Plea for cyclists to be more courteous to dog walkers sparks reminder of 'Redway Rules' in Milton Keynes

The topic of cyclists versus dog walkers on city redways has caused fierce debate on social media – and led to a reminder of the official rules.

By Sally Murrer
Monday, 13th June 2022, 2:05 pm

An irate dog owner posted on Milton Keynes Moan Facebook page to urge cyclists to ring their bell when they are about 50 feet behind a dog walker, to enable them to secure their dogs on a short lead in time.

The walker accused many cyclists of either not giving a warning or ringing their bell at the last minute, causing stress to dogs and owners.

"If my dog panics and you fall off your bike during that, then that's on you. If I or my dog gets injured then that's on you too. Let's be considerate, sharing spaces,” they wrote.

There's a set of rules for Redways in MK

The post prompted dozens of comments, some from angry cyclists claiming dogs on redways can be a danger.

"I do ding my bell (amazing how often pedestrians have earphones in so don't hear it), but the place to let your dog loose is parkland, not redways, while the place to use those extending leads is nowhere. It's either safe for the dog to run free or it isn't - letting them do so on a trip-wire is not appropriate anywhere,” said one.

Another wrote: “Maybe have some courtesy and keep your dog out of the way of people that are cycling. Redways are for ALL to use and not just for you and your extending lead with your dog on the end 15 feet away.”

Dog walkers retaliated in force. One wrote: “Redways are two metres wide.. I couldn’t have my dog on a shorter lead, unless I just dragged him along by his collar. You’re not asking permission to pass, you’re warning us that you’re silently coming by at a rate of speed that would make anybody jump and cause an accident.”

Another stated: “I think I am allowed to wear my ear pods...and the Highway Code doesn’t say pedestrians must give way to cyclists...”

One poster summed up the debate with her statement: “Dog walkers hate cyclists, who hate pedestrians, who hate e-scooters, who hate runners, who hate pushchairs.”

The Citizen dug out the official Redway Rules, which are published by MK Council.

They state that cyclists should give an “audible warning” of their approach and keep to the left, as if cycling on a road. They should take due care when approaching pedestrians, persons with prams, pushchairs and wheelchair users..

Cyclists should also ride not more than two abreast and generally act “so as not to endanger themselves or other Redway users”.

However, the rules make it clear that owners must keep their dogs under control on a Redway and state they should be kept on a short lead “to prevent tangling”.

Dogs and horses should not foul the Redway, state the rules. In fact, horses are only allowed on Redways that are part of the official bridleway system in MK.

All pedestrians, including dog walkers, should keep to the right as if they are walking on a road and they should not walk more than two abreast.

Mopeds and motorcycles are prohibited by law from using Redways.

MK has more than 200 miles of Redways and you can view an interactive map here.