Monday, 20 January 2014

Cycling: More Afterthoughts

Just when you thought it couldn't get any worse...

If you haven't read my previous blog on the wonders of Glasgow City Council's approach to cycling it is worth a wee read. Have a look here. However, I have a wee update to that particular blog....

Don't get your hopes up! Glasgow CC hasn't seen the light and contacted me to say, yes we are muppets and it is now a top priority for us to completely overhaul the cycling plans. Did you really think that would happen?

What I can provide you is proper digital versions of the plans and not just pictures acquired by candle light.

Do GCC have a Cluedo? I think Magnatom did it, with the candle stick, in the pub.
So here are the plans for you to peruse at your leisure. (plan 1, plan 2, plan 3, plan 4, plan 5)

Please do have a look at them. Please share them with anyone you think might have an interest in them, and please feel free to add your comments here, or perhaps send your comments on to the council.

It gets worse though.

Glasgow, which apparently means 'Dear Green Place', does indeed have quite a few green places. There are parks scattered around Glasgow and in general, are actually pretty nice.There is a list of some of them here. Glasgow's parks are there for the enjoyment of the whole of the Glasgow community, and as such there does need to be a few wee rules to make sure everyone treats them and the people in them with respect.

Fair enough.

Glasgow has recently decided that the management rules need a wee bit of an update and have put this update out to consultation. You can have a look at it here. The consultation ends on the 14th February (I won't make any jokes about Glasgow CC loving bikes....) Here are a couple of interesting excerpts:

Cycling is welcome in parks, but only on tarmac paths or roads, designated cycle tracks or mountain bike courses.
Cyclists must maintain proper control of the cycle and ensure they do not endanger other road users. Cycle speed should not exceed 5 miles per hour.
and also:

Where permitted, vehicles must be driven safely and must not obstruct or risk causing injury or damage to other road users. Vehicle speed must not exceed 10 miles per hour. 

I think this is a first. I've got to this point in the blog and I am actually speechless (is there an equivalent in the blogsphere?). Where do I start with this one?
I suppose I should start with the obvious questions that the above management rules raise

Will you be providing track-standing lessons to cyclists who might want to use the parks?

Will the 5mph rule extend, not just to amateur cyclists using the new Glennifer Braes mountain bike course, but to Commonwealth athletes as well?

Has Glasgow city council looked at the definition of a vehicle and do they realise that a bicycle is a vehicle (apparently a bicycle is a vehicle according to the UN's 1968 Vienna Convention on Road Traffic and the fact that the UK is a signatory of this convention suggests.....)?

Therefore, on my bike am I allowed to cycle 5mph (and possibly fall off as it is bl**dy difficult to remain below 5mph and remain in proper control of a bike, especially when you have a council van determined to go the full 10mph behind you) or can I ride at 10mph?

Why are vehicles, and lets for argument sake assume you mean motorised vehicles here, allowed to travel up to 10mph and bikes are only allowed up to 5mph?

So many questions!!!

Yes, I know that the limit for cyclists is 'should' and for vehicles is 'must', but that is almost certainly down to the fact that bikes generally don't have speedometers and thus will find it damn hard to judge 5mph, never mind keep below it!

What I think this yet again does, is illustrate the regard that Glasgow CC has for the pedal bike. It is seen as a nuisance, an inconvenience, something that has to be discouraged and, if you absolutely, ABSOLUTELY have to plan for it, make sure it is added on at the very end of the planning process, as it can just bl**dy well fit around all the other far more important modes of transport!


Yes, I am ranting, but please remember that this is the best that Glasgow has to offer cyclists at a time when Edinburgh has just unveiled plans for a £10m and when Glasgow is about to welcome the worlds athletes to its boundaries. Not only is this a scandal in its own right, I'm beginning to feel embarrassed at telling people I'm a Glasgwegian.

What can we do?
Write to the council. Write to your councillors. Write to the papers. Try cycling 5mph and film yourself doing it, oh and.... 

....who is coming for a chat with Glasgow's cycling Czar Frank McAveety on the 30th January?


  1. Do the users of Glasgow parks actually feel in danger from cyclists?

  2. Its like they don't want children to have any fun at all.

  3. Doesn't the 'Freedom to Roam' act usually trump council bylaws? I'm pretty sure it does in Edinburgh. Heard the council here wanted to police off bike lane cyclists in the Meadows and were told it wasn't worth pursuing.

  4. A review of the management rules must not fall foul of the land reform act. They have no legal power to ban cyclists from public open space (and that includes off designated trails) as that would be in contravention of the LRA.

  5. Pretty certain my 3 year old nephew on his balance bike gets to over 5mph : I certainly can't keep with him at a fast walk.

    1. Your 3 year old nephew sounds awfully like my three-year old niece.

  6. My grandma always told the story of her school sports day in the 1930s where one of the competitions was who could go the slowest on the bike while not falling off, last man standing over the finish line won. Perhaps this is something that can be introduced to the Commonwealth Games.

  7. Here's my response to the consultation: just sent it in.

    Re: 7.2
    a) 5mph is very hard to maintain on a bike
    b) I don't have a speedometer on my bike so I can't be sure of my speed

    Can I therefore propose changing 7.2 to:
    7.2 Cycles must always be preceded by a man walking and carrying a red flag.

    This was used in the early days of the motor car and worked extremely effectively then.

    Re: 6.2
    Surely all vehicles should have the same speed limit? 6.2 and 7.2 should be consistent i.e. both 10mph or both 5mph

    Similarly I recommend changing 6.2 to
    6.2 All vehicles must at all times be preceded by a man walking and carrying a red flag.

    6.2 should be further clarified to include mobility scooters.

    Re 4 Animals
    Fast moving animals can be frightening and dangerous. The 5 mph speed limit should also apply to all animals in the park.

    I recommend adding
    4. 4 All animals, domestic or wild, must at all times be preceded by a man walking and carrying a red flag.


    Joggers and children can also move quite fast and in an unpredictable manner. Some joggers even push prams, children even play games in the parks. Again this can be frightening and dangerous. You should include the clause:

    All park users must at all times be preceded by a man walking and carrying a red flag.

    To avoid any distress to other park users it may be necessary to further insist that all men carrying red flags be preceded by a man carrying a red flag.

  8. Thanks for putting up the FastLink plans Magnatom! Squinty Bridge is showing as shared bus / cycle / taxi lane on your plan, but still 'bus only' on the cooncil's website - think I'll send an objection in anyway.