists ruin the pleasure of walking on the Downs Link. They seem to be of the opinion that it is their right of way and everyone else needs to move quickly to avoid being hit by them. It would never occur to them to slow down, or even, God forbid, actually stop.”
But not everyone agrees. A woman runner said: “I run the Downs Link most days and I find it’s normally dogs that run out and trip me up, no problem with cyclists.”
And a cyclist pointed out: “Unfortunately there is a minority of dog walkers who seem to have zero awareness of themselves or their dog. I often find that regardless of how much notice of bell ringing or warning calls you give it never seems enough.
"Dog walkers on the Downs Link can often be the most selfish and inconsiderate users. If someone has the decency to make you aware of their approach, the least you can do is acknowledge them and try to create a safe space for them to pass.”
Another cyclist said: “I stopped cycling the Downs Link as I found that people with dogs had their dog off lead, or on a expandable lead, making it hard for a cyclist to get past.”
“Everyone just needs to be considerate, said one peace-maker. “Dog owners be aware and call dogs over out the way and cyclists slow down and make people aware of their presence.”
But just who does have priority on the Downs Link? West Sussex County Council, which is responsible for the Sussex part of the route, says cyclists must give way to walkers, horse riders and wheelchair users.
It urges people: “To ensure everyone enjoys the Downs Link and the surrounding countryside, please think of other users, share rights of way with others and be aware of what's around you.”