CyclingEdinburgh.info

Another Barrier to Cycling

Posted by chdot on September 19, 2009

End of European Mobility Week Update

Rumour has it that the new addition will be removed in the next few days… (NOW DONE)

(New flickr group created – barriers to cycling in Edinburgh)

It’s easy to blame ‘the Council’ for things. Sometimes it’s justified. One problem though is the notion that ‘the Council’ acts with a consistent vision.

It is of course naïve to imagine that the myriad of plans, proposals and policies all neatly mesh together with a common, agreed, purpose of making life better for Edinburgh’s residents and visitors.

Equally it cannot be assumed that politicians and senior officials manage to pass on decisions, their importance and implications to all Council staff. In turn employees closer to ‘front line services’ are more likely to have to deal with local concerns – real or exaggerated.

The recent installation of barriers in Portobello may be for ‘safety’ reasons – though safety would be improved by cutting back the vegetation on the blind hairpin bend on the ramp where three barriers have been sited.

Perhaps the idea is to discourage the occasional youth on an illegal motorbike. ‘Fear of motorbikes’ used to be the reason for the small hoops (see photo) at many access points to off-road paths.

In the last ten years, in Edinburgh, most have been removed, so it’s disappointing that a new one has appeared at the mouth of The St. Leonard’s Tunnel (ironical in European Mobility Week). This must be one of Edinburgh’s busiest and best loved cycle routes. Motorcycles are rarely seen. So perhaps the ‘safety issue’ is to do with conflicts between pedestrians and cyclists trying to get through a narrow gap. Yesterday one cyclist, unimpressed by the new impediment, said “what are they trying to do, kill us?”

Perhaps the answer would be a bigger gap – as at Eildon Street. More sensible would be to replace the gates (which weren’t always there) with a bollard to stop cars – which is what local people were (quite reasonably) complaining about, leading to the gates being restored and locked.

The current LibDem administration was elected in 2007 on a manifesto (p.24) which said they wanted to “make Edinburgh a model cycle-friendly and walker-friendly city”. Head of Transport, Marshall Poulton recently signed the Charter of Brussels which will require significant ‘game raising’ by ‘the Council’.

Last year Spokes wrote to Council Leader Cllr Jenny Dawe, she replied saying: “I was particularly struck by the detailed and informative case that you made for promoting cycling and the positive impact that this could have for Edinburgh’s economy, sustainability, health and quality of life”.

Perhaps it’s time the councillors and officials who want to encourage walking and cycling met some of their colleagues who seem to have a different agenda.

12 Responses to “Another Barrier to Cycling”

  1. Gus said

    It’s also not clear how buggies and wheelchairs would get past that lot…

  2. chdot said

    They go into the ‘pen’ on the right and shut the gate behind them, turn round…

    photo

    very handy and encouraging!!

    (wheelchairs too – but not tandems or 8 Freights – photo

  3. This is one more obstacle to my Laid Back bike tours. Can’t think of any other situation where a business wouldn’t be asked for input.

    They have already blocked the Portobello route. Is this a war on easy cycle use.

    I’ve had loads of positive comments about The Innocent from LB tour clients from all over the world (South Africa, Canada, Norway – even Netherlands.

    How much did this cost and when are they going to get finger out to improve existing cycle facilities. Plenty to do on elsewhere in city.

    If powered bikes use it so what? In Sweden low powered motorbikes are actually allowed to use cycle paths. Accident rate is low. This is an education issue … daft to downgrade this for the majority of careful users.

    Has anyone actually been hurt by a motorbike?

    Why is action being taken now (in Mobility Week!)?

    Where is next barrier going up?

    • AC77 said

      “If powered bikes use it so what?

      Has anyone actually been hurt by a motorbike?”

      Just a couple of months back I had a couple of neds on a motorbike (probably about 14 years old, no helmets) deliberately aim their bike at me on the Roseburn path. It was a close call. (I dialed 999 from my mobile and was told it would be investigated but as the police operator clearly wasn’t sure where the Rosebutn cycle path was, and had a Newcastle accent, I suspect I was put throught to a call centre in NE England. Needless to say, I was never contacted.)

      It’s a regular haunt for kids (and sometimes they’ve turned out to be “traveling people”) I would reckon I’ve had trouble with these sorts of little morons at least once a year, and that’s considering I am not using the path that often at the times these incidents usually occur.

      So yes, it’s a problem. Once is too often.

  4. Becky said

    Just saw this via Flickr. I’m absolutely staggered by Edinburgh Council’s planning decision.

    And it’s not just wheelchairs, tandems and 8 Freights – it’s also recumbents with wide seats, anyone riding a bike with panniers, and in fact anyone with a rear derailleur.

  5. Kim said

    It is about time our Councillors got on their bikes and tried riding round the city…

  6. Bruce said

    Maybe we all need to practise our danny macaskill like railing jumping skills…

  7. It’s good to hear that it’ll be removed because if I hadn’t read this blog post I would have crashed into it yesterday, particularly as you can’t see it from the top of the hill. http://www.trackmyjourney.co.uk/track/t4xzYTfZ7tj94

  8. David said

    I hear it has gone… if only every cycling matter could be resolved so speedily.

    Of course all this barrier talk is diverting us from the real things that need to be sorted.

    Maybe that’s the plan? No that would require organisation !

    Actually that’s unfair – a significant proportion of Council employees do cycle…

    I know some that were pretty hacked off at the barrier.

  9. Stevie D said

    Just to confirm that the rumours are true. It’s gone, gone gone.

  10. chdot said

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/chdot/3950108007/

  11. AC77 said

    In reply to David Gardiner,

    “If powered bikes use it so what?

    Has anyone actually been hurt by a motorbike?”

    Just a couple of months back I had a couple of neds on a motorbike (probably about 14 years old, no helmets) deliberately aim their bike at me on the Roseburn path. It was a close call. (I dialed 999 from my mobile and was told it would be investigated but as the police operator clearly wasn’t sure where the Rosebutn cycle path was, and had a Newcastle accent, I suspect I was put throught to a call centre in NE England. Needless to say, I was never contacted.)

    It’s a regular haunt for kids (and sometimes they’ve turned out to be “traveling people”) I would reckon I’ve had trouble with these sorts of little morons at least once a year, and that’s considering I am not using the path that often at the times these incidents usually occur.

    So yes, it’s a problem. Once is too often.

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