Cycle path is now unusable

PUBLISHED: 11:51 18 June 2009 | UPDATED: 11:11 10 June 2010

It has got to the point where the Exmouth to Lympstone cyclepath is now unusable. Cyclists have been warning about it, nothing has been done, and now I am giving up.

It has got to the point where the Exmouth to Lympstone cyclepath is now unusable. Cyclists have been warning about it, nothing has been done, and now I am giving up.

It is impossible to use it without constantly braking, swerving to avoid dogs off leashes and getting into confrontations with people. When you tell them that dogs are supposed to be on leashes, they tell you they 'haven't seen the signs'. When you tell them it's a cycle path they say 'no, it isn't'. Apparently, they can't read.

Would these people walk down the M5 and expect not to get run over? Of course not. But they amble along the cycle path as though it were their own personal domain, in gaggles of five and six, spread right across the width of it and they don't even bother keeping an eye out for people on bikes. They only grudgingly move out of the way when you're right on top of them.

I am sure no one on a bicycle minds pedestrians using the cyclepath as long as they do it responsibly. A lot of them do. But there's a enough of them who don't to make it pointless trying to use the cyclepath now.

There's a perfectly good footpath along the estuary, but they can't be bothered to use that.

It's not enough to simply build things like cyclepaths. If people were like you and me it would be, but they're not. They need babying through everything, teaching how to behave responsibly, constantly policing.

Whoever's responsibility it is to make sure that the cyclepath is usable is not doing their job. Every time I cycle along there I see someone's dog off its lead. How many people have been prosecuted for that since the cyclepath opened? No one.

What is the earthly point of putting up signs telling people not to do things and then refusing to do anything about it when they ignore you? East Devon District Council are too busy spending our money trying to save their own skins in the High Courts to get around to spending a trifling amount of money policing the cycle path that they were given and have now, through lack of responsible stewardship, allowed to become unusable.

Sooner or later someone's going to get seriously hurt down there. And I've resolved it's not going to be me. I'll go into Exeter to get my shopping in future. I wish I'd known what was going to happen before I bought a bicycle. What a waste of money that was.

So, don't bother building the rest of the cycle path. It's a wonderful idea, but in the end it's a waste of your time and our money. Like everything else worthwhile and valuable in this country, disinterested authorities are allowing it to be spoiled by the behaviour of a few irresponsible idiots.

Name and address withheld.

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