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Glasgow cycling facilities among worst in the UK

Glasgow has come third bottom in a survey of cycling facilities and provision in 20 British cities.

The city came 18th in the poll which was conducted by specialist magazine Cycling Plus.

Voters were asked to judge cities on nine categories, including the number of biking commuters, cycling club members, miles of cycle network and independent bike shops.

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Other factors taken into consideration included pollution, road quality and theft of cycles.

Edinburgh was the only other Scottish city included in the survey and came fifth for its cycling provision.

In comparison, Scotland’s largest city was above only Birmingham in 19th place and Bradford, which came bottom. Bristol came out top in the poll.

Cyclists last night gave a mixed reaction to facilities in Glasgow, with most saying cycle lanes needed tougher enforcement to prevent cars parking in them and improved lane provision.

Barbara Collins, 39, a freelance statistician, disputed the third-bottom position. “I don’t agree with that,” she said. “From where we are we can get to most places we want to in Glasgow via cycle paths.

“I’m not a big fan of cycling on the roads so I use the cycle routes. But what is the point of having a cycle lane if motorists are being allowed to park in them?”

Derek Martin, 62, a care worker from Partick in the west end, said: “I don’t cycle on the roads at all, I just don’t feel safe on them -- if you hit a pothole it can send you into the path of traffic.

“I’m not that surprised we came 18th. Paths on the continent in places like Holland have far better provision.”

Glasgow City Council described the cycling survey as “disappointing”. A spokeswoman said: “Glasgow is making great progress in promoting and establishing cycling as a form of transport for work and leisure.

“We are investing in the Cathkin Braes, we have a mountain cycle track at Pollok Park and the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome will be one of the lasting legacies to our citizens from the Commonwealth Games.

“Measures introduced to reduce congestion include the development of streamline bus priority corridors, parking controls and charges and a traffic regulation condition designed to tackle the problems sometimes caused by buses stopping incorrectly.”

Fewer than 1% of journeys in Glasgow are made by bike, but the Scottish Government has set a target of 10% for the country.

A spokesman said: “Through the Scottish Government’s concordat with Cosla, local authorities have been given more funding and greater flexibility than ever before to invest in local priorities.

“We are also investing in cycling. Over half of our Sustainable and Active Travel budget goes on cycling and in 2010-11, Sustrans, one of the key organisations in Scotland, will receive over £5 million, an increase of 26%.

“The first ever Cycling Action Plan for Scotland will be published later this month which will take the country towards getting 10% of all journeys by bike by 2020, an ambitious but wholly achievable target.”

    CASE STUDY: Not always a smooth ride for cyclists in the city

 

Graham Collins enjoyed an Easter Sunday ride along the Clydeside cycle lane with his wife Barbara yesterday afternoon as they made their way to Pollok Country Park on the south side of Glasgow.

However, the 39-year-old web developer from Kelvindale admitted there were many gaps in Glasgow’s cycle lane provision which could be easily remedied.

One of the main links from the north to the south side that is used by cyclists is closed while improvements are made to Bells Bridge.

It means cyclists are forced to use the Finnieston road bridge instead to cross the Clyde.

Mr Collins said: “In general they are doing quite well and there are great routes which can be reached from here to places like Loch Lomond.

“I spend an hour a day commuting on the bike to the city centre. I don’t particularly notice the pollution, but I think that’s because the wind here helps keep the fumes at bay.

“My main issue would be about them ensuring the route is continuous. There’s quite few a places where the route just stops and you have to use the pavement which can be quite dangerous when you are facing oncoming traffic.

“In most cases it’s just a few hundred yards of lane they need to get fixed, but it would be much better.”

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