Devizes walker's anger at hit and run towpath cyclist
Walker Julia Close is urging cyclists to be more considerate on canal towpaths after she fell and broke her leg while trying to avoid a speeding cyclist.
Mrs Close, 53, suffered the injury while she was walking her dogs, with her husband, Dave, and friend Rita Luck, on the Kennet and Avon Canal towpath near Foxhangers at Rowde.
She said: “Rita shouted there was a bike behind me and the cyclist shouted ‘I have got no brakes.’
“I went to avoid him and my foot went from underneath me and I went crashing down. He just cycled off. He didn’t ask how I was.”
Mrs Close was unable to walk so a man who worked at Foxhangers helped Mr Close carry his wife back to their narrowboat at Caen Hill Marina. Mrs Close thought she had suffered a sprain but an X-ray at Chippenham Hospital showed she had fractured her fibula.
Mrs Close walks on the towpath regularly and volunteers for Wiltshire Blind Association in Devizes and the Shaw Trust charity shop.
She said: “I will be incapacitated for six weeks through the cyclist’s thoughtlessness and carelessness. I am very frustrated about it.
“I have got nothing against cyclists but they should slow down while on the towpath, especially when they are turning a blind corner as he was.
“Cyclists should also have bells on their bikes.”
The incident happened on March 5 at 2.10pm. Mrs Close said the cyclist was in his forties and was cycling towards the Three Magpies at Sells Green.
Mark Stephens, waterways manager at the Canal & River Trust, which is responsible for the Kennet and Avon Canal, said: “Our sympathies go to Julia, we wish her a speedy recovery.
"We welcome all people to the canals and towpaths, but would remind cyclists that pedestrians have right of way. There will be families with young children, dog walkers, people getting on and off their boats and many more all enjoying the towpath, so it’s important cyclists are travelling safely and considerately.
“We advise cyclists to have a bell on their bike and lights, but really it is a case of using common sense, being considerate and peddling at a speed where they can easily avoid accidents like this.”