Like this site? Help us to make it better.

Petition to save Bears Way nudges 2,000 signatures

A "Complete the Bears Way" petition is edging closer to the 2,400 signatures achieved by an earlier petition to rip the cycle route out...

A petition to save an extension of the award-winning Bears Way cycle route near Glasgow, has exceeded 1,900 signatures.

The cycle route, which sees 1,000 cycle trips per week, was due to be built in four phases but was put on hold in a council vote after phase one following complaints from local residents concerned about narrowing a busy road and removing car parking outside a train station.

However, petitioners say those against the route’s extension represent a “small but vocal minority” who have persuaded local councillors to mothball the project based on “misinformation” over the effects of the route. They also point out rolling back the cycle lane is counter to the SNP’s own targets to achieve 10 per cent of journeys by bike by 2020.

Local councils accused of undermining Scottish Government cycling targets as cycle lanes scrapped

Petitioner Phil G wants to overturn East Dunbartonshire Council’s decision to suspend phase two of the Bears Way project, as well as addressing issues with phase one.

The petition states: “The Bears Way project is an important initiative for increasing sustainable transport. It has sadly been shouted down by a small but vocal minority who do not like the changes. They have been reiterating several pieces of misinformation, and it seems that the local councillors have been swayed by their rhetoric. 

“Many of the councillors who voted for the amendment which scrapped Phase 2 of the BearsWay did so in opposition to their own parties' sustainable transport policies (Lib Dem and SNP councillors, specifically).”

The petition claims concerns the road has been narrowed to an unsafe width are without evidence, and asserts the road is safe if people drive to the 30mph speed limit. It also claims there is no evidence that a majority of residents are against the proposals. It also points out no traffic lanes were lost in the building of the route.

The Bears Way cycle route, on the A81 Milngavie Road, was intended to be built in four phases, but has stumbled at phase one. Phase 1, from Burnbrae roundabout to Hillfoot along the A81, is already complete, but a petition signed by 2,600 locals is calling for even this to be ripped up.

24-hour automatic counters were installed to monitor usage and an average of over a thousand cycle trips a week were made between November 2015 and June 2016.

This stretch was also recently recognised for 'Achievements in Cycling' at the Scottish Transport Awards.

A vote was held at a meeting earlier this month, when councillors voted 11:12 against continuing with phase two.

Keith Small, SNP Councillor for East Dunbartonshire Council, who voted against extension of the Bears Way route, wrote in the Herald Scotland: “I am not anti-cycling and I support measures that will encourage people to consider other forms of travel rather than by car. However I am not persuaded that a segregated cycle lane that reduces road width, removes parking spaces near rail stations and local businesses and presents difficulties for local residents is the best solution.

“We should be considering a range of other projects to encourage cycling, such as safe cycling routes to schools.”

Labour Councillor Maureen Henry said SNP Councillors’ vote against the cycle route went against the party’s own cycling policy.

She said: “The SNP Government has set a target to have 10 per cent of everyday travel by bike by 2020. Has the memo been sent to SNP Councillors? Last month in East Dumbartonshire SNP, Lib Dem and independent councillors voted against the continuation of Bears Way, which would have provided safe, segregated cycle lanes from Milngavie into Glasgow. Indeed, SNP ministers have hailed this project as imaginative, very much in line with their policies for sustainable and active travel and, when Bears Way won an award, SNP ministers were first with the congratulations. Now we have SNP councillors in Ayrshire scuppering plans that would encourage cycle travel.”

Cyclist and campaigner David Brennan, who was at the meeting, reports one councillor saying protected cycle routes don’t encourage cycling.

Brennan wrote in his blog after the meeting: “East Dunbartonshire said yes to the driver, and no to anyone wanting to use a bike. There is not allowed to be a vote on this now for another 6 months, by which time we will be in the midst of a council election, which is likely to bring us more SNP councillors.”


Latest Comments