April 2013

The Good, the Bad or the Ugly??

What do Spokes members think about Princes Street, about tramlines and about Edinburgh City Council’s Quality Bike Corridor?   Now we know …

In March Spokes surveyed members on the above issues, all of which are controversial and where, from our ordinary feedback, the views of members appeared fairly mixed.  Where there is controversy we needed some reassurance of backing from members for the stance taken in our submissions to the council.  We were pleased to find that the views of members were in fact very much in line with these submissions.

The full survey report is here [pdf 307k].   Apart from the numeric data, the survey sought written comments, and these provide a fascinating insight into the reasons why members take the views they do.

Summary of the Survey Report

  • A traffic-free Princes Street is the top wish for Edinburgh City Centre, although failing that there is strong support for 1-way motor traffic in Princes Street and George Street, provided that 2-way cycle use is included in the traffic-free areas of both streets.
  • The tramlines have had a major impact on perception of safety.  Of those who used to cycle in Princes Street, over a quarter had largely or completely stopped doing so, and many more feel worried even though they continue to use Princes Street.
  • However a separate Spokes bicycle count [pdf 50k][data also in the survey report] found that 50% more cyclists still use Princes Street than George Street in the rush hour – confirming the importance of Princes Street for getting about the city centre by bike.
  • Remarkably, over 5% of all respondents had come off their bike as a result of the tramlines.  The survey, however, also strongly suggests that there would be many less tramline crashes if the street was free of motor traffic.  Traffic can force cyclists onto the tramlines, or can make it impossible to adopt a safe angle for crossing them.
  • Over 75% of respondents thought the Quality Bike Corridor [QBiC] had improved cycling conditions – but the great majority of those felt that it could have been a lot better.
  • Cars parked on cycle lanes were easily the top complaint about QBiC.  This was mainly because the cycle lanes allow parking at certain times of day, but there is also a problem of enforcement.
  • Other QBiC complaints included: the red chip surfacing is not red enough; QBiC should have been a physically segregated route; the Hotel Missoni cycle lane design is poor and encourages vehicle encroachment.

If you’d like your views included in any future survey and if you’d like to be kept informed about what’s happening to improve cycling conditions in Edinburgh, the Lothians and Scotland, and how you can influence it, it’s easy – join Spokes now!


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