Dooring – depressingly common

It’s lucky I’ve seen so many offences committed on Edinburgh’s streets that I was covering the brakes…

The #1 cause of cycling KSIs is a flung-open door

I’m not going to say much about this, other than to point out that it’s lucky I’ve seen so many offences committed on Edinburgh’s streets that I was covering the brakes and able to stop without drama.

Something I learned the hard way as a student, when I was taken off by a flung-open door in moving traffic (!).

I could write to the council and report the taxi – 8am, no stopping zone, W309 PSX (taxi number 1199) and a clear offence under Construction & Use… but what’s the point? It would merely be noted as no death occurred (and presumably I “came out of nowhere” despite wearing a white jacket 😉 )

These days you can actually get prosecuted if you’re doing something as unusual as driving while eating a bowl of cereal, but something like this is so depressingly common that it’s not even worth reporting.

Donkey Lane and traffic jams

Why do people sit in traffic on the Calder Road when there’s an existing segregated cycle route from Currie to the Gyle?

When ‘almost’ is not much good at all…

Not far from our new house lies the curiously named “Donkey Lane”, a cycle path linking Currie with the Riccarton campus, Hermiston Gait and the Gyle, not to mention the west end and Lothian Road (via the canal).

Donkey Lane allows you to avoid the sort of daily rush hour traffic which I’ve attached in video for contrast. While you read this article, you may want to play that in a second window alongside (or if you really have the patience… it’s embedded below)

Now, back to Donkey Lane:

donkeylane1
The adjacent residential street, recently and extensively resurfaced…

Considering the huge queues that pile up every day along the A70 and down at the Calder roundabout, you’d think that this would be a popular facility- it takes me an hour to drive to our swanky office on the shore, yet I can bike it in roughly half an hour…

donkeylane2
Unfortunately most people don’t get any further than this – the entrance.

In reality, almost nobody uses Donkey Lane. So at least we aren’t alone there.

We house-shopped based on good school catchments with a linear segregated cycle route into town, so it’s a surprise to admit that we are driving more (vastly more) than when we lived in the south of Edinburgh in a flat which more or less pre-dated our interest in cycling.

Or is it?

donkeylane3

Donkey Lane is a public right of way but is in private ownership, and self-evidently receives no significant maintenance. In summer it’s horrendously overgrown, and for the other eleven months of the year it’s clearly a sort of linear swamp which can only attract the most dedicated masochist.

donkeylane5

There’s a serious upside to using these paths – it’s unusual for even one car to overtake me cycling between Currie and Leith, eleven miles away. And I’m saving 30 minutes each way over driving!

Unfortunately, after initial enthusiasm I have to confess that getting covered head-to-toe in mud and destroying hubs like they’re going out of fashion (despite full SKS guards) can get a little tiring.

donkeylane6

With the council looking to add 10,000 homes or so to this side of Edinburgh in the next few years, and constant hand-wringing over road capacity, you’d think paths like these would be massively low-hanging fruit.

On an average morning I can count a hundred cyclists between Wester Hailes and Leith on the segregated path network. If they all drove, it would be like one extra car every 20 seconds!

There’s only one cyclist who I see (on a blue moon) travelling via Donkey Lane, despite Currie having no shortage of well-off, well-educated people who are (for better or worse) the sort of people who seem to be candidate cyclists today. Instead they all sit bumper to bumper on the A70…

donkeylane7

donkeylane8

There’s something of a heated debate on CCE just now about plans to properly surface a couple of East Lothian’s old railways, which has naturally been opposed by the usual competing interest groups.

No doubt the same argument can be made for Edinburgh paths like Donkey Lane and the Water of Leith – but we should be clear that we’re trading a lot of extra idling diesel engines to benefit a minority who prefer their paths filthy.

Cycling is itself a minority pursuit, so I suppose it comes down to whether we want to get people out of their cars at the expense of people like riding schools, whose horses understandably prefer a natural surface.

donkeylane9

donkeylane10

You only have to stand on NEPN for a few moments to be passed by dozens of people who’ve left their car at home. Here almost everyone drives despite having a choice of segregated cycleways, because getting covered in mud (and needing expensive lights to avoid rocks and roots) is a hefty disincentive.

Does having a mud surface prevent speeding riders? Well, it is on Strava at 24mph… but would you rather have a 24mph cyclist on a deserted path or a load of 40mph drivers going past your local primary school?

Would you rather queue as in the video or have 10-20% of those vehicles cycling instead?

Evidently, it’s not enough just to have a muddy chute, because people aren’t going near it.

I raised this with our councillors and two of them were good enough to obtain a response:  “Donkey Lane forms part of the Council’s long term proposals to create a ‘family friendly’ cycle network across the city and we plan to focus on its development once the shorter term priorities have been delivered”.

I’m not holding my breath, considering that it took ten years from the Land Reform Act to sort out the *signage* for cycling in the Meadows… but I am looking forward to getting back out of the car some day. 🙂

Have pavement cyclists got it right?

Six Five cyclists mown down in thirteen nine days. Are unlit red light jumping pavement cyclists actually on the right track?

Unrelated news: sixth law-abiding cyclist mown down in just thirteen days

I started writing this as a response to the interminable ‘Rubbish Cycling’ thread on CCE, but it got long enough (and relevant enough) that I didn’t want it to disappear after another nine complaint posts went up…

Here’s the comment that I was replying to:

Anyway – I personally take it as given that the (majority of) unlit, RLJing and dedicated pavement-cycling students are not being willfully antisocial or criminal; rather that they honestly just can’t figure out by themselves the potential consequences without it being pointed out to them.

While I appreciate that this is a very generous way of looking at the citizens in question, I also think it’s so wide of the mark as to be, well, completely opposite to the true situation.

The significant thing about Edinburgh’s annual influx of students is that it creates a large number of completely new cyclists. Their behaviour has little, I submit, to do with the fact that those cyclists happen to be students.

I can only back this up anecdotally, as someone who is now involved in actively encouraging people to bike to work.

I’ve “buddied up” with at least one colleague who wouldn’t consider descending from the pavement to ride on the road *with me behind them* on the short stretch of 20mph street between Ardmillan Terrace and the canal. (For this, establishment Edinburgh cyclists gave a written opinion that they should give up, and go back to a car-based commute from Livingston to Leith).

The common thread here is that when people approach cycling from first principles, they aren’t necessarily willing to expose themselves to all the inherent risks. They aren’t willing to do so *despite* legislation to the contrary, and not because they need to be reminded or have anything pointed out to them.

80-90% of cyclists, including students, have passed the driving test

It’s naive to suggest they aren’t completely aware of the law.

Cyclist who are not dogmatic ride on the pavement out of a finely judged (and in my opinion not inaccurate) estimation that it will significantly improve their life expectancy. The issue of pedestrians understandably objecting to this invasion of their territory is an externality that cannot be said to weigh in on your life expectancy, so it’s understandable that the pragmatic will ignore it.

I don’t ignore it because I’m powerful enough (in my own head… and because I have a headcam) that I feel confident going head to head with huge motorised vehicles on the roads. I sometimes like to think that it’s because I wouldn’t want to be known around the neighbourhood as a pavement cyclist, but to be honest that isn’t true. I’ve known neighbours considerably older than I who rode on the pavements in my time and didn’t particularly think less of them.

Someone riding unlit is not even making a statement that they don’t believe lights help drivers to see them. What they’re saying is that they believe the chance of being run down is so high with or without lights that they aren’t going to play the game at all.

Was anyone bereaved ever consoled by the thought: “at least they weren’t riding on the pavement”?

Establishment cyclists often express confusion at people who have one or other light missing, or if they have two, so poorly aimed as to be useless. I suspect it’s because they have picked up lights for some reason unrelated to safety in their own minds (a gift, as an alternative to a police ticket, whatever).

Because they don’t believe they are relevant to their safety, their application is understandably haphazard – how are your legally required, can’t-be-replaced-by-ankle-bands SPD pedal reflectors, by the way?

There’s little point trying to tell people that they’d be better off with lights because cyclists are constantly being mown down by inattentive drivers – the whole situation has arisen precisely because they believe they might be mown down either way.

Statistically, cycling on the road is usually said to be safer than the pavement, particularly because of the increased junction / crossing risk. However, this is to completely and utterly miss the point. When you ride on the pavement, undeniably, you’re only at risk on your own terms (if you’re not crossing a side street or crossing the road, you cannot be hit).

In the road, you’re at the mercy of every single driver who is eating, shaving, txting and/or putting on makeup – while eating a bowl of cornflakes – and your life depends on the lowest denominator.

That’s the real difference!

Seceding from the law is a logical response to the rising death toll

I’m not going to draw a position on whether society as a whole is better off when someone rides on a pavement or jumps a red light but remains a cyclist, versus driving around. I don’t believe there’s much chance of persuading the audience one way or the other… (clearly it would be better if this debate wasn’t even needed – but that’s not the reality).

I’ve saved junctions and red lights until last because I think in many ways they are the clearest (but most controversial) example of people taking a decision based on safety, just not based on the law – even if it seems otherwise.

If you believe that you are not protected from death whenever a vehicle passes you in traffic, then a logical strategy is to minimise the number of overtaking movements you experience. Waiting for a green light might mean a bowel-clenching episode where you’re passed by 20-30 vehicles in close succession, any one of which could take your life.

As we’re seeing in London, such vehicles are taking lives every day.

On the other hand, jumping the light probably exposes you to only one or two vehicles making an opposing movement. The chance of being hit by them is less than being hit by the vehicles behind you (because you can actually watch what’s going on as you cycle through the red light and across the junction), at least according to your world view – but perhaps also according to the real statistics.

I don’t think the people making these kinds of calculation are cold or unaware of the feelings of others on the road. It’s just that they are faced with death, or upsetting one or two other drivers (or cyclists who feel tarnished by association) and that’s a pretty easy choice.

Under this arithmetic, it’s even easy to understand people who jump pedestrian crossings. You’re buying yourself 20-30 seconds of time without the possibility of being fatally run over, whereas if you stop, a dozen or more vehicles might charge past your elbow, and if one of them decides to turn left when they’ve put you in their “blind spot”… game over.

If your response to this is “but what about the pedestrians”, I can only suggest you rephrase it to “why aren’t they putting pedestrian comfort above their own lives?” to better understand their position.

Cyclists are far from the last to complain when they see “bad” behaviour by other cyclists.

Yet I think we do ourselves a huge disservice by not attempting to understand what makes people do these things.

It’s silly to complain about the behaviour of others and remain wilfully ignorant of the very real forces that drive them.

You might not be able to understand or empathise with cyclists who fear for their lives, but if so, you’ve only yourself to blame for your eternal frustration.

Quality Bike Corridor: more parking on the way

Proposals are being made to ‘invest’ the council’s cycling budget in allowing more parking on the Edinburgh Quality Bike Corridor…

Traffic orders will be consulted on… maybe

Thanks to Kim Harding for passing on details of proposed modifications to Edinburgh’s “Quality” Bike Corridor, the notoriously expensive on-and-off painted lanes that “run” (when not completely blocked by parked cars) for a couple of miles to the south of the city centre.

Although there are other serious problems with the route, anyone who’s attempted to cycle on the QBC more than once will be familiar with a few ‘hot spots’ where cycling on the painted lanes is prevented almost 24/7 by parked vehicles, leaving the most vulnerable of road users, well… especially vulnerable.

It now looks like the council are going to invest some extra time and money in the QBC to attempt to tackle two of these locations.

Ratcliffe Terrace:

The “paint-out” around parked vehicles at the bottom of Ratcliffe Terrace promised to help address safety at a critical point, and in fairness the current layout is much better than the pre-QBC configuration. Unfortunately at either end of the block of shops, the same old vehicles completely block safe use of the road.

Amusingly, even Google Streetview has caught Hua Xing red handed on the double yellows:

ratcliffe_streetview

Both ends of the parking will be extended to legalise two extra vehicles under the proposals. That is, parking will not be permitted on top of the cycle lane, but reflecting the council’s inability to keep businesses from ignoring the double yellows, the cycle lane will be moved out to protect cyclists forced into the road.

See the rollover for details:

none

Hover overlay: [Existing layout] [New layout]

Informal surveys have shown that there are often several times as many vehicles parked on the QBC (legally or otherwise) compared with the number of citizens brave enough to cycle along it. On the face of it, in the absence of camera enforcement, building around some of this parking activity can only be seen as a positive step.

Mayfield Road

The second location to be modified is on Mayfield Road, where there’s another paint-out around parking spaces in front of a row of shops (just before the road splits into two lanes for the junction with West Saville Terrace):

mayfield

Unfortunately the plans for this location don’t involve any improvement for cyclists. Instead, the council are merely going to legalise parking on top of the QBC, making it even more useless than it already is.

See the rollover for details:

none

Hover overlay: [Existing layout] [New layout]

This is particularly galling since money is being taken from the council’s very limited cycling budget to realise these changes, so money ring-fenced for improving cycle provision is literally being used to create parking on top of a main cycle route. Only in Edinburgh…

Next steps

According to the attached report (see below), there has been no consultation with any cycling body on these alterations. While the changes at Ratcliffe Terrace represent a welcome improvement, allowing vehicles to obstruct the QBC right at the critical few metres before the West Saville Terrace junction is a serious retrograde step.

There does not seem to have been any risk assessment made regarding cyclist safety at this busy junction.

There is not, as yet, any update from Spokes on these proposals (to be updated?). In the meantime it would seem safe to highlight your concerns with your local councillors, and ask them to pass this on.

Ultimately, a statutory consultation on the TROs will be carried out, but it would be nice to think that safety concerns could be addressed beforehand…

Original documents

Signed Del Pow Report – Ratcliffe Terrace
Appendix 1
Appendix 2

A swan-song for the Quality Bike Corridor

Contrasting Edinburgh’s Quality Bike Corridor with genuine cycling infrastructure…

Representative of Edinburgh’s caring motorists: “You’re the problem”

We moved house in the spring and, having our pick of locations and a decade’s experience of riding in Edinburgh, are now out beyond the bypass. The old railway on the Water of Leith (to the canal and NEPN) has supplanted the Quality Bike Corridor as our local bike infrastructure.

qbc-alt2

If I want to, I can get from the Pentland hills over twelve miles to our office by the shore with just a few minutes riding on quiet back streets (and one traffic light!) and cyclist numbers are just exploding, with virtual traffic jams on the canal and North Edinburgh Path Network as large numbers of ordinary looking people take to two wheels in an environment free of the tender mercies of the Edinburgh motorist.

I had to return to our Newington flat this week to do some landlording, and after a few weeks the contrast between segregated paradise and the absolutely terrible “infrastructure” that was provided under the branding of the “Quality” Bike Corridor could not have been more apparent.

qbc-alt1

One of the striking design principals behind the QBC was that it painted gutter lanes wherever the road was wide (and thus cyclists were relatively unlikely to be troubled by vehicular traffic in the first place) but did virtually nothing to address any of the difficult spots that lead to conflict between vulnerable road users and speeding vehicles in practice.

One of these is the junction with Gifford Park on Buccleuch Street, pictured above/below, where there is a pinch point in the building facades and barely enough room for two vehicles to pass, never mind bikes. As you can see, SFA has been done to accommodate southbound cyclists here. The cycle lane disappears heading into the constriction, effectively throwing riders under the tender mercies (or wheels) of the traffic stream.

The build-out for Gifford Park doesn’t exactly make things easier:

qbc3

The other day I must admit I wasn’t paying as much attention as usual, since I was going at a fair pace and there was nothing coming the other way – you can see I’m shaving the give way lines rather than sitting in the middle of the lane as the Government’s Bikeability scheme would suggest is the correct way for ordinary citizens to manage rush hour traffic.

Fortunately an Edinburgh motorist was on hand to punish my audacity with a horrendous overtake (at least they had the courtesy to blast their horn to warn me they were going to shave my elbow).

qbc1

Obviously the driver, a University of Edinburgh employee judging by his neck pass, got stuck in traffic just a few yards further on, so I was able to ask him for his views on this section of the QBC. I believe “animated” and “colourful” would be fair descriptors.

There was absolutely no question in the mind of Mr Corbett (if I caught his name correctly) that scraping past cyclists when he might otherwise be required to use the empty oncoming lane was fair game.

(This episode of driving was recorded in full HD, but I’ve decided to withhold the footage in case it might be relevant to a future prosecution).

qbc2

Ultimately, I don’t hold civic bodies responsible for the behaviour of every motorist who drives inside the bypass (it would be nice if the police made it easy for cyclists to report dangerous driving and acted on said reports, but that’s another story).

However, if I wasn’t already a committed cyclist this driving episode, on the “Quality” Bike Corridor no less, would certainly have converted me back into a regular motorist. It is much more difficult to forgive the creation (or lack of creation) of quality infrastructure.

Here’s the same pinch point heading north earlier in the year, for instance. It’s like this all the time: where are the wardens ticketing everyone who stops in the bus stop and cycle lane, throwing families who might otherwise want to use this so-called “Quality” corridor out into the most horrendous meat-grinder?

qbc-alt3

Obviously, said families are conspicuous in their absence, and who can blame them!

Apparently enforcing restrictions would be unrealistic or unfair to local business. This gives the Council the basis of a cunning plan – publish a design which nominally shows areas where cyclists are protected from traffic, but then never enforce it, both avoiding any risk of an objection to the design by pesky cyclists or offending anyone who wants to park over the top of it.

What could be more depressing than that the only modification made to the Quality Bike Corridor since it was installed was to ease loading restrictions on an already inadequate cycle lane?

Leith Walk does give us some hope, but the effort required to engage with the Council on it (and certainly to suggest small but key improvements to the latest designs) is just beyond me.

We voted with our wallets on this one…

Traffic surveys: left indicator use (I of II)

Edinburgh traffic and cyclist safety survey. Under 4% of motorists changing lane used their left indicator…

Because drivers always use their left indicator… right?

It’s old news that the chief cause of serious injury or death amongst cyclists in an urban environment is being caught on the inside of vehicles moving or turning left. Rarely is fault attributed to the driver, despite their self-evident failure to ensure their nearside was clear before manoeuvring*.

As part of a new series of articles I decided to perform CCTV junction monitoring using my HD headcam in central Edinburgh.

The first aim was simply to get an idea of how often motorists actually advertise their intentions in a situation where there is a clear need to indicate: changing from the right lane to the left lane, where cyclists are often to be found.

bikehgv
Think bike! by Beatnic, on flickr.

I picked a busy main road junction with a bus lane almost to the lights, but which has a (rarely used) right filter, to ensure a reasonable sample of motorists changing lane. Recordings were made over two rush hours on consecutive days.

Only a short sample of footage was captured on each day as a proof of concept, but the results are already quite startling:

Just under 4% of motorists changing from the right to the left lane at this busy junction used their left indicator, including 0% of bus drivers.

For much of one observation period the bus lane was blocked by an illegally parked motorist. Surprisingly, none of the Lothian Buses observed during this period signalled left to re-enter the bus lane, even though it would have been easy (given the low traffic speed) for multiple cyclists to pass the parked car and end up on the inside of the driver’s vehicle.

The high fatality rate of left-moving vehicle incidents makes it difficult for investigators to determine exactly where fault lies (unless a camera is worn – see Video Protection On The Roads). However, the idea that these collisions happen due to cyclist negligence despite the best efforts of the driver is certainly not supported by observations such as these.

It’s probable that motorists are a little better at indicating when they actually turn left, but this junction had too high a proportion of straight-on traffic to get a significant sample.

I will follow up with video monitoring of vehicles which actually turn left, taken over a longer period at another suitable junction.

Also, the reader should be aware that one junction on just two days isn’t exactly cast iron evidence (although I have no doubt that long term monitoring would give the same sort of outcome).

Watch this space.

* There are (at least) two recent local examples, one where an academic riding to the University of Edinburgh was crushed by a left-turning Neil Williams Haulage truck, the other when a left-turning Edinburgh Council bin lorry crushed a young man on his way to work: both in broad daylight. I’m not aware of the driver of either vehicle being charged with any offence, but of course it’s possible this was not reported. Whether those drivers would find themselves in the 96% who don’t indicate or the 4% who do is purely speculation.

Pedal on Parliament: Sunday May 19th

The biggest ever demonstration to take place in the public arena outside the Scottish Parliament is back – Pedal on Parliament 2013

This is the biggest thing you can do in 2013. Be there!

Last year at the end of April, Scotland was rocked when up to three thousand people shut down central Edinburgh, riding between the Meadows and Parliament to ask the Scottish Government to get serious about cycling.

Just a couple of hundred were expected to attend, but it turned out to be the “biggest ever demonstration on any subject to take place in the public arena outside the Scottish Parliament”!

pop2012_5

This year, Pedal on Parliament will take place on closed roads and organisers expect to see an even greater number of families participating after several Edinburgh schools agreed to promote the event.

Formal feeder rides have been established to help get you to the event without hassle, and these are coming from as far away as Glasgow and Kirkaldy if you want to make a big day of it – otherwise there are plenty from different parts of the capital. So you don’t even need to worry about getting to the Meadows!

pop-2012_9
Plenty of families in 2012 – more this year…
by Paul Morris, on Flickr

Taking part in the first Pedal on Parliament was a formative experience for me, one of the greatest things I’ve done in the twelve years I’ve been living in Edinburgh.

Fun, friendly, socially significant – and you’ll never see central Edinburgh in quite this way again.

Spread the word – Sunday May 19th. It’s a must for your diary.

Please see the official Pedal on Parliament website too.

Cycling in Edinburgh: in photos

T-boned by a driver using their mobile phone, who is completely unapologetic. This is what it means to cycle in Edinburgh.

Welcome, readers of the Edinburgh Evening News.

You’ll likely be wanting to find something you can be abusive about. You’ll probably enjoy my recent article Video Protection on the Roads.

Original article

T-boned by a driver using their mobile phone, who is completely unapologetic even when he realises the whole thing is on video, and waves his mobile in my face while claiming he didn’t see me in my bright cycling gear…

This is what it means to cycle in Edinburgh.

Update

I called this in using the 101 non-emergency police number, but while they did ask me for the registration number, they were seriously disinterested (they didn’t even ask for the time of the incident) and told me that regardless of video footage they would not proceed against the driver.

Update 2

This ended up forming the basis of quite a positive piece in the Edinburgh Evening News.

There is some movement in terms of dialogue with local elements of Police Scotland.

mobilephonenearmiss4
mobilephonenearmiss5
mobilephonenearmiss6
mobilephonenearmiss7
mobilephonenearmiss-plate
mobilephonenearmiss2
mobilephonenearmiss3

Defies words, really.

Grit Scott!

The condition of Edinburgh’s core paths this winter has been a dramatic improvement over past years…

Council is going in the right direction…

Generally speaking, I only mention City of Edinburgh Council to moan about the many things they are doing wrong (or not doing at all!).

Perhaps it’s a little too easy to lose sight of the fact that the council is investing the highest proportion of its transport budget of any authority in the UK (currently 6%) in cycling.

The condition of the core paths this winter has been a dramatic improvement over past years, with regular treatment allowing Edinburgh’s cyclists to enjoy conditions like this, instead of re-enacting “Ice Road Truckers” every morning:

edinburgh-cycle-path-gritted

“Cleared!” by chdot, on Flickr

So yes, while a bit of help from citizen snowploughs has occasionally been called for, it would be churlish to deny the major step forward that we’ve seen compared with previous winters.

At least when it comes to uncontroversial measures that don’t disadvantage the sacred motoring cow, it’s reassuring to see some improvements on the ground; gritted paths are enjoyed by thousands of residents.

Will we see this trend continue? Here’s hoping…

Princes St to be rebuilt… without cycle provision

The Council is proposing a broad-ranging and ambitious revamp of Princes St and George St, to include segregated cycling on George St… but nothing on Princes St.

City of Edinburgh Council’s Transport and Environment Committee is about to agree “in principle” with a broad-ranging and ambitious plan to help regenerate the city centre.

The key proposal is to turn Princes St and George St into a gyratory, re-allocating the space created by the removal of running traffic in one direction on each of those streets to pedestrians and cyclists.

In general I applaud the proposal which goes far further than I think many people would have expected from this Council (which has distinguished itself, fairly or otherwise, by what seems to be an unhealthy fear of the Evening News).

georgest_new

However, while segregated cycle provision both ways along George St will be epic, the plan fails to offer the same on Princes St. Instead, cyclists who wish to use this direct route (avoiding the many junctions along George St as well as additional junctions at either end) are to be effectively banned eastbound and left to struggle amongst the fleet of buses and taxis jostling to travel westbound.

Princes St (like Leith Walk) is enormous, and there really is no plausible reason why two-way segregated cycling cannot be provisioned.

I’ve written to my councillors ahead of Tuesday’s meeting to ask them to support Spokes’ call that the proposals which go out for consultation include two-way segregated cycling along both streets.

In case you need inspiration:

Dear Councillors,

I am writing regarding “Building a Vision for the City Centre”, ahead of Tuesday’s meeting of the Transport & Environment Committee.

On the whole, I find these proposals very encouraging, but I have one major concern – I think it’s vital that the council also supports two-way segregated cycling on Princes St.

It’s particularly pleasing that the council continues to recognise the vital importance of separated cycle provision to get people into the city centre to work, shop and play. It’s obvious that the hoped-for high quality segregated route up Leith Walk would become doubly valuable with onward high quality segregated connections through the city centre – and vice versa.

This is the only way the council will get even close to its commitment on changing modal share.

However, a fundamental prerequisite of successful active travel provision is that it must be both direct and reliable. For a large proportion of cyclists this means Princes St – it is never shut for events for any significant period (unlike George St), and it involves a minimum of junctions (key hazards).

There are so many extra junctions to negotiate with a detour along George Street, not to mention extra crossings of the tramlines, that I think the Council will find significant numbers of cyclists continuing to struggle along Princes St (and potentially cycling “illicitly” eastbound and/or westbound using whatever space is created from the current eastbound lanes anyway). A recipe for conflict and lost potential.

I note that at this stage the Committee is only being asked to agree “in principle” with the proposals and to agree a consultation plan. In my opinion the Committee should offer vital guidance at this early stage that it expects to see an option including two-way segregated cycling on Princes St put out for consultation.

I’m sure I’m not alone in expressing these concerns and would appreciate it if you felt able to support this (or at least to pass this on to the relevant people).

Kind regards,

etc.