Vandals have cost the Parish Council more than £60 after attacking and destroying signs urging cyclists to respect horse riders on the cyclepath between the village and Didcot.
The signs were erected at the start of the cyclepath at the west end of the village and where the path crosses the Appleford Road.
The path is a Sustrans National Cycle Route but cyclists must give way to horses and walkers. The council decided to erect the signs following pleas from horse riders complaining about the behaviour of some cyclists. It was claimed that in some incidents cyclists disregarded horse riders and became aggressive.
As a result the council decided to erect the signs reminding cyclists to beware of, and respect horse riders. Within a few weeks the signs had been torn down so the council replaced them with more robust signs with firmer fixings. But these too have been destroyed (see the before and after photographs below).
Parish councillor Steve Brown said: “It was very disappointing to see the damage to the signs. After the first set was either destroyed or removed we decided to replace the signs with more robust fittings. Unfortunately these too were attacked and whoever was responsible used considerable force to rip off the signs. A crow bar must have been used to prise off one sign.”
The British Horse Society has offered to contribute towards the cost of a new set of signs. The council is considering its next course of action.
In previous years the Footpaths Officer at the County Council supplied a printable version of a smilar sign, which could be laminated here, and this was just replaced as necessary at very little cost. Vandals do soon get bored of vandalizing, apparently, if all is just back to normal each time.
Just to be clear this is a multi purpose track, a designated bridlepath & cycleway.
The majority of users are courteous and mindful of others be they walkers, cyclists or riders.
Whoever is committing these acts of vandalism is obviously mean spirited, small minded & spoiling the pleasure of others.
Suggestion: Find an alternative route to use & leave others in peace.
As a keen local cyclist, and former parish council chair, I’ve shared this with the local cycling community. It does seem small
minded and I agree, generally all users of the path are respectful and get on. That’s assuming it was a cyclist of course, and we don’t know that. I have also suggested an alternative sign design to the PC
Obviously no-one should vandalise signs but the signs do seem to be deliberately antagonistic and appeal to the knuckle dragging Audi driver view that everyone must have priorities.
Cycle paths don’t need priorities because everyone almost always gets along. I have never seen aggression on any cycle path, pedestrians are obliging and move to one side if you ring your bell. Cyclists move to one side if a horse is coming. I don’t doubt a tiny minority are aggressive but I doubt putting up a sign is going to change it.
The only observation I would make is that the path is very narrow and boggy either side in winter. I have in the past moved as far over as possible but still the horse gets spooked and it isn’t pleasant to have a jittery horse kicking a metre away from you. Perhaps if someone is riding a horse that is easily spooked they should consider whst it is like to be at leg level.
Hopefully the parish council can consult with horse riders and cyclists to get a less anti-cyclist sign, or just not replace them at all. They seem a solution looking for a problem.