Campaigners “speechless” at proposed 5mph Glasgow park bike speed limit +Video

Motor vehicles to be limited to 10mph

by John Stevenson   January 23, 2014  

Pollock Park Glasgow (CC licensed image by John and Gill:Flickr)

A proposal to limit cyclists to just 5mph in Glasgow’s parks while the motor vehicle speed limit remains 10mph has left local cycling campaigners flabbergasted.

David Brennan of campaign group Pedal on Parliament told The Scotsman’s Alastair Dalton he was initially “speechless” when he heard of the plan.

He said: “What I think this does is illustrate the regard that Glasgow City Council has for the pedal bike.

“It is seen as a nuisance, an inconvenience, something that has to be discouraged and, if you absolutely have to plan for it, make sure it is added on at the very end of the planning process, as it can just fit around all the other far more important modes of transport.”

The proposed rule would allow cycling only on tarmac paths or roads, designated cycle tracks or mountain bike courses and even then: “Cyclists must maintain proper control of the cycle and ensure they do not endanger other road users. Cycle speed should not exceed 5mph.

“Where permitted, vehicles must be driven safely and must not obstruct or risk causing injury or damage to other road users. Vehicle speed must not exceed 10mph.”

David Brennan told Glasgow’s Evening Times: “Anyone who cycles knows it is difficult and actually quite unsafe to keep your balance on a bike at that speed. Even my four-year-old goes faster than that.”

Jim Ewing, project manager for cycling charity FreeWheel North, thinks such a severe restriction will put people off cycling in the parks.

He said: "I'm not aware of that many cycling accidents happening in green spaces which would bring this on.

"Why should cyclists be penalised any more than runners are? I think 10mph is a more reasonable limit for everyone."

A council spokesman said: “We want to ensure people can enjoy the parks without being caused any nuisance, and park users behave in a safe and responsible manner.

“At the moment, we’re suggesting cyclists stick to a 5mph speed limit in parks to ensure other parks users’ safety.

“We would encourage cyclists and cycle groups to get involved in the consultation and give us their feedback.”

In general, UK road speed limits do not apply to bicycles as they are specifically aimed at motor vehicles. Speed limits in London’s Richmond Park have been applied to cyclists as a result of arguably badly-drafted legislation imposing a blanket 20mph speed limit.

We're indebted to Twitter follower @scotbot for pointing out that Glasgow City Council converted a running track in Bellahouston Park into a banked outdoor cycling track. Here's a video by someone riding round it very slowly to give a taste of life under the 5mph regime.

29 user comments

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As a cyclist and resident of Glasgow I have to agree that this ruling is a bit excessive.

However, I often go to Pollock Park in Glasgow (where the photo is from), not to cycle but to walk round and I do get a bit irate when cyclists come round at speeds that do not take account of people walking on the same routes.

stenmeister's picture

posted by stenmeister [84 posts]
23rd January 2014 - 14:23


Since the vast majority of cyclists don't use a cycle computer, how are they expected to know what speed they're travelling at? And will the parks police be equipped with GATSO guns to check?

posted by babybat [23 posts]
23rd January 2014 - 14:23


Totally blinkered and thoughtless rule. I would suggest that all cycling Glaswegians go there on-mass at a publically arranged time and do a mass 10mph ride through the park, or possibly do it at 5mph fall off and injure a park warden.
Stupid as!

We're all entitled to a reasonable opinion!

posted by Guyz2010 [293 posts]
23rd January 2014 - 14:26


I concede the point that they want to limit the park from being used as an off-road raceway.
I can also see the point to limiting the speed of bikes and cars to the same amount. But 5 mph is ludicrous, not only is it slow enough to be a wobble speed, but we all know that at very slow speeds speedometers are inaccurate, nevermind that there is no requirement to have one fitted to a bike, or anything like that.
Pressumably pedestrains will be limited to 3mph.

posted by Wolfshade [114 posts]
23rd January 2014 - 14:41


With the Commonwealth Games coming up fast, this is gonna turn the MTB cross country races into a bit of a damp squib Smile

Seriously, though. Sustrans has 2 major cycle routes in Glasgow. Running through Glasgow Green, and Pollok Park, enforcing this is going to add a huge amount of time to the morning commute, and force cycling on the main, extremely busy roads instead. And what about the MTB tracks in Pollok Park? Are the Council going to turn a blind eye to everyone who uses them, as 5mph, is quite frankly impossible on most of the courses.

Finally, how are they going to enforce this? Will they employ Speed Monitors, in all Glasgow Parks, and if so, how will they pay for it? Maybe what they should be concerned about, is ridding the parks of the gangs of youths, drinkers (illegal in Glasgow parks) and drug users, that infest and blight many of the city's green spaces. I use Pollok Park all the time, as well as Newlands, Pollokshaws, Glasgow Green, Linn and Queen's Parks. I've yet to see any sort of accident involving a cyclist, or a car for that matter. I work in Edinburgh, and have already seen 14 (I've been counting) accidents where the new tram tracks have caused cyclist to meet the tarmac unexpectedly, outside Haymarket Station. It takes me 1 minute, each way to get past the tracks. People are in general, very well behaved and sensible, no one speed along at 20+ mph, through families, joggers and dog walkers, so if it 'aint broke……….

icam1968's picture

posted by icam1968 [11 posts]
23rd January 2014 - 14:41


I ride through the park on my way to work - usually alone apart from a couple of cars rat running the traffic queues. I also visit regularly to walk the dogs. I can now go faster walking than I;m supposed to on the road on my bike? As all car drivers will see 10 and implement 25, that leaves quite a big speed differential if we stick to the 5.

As there is no legal mandate for a bike to have a speedo, the law is completely unenforceable.

Besides, I have no speedo on my commuter bike - I assume 5mph equates to a brisk pedalling speed in 53x15?

Yet another stupid law put in by people with no understanding. Who elects these idiots? (I assume this has gone through some City Council Committee?)

Not so much a six pack as a barrel!

posted by Bigfoz [82 posts]
23rd January 2014 - 14:46


"Speed limits in London’s Richmond Park have been applied to cyclists as a result of arguably badly-drafted legislation imposing a blanket 20mph speed limit."

I was there on Sunday - whilst riding at 20mph I was overtaken by a Richmond Parks truck. Oh the irony!

posted by Pauldmorgan [186 posts]
23rd January 2014 - 15:21


A speed limit is fair enough - but 5mph is just crazy.

Why is this not applicable to joggers (or even brisk walkers) then?

I could probably wheel the bike along while dismounted faster than that. Would that be allowed or not? Can this be clarified?

What about users of prams, buggies and shopping trollies? Are they also not to exceed 5mph?

And why are motorised vehicles allowed to go twice as fast as bikes? I can't understand the logic there at all.

posted by FluffyKittenofT... [796 posts]
23rd January 2014 - 15:49


So no running then. My son is a triathlete. He does the running part of a spring Tri 5k in 15 mins. That's 20 kph. So about 12 miles per hour.

Hang on a mo.. Just looking something up.

OK Back now

It seems a normal athletic club walker does 5k in about 20 mins. So that's about 10mph.

Can you get nicked for walking too fast in Glasgow?

Some light infantry regiments in the army would break the speed limit marching through that park.

The question I am debating is whether this crazy 5mph speed limit for a bicycle is a result of Glasgow being the obesity capital of Europe or in part the cause of it?

Cycling is like a church - many attend, but few understand.

posted by oozaveared [791 posts]
23rd January 2014 - 16:08


Council in 'they don't understand the first thing about cycling' shock.

posted by HarrogateSpa [146 posts]
23rd January 2014 - 16:11


Facts in this aren't quite right - although admittedly we only worked this out a few days back.

Bike and car limits in the parks have always been 5mph. They're proposing to double the car limit to 10mph whilst leaving the bike limit the same. However, the bike limit is 'should', so there's no 'must' limit defined if you're on a bike.

Cycling on the grass is also banned. Even, you know, if you're five years old and learning how to balance...

The real issue is how all this interacts with the Land Reform Act (Scotland's biggest legal triumph), which doesn't allow limits on cycles in parks to be set in this manner.

More here (disclosure; self promotion...):

posted by Darkerside [63 posts]
23rd January 2014 - 16:16


As a fully qualified lawyer (im not) i would say this is totally unenforceable.
Good luck to the nincompoops (legal term) in t'council in trying to and bravo for coming up with such a ill thought out policy.

posted by Some Fella [844 posts]
23rd January 2014 - 16:18


Usual Glasgow council garbage. They should stick to something they are good at which is..................sorry but I can't think of anything. Remember this when it comes time to vote.

posted by joebee9870 [62 posts]
23rd January 2014 - 16:21


So, these are roads, shared with cars yes?

I feel a mass-slowride challenge coming on, trackstands allowed!

Roads/paths shared by pedestrians and cycles? Maybe - segregation would be safer as would cycling on the road.

posted by Farky [183 posts]
23rd January 2014 - 16:25


What numbskull thought this one up?


posted by OldRidgeback [2338 posts]
23rd January 2014 - 16:47


Remember this is the same council that wanted to spend £65,000 to raise a statue and prevent people placing a cone on top of it.

bbc news

posted by dodger421 [4 posts]
23rd January 2014 - 17:14


The problem with copying and pasting stuff from elsewhere and quoting some people who are half interested in their own self promotion is that the issue gets so dumb downed.

The who thing is a massive reduction in the liberty the people of Glasgow have to enjoy their parks. As mentioned things like cycling on the grass will be banned which I think is more of a concern than any speed limit.

People like to joke about Cathkin Braes etc, but any dedicated cycle track or trail, eg facilities at Bellahouston and Pollock Parks are exempt.

Funny people forget that the Commonwealth Games road race go through Glasgow Green and Kelvingrove Park. But these will likely have exemptions applied to them.

posted by euanlindsay [80 posts]
23rd January 2014 - 17:24


So, if they're doing this for the safety of park users, why double the speed limit for cars then?

That would possibly maybe have the effect of endangering park users, no?

Incompetent in all but double-speak...

posted by jacknorell [706 posts]
23rd January 2014 - 17:37


There is more to this than just outraging cyclists. The full proposal is here - - and there is a petition asking GCC to drop some of the proposals here -

netclectic's picture

posted by netclectic [122 posts]
23rd January 2014 - 19:52


Barmy. Joggers = 8mph, roller skaters = 10-12mph. Bikes 5mph. These guys at the council need to get on a bike and try to maintain 5mph or less. Even on a little kids bike if you turn the pedals gently you're still going along at 8-9mph. This country is full of barmy idiots that have no place in authority.

What they need to do is spend some money on dedicated cycle lanes if they are that worried about collisions with cycles.

posted by Critchio [118 posts]
23rd January 2014 - 20:02


Add some Di2, carbon frame, titanium pedals, aero seat tube, and a full on race saddle.

Now we're talking. Seriouzly.

posted by Argos74 [307 posts]
23rd January 2014 - 21:18


Signed the petition.

I pass through Glasgow Green and Pollok Park on my ride home from Hamilton on bike days. Also use Kelvingrove park if I'm heading to the canal routes and Linn Park as an alternative route home.

It's easy to slow down a bit for pedestrians and a friendly 'excuse me' lets them know I'm coming up if there seems to be a possibility of less space than is ideal.

I have been caught out myself whilst walking, so can appreciate what it is like to have a bike suddenly come up on you. I was surprised at just how startling it was and it did give me a needed reminder of the fact we are sharing the routes.

Some of the wider paths through Glasgow Green could easily be marked for different use, but pedestrians will still wander in to the cycle lane. This happened in Rouken Glen park but the markings are fading and don't appear to be getting reapplied.

I would agree with an attempt to encourage more considerate cycling, but would also like to see pedestrians and dog walkers given advice on looking before they cross paths etc. Cyclists should be behaving towards pedestrians just as we seek motorists to behave towards us.

I'll see how much enforcement is in place when I'm riding through the parks. Will be curious to see how they will attempt to do this and to see how much the car limit is enforced.

posted by IanD [22 posts]
23rd January 2014 - 21:43


Email comments to The petition is a waste of time IMO, the council want comments on the proposed new park management rules. There is more in them than just '5mph' the press jumped on this as the 'headline' story. eg there are Human rights issues at stake eg by banning groups over 20 from parks, which includes George Square, without council approval, they block the right to peaceful assembly (article 20) in Glasgow's main square.

posted by jimulti [10 posts]
24th January 2014 - 0:34


There are so many stupid rules that could just be replaced with

"be sensible & considerate around others"

posted by paulmcmillan [87 posts]
24th January 2014 - 10:21


When Scotland goes independant in a years time we wont have to worry about it as it wont be part of the UK then...... Big Grin

There are no stupid questions, just stupid people.

stumps's picture

posted by stumps [2892 posts]
24th January 2014 - 11:29


The speed limit in Crystal Palace park is also 5mph. I actually think it's a good thing for the park, with the park being a famous crit circuit, you used to get people flying around the park and getting annoyed at people/dogs/pretty much anything else that are also in the park.

pants's picture

posted by pants [110 posts]
24th January 2014 - 15:52


pants wrote:
The speed limit in Crystal Palace park is also 5mph. I actually think it's a good thing for the park, with the park being a famous crit circuit, you used to get people flying around the park and getting annoyed at people/dogs/pretty much anything else that are also in the park.

It's rather ironic seeing as how there used to be motor racing at Crystal Palace until the 70s and speeds were in excess of 160mph. The annual hill climb motorsport event there has cars going pretty quickly as well.

I've cycled round Crystal Palace park many times with my boys and at much higher speeds, especially on the downhill stretch. No pedestrians were harmed or scared in any way. No one told us to slow down. Nor do I remember seeing any signs come to think of it.

A 5mph speed limit for cyclists is stupid.


posted by OldRidgeback [2338 posts]
24th January 2014 - 16:51


I congratulate all the council that are involved and applaud your outstanding ability to achieve a preposterously retarded and a continuously backwards attitude to cycling that only goes against the grain of common-sense and progress.

Thank you.

The glass is 50% capacity.

mrfree's picture

posted by mrfree [45 posts]
24th January 2014 - 20:59


Should not / must not. So it isn't intended that the 5mph limit be enforced, only the 10mph for all vehicles.


posted by stevengoodfellow [45 posts]
24th January 2014 - 23:07