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Portobello Prom delight for Edinburgh cyclists

Ban on seaside cycling lifted after 20 years

Edinburgh has become the latest coastal city to reintroduce cycling along its seafront, after a 20-year ban was lifted.

Cyclists will once again be allowed to ride along Portobello Promenade under a new scheme which aims to create a continuous 17-kilometre path between Joppa and Cramond.

Although a public consultation will be held, cyclists who have campaigned for many years to get the ban lifted were delighted.

Gary Bell, who is the spokesman for cycling campaign group Spokes – which has been lobbying for the alteration in the policy for several years – said: "This is a very welcome development.

"You have to remember that the vast majority of cyclists are not hurtling along like David Millar at 40mph. They are aware of their surroundings.

"I would say that pedestrians and the 'faster pedestrians' who are cyclists can get along, just as they do elsewhere along the sea front."

Earlier this week, reported that Portsmouth’s council leader had intervened at the last moment to uphold a long-held ban on cyclists using Southsea promenade, although there is the possibility of a cycle lane being created along it in the near future.

Portobello residents have called for proper management of the new freedom to cycle.

Diana Cairns, a member of the local community council, said: "As a cyclist I can see the appeal of dropping the ban.

"But if it does happen they will need to have some sort of management process in place, like they do at The Meadows with the separate lanes, to try and police this.

"There are people who are already ignoring the ban and a lot of the problems would be avoided if cyclists used their bells properly."

The Edinburgh Coastal Promenade project mirrors similar projects in Nice, Blackpool and Copenhagen and makes room for walkers and cyclists. Included will be barbecue facilities, restaurants, additional plazas, public art and even an iconic bridge joining Leith Docks and Western Harbour.

Edinburgh is the only UK city to sign up to the Charter of Brussels, which aims to boost cycling journeys to 15 per cent of total journeys by 2020. However, city officials have said that the target is ‘more aspirational than achievable.’

Many commentators on the story at The Scotsman website claim not to have known there was a cycling ban along Portobello Promenade in the first place. Others mentioned the possibility of ‘Prom Rage’ from pedestrians unhappy about sharing their walking space.

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