Friday 30 September 2016

My Letter to Anne

I have sent the following letter to my local SNP councillors who voted against phase 2 of the Bears Way cycle lane.

Dear Anne McNair,

As a local constituent, as an organiser of Pedal on Parliament, and as a member of Friends of Bearsway, can I please ask,  what were your personal reasons for voting for the amendment to the Bears Way report at last nights meeting?

Previously you have suggested to me that you support cycling and investment of cycle infrastructure. Thus, I am confused, given the overwhelming evidence for the benefits of cycling, the overwhelming evidence that segregated infrastructure needs to play a large part in a functioning cycle network, and the overwhelming evidence that if you build such infrastructure that it encourages significant uptake of active travel, that you voted against this scheme.

The scheme certainly isn't perfect, however, it is, or should I say was, a big step in the right direction. I had never seen children cycling along that route until the introduction of the new cycle lane. I personally have never felt safer, than when I cycle in that cycle lane. I had hoped that when complete, and my children were at Boclair Acadamy, that they could, on occasion, cycle along with me from Torrance on their way to school. This will no longer be possible.

I am also extremely confused, because this local decision goes against your own parties national policy, with both Derek Mackay and Hamza Yousuf both recently commending the lane at an event where the lane won a national award. The assertions by your colleague Keith Small, that segregation infrastructure is not the way to reach your own parties 'aspiration' for a 10% modal share, flies in the face of international wisdom. I would be keen to see what references you or Keith have for this assertion.

How exactly will people cycle to Waitrose or Asda safely, as suggested by Keith, without segregation? Certainly not with paint on the roads. I can assure you, the previous layout of the road did NOT result in a happy co-existance of road users, as was asserted by Keith.

Also can you confirm for me if your decision to vote for the amendment was indeed a personal decision? I was surprised that your whole party voted in one block, against the extension of the lane. I am no expert in politics, but this looked very much like it was a local party decision to vote against the lane as one group. Was this in fact a personal decision, or a party decision?

I, and many others like me are aghast at this decision (as I stated as I left the meeting room last night). On the face of it you have voted in favour of party politics, and not in the best interests of your constituents, and the future of East Dunbartonshire. This decision will have implications far beyond the authorities boundary, and will as a result have ongoing implications in the areas of health, pollution, climate change, transport inequality, and congestion. Are you happy that you have made the right decision in that regard?

I look forward to your reply, and I ask that you also provide a seperate reply that I can give to my three children aged 11, 9 and 6, who were all very exited about being able to 'cycle through Bearsden and Milngavie' on a safe cycle path.

Yours sincerely,

Dr David Brennan

Wednesday 28 September 2016

Failed by the Police

As I'm sure most of my readers will know I occasionally report bad driving to the police. Not often, because the process is not nice, but I do do it where I feel the driving has been particularly bad. This was one such case.

Today I went to court and was told that the case was to be dropped. Why? Well, the police hadn't served the driver with a section 172, which requires the owner of the vehicle to tell the police who was driving at the time of an incident. Thus, there was no evidence that could be presented to court identifying who the driver was. I was informed all of this by the Procurator Fiscal. This is all despite the fact that, whoever the driver was, the driver had requested that the police counter charge me with careless driving as I had apparently 'forced the driver to brake sharply when I filtered in front'.

So.....and this is a little long winded...... an unidentified driver made a complaint about my cycling, that just so happened to be the driver I was complaining about, which means that driver would have had to give the police his details, and, unless he was lying, would have provided information on the incident in question, but....the court can't be sure who he (I can only assume he was a he....) was?

Here is video of the incident in question. As you'll see, the van is a Car Key Centre van. Feel free to make up your own mind.

What follows are not necessarily the facts of the case. What follows are my opinions of what may or may not happened. I'm going to be fair and provide a number of alternative explanations. Feel free to chose which one you think is accurate based on your own opinon. Perhaps you even have another alternative....

Option 1
I filter in front of the driver just as the queue starts to move. I filter in safely, as I do nearly every day on numerous occasions without incident. The driver did not like this for some reason and decided to drive close to me. I indicate that I don't like this with a palm back gesture. He pulls out and as he passes swerves his van towards me (whilst hitting his horn) in anger. I am forced to swerve into another, fortunately empty lane. The suggestion being that he used his vehicle as weapon.
Option 2
He accidentally dropped his mobile phone and accidentally hit the accelerator, bringing him closer to me. He decided the safest course of action was to try and overtake. As he was passing he went to grab the phone and accidentally hit his horn and swerved towards me. He looked back relieved to see that I had safely swerved into the filter lane. He picked up his phone and apologised to the caller for interrupting the call....
 Option 3
He spotted a friend in the distance, and wanted to get closer, so he accelerated. He noticed a cyclist ahead of him, so pulled out. He hit his horn to say hello and swerved closer to give them a wave, forgetting in that instance that the pesky cyclist was in the way. He met up with the friend later for drinks and had a laugh about the whole unfortunate incident.
Option 4
He carries a large electromagnet in the back of his van, which he accidentally activated as he approached me. This interacted with the aluminium of my bike (actually this does happen, look up Eddie Currents) and caused deviation in his course. He hit the horn to warn me of his big magnet.

Who knows?!

In my opinion justice was not served today. It wasn't allowed to. There are some great police, and I've been helped by them over the years, but this time police screwed up. Serving a section 172 is standard in these cases. So why wasn't it in this case?

Unfortunately this is not the first time that the police have messed up in incidents I have reported. These two failed due to the police not issuing a section 1, which warns the driver that their charges can be changed.

How can such simple, school boy errors be made? Would those type of errors be acceptable in any other type of job? How on earth, considering the evidence that the police had seen, was I charged with careless cycling? Why, if this section 172 had never been issued was the case allowed to progress to court?

So, all three drivers are still free to drive, free of prosecution, not guilty of any charges and probably happy as Larry. In my opinion, that is unacceptable. You may have an opinion too......

What is clear, is that we can't depend on the police to protect us. They might, and as I've said, ther are some great police officers out there, but they might not. It is unfortunately luck of the draw. We need to take the conflict away from our roads. We need to redesign them so drivers like this, can't endanger me, or anyone else any more. This is exactly why, we need investment in proper cycle infrastructure. This is why people asking for the Bears Way to get ripped up, must not succeed.

Tuesday 27 September 2016

Chaos in Milngavie?!

It's a wet day in September (27th Sept 2016). It's morning rush hour. It's chaos in Milngavie....

Well, not quite....

About 5 or 6 cars (and their occupants!) are held up for about 21 seconds behind a coach picking up school kids.

That was it.

Chaos. Apparently. At least that is what I keep getting told at consultation meetings for the Bears Way.

In fact here is a video which I emplore you to watch that documents the chaos.

Not exactly chaos next to the cycle lane, was it? In fact, despite all the talk of chaos along the route, I haven't seen one video from a local resident demonstrating any chaos. Strange that, considering I keep hearing about it so much.  I'm sure those opposed to the cycle lane would be quick to post footage if it existed.

Mind you, if you are looking for chaos, just fast forward 1.5 miles down the road to the Switchback (second half of the video) Now that is chaos. Well, OK, not exactly chaos, more of a very long orderly queue of motor traffic. A queue that, if we encourage more people to drive in Milngavie and Bearsden, will only get longer.

Is the answer to rip out the Bears Way? Encourage more people to drive? No. The answer is to encourage the people, those who can, to travel in a different way. Active travel is one of those new choices that a fully completed Bears Way would provide. A choice that only a few take currently, but as has been demonstrated in many other places already, would, if it was made safer. The Bears Way can make it safer.

So, politicians of East Dunbartonshire, are you really going to vote car? Or are you going to vote for a better future?

Monday 19 September 2016


We've all seen the newspaper headlines of drivers getting a slap on the wrist for Death By Careless Driving charges. Unfortunately I could link to loads of examples where justice is, quite clearly, hasn't been served.

Anyone who follows this blog will know that gaining justice can also be difficult for other less newsworthy incidents. Whilst I have had some success, it is still a very difficult process to go through. There is a hint that things may be changing with some excellent news coming from the West Midland Police, but will change ever come to Glasgow?

Fellow cyclist and Twitter friend @sturmeyarcher3 has had some experiences with the police in Glasgow that he wanted to share. This demonstrates that whilst there appears to be a willingness to help, the process is difficult and often fruitless. This is exactly why police forces need to be as pro-active as possible. and to follow West Midlands Police's lead...

The first round of fixtures was on the 30th May 2009. A beautiful sunny afternoon; the lark on the wing, the snail on the thorn kind of thing. I’m riding my bike to a local shop, a route I used for my commute every working day. I know from previous readings from my bike computer (sadly no more, but more of that later) that my speed would have been about 30mph (it’s a fast downhill, so it”s the fastest I’ll ever go), in a 30 zone, so I’m not holding anyone up.
I’m down, I don’t know what’s happened, what’s happening. A woman is talking to me, asking me if I’m ok. Of course I’m ok, I’m on my bike. I’m not though. I recognise the road, but from a crazy angle. There’s blood. Lots. The woman is talking to someone else- ‘this is what you’ve done’- or something like that. A man says ‘sorry’. The woman talks to me again, tells me not to move, the ambulance is coming.
In the ambulance, paramedics check me over. The noise of what Glasgow children call ‘nee-naws’ in my ears. They ask me what happened. ‘I was riding my bike…’.
Hospital, a trolley being wheeled into A&E. Clothes being cut from me. I’m covered in road rash. The doctor tells me I’ve been in a collision- news to me- I was riding my bike, then I was down- I’d fallen off somehow, that’s what I thought. Collision? The doctor says I’ve given the witnesses a fright- all that blood. He laughs. “So many wee blood vessels there- it always looks really bad- even when it’s not”. He’s more concerned by my neck and spine, but it turns out the road rash and the bleeding from those wee blood vessels were the worst of it, physically anyway.
The police arrive, and I wonder what I did wrong. I can’t think straight. ‘Tell us what happened’.
I say that I was doing about thirty, secondary position, know the road very well- I guess I must have hit a pothole. The officer shakes his head. ‘No. Your bike was hit by an overtaking vehicle- your handlebars have taken the paint off his passenger door’. Blimey. The driver of the car behind me had seen it all, seen the dangerous overtake, seen me being taken out, and stopped to help. Someone in that woman’s car had gone to the traffic lights a short way down the road to confront the driver of the car that had hit me, and brought him back to see what he’d done-
‘this is what you’ve done’- or something like that. A man says ‘sorry’.
The police officer says that the driver was in his late 80s, says he didn’t know he’d hit me.
A few hours and some kindly joshing (what sort of bike have you got? Lots of cyclists on the team here!) later I’m discharged. I get into a taxi, newly aware that I’m a victim of dangerous driving, newly aware of my own mortality, mightily relieved generally. Seeing my bandaged head and hands and shredded clothes the cabbie asks what happened. I tell him what the police said. ‘That’s this year’s holiday paid for then big man’. Eh? What? He says that the driver was at fault and I should claim, easy-peasy.
I’d hadn’t thought of that.
A couple of days later when my head had cleared a bit I called the CTC solicitors and asked their advice. ‘Give us as much detail as possible, we’ll talk to the police and take it from there’. A month or two and a few attempts at ‘no helmet so contributory negligence’ nonsense later, they pay up. My injuries, my trashed bike and bike computer, all tidied up into a sum of money. In other words, guilt admitted.
Justice though, what about that? The two police officers had said that they were in no doubt that the ‘old boy’ shouldn’t be on the road, hadn’t stopped when he’d hit me, didn’t even know he’d hit me- and the book should be thrown at him. So due process took place, and many months later I’m going in the front door of the district court. Suddenly my name is called and I’m in a small room with a man who looks like he’s far too busy for the likes of me- doesn’t even look at me. He’s the Procurator Fiscal and asks about the ‘accident’- not my word. What did I see? I tell him that I didn’t ‘see’ anything, I was riding my bike and then I was down. I’m sure he harrumphed. ‘Well if that’s all you can say you’re an unreliable witness and we won’t proceed’. I was shown the door. Out in the street I felt like I’d just been trashed into the road again. I couldn’t describe what happened so the ‘crime’ didn’t happen. Just like that.
Road crime 1 Justice 0.
About three years later, about half a mile from home, not as far as the spot where the previous incident took place, a converted minibus gave me a really close pass. I mean really close. I mean a magnatom-type-screaming-at-him close pass. Another magnatom thing-I’d taken to shouting out and trying to memorise number plates of those who come close to killing me, I did so. At the next set of lights (it’s inevitable that these dangerous folk don’t really get anywhere fast, for all their nutcase driving) I pull up on the inside (bags of room, he’s turning right) and tap on the nearside window. He winds it down, I tell him him he’d passed too close. I shouted it, he’d terrified me. I know. Abuse followed. Cyclist bingo. Then he slipped the brake off, allowed the vehicle to roll back a couple of yards, then turned the wheel and drove at me. Twice. I managed to unclip and jump onto the pavement. He then jumped the red light and was gone.
I’m shaken. Unhurt, but shaken. The driver of the car next in the queue at the lights spoke to me, said I should report it. I remembered the harrumphing PF and thought ‘no’. She gave me her name and number and asked me again to report it. As I cycled to work I turned it over in my mind, and pitched up at the House of Plod. Reported. A few weeks later I got a Sunday morning phone call asking me to visit the local police station. I was interviewed in a store cupboard. ‘What was I wearing?’ ‘Did you have your hi-viz on?’.’You should wear a camera- we do but it means we have to be on our best behaviour’.
Upshot? No such vehicle with the number plate I and the witness described. ‘Maybe false plates’. No further action.
Road crime 2 Justice 0. 
August 1 2015. A lovely Saturday evening, 7pm ish. I head out to see the new Bearsway, a controversial (motorists hate it) cycle lane. 50 yards from home I’m punishment passed by a high revving 4×4. I’m human. I gave him the vickies. 75 yards up the road he stopped- middle of the road. He’s blocking the whole lane, and gets out of the car and stands in the other lane, simultaneously stopping me getting past him and stopping cars coming the other way. I don’t fancy a close confrontation with this madman so try to cycle up the inside, and he rushes across and decks me. I’m down.
My hip and knee have hit the kerb and my bike is on top of me. I somehow unclip, get out and take my camera from my jersey pocket. Shaking with fear I take a photo of the number plate (I learned something from the previous incident), but no way am I pointing it at the face of the clearly incensed driver. The driver of a car which had been stopped by the incident got out and instructed the madman to move. ‘You didn’t see what he did- he tried to swerve into me!’ (Bike versus 4x 4- yeah right). Mr Angry moved to hit me again. ‘Police officer instructing you to get in your vehicle!’ Where did that come from? It was the witness. Mr Angry fumed, but obeyed and was gone.
I thanked the witness, wondered how he’s thought of that one – ‘I am a police officer- off duty so I can’t call it in- but you should’. Off duty officers can’t call the police? Eh? Anyway, I thank the witness, I’m sure he saved me from further damage- the driver was seriously nuts, the bastard child of Ronnie Pickering and Jason Wells with a touch of Keith Peat’s Dog- but angrier and violent.
So I go to local plodshop. Statement taken (once she’s found a pen). It gets a bit silly here, but I made none of it up.
I ask what happens next. ‘We’ll make enquiries’. Then what? How can I find out- shall I come back in? Sharp intake of breath. ‘Ah, well, you see, this is A division, not B division.’ What?
‘It’s a B division incident, so when it’s processed we pass it on to B division and than we can’t access the details because we’re A division and we’re not allowed to see B division records”
I make a smart arse comment about Police Scotland being a unified force that probably has an intranet all of its own. No deal. ‘You can’t come back to this office- even if it is your nearest police office, this is A division, you’re B division’.
I ask for a crime/incident number so that I can follow up with what’s happening. Sharp intake of breath. ‘We can’t allocate an incident number- we don’t have a typist on duty’ A typist. In 2015 the law stops for want of a typist.
To be fair, an incident number was then phoned to me later that evening, but what if I hadn’t insisted?
Two weeks pass and an officer from B division phones. He wants a statement. I do it all again.
He tells me that the vehicle has a registered keeper in Wales. So? ‘Well, that makes it complicated’. How? Silence. Crime. UK police force, make a phone call. I say these things, maybe not in that order, maybe with a tinge of incredulity. Silence. ‘Leave it with me’.
Months later, Sunday evening, two police officers at my door. Statement taken. Again. The ‘Wales’ story again. ‘It’s complicated’. Again. I ask if the witness is really a police officer- ‘yes he is’.
To my mind it’s open and shut. Crime witnessed by police. Photo evidence of the vehicle used by the criminal taken at the scene. But it’s ‘complicated’.
Months later. Two more police officers at my door. They have mugshots. I tell them I was not making eye contact with the thug at the time, I was trying to minimise any escalation of his actions, so I couldn’t identify him from mugshots. ‘Hmm’.
August 7 2016. Phone call from B division. ‘We can’t identify who the driver was so we can’t take any action’.
September 17 2016. I write to the police expressing my despair at the lack of a prosecution.
September 18 2016. Two officers turn up and spend a long time explaining the ins and outs of the case and the reasons for their being unable to proceed. It goes along these lines, sort of.
The car was, at the time of the assault, registered in Wales and the registered keeper was defintitely in Wales at that time. The car was in Scotland, having been ‘traded’ but the paperwork not completed. By the time the police investigated my assault the car’s ownership was in doubt; not registered to anyone, no insurance detailed- nothing. All attempts to trace the occupants of the car that evening came to nought. It was a whole lot more complex than that, we spent an hour or so, me asking more and more questions, the police describing each cul de sac and the frustrations they felt. They explained that the witness, the police officer, had indeed reported the crime and had taken the action he had (asking the driver to get in the car and leave) because he felt that was the best way to reduce the immediate risk; he was alone and the guy was well-pumped up, and knew that I had the vehicle reg number so due process would catch the guy. Fair enough.
It seemed to me, although I’m filling in these details based on the looks on the officers’ faces rather than anything actually said, that the driver of the vehicle (Mr Punchy-Angry) took fright, and somehow got rid of the vehicle in the strict legal sense- so it now probably has become ‘another’ vehicle, with different plates etc.
Two frustrated police officers, to be fair, who clearly stated that at times like this the victim can feel let down. No shit eh? They also spoke about vulnerable road users, how they frequently sit in their unmarked cars and deal with those who close pass cyclists etc. All very nice. I told them about the West Midlands Traffic Police initiative (no brownie points for not already knowing this), and they told me about the atmosphere at the recent Bearsway meetings they had attended (much shaking of heads and muttering about ‘what’s wrong with these people?’)
Anyway, a cordial meeting, but the bottom line is the arrogant, entitled and violent thug got away with it. I can only hope that he had to spend a lot of money covering his tracks.
Road crime 3 Justice 0.

Friday 9 September 2016

East Dunbartonshire. Time for Change.


Today on Facebook I was reminded of a photo from 4 years ago. It was a photo of me with Mark Beaumont at the finish area of Pedal for Scotland handing out Pedal on Parliament postcards with the word Change on them. This was early days in the Pedal on Parliament campaign when we were still finding out feet, and wondering if Change could really happen. It was a time when pretty much every council was paying, at very best, lip service to cycling. You'd get the odd ASL here, the odd painted lane there.

The change we were asking for was fundamental. We weren't just asking for change in funding for cycling, we were asking for a significant change in political will.

So what Change have we seen. At first glance you might think very little. We haven't reached the 10% of funding for active travel (5% for cycling), that we asked for. Yes, funding has increased, but only a wee bit. It hasn't gone down, which is probably a victory! So we've failed? No. The Change that has occurred has been more subtle.

When we started there were battles even within the cycling community. To segregate or not segregate, that was the question. There were still many who felt that the roads were fine, that paint would help, and that education would supplement the paint. There was a time that I thought that too. Thus places like London pressed on with the 'Superhighways' which consisted of blue paint. A nice shade of blue paint, granted, but it was still just paint.

Did the revolution come? No. In fact the lack of proper facilities just angered people more. Worse, people were dying. Bikes and HGVs especially were mixing in a way that would only end one way. The superhighways had failed. And so, in London the bloggers, the press and the people who cared, pushed on. Political pressure was applied. Eventually it paid off and grand plans were announced. Fantastic! Except, not everyone was happy. Many were furious!

There'd be bedlam. Traffic grid lock. Business would suffer. Why cater for a small minority?! There's no space! NO ONE WOULD USE IT!!

It was painful to watch.

Very politically difficult decisions had to be made. Amazingly they were.

So work started.

The anger didn't stop there. It got more vociferous. Angry celebrities in their chauffeur driven Rolls Royces talked of chaos. Businesses set about legally challenging the lanes. But the lanes went ahead despite it all. And then they were finished.

What happened next was.....well, it wasn't chaos. It wasn't gridlock. It was something that previously many didn't believe possible. The lanes worked. People, not just Lycra clad warriors (I say that, having been labelled as one) or commuting die hards, came out to use them. It was people, all shapes, sizes and ages. Families are now seen cycling through central London. Not up the back roads, not on a canal path far away from sight, but on main commuter roads. It was and is a wonderful sight to behold.

So now more lanes are planned, and again the doomsters are fighting it. It can't work!! Gridlock!! Etc. However, the arguments are sounding a little more hollow, and fly in the face of what many can now see for themselves. That people can and do want to move around a city in a different way.

Back in leafy Bearsden and Milngavie, we can hear cries of....but we're a town, not a city. It's different here! These bare more than just a passing resemblence to the the cries from London, but we are a huge city, we aren't Amsterdam, it can't happen here.

Of course it can.

Example after example from Europe, from the US and beyond are now showing us that everywhere isn't different. People are people, cities are cities and towns are towns, and given the right conditions where cycling is provided as a safe and viable alternative, it does happen.

It's not easy of course, because Change never is. It involves making some sacrifices. It means that a road might have to be a wee bit narrower. It means that occasionally you might have to wait behind a bus for 20 seconds. It means that occasionally at junctions, priorities might need to be adjusted. The odd parking space has to be lost!

It feels like our liberties are being taken away from us.

Are we truly free though? Is having a congestion free dual carriage way Bearsden Road which you can zoom down at 40 mph without impediment in your car really freedom? Only to be stuck in 2 miles of nose to tail traffic on the Switchback Road, which is already dual carriage way, so perhaps we need three lanes each way? What about those that can't drive, perhaps as they are too young, can't afford it, or are not able to through disability. Sure, the bus is one option, but it will never truly provide the freedom that we yearn, by taking us from where we live to where-ever we want to go. It will help  to some extent, and is part of the integrated solution, but it is not the whole answer.

Freedom only comes when all those who wish to travel, by whatever means they wish, can do it in a way that is safe, comfortable and convinient. As London, and countless other examples demonstrate, if you build it, they will truly come. And they will come with the many, many benefits that having a significant percentage of your populations travelling actively will bring.

So I call on the politicians and especially the councillors of East Dunbartonshire to think carefully about the future. Not just their own future, or at the ballot box next year, but for the future of an area I am sure they really do care for. I ask for them to consider that Change, even politically difficult Change is not only desirable, but needed for the area to flourish. Yes there is a strong local voice against it, but then many of them don't want children to have freedom of safe movement. Is that what you and your party stand for?! Really?

If they chose not to invest in active travel, the area will drown under the weight of the motor vehicle, something that even many of the opponents of the Bears Way agree is an issue. The status quo, or returning the road back, 'to its former glory' is simply not the answer.

Be on the side of change. Be on the side of a brighter, healthier, less polluted, less congested East Dunbartonshire. Be on the side of Change for a better future. An active travel East Dunbartonshire.

Sunday 4 September 2016

Bearsden and Milngavie - Not for Children.

Last week I attended a very aggressive and very depressing public meeting which was supposed to be focusing on the Phase 2 design of the Bears Way Cycle Lane. I honestly cannot put into words how utterly shameful the event was. It was the most intimidating atmosphere I have ever experienced at a meeting, in my life.
This is not, of course, how the local paper describes it. It focuses on the outrage of the braying mob at being held up a little, and the positioning of the projector. They didn't mention any of the reasonable facts that the council shared to counter the many unsupported assertions from the angry mob. They didn't mention the resounding 'NO!' to the question, should children be able to ride along the A81. They didn't mention the fact that people were saying that, 'if you don't live in the area, you don't have a say'.

I'm not going to link to the website article. It's just click bate. 

Rather than me trying to describe the meeting, I ask you to spare at least 10 minutes of your time to listen to some of the audio from the event. The audio is longer, and if you can, it is all worth listening to all of it (and the second half is linked at the bottom if you want the whole lot), but I can understand if you want to stop at about 10 minutes. Here it is here. On listening to this you will understand why I use words like lynch, braying and mob. I do not use them lightly.

It's pretty shocking isn't it. I'm sorry you had to listen to that.

Anyway, I will leave the rest of this blog to a guest blogger. He specifically answers one of the criticisms about access for emergency services. Many suggest, 'lives will be lost because the road is narrower and thus emergency vehicles will be held up'. He also answers many other points as well.

The following is written by Dr Robbie Coull  Pre-Hospital Immediate Care Doctor. He has agreed that I can share this with you.

The Bearsway cycle path is an excellent path that will really enhance the future health of the generations living in Bearsden and Milngavie. Thanks to the team at Bears Way and Sustrans and EDLC for making this possible.
As an advanced trained driver (IAM and blue light) who regularly uses the A81, I can give my expert opinion that the road is entirely safe. The only accident I've attended on the A81 was as the Hillfoot end of the Bearsway and was due to excess speed on a bend in the wet by the driver. ED Police have confirmed that all accidents on the new road have been due to such driver errors.
Having driven on the A81 in Hillfoot and Milngavie since 1986 when I first took my test, and passing my Institute of Advanced Motorists test in the area in the 1990s, it is my expert opinion that the old A81 was dangerous due to the excessive speeds being used on four narrow lanes. 36-40mph was the norm on the road for as long as I have been driving on it.
The Bearsway redesign means the A81 Hillfoot cannot be driven safely at speed in excess of the speed limit. I drive it at 25-30mph in good conditions. If you find the road 'feels' dangerous, then you should reduce your speed by 5-10mph and see how that feels. Remember to turn off the road over the cycle path at very low speed, checking for cyclists ahead and behind as you approach.
I'm happy to do ride along for anyone who is struggling.
There were concerns raised about older people and the disabled. Both groups can cycle given the correct infrastructure, and removing cars from the road improves the driving and parking for people with chronic illness that must use a car.
There were concerns raised about the buses. The buses were struggling to move once stopped and stopping on the carriageway shortens bus journeys. The average queue behind a stopped bus is 2-4 vehicles.
There were concerns raised about crossing the road if you have a disability or are frail because of the cycle safety kerb at Reid Ave. I've checked the route, and there are gaps in the safety kerb to allow crossing at Reid Ave as well as other points for bus stops along the route. This is now safer than before due to the slower speed and less lanes of traffic.
It was mentioned that cyclists are crashing into the architecture (bollards etc). While this may well to apocryphal (I've not come across any cases), if true it is still safer than crashing into cars due to the much lower Killed Seriously Injured (KSI) rates. This also applies to head on cycle collisions should any occur.
There were some wild fantasies about cyclists chatting, hitting the kerb and being thrown into traffic that can be discounted as much less of a risk than the old cycle paths.
There seemed to be a lot of anger at the meetings from groups of much older residents who reported increased journey times. I found this odd, as this demographic have less reason to be concerned about journey times than those working, looking after children etc..
Journey times are going to be increased from road calming meaning that excessive speeding that was the norm is now much more difficult. Complaining about not being able to break the law is not an acceptable concern.
Journey times will also be increased from lane reduction to clear space for vulnerable road users. This reduction is not great, and is a price that any right thinking person will see as a reasonable sacrifice to ensure a better environment and better health for our children and grandchildren. In civilised societies, the views of those not willing to make small sacrifices for the future generations are rightly discounted.
Furthermore, the mob of angry, bullying, rude people shouting down experts, ridiculing scientific evidence, and booing the idea of children cycling on cycle paths, devalued their standing in our society. Loud ignorant views are also rightly discounted when health and safety planning are being considered.
When an angry mob who's average remaining life expectancy is 10-20 years demand that their views should outweigh those of children who will be using the cycle path for the next 80 years, and those views are based on minor inconvenience and a desire to continue to break traffic laws, then we need to stand up to such bullies and say 'No, your behaviour is selfish, rude, and unacceptable in a civilised society'.
There is a follow up meeting this Wednesday 7th September in Milngavie Town Hall at 7pm . Wouldn't it be fabulous if we had more reasonable voices there? Voices that call for safe infrastructure for all, and not just for those in cars? Voices that realise that children have as much right to independent, safe travel, as any adult?

Please come to the meeting. Please write to the council ( to let them know you support what they are doing, even though it might not be perfect yet.

Please help us make East Dunbartonshire a cycle friendly area.

The following is the audio from the Q&A session toward the end of the meeting.