According to a survey carried out by the Times of the things the 14,000 cyclists who support their Fit for Cycling campaign wish for, a separate lane tops the list. I echo those sentiments as someone living in Edinburgh that is ostensibly cycle friendly but has caused over a 100 accidents to cyclists in the last few years. Not only because the installation of tram works caused the Council to remove the cycle lane from one of the busiest streets in the city, they replaced it with a road that not only directs cyclists between tramlines, they actively encourage it with the road markings! I understand that a separate cycle lane was proposed for Edinburgh but along with other recommendations made to the Council, it appears to have been ignored.
Among other desires for cyclists, the survey identified simpler and safer junctions together with 20 mph speed limits and improvements to the road surface. As an injury lawyer I’ve been approached by cyclists that have been injured on Princes Street with the majority of them having complained about pressure from traffic when cycling near or between the tramlines. If the speed limit was cut then this would decline and as a consequence, so would accidents. Indeed, I am confident that had the Council implemented the recommendations made to them prior to setting out on the tram project, then accidents are likely to have been avoided in their entirety.
It is encouraging to see Boris Johnston, the Mayor of London, announce that there would be long term investment for a cycle infrastructure to the sum of £1 billion over the next decade. The Boris Bike Super Cycle Highway is a cyclist’s dream giving cyclists their own lane, the width of a car and leaves you feeling completely safe whilst touring the city, albeit, a super highway is only restricted to certain stretches of road.
Such forward thinking has to be encouraged and it is hoped that the Government of the day take up the recommendations of the Times campaign which I am glad to see is gathering support and momentum around the country and that Edinburgh experiences the ripple effect and certainly in advance of the audacious bid to host the start of the Tour de France, I wonder what Wiggins et al will make of the conditions on Princes Street!