Which is safer in the dark....unlit canal towpath or busy trunk road?

united4ever

Über Member
These are my commuting options....I always used the towpath with good lights but was wondering, which is actually safer?

For those that know Manchester it is the Bridgewater canal towpath through trafford v the a56.

My feelings are that on the towpath any accidents would probably be down to me so I have some control - watch my speed and be super cautious (bar some lowlife trying to mug me or push me in which hasn't happened in the last 5 winters). Where as on the main road I am at the mercy of other drivers.

Talking rush hour commuting so coming back around 6 pm. As another winter approaches considering if I should switch to the lit main road which is mostly 30 mph zone and 2 or 3 lanes in each direction with a fairly pathetic painted cycle lane in parts.
 

Darius_Jedburgh

Looking for the lost chord.
Road.
 
OP
U

united4ever

Über Member
Feel a bit safer on the towpath and have stuck with that for 5 years. They had pop up cycle lanes in the summer on the road though so I switched for a few months and enjoyed it....now the lanes have gone so I switched back to towpath but having been on the road it got me reevaluating?
 

slowmotion

Quite dreadful
Location
lost somewhere
I don't know what your canal is like but here in West London there are some pretty odd types by the canal at night. I would take the main road any day night.
 

robjh

Legendary Member
I don't know about rush hours on any particular road, but I feel strangely safe on large roads at night where my lights stand out from a long distance, and I also know from their headlights that cars are coming long before I can see them.
 
These are my commuting options....I always used the towpath with good lights but was wondering, which is actually safer?

For those that know Manchester it is the Bridgewater canal towpath through trafford v the a56.

My feelings are that on the towpath any accidents would probably be down to me so I have some control - watch my speed and be super cautious (bar some lowlife trying to mug me or push me in which hasn't happened in the last 5 winters). Where as on the main road I am at the mercy of other drivers.

Talking rush hour commuting so coming back around 6 pm. As another winter approaches considering if I should switch to the lit main road which is mostly 30 mph zone and 2 or 3 lanes in each direction with a fairly pathetic painted cycle lane in parts.
There is nearly always a safer and more enjoyable alternative between points A to B using quieter roads as opposed to a busy route. Manchester is awash with these. This may increase the distance slightly but you can factor that in to your schedule. Try using https://cycle.travel/ - it is an excellent route planning website for providing quiet route suggestions. Remember to 'tick' the box denoting 'paved'.
 
I used a cycle track back in 2005 in the dark and almost ended up in the river Marden. Admittedly my lights weren't as good as lights are now but I found it hard to distinguish the edge of the path in the dark and almost went in twice .
 
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