August 2014
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Considerate cycling

CONSIDERATE ROAD AND PATH USE

Contents

1. Background
2. Spokes Initiatives – including downloadable/printable Spokes On Shared Paths leaflets
3. Other high-quality shared-use leaflets
4. Particular local problem areas
5. Countryside Access Code

1. BACKGROUND

Spokes is concerned that using a bike should be seen by everyone as a positive and obvious way to get around.  Inconsiderate cycling damages this perception.  It can also cause motorist aggression to other cyclists, it can frighten people who are walking, and in some cases it can be an actual danger to other people, as well as to the cyclist themself.

Of course, this is a 2-way street and we equally need to see safe and considerate behaviour by all road and path users.   It is a sad and surprising fact that around half of motorists admit to sometimes “driving significantly above the (speed) limit in built up areas” [RAC report on motoring, 2007].  And cyclist injuries occur due to dogs off the lead or on very-long leads on shared paths.

It is also notable that many provisions ‘for cyclists’ are also very beneficial to walkers.  Advanced stop lines at junctions improve visibility of and by all road users, thus reducing risks to pedestrians as well as cyclists.   For years locals campaigned unsuccessfully for a pedestrian crossing of Melville Drive at Middle Meadow Walk, but only once cycling was legalised did the council consider there was enough total demand to justify a light-controlled crossing.  And much of Edinburgh’s off-road path network, benefitting both walkers and cyclists, was initially created thanks to long campaigning by Spokes – the North Edinburgh Network being the prime example.

The more people who get about Edinburgh by bike, the less pollution, noise and congestion for everyone, and the less the strain on the NHS from obesity-related illness.   Already 7% of trips to work are by bike in Edinburgh [Scottish Household Survey] – imagine the roads if all these people went by car!   Spokes seeks to increase this figure, and at the same time to spread awareness of the value of mutual consideration by all road and path users – for example through initiatives such as the following…

2. SPOKES INITIATIVES ON CONSIDERATE CYCLING

Over the years Spokes has taken several initiatives to promote considerate cycling.   These include…

2013 We worked with an Edinburgh University MSc / City Council research study which produced a Strategy for Considerate Cycling in Edinburgh [pdf 1MB].  This is to be considered by the Council.

We worked with Scottish Canals on their new Towpath Code.  The cycling sections were adapted from our Shared Paths leaflets [below] and used by Scottish Canals for consultation with other groups such as Living Streets.

2012 New innovative Spokes On Shared Paths leaflet in 2 versions.

We strongly recommend reading our news item 19 October 2012 which explains the reasons for the two versions and gives some more background on them.

You are welcome to download and print these as they are.  If you use our ideas in your own materials we would welcome a credit and mention of our website.

The ‘topics-based’ version is available on paper – ask for copies if needed.  It was printed as an extra page in all 12,000 copies of Spokes Bulletin 114, available at Spokes stalls, and used in campaigns with other groups, such as for leafletting towpath users.

2010-2011 We support the Bike Station/ BWTW Shared Paths leaflet [pdf 430k] and have distributed these at stalls etc.

2008-2009 Bike Polite Campaign included 10,000 Bike Polite slap bands distributed mainly with new bikes via bike shops.   Subsequently Spokes was commissioned by Glasgow City Council to run a similar campaign.

1995-2005 Cycling Skills on Shared Paths Leaflet sent to all Spokes members, supplied on request to community groups, and handed out to cyclists on the canal towpath.

3. OTHER RELEVANT LEAFLETS/ CODES [if particularly good or useful]

4. PARTICULAR PROBLEM AREAS

5. COUNTRYSIDE ACCESS

This is regulated by the Scottish Outdoor Access Code [SOAC], which emphasises all users behaving responsibly.  For cyclists, this includes deciding whether or not a path is suitable for cycling.  For full details see the code itself and summary leaflet, both available from Scottish Natural Heritage at www.outdooraccess-scotland.com.