Two Tunnels Code of Conduct

Inside the Combe Down Tunnel

Inside the Combe Down Tunnel

A draft Code has been put together by Frank Tompson from the Two Tunnels Community Group and Jon Usher of Sustrans.  Please make your comments and suggestions for improvements to the draft  through the comments facility on this web site.  We want to finalise and print the Code as soon as we can.  The draft is shown below.

Code of Conduct

The path offers a great way for walkers, cyclists and the less mobile to get between Bath and Midford and destinations in between. Many young, elderly and disabled people benefit from the path which provides a traffic-free environment to relax and unwind. We all have responsibilities for the safety of others, and if we each follow a few simple rules everyone can enjoy it. 
Mobility scooters may use the path. Motor cycles and horses are prohibited.


Bridge opening on Two Tunnels Path

All Users
Keep to the left
Leave no litter
Respect the privacy of adjoining properties and landowners

Cyclists tend to be the fastest movers on the path, which is not suitable for high speeds. If you wish to travel quickly or train for fitness this is better done on quiet roads.

  • Take particular care when heading north from Devonshire Tunnel where the path heads downhill and it is easy to pick up excess speed.
  • Give way to pedestrians and wheelchair users;
  • Be courteous and patient with other path users who are moving more slowly than you;
  • Do not startle other people, particularly those who are frail or who have reduced sight, hearing or mobility;
  • In the tunnels the path width reduces; slow down if space is limited or if you cannot see clearly ahead;
  • Be particularly careful at junctions, or any other ‘blind spots’ where people could appear in front of you without warning;
  • Carry a bell and use it to avoid surprising people;
  • However, don’t assume people can see or hear you – remember that some people are hard of hearing or visually impaired;
  • In dull and dark weather make sure you have lights so you can be seen.

Dog Walkers

  • Keep dogs under close control and clear up after your dog

Remember – Share the path so that everyone can enjoy it!

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14 Responses to Two Tunnels Code of Conduct

  1. Dave F. says:

    I have a slight problem with the first point: ‘Keep to the left’ If you’re on a bike then fine, left is the correct place to be, however, if on foot I follow rule 2 of the Highway Code: “If there is no pavement, keep to the right-hand side of the road so that you can see oncoming traffic” both for my own & others safety.

    On the Linear Park section of the route I’ve taken to cycling in the middle of the path as, on a couple of occasions, I’ve had dogs (& owners) jump out of the shrubbery at me from either side.

    The “Give way to…” has always been ambiguously unclear to me. When meeting users perpendicularly, such as at a T junction, then fine, but if I wish to overtake them, how can I give way? ‘Give priority to…’ just raises the same question.

    The ‘Be particularly careful at junctions…’ should be under All Users.

    The last cycling point about lights should apply to pedestrians & dogs (those LED dog collars are fantastic to spot black Labradors at distance after dark)

    • Roger says:

      Thanks for response Dave. I think there are probably a number of items that should be for all users. Looks a bit like we are picking on cyclists in our efforts to provide for other users. We should look at all dogs on leads in the tunnels. Worst of all worlds when dog is on one side of the path and owner on the other! I’ll make sure your ideas go into the mix.

  2. Adam Reynolds says:

    @Dave F, have to say the ‘keep right’ applies to roads not footpaths and is designed to allow the pedestrian to ‘jump’ out of the way of traffic. In the tunnels keeping right can be a nightmare. Assuming somebody is walking at 4 miles per hour, a cyclist will be going along comfortably at 12mph (and faster on the Devonshire Tunnel when heading north). You’ve just increased the impact speed of an accident or are forcing a cyclist to move into oncoming cyclists. Again I understand it but it doesn’t make it the correct thing to be doing.

    You also get into a situation where pedestrians are effectively walking in the same direction, one set on the left and one set on the right causing the path to be blocked. This has happened numerous times and causes friction with cyclists. You never see the pedestrian who’s keeping right ‘jump’ out of the way of oncoming cyclists/pedestrians. They just seem to glower at them.

    Keep to the left, but be aware of other users on the path.

    Dog walkers:
    While in the tunnels the dog must be on a short lead at all times and preferably walking off the left side of the pavement. No excuses. As a dog owner and cyclist, I’m stunned at the disregard some people have for their dog’s life when walking on the path.

    Cyclists (this is my main form of use of the tunnel):
    1) Use a bell at all times. It is not acceptable to shout acknowledgment as you go past a pedestrian. Use your bell and keep using it till you see a reaction from the upcoming ‘traffic’.
    2) Lights are unnecessary in the tunnel, however a dim setting on your lights pointed at the floor is ‘nice’ and helps people see that a cyclist is coming.
    3) Blinking lights. These are designed for vehicular riding. Unnecessary and very distracting/blinding. You can cause oncoming cyclists not to see the pedestrian walking the tunnel.
    4) Exceptionally bright lights. These are a real problem. You are blinding people coming the other way. The real issue is that a bright light can effectively hide the number of cyclists coming along the tunnel behind the cyclist. You can cause oncoming cyclists not to see the pedestrian walking the tunnel. (Note I said this twice).
    5) Riding side by side in the tunnels. Seriously….just don’t, it’s narrow.
    6) Slow down. It’s not cool buzzing people.

    Respect other users of the path. They have as much right to use it as you do. Understand other users of the path. Expect the unexpected.

    • Roger says:

      Thanks for the response Adam. Some issues here that I had not thought about. Good to debate these and I will pass all this information on to Frank and Jon. Respect, understanding essential on shared paths.

  3. Steve A says:

    Thanks for this. I’m not a frequent user of the path, but I have used it as both a cyclist and a pedestrian. I would add something to the code along the lines of shared responsibility for awareness. That is, I strongly believe cyclists do not have right of way (especially at speed) but pedestrians should remain aware it is a shared use path and so should not be surprised when asked to give way to a cyclist (e.g. by a bell or a polite request). I guess I would summarise it as “shared path, shared responsibility”.

    • Roger says:

      Thanks for responding Steve. This is exactly the sort of behaviour we want to encourage – “shared use, shared responsibility” describes it well. I think we should get away from negative comments such as don’t do this don’t do that and make it a positive and helpful Code. I will certainly input your comments to discussions on the Code

  4. James Moyle says:

    I agree with everything that Adam Reynolds has to say. I would also say that Dave F’s point about “Give way to pedestrians…” Might be better put as “only overtake slower users when there is no one coming in the opposite direction and do so at a sensible speed”

    • Roger says:

      Hi James thanks for responding. Yes I agree, but we need to be more concise. If you give way to pedestrians you could wait all day. People on foot need to realise that cyclists are faster, but people riding need to make sure that pedestrians are safe.

  5. James Moyle says:

    Oh, one other point. How are you going to make sure that everyone is aware of the code? For most regular users I think you are preaching to the converted.

    • Roger says:

      Hi James thanks for responding. The code will be along the route and on websites – Sustrans and Council. We should be able to get councillors along the route to pubicise it. If people have an issue with use of the path we can point them to a code of conduct. It is a voluntary code, but will become a point of reference in disputes and give users some comfort maybe.

  6. John Dunn says:

    It should be made clear that those of foot have right of way at all times.

    Cyclists also need to remember that before the tunnels were re-opened this was a quiet, green Linear PARK much used by dog walkers and chidren. If cyclists are going too fast to stop for dogs then they can’t stop for children. Or should we put children on leads too?

    • Roger says:

      Hi John thanks for the response. I think that speed of people riding bikes is well covered in the code and people walking need to feel safe, but “right of way” seems to indicate that people on bikes, going faster than walkers must wait behind them – they should until the coast is clear and then pass slowly. I think it would be good to remember that the funding came from the lottery’s Connect2 funding directed mostly at cyclists and the whole project of opening the tunnels was conceived by a group of cyclists, who also raised hundreds of thousands of pounds. As far as I can tell the route is universally accepted as a success by people riding and walking. The increase in use by both groups would certainly indicate that.

      The code is not designed to be negative or punitive, it is there to encourage co-operation, awareness and understanding between all users.

  7. John Dunn says:

    “I think it would be good to remember that the funding came from the lottery’s Connect2 funding directed mostly at cyclists and the whole project of opening the tunnels was conceived by a group of cyclists, who also raised hundreds of thousands of pounds.”

    Pretty much says it all. “Directed mostly at cyclists”.

    • Roger says:

      Sorry about delay in answering this. I must have missed the auto email message. There has been an increase of 85% of people using the route to walk since the TT path was opened. The count was taken at Mill mead Bridge, so it looks as though walkers are benefiting by voting with their feet and seem to approve of the shared path.

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