A lovely reader, we shall call her MsB, sent me (and MrC) a photograph of a somewhat ‘amended’ mural along the Fallowfield Loop (Floop).
I really liked her email!
… My personal opinion is that a dog doesn’t have to be on a lead to be ‘under control’. I have taught my off-the-lead dog to sit down out of the way whenever a cyclist passes, since I want to be considerate to cyclists, being one myself. I use the Floop twice a day for dog walking (to get to Highfields Park) and twice a day for commuting. I know some dog owners probably don’t care, but I’ve only ever seen one incident of dog-cyclist rage, and that was with a stray dog.
I guess one of the problems is that it can be almost impossible to hear a cyclist approaching from behind and many cyclists seem to be reluctant to sound bell, in case it’s interpreted as being rude or confrontational.
MsB expressed how as both a cyclist and a dow owner she found the vandalised mural rather offensive. I personally think that some people have either too much time on their hand or are just a little sad.
Her dog, off the lead, has learnt to listen and obey her command to sit, out of the way for oncoming cyclist. I see this often enough on the Floop and I have never had an issue with dog walkers nor their dogs.
I am a cyclist and I love dogs (one day I will have a furry friend!) I really don’t mind dogs off the lead. I rarely cycle down the Floop in a hurry anyway, firstly because it is indeed a shared route (and I like it so) and secondly because me and my bike go on adventures, not races! Also as I do love furry friends to bits, I am more than happy to slow down or even stop to let them me decide where they want to go should they be right in the middle of ‘my’ way.
I thought to open up this email conversation up to the blog as I’d be really interested in what you all think. Have you had issues with other users of the Floop? And most importantly do you ring your bell when approaching walkers (dog and non)? I always do, Pashley’s bell is rather delightful and make people smile, which is nice. The tourer hasn’t got one, so I usually always shout a cheery “morning!” or “afternoon”, which always does the trick and I seem to get a smiley response back (it helps no doubt that I usually, if not always, wear normal clothes which shows I am going somewhere rather than in a ‘sport’ activity plus one big smile always helps too!).
For me it is down to sharing (I mentioned the very same thing in a post few months back). I find it depressing that we get so worked up about ‘our’ right, if we are in car it becomes a ‘driver’s right’, if we are on a bike it’s the ‘cyclist’ right’ and so on… I always feel is about showing mutual respect to one another, be us on a bike, in a car, walking, running or dog walking indeed. In the meantime Sustrans has informed MsB that they will return the mural to its original cheery and polite self, Sustrans Area Manager wrote:
…it did originally say some thing along the lines of “please keep your dog under control”, responsible owners knowing whether than means their dog can be controlled off the lead.
The Floop is such a delightful route, not only pleasant per se but also takes you places you want to go to! I wish for some people to learn the art of sharing 🙂
Happy week end all!