Last year at Doors Open Day my friend and I visited The White House Inn on Maryhill Road, Glasgow which has now been taken over by Free Wheel North, an organisation working towards a fairer, healthier society by encouraging people of all ages and abilities to walk and cycle as part of their everyday life. Free Wheel North believes that one of the simplest and most effective ways to improve health and well-being is for more people to travel under their own steam. Whether by walking or cycling, we all benefit when more of us take to the streets on our own two feet. I firmly believe that to be true and am trying my best to cycle as much as possible but sometimes I have to admit that I do find the thunderous traffic on the busy roads a bit daunting and I’m sure I’m not the only one.
In theory Glasgow should be a cyclists’ paradise, being a reasonably compact city with many parks and green spaces offering car free journeys in pleasant surroundings. Indeed the city boasts the newly constructed Sir Chris Hoy velodrome built for the 2014 Commonwealth Games. But as Owen Duffy in a previous article states about Glasgow: “Plagued by 1960s planning, the city was built largely with a driving populace in mind. The grid-iron Victorian city centre connects with the M8 motorway, whose grim bridges and tunnels cut through the heart of the city. Its unsightly tangle of slip roads and interchanges can be tricky to navigate for two-wheeled road users.”
It was therefore welcome news to note that a cycling charity, CTC, has recently called for a detailed analysis of where road accidents take place in the city in order to have the correct speed limit restrictions imposed in the right places. Campaigners urged the Council to ensure that 20mph zones in the city become the norm, especially in areas that frequently result in accidents and fatalities for cyclists.
A study revealed that cyclists and vulnerable road users were much more likely to have an accident on roads leading into the city centre particularly where there are a combination of shops, on-street parking, frequent junctions and no cycle facilities. Examples include sections of the main Kilmarnock Road , Victoria Road , Dumbarton Road, Byres Road and Shettleston Road. The study also found that dual carriageways were particularly dangerous for cyclists with roundabouts on dual carriageways being the highest at- risk area. Auldhouse roundabout, on a dual carriageway on route to a retail park, is the highest single cycle accident locality in the city. Other roundabouts such as those on Barrhead Road, Shieldhall Road, Paisley Road West and Langside Avenue also have problems.
Another cycling charity, Go Bike, has also presented Glasgow City Council with a petition signed by more than 220 people calling for Glasgow to follow Edinburgh and become Scotland’s second “20mph” city. The case was laid out to the Council’s Petition’s Committee and was thereafter referred by the Council to their Sustainability and Environmental Policy Development Committee.
Bob Downie, the member of Go Bike who drew up the petition, along with fellow campaigner Tricia Fort argued that “just over 930 miles of Glasgow’s roads- including congested city centre routes and residential streets- should become 20mph limits.” The charity urged Glasgow to follow the example of Edinburgh where there are plans to convert 80% of the capital’s streets to 20mph limits using only signage. Doing this is estimated to cost Glasgow £1.5 million and will take 5 years to complete as opposed to deploying expensive traffic calming measures such as speed bumps which the charity, using figures obtained under the freedom of information, advised costs the council £33,000 per mile.
The policy has also been rolled out in other UK cities, including Bristol, Plymouth, Oxford and Islington as a means of cutting pollution and improving safety.
Any proposals which would reduce accidents must be embraced. Being involved in an accident can be a horrific and life changing event. Of course being in an accident through no fault of your own means you may be entitled to make a personal injury claim and Paul Neilly or Hugh Grant in our Court Department would be able to help. They can be contacted by telephone on 0141-552-3422 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. For me with new safety measures being put in place I ardently hope the necessity of making claims for compensation for personal injuries decreases.