Previously, I showed a route available to commuters on the west of Blackburn, taking the Leeds and Liverpool canal towards Rishton. Last week I also had a look the other way along that route. Access points to the canal around the Whitebirk area on the east of Blackburn are plentiful with access possible from the main A6119 shown here, Phoenix park and the Greenbank areas.
Travelling towards Blackburn has a distictly different feel from the route through the countryside towards Rishton and Accrington. In the Blackburn direction the towpath is more enclosed with a mixture of modern industrial units and large old mills combined with numerous road bridges.
This not only makes it a less fluid ride, but it also introduces hazards with sharp bends in the path. What is also noticable, is the graffiti, wasteland and industrial decay leading to a less secure feeling as I rode along. I did see another cyclist and a couple of other folk.
It was near these access points that, yesterday around 7am, Andy Seward, a commuting cyclist from Rishton, was robbed of his bike, rucksack and phone by two hooded men armed with a knife. More details from the Lancashire Telegraph here..
This route is of key importance to the local cycling strategy but crimes like this will completely put off potential cyclists from using the route. The more people use it, the safer it will feel but one feels much more has to be done to reassure users that it is safe.