Forget Bikes; In the UK Even the Ducks Get Their Own Lanes

©. Getty Images

When writing Who owns the sidewalks, pedestrians or joggers? Neither I did a sketch where I divided up the sidewalk into all of the varying uses that might need a strip of road. I missed one- the duck lane.

It's a problem on the 2,000 miles of tow paths beside old English and Welsh canals, where cyclists, pedestrians and yes, ducks, all vie for space. According to City Metric, the Canal and River Trust is trying to encourage everyone to be more considerate of the wildlife.

duck in path

© Getty Images

The lanes are also meant to highlight the paths' narrowness: cyclists and pedestrians can't be properly segregated along these routes due to their width, so it's everyone's responsibility to stay alert and watch out for walkers or bikes coming in the opposite direction. The Trust is asking users to stick to something called the "Greenway code for towpaths", which includes giving way beneath bridges and giving pedestrians priority.

That code for towpaths would be useful for city sidewalks as well:

Share the space – towpaths are popular places to be enjoyed by everyone. Please be mindful of others, keep dogs under control, and clean up after them.
Drop your pace – pedestrians have priority on our towpaths so be ready to slow down; if you’re in a hurry, consider using an alternative route for your journey.
duck out of path

© Getty Images

Alas, just like Fedex trucks and New Yorkers, these guys don't appear to pay attention to the rules and stay in their lanes. Without enforcement, look what happens.

Make way for ducklings

© Make Way For Ducklings/ Robert McCloskey

Given how New York City got so smart about bike lanes, perhaps they will learn from this and install a dedicated network of duck lanes to eliminate this recurring problem in the City.