Letter: Let’s stop our ignorance over dog dirt

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It seems that every week there is another complaint about cyclists and this in a town that has benefited greatly from the recent Tour de France and the forthcoming Big Bike Bash.

Perhaps if the shared paths around Harrogate were safer and more pleasant, more cyclists would use them, but unfortunately they have become what seems to be the exclusive playground, and also toilet, for far too many dogs that are allowed to run freely on these paths.

Shared paths are not the place to allow dogs to roam free and not in control. It is both dangerous, unsafe and unpleasant to other users. These pet owners are the first to complain about others whilst apparently believing they do not have to follow rules themselves.

The Highway Code is clear on the requirements for dog owners using these paths:- Rule 56 clearly states that dogs should be on a short lead, on paths shared with cyclists or horse riders.

I have been trying for some time to get these paths adequately signed to this effect and hopefully with the help of Sustrans signs will eventually be erected.

I am grateful to Sustrans, but disappointed that the council and indeed it would seem some of our elected representatives are not taking a more proactive approach to this issue.

The council are after all responsible for these pathways and it seems they are only too willing to spend 100’s of thousands of pounds on unnecessary junction “improvements” whilst letting a voluntary group do their job for them of the pathways around Harrogate.

I would hope that the signage will make those dog owners that were ignorant of the Highway Code aware of what is expected of them while using these paths. It will also hopefully improve the mess left by many dogs.

I have taken more than two dozen photos on just one day on the Greenway detailing this, although I have no doubt you will be unable to print them do to their unpleasantness, but unfortunately that is what cyclists and other path users have to deal with every day.

If the signage does not help, then the council have the ability to apply a Public Spaces Protection Order to these paths.

They need to take their responsibilities to people more seriously.

Mike Monkman