Some sections of the Bridgewater Canal towpath have been upgraded as part of the Bridgewater Way project to permit cycle access. On all other sections of towpath cycling is not permitted.
Further information is available on our cycling page here.
Principles for cycling on the Bridgewater Way
1) Considerate cycling is permitted on upgraded sections of the canal towpath providing the principles in this user guide are adhered to.
2) Cyclists should show due consideration at all times for other users of the facilities the canal’s neighbours, environment and wildlife. All signs must be obeyed.
3) Pedestrians have priority over cyclists on the towpath. Give way to pedestrians and other users on the Bridgewater Way. Slow down and warn them of your approach, ideally using your bell. A polite hello and thank you means a lot.
4) Use a bell and ring it when approaching pedestrians, but remember that ringing your bell is not an order to pedestrians to get out of your way. Be aware that some pedestrians may have visual or hearing impairments and might not hear your bell. New cycles should now be supplied with a bell by law but if yours doesn’t have one then your local cycle shop will be able to supply one very cheaply.
5) Pass people slowly and give them space. Slow down when approaching pedestrians and only pass when it’s safe to do so.
6) Watch out for fishing tackle which may at times partially block your path, signal your approach and give the angler time to remove it before you pass.
7) Moored boats may present additional problems be aware of ropes securing the craft to the bank and mooring pins.
8) Dismount under low, narrow or blind bridges.
9) Cyclists must only proceed at a speed that will not put themselves or other users at risk when taking into consideration weather, poor light conditions and volume of other traffic using Bridgewater Way.
10) Never race or perform speed trials.
11) Be extra careful at bends and at access and egress points. Beware of pedestrians exiting from gardens or blind access points, be especially vigilant at schools, children can be unpredictable in their movement. Be prepared to stop, slow down and if necessary dismount.
12) Pedestrians should move to the side of the path furthest away from the water to allow cyclists to pass. Be aware they may not!
13) Be prepared to push your cycle when large groups of anglers or pedestrians are present.
14) Report any damage or other hazard to the Bridgewater Canal Company at the earliest opportunity.
15) We recommend you obtain third party liability insurance.
16) Avoid cycling where your tyres would damage the path or verges. (eg. when they are wet or soft). Take care.
17) Access paths can be steep and slippery. Join and leave the Bridgewater Way with care.
18) You must get off and push your cycle beneath low or blind bridges, and where the path is very narrow.
19) Due to the close proximity of deep water we strongly recommend that cyclists do not use Bridgewater Way after dark and in poor light conditions, since it is unlit. In the event that the above advice is ignored and a cyclist chooses to cycle along the route after dark proper cycle lights front and rear should be used.
20) We recommend the use of a cycle helmet.
21) Thorny hedge trimmings can cause a puncture, we recommend plastic reinforced tyres. Only cycle on the BRIDGEWATER WAY route where it is signposted and follow the alternative routes signposted off Bridgewater Way where indicated.