Monday, 20 August 2012

Glasgow Cycling Czar

Today Frank McAveety has been announced as a 'Cycling Czar' within Glasgow city council. Here is a letter I have e-mailed to Mr McAveety on my own behalf and behalf of Pedal on Parliament.

Dear Mr McAveety,

First of all, please let me congratulate you on your appointment as 'Cycling Czar' in Glasgow City Council. I was pleasantly surprised by the news this morning that GCC had taken this step.

I myself am a Glasgow cyclist (from Torrance to my work in the south of Glasgow daily) and have been for a number of years a cycle safety campaigner. I started off by videoing my commute and posting incidents and things of interest on Youtube ( and also write a blog about cycling and cycle campaigning (

Most recently I came up with the idea, and jointly organised a protest ride and movement called Pedal on Parliament (POP) which attracted 3000+ cyclists to attend in April ( It also gained the support of well known cyclists such as Mark Beaumont, Graeme Obree and Sir Chris Hoy. It is POP's aim to make Scotland a cycle friendly nation which we believe can be achieved by following our 8 point manifesto ( Most importantly it is our belief to make cycling safe and increase numbers of cyclists significantly that there needs to be significant investment in cycle infrastructure. This will require funding streams not only from local council but from central government as well.

Glasgow's roads are unfortunately far from being cycle friendly, despite the suggestion of the fundamentally flawed Virgin money survey placing Glasgow 6th in the UK for cycle friendliness. Had the survey actually taken account of the numbers of cyclists, which is very low in Glasgow in comparison to other areas, then Glasgow would have been found somewhere close to the bottom of the table (see here for more details on how flawed the calculations were Despite the reality, there has never been a better time to invest in cycling in Glasgow. There is increased interest following our success at the Olympics, Glasgow will receive a further boost from the opening of the Velodrome, and Glasgow will be the proud host of the Commonwealth Games in 2014. Hopefully your appointment is the first step on this journey.

There is no doubt that investment at a time of financial strife is difficult, however, spending on cycling is truly an investment. Cycling brings about not only health benefits, something that is a very important consideration in Glasgow, it also brings reductions in local pollution and associated reductions in CO2 emissions, social benefits, economic benefits and reductions in congestion.  However, in the past money has been spent badly, and nearly all of Glasgow's cyclists will tell you that the majority of the cities cycle infrastructure is poor and at times dangerous to use. For money to be well spent the infrastructure needs to be fully FUNDED, properly DESIGNED, and properly CONNECTED.

As well as posting a copy of this e-mail on my blog (as I normally do) I have copied it to people from other interested campaigns (Go-Bike, CTC Scotland, Sustrans, and Cycling Scotland) who I am sure along with ourselves will be keen to offer advice on how best to take things forward in Glasgow. Therefore, I ask on behalf of myself a concerned Glasgow cyclist and and on behalf of POP for you to please invite us to have discussions with you on how to make Glasgow a cycle friendly city.

With both central and local government buy in, with properly target funding, and with the right advice, Glasgow can become a cycle friendly city.


  1. Having just returned a car and then cycled back along South Street, and a number of other locations might I suggest he gets those responsible for roads to deal with some of the lethal defects - and not just for cyclists. Evidence of very serious collapse of the supporting structure of the road surface here but a key solution would be to actually focus on repairing just enough width of this road to provide a single carriageway with generous 4.25m lanes or 3.0m lanes and 1.5-2m advisory cycle lanes. Narrowing this road would allow repairs to be focussed on a smaller area and thus done to a better standard, and reduce the road size and alignment that positively invites speeding.

    The joke of a very hazardous cycle route on the footway crossing access turnings to residential and commercial premises could then be dumped. To put cyclists doing up to 10 times the speed of pedestrians on a cramped footway is insanity in its lack of design sense - it compares with letting an electric milk float (8-10 mph) drive up the middle lane on a motorway (typically 80mph).

    Far better to integrate cycle traffic in towns with motor traffic which will barely be going twice as fast, and often matching speeds with faster cyclists.

    One purge which would be welcomed would be to have a campaign to stop and interview/educate those riding cycles along footways on major arterial routes like Great Western Road at totally inappropriate speeds, and find ways to put them on to the carriagway, or a separate route for cycling.

  2. Hi there,
    Great letter. Did you ever get a response from McAveety?