September 19, 2018 at 8:43 am #3694
This morning I had an altercation with a driver on Newbury Road, West Ginge, about unsafe passing distance and speed when overtaking me.
While losing one’s cool with drivers is never a good idea, it did lead to an interesting discussion.
Turns out the driver is the landowner, who allows cyclists to use the Ginge Track as part of Sustrans Route 544.
He expressed several concerns, which I report here without comment.
1. The Ginge Track is private and is used by cyclists at the landowner’s dicretion.
2. The Ginge Track is legitimately used by cars, tractors and other vehicles on farm business.
3. Some cyclists using the Ginge Track do not acknowledge or thank drivers of vehicles who stop or slow down for them. This is seen as a lack of politeness and annoys the landowner and others.
4. Pedestrians and dog walkers using the track or in Ginge village reporting near misses or lack of courtesy from cyclists. For example, not ringing a bell to warn of approach.
5. There is sufficient local concern that permission for cyclist to use the Ginge Track may be reviewed.
Readers should note that the incident this morning which provoked the discussion was on a public road, not the Ginge Track.
September 19, 2018 at 9:11 am #3695
Thanks for this useful reminder. AFAIK we do indeed use Mr Pill’s farm track with permission which may be withdrawn, and I try to be extra polite in the vicinity for that reason. For the first few years after it opened, I used to drop a thank you card and a bunch of flowers and a bottle of wine off to him, sometimes claiming the money back from HarBUG. Would anyone like to take over that duty?
September 19, 2018 at 6:53 pm #3696
Thanks for the heads-up.
3. No excuses, we should always take the moral high ground here. I also have to say, I’ve never had any issues with vehicles in this area.
4. Considering West Ginge basically consists of 2 sharp bends, I’m usually wary when taking these – and I assume dog walkers would be the same?
5. Is the percentage of (rude) cyclists that high to cause such concern? I admit, there are generally too many idiot cyclists for my liking – and maybe for such a small hamlet, it only takes one to ruin it for the rest of us. Having said that, I don’t like threats of this kind and I may look for an alternate route just in case.
Mark (cut my nose off to spite my face) Popkiss
September 20, 2018 at 8:51 am #3698
I would make these points:
a. The behaviour of other cyclists is irrelevant. Each of us is responsible for our own behaviour and we are not accountable for the actions of other road users who happen to use the same mode of transport.
b. The incident took place on a public road and whether or not the driver owns nearby land is irrelevant.
What is relevant are the actions of the driver and the endangerment he caused to another road user. If politeness is important to him, he should have just apologised and not tried to justify his bad behaviour.
September 20, 2018 at 3:58 pm #3699
There is a limit to what we can do about what I hope is a minority of cyclists; someone who is ill-mannered will be so irrespective of what mode of transport they are using. However, if the landowner decides to close the track to cyclists then it closes off one of the best routes we have to and from Wantage. Whether you consider him to be in the wrong or not; he has the right to close the track to us and there won’t be much we can do about it; I suggest we don’t press too hard for him to apologise for his driving.
There are quite a few farm drivers who don’t bother thanking me for getting out the way if they need to bring say, a tractor, through. It’s irritating, but I’m aware that I am on land owned by their employer; not somewhere where I actually have right of access.
September 20, 2018 at 4:45 pm #3700
For what it’s worth, if it’s the track i think it is and is the Sustrans 544, i’d be extremely sceptical that he could close a Sustrans route at a whim. The Design Manual gives the order of preference Sustrans acquire routes, freehold, leasehold and licence. (https://www.sustrans.org.uk/sites/default/files/images/files/Route-Design-Resources/14_Land_Legal_and_Planning_09_12_14.pdf)
I would suspect that there is some licence or leasehold in place for a set term, they would then have to prove that the terms have been broken to close it. I doubt a couple irresponsible/inconsiderate cyclists would be enough to do this, at least, i’d hope that’s the case!
September 21, 2018 at 11:41 am #3701
The farm track is not a great surface to cycle on and not a very direct route, so it would be better if there was alternative that wasn’t subject to closure. I believe there is money available for this if it is spent in time. There is another forum thread on this topic.
September 22, 2018 at 1:59 pm #3702
Yes, HarBUG put in a bid for a new Campus to Wantage cycle route from a £5m Science Vale Cycle Infrastructure grant. The County Council have been working on the route but, as usual, landowner issues are the sticking point.
We should be able to give more information soon, come to the A.G.M. to find out more.
Kevin W – HarBUG Chair.
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