A lot of architectures of control / design with intent examples are trying to enforce what I’ve termed ‘access, use or occupation based on user characteristics’. Not all designs are especially successful at achieving that target behaviour: users will not always be persuaded, or will find ways to avoid being coerced.

Mud, footpath, cycles and kissing gate

Bicycles can churn up the surface of footpaths…

Mud, footpath, cycles and kissing gate

…You can put up signs to tell cyclists not to do it…

Mud, footpath, cycles and kissing gate

…or you can put in gates (kissing gates as they’re known in the UK) to try to stop them (along with livestock)…

Mud, footpath, cycles and kissing gate

…but it doesn’t mean anyone will take any notice!


  1. The biggest problem with cycles is not their affect on the path surface, but their disharmony with pedestrians, e.g. passing at speed without sufficient clearance (often also without warning), and expectations of being treated as having greater priority (being permitted to pass as a right rather than an act of generosity by the pedestrians in their way).

    It is comparable to the way many car drivers treat horse riders on ‘their’ roads.

    I think the answer is education rather than prohibition. Similar to the way skiers have to be taught rules of behaviour on pistes – because it is only the skiers’ voluntary observation of these rules that protects them all.

    Just as we’re now discovering today that the Internet is a good way of distributing intellectual works (despite some people believing it shouldn’t be permitted without their respective author’s permission), we’re also discovering that ATBs are a good way of traversing footpaths in the countryside (despite many people believing it shouldn’t be permitted without the respective council’s permission).

    I’d say develop a cycling code for footpath use, and make cyclists automatically liable for any collision with a pedestrian.

    If cyclists are made outlaws, they will consider pedestrians their enemy instead of having respect for them as their superiors with whom they can thus live with in harmony.

  2. Oh, this triggered a reminding. Back in the 1960s I practially killed my self as my bike’s wheel disappeared into a sewer grating whos grating ran parrallel with the curb at to base of a long hill. It was a perfectly sensible design given the vast amount of water to be captured comming off that slope, just as long as you ignored the bicycles.

    It was a few years later I woke up suddenly, having slept in a field in Texas that night, with a herd of some hundred head of cattle all quietly staring at me. It was at that point I discovered cattle grate. It was between me an they. A clever control devices[3] used were ever cattle are fenced or out[2].

    I’m amused that the very first picture[1] (at least today) on google image search shows a bicyclist avoiding a cattle grate, and interestingly I see that there are designs for such grates tuned to control animals but not bicycles[4].


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  4. Second the comment about the sewer grates!!! I ride a bike to work, and can’t stand how the long dimension opening in the grates is always in the direction of travel. I can’t imagine the increased flow rates really make up for the hassle for bikers trying to stay out of the way of traffic.

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