I just can't be bothered anymore. No-one really shouts, it's just the muttered comments as you pass - very slowly I might add - that get under your skin and wear you down. And I know there's no point stopping to argue my case. Any arguments, however reasoned, will probably fall on deaf ears as, technically, I'm in the wrong - the signs say so.

I'm talking about Swansea prom and a section of new path created by the people doing the work on the new Mumbles sea defences. The sea defences work is to be lauded of course - anything to protect homes and businesses from rising sea levels is a good thing - as long as we tackle the climate change causing all that potential future flooding at the same time.

The short new path (which is only, I'd guess, about 50 or so metres long) was created as a diversion while the existing prom path was closed for work, with that work still ongoing. There are also other similar sections a little further on. The main prom path is shared use - half marked for cyclists and the other half for those on two or four feet. But, as is so often the case, the diversion is not. You can get more Swansea news and other story updates straight to your inbox by subscribing to our newsletters here.

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At each entrance to the path, which is opposite the Mumatz Indian restaurant and ends at the northern entrance to the Oystermouth Square car park, is a large red sign instructing cyclists like me to dismount. But not many do (including, at first, me).

sign cycle path
A sign on the shared route section of the path
A cyclist travels through a section of the prom affected by the sea defences work

I have seen all sorts of cyclists go through there, some too fast, some more slowly. Occasionally, you see someone pushing their bike as instructed. But no doubt many of them, like myself, will at times have heard those comments under the breath from pedestrians also using the path. "Not supposed to be cycling along here", "It says 'cyclists dismount'" are a couple of them. I have not been challenged directly, and I have not seen it happen to anyone else, but clearly people don't feel they want to let you pass without at least an indication of their annoyance that you have failed to follow the instructions on the sign.

Suddenly, when it comes to cyclists, everyone is a stickler for the rules. But how many of those people speed at times in their cars, or grumble about the new 20mph limits and ignore them. Not such sticklers for the rules when it's them having to obey them.

As I say, eventually I gave in, fed up of all the glares and comments, and switched to the road instead, so I could continue my cycle, rather than have to unclip from my pedals, climb off my bike, walk for a bit in cycling shoes not really meant for walking, then do it all in reverse when I get to the end.

No doubt I have just annoyed another group of people now - the drivers who get cross when cyclists don't use the cycling path alongside and get in their way, even though, like it or not motorists, the highway is also a shared use area and cyclists have every right to be there - cycle path or not. Get the best user experience with WalesOnline’s Premium app on Apple or Android

Mumbles prom
Pedestrians on the prom path where work is taking place
Mumbles prom
There is still a fair bit of room along this section of path

But my point is that this is all so unnecessary. These 'cyclists dismount' signs seem to appear all over the place and I think it's purely so the people who put them up can cover their own backs if anyone does go through on two wheels and hits someone. Firstly, that's pretty unlikely. The majority of cyclists I've seen going through this and other such paths do so slowly and carefully. Only if someone deliberately threw themselves into your path would you be in any danger of a collision, and even then it would be very minor. Most of the time, people will just move a little to the side, if they are more than one abreast, or both parties will pass by each other with no incident, since even this temporary path is plenty wide enough for people and bikes to navigate at the same time.

Worse case scenario, you can just hop off your bike and wait for people to pass, then hop on again to the end. My argument is that no-one is genuinely at risk from a cyclist navigating a path slowly and carefully and being willing to stop and get off if necessary. I know there are some cyclists out there who aren't as gracious - the ones who ride through red lights and dangerously on pavements. But they are the types who will probably do so regardless of what any signs do or do not say.

Can we not have a world where people can be given the benefit of the doubt? Why not just have a sign saying: 'Narrow path - cyclists and pedestrians pass with care'? There will be some who won't, but why penalise everyone because of a few annoying people? We don't stop people walking their dogs along the prom because of the few who don't pick up after them, or let them stray on their extender leads into the path of cyclists. Let's hope for the best of human nature, rather then always predict the worst.

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