After the silence: safer cycling

Green councillors and MSPs have called for clear and concrete action to make Edinburgh and other cities safer for cycling.

The call follows a minute’s silence to mark the death of young medical student Zhi Min Soh on her bike in Edinburgh City Centre last week. The minute’s silence was attended by hundreds of cyclists, including Green MSPs Alison Johnstone and Andy Wightman and Green councillors Melanie Main, Claire Miller, Mary Campbell, Alex Staniforth and Gavin Corbett.

Writing in a blog Green transport spokesperson Cllr Chas Booth set out three main areas for action.

“Over the longer term, the council needs to create a more people-friendly city centre. The city needs to learn from the best examples of cities around Europe of creating high-quality public spaces where people enjoy spending time, and where pedestrians, cyclists and public transport are given priority.

“Over the medium term, there are clear and concrete steps that could be taken, such as accelerating the roll-out of a planned east-west cycle route, to separate cyclists from the motor traffic that represents the greatest risk to their safety.

“And in the short term there are steps that cycle groups have long been calling for, such as an advance cycle phase on certain traffic lights, which will give cyclists additional time to cross tricky junctions, and could potentially mean the difference between a fall resulting in a few bruises and a damaged ego, and a fatality. And the council should look into campaigns to raise awareness amongst drivers of the importance of giving cycle space, and respecting vulnerable road users.”

Cllr Booth added:

“I’m also not sure the council has always got the tone of its approach right, with some cyclists suggesting there is too much responsibility put on them to avoid collisions. The council must always be absolutely clear that it has a duty to keep vulnerable road users safe, and that means, first and foremost, providing safe, high quality and segregated cycle infrastructure.”