Cycle safety campaigners in Glasgow yesterday formed a human chain to mark out a ‘people protected bike lane’ to protest against plans by the city council to reduce the amount of space given to cyclists on University Avenue, which is at the heart of a £1 billion redevelopment.
Strathclyde cycling campaign group GoBike is calling for physically protected bike lanes on the campus redevelopment in the city’s West End, instead of current proposals which would just see a painted cycle lane.
Urging both the Glasgow University and Glasgow City Council to afford more protection to cyclists, GoBike co-convenor Iona Shepherd said: “Paint is not protection, and we simply cannot accept roads being upgraded without providing safe spaces for active travel."
"We live in a city where almost 50 per cent of households do not own a car. Our streets need to be safe not just for people who currently choose the bike to get around, but for all people who want to choose active travel but don’t because there is no safe linked up network available for them.
"University Avenue is well used by cycling staff, students and commuters, and we welcome the improvements in the scheme for pedestrians,” she continued.
“But 37 per cent of students at Glasgow University have said they would cycle if routes were safer, and so this project could do so much to boost active travel share if the cycling provision is right.
"We need active travel to be given due priority for our city to become less congested, less polluted, healthier and safer.”
There are also concerns over the safety of bike riders in Byers Road, which is also in the West End of Scotland’s largest city.
Euan Muir from the campaign group Space for People Byers Road said: "University Avenue is currently unsafe. It's a road busy with motor traffic slicing through the centre of campus, dividing it in two. To simply cross campus requires dashing between streams of motor vehicles."
"The consequence of this motor induced danger was seen last year when someone was killed.
"Those opting to cycle are expected to mix with these motor vehicle streams which understandably few are willing to-do. Our streets should be safe such that people can cross the street with ease and feel safe to cycle,” he added.
Glasgow University student Eachann Gillies commented “I’m really happy to see Glasgow University recognising that University Avenue needs a reallocation of space – more space for pedestrians definitely makes sense.
“However, I think the failure to provide real space for cycling is a real backwards step. I cycle up University Avenue regularly and I often have to dodge doors opening into my path, cars parked in the cycle lane and close passes whilst cycling uphill.
“The University should be thinking about what kind of travel it wants to enable and what kind of environment it wants to create for its students and staff. The new proposals certainly don’t look to be creating safe space for cycling”.
Sunday’s protest came just two days after Glasgow was confirmed as the host of the inaugural UCI Cycling World Championships, which will for the first time bring together 13 separate disciplines in a single event, with the UCI planning to hold a combined world championship in a different location every four years.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.