Dave Brennan Cycling Campaigner and Pedal on Parliament Organiser
When I started cycling in Glasgow in 2005 I could commute 24 miles daily for a week or two without seeing another cyclist on the roads; now I often see seven or eight a day.
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However, the number of cyclists in Glasgow remains small: the 2011 census data of cycling commuters makes up just over one per cent of daily traffic, and that one per cent of them do so ‘despite the weather conditions’, not because of them.
Unfortunately, Glasgow lacks a good-quality cycling infrastructure, with only 3.3km of segregated track for the whole of the city. There’s just over 300km of cycling infrastructure in total, but the majority is either shared with pedestrians or buses, or is poor-quality painted cycle lanes. Glasgow currently doesn’t reserve any of its transport budget for active travel investment.
All is not lost, though. The council recently appointed a cycling czar, Frank McAveety, who seems to understand the need for change. Over the last year he has been on a fact-finding mission, cycling Glasgow’s streets for himself and talking to local cyclists to try and understand their problems.
Hopefully Frank will be behind real change. Some plans Glasgow council is considering in collaboration with Sustrans may result in better quality facilities in some areas, but it’s important that any new infrastructure is built to the highest standard and isn’t built in isolation.
There’s also a new and growing social campaigning scene sprouting around the new City Cycling Glasgow (citycyclingglasgow.com) forum that, alongside more established local groups such as Go-Bike, might help drive the cycling agenda forward with help from national campaigns such as Pedal on Parliament (pedalonparliament.org).
Glasgow has a long way to go to become a city safe for cycling, but with growing pressure for change from the grass-roots, with some political will and focused investment, the city has the opportunity to become not only the ‘dear green place’, but a people-friendly place as well.
This article was first published in the January 16 issue of Cycling Weekly. Read Cycling Weekly magazine on the day of release where ever you are in the world International digital edition, UK digital edition. And if you like us, rate us!