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Major cycle lane closures during works a "death trap", according to cyclist who fears "matter of time before serious accident"

The Glasgow cyclist said it is "ironic that in the year the city is hosting the UCI Cycling World Championships those commuting by bike are being treated as second-class citizens"...

A cyclist in Glasgow has raised the alarm over what they described as a "death trap" for riders in the city that has been caused by sections of a major new cycle route, the South City Way, being closed less than a month since it opened, for works by Scottish Power Energy Networks (SPEN).

The widely praised infrastructure, part of which can be seen in a social media post below calling it an "absolute joy to commute on", has now been blocked off at Norfolk Street and Devon Street, with cones, 'cycle lane closed' signs and plastic barriers sectioning off the works area, users left to negotiate the pavement and road to rejoin the lane further on.

 It is understood the works are for tunnelling by SPEN, the council admitting to "sharing the cyclist's frustration" having "fully signed off" the Gorbals Street section of the cycling network at the end of April.

"Unfortunately we were advised that Scottish Power Energy Networks required access to the site to install cabling for social housing being built next to the route," Glasgow City Council explained.

"We have sought to liaise with both SPEN and New Gorbals Housing Association to minimise the impact of the works. But ultimately SPEN has a statutory right to undertake road works to install their apparatus and as the footprint of the works encroaches on to the cycle way, the route has been officially closed for a short period."

"A real hazard for cyclists"

Speaking anonymously to Glasgow Live, the local rider said the closure of the infrastructure is a "death trap" and expressed fears that it is "a matter of time before there is a serious accident".

"The South City Way is a fantastic addition to cycling infrastructure in the city but it is currently a death trap," the rider suggested. "The closure at two of its busiest sections is creating a real hazard for cyclists, pedestrians and motorists and it is only a matter of time before there is a serious accident.

"Why the council would build this, only to allow long-term closure just as the finishing touches were being put to it beggars belief. It is ironic that in the year the city is hosting the UCI cycling world championships those commuting by bike are being treated as second-class citizens. It makes the active travel pledge of city leaders seem hollow."

The council shared the frustration, but remained positive SPEN's notification to the Road Works Commissioner says the work is expected to be completed this weekend.

"We're sorry for any disruption"

Acknowledging the disruption, SPEN apologised in a statement offered to the local news website, explaining that the work is supporting two developments.

"We're sorry for any disruption or inconvenience caused by these essential works, which are required to support two important developments," a spokesperson said. 

"Firstly, a new Urban Union housing development at Norfolk Street, where our engineers have been on site for two weeks and have been coordinating with other utilities, such as BT, to ensure we minimise timescales for road closures and the impact of these works on motorists, cyclists and the public.

"And secondly, at Devon Street, where our engineers have been on site for three weeks progressing works associated with the new substation at First Glasgow's Caledonia Depot, which will support a cleaner and greener bus network in the city.

"Our works at both sites are on track for completion this week, with the roads and the cycle paths set to be fully reinstated next week."

The council added: "The South City Way is a major part of our plans for a city network of safer, segregated infrastructure for active travel in Glasgow that will support the city's growing interest in cycling for every day journeys.

"The recently completed work has created a direct route between Queen's Park and the city centre and we will be celebrating this progress with a formal launch in the near future."

Dan is the news editor and has spent the past four years writing stories and features, as well as (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. Having previously written about nearly every other sport under the sun for the Express, and the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for the Non-League Paper, Dan joined in 2020. Come the weekend you'll find him labouring up a hill, probably with a mouth full of jelly babies, or making a bonk-induced trip to a south of England petrol station... in search of more jelly babies.

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eburtthebike | 1 year ago
1 like

Have they followed TAL 15/99 Cyclists at road works?  From the description above, it sounds like they haven't.  Archived, but as far as I know, still in effect.

"Existing Cycle Facilities: Where there is cycle provision, such as cycle lanes or tracks, efforts should be made to keep these open or to provide an acceptable alternative during the road works. They should not be blocked by signs, debris, plant, etc."

Dnnnnnn replied to eburtthebike | 1 year ago
1 like

Such things are devolved in Scotland - although that's no reason why good practice isn't followed. Call it McTal.

chrisonabike replied to eburtthebike | 1 year ago

Indeed... much observed in the breach.

We've got an awful long way to go from cycle lanes being handy "spare space" to use when there are repairs.  Or indeed whenever someone wants to dump / store something (materials, works vehicles for other jobs, "I got an urgent call...", parking etc.)  Chicken and egg puzzle again - "there were no cyclists using the cycle facility so why are you complaining that we stored construction materials there for a month"?

Here's how to do it.

Secret_squirrel replied to chrisonabike | 1 year ago
1 like

Presumably SEN and their contractors are liable if they don't make adequate provision and someone gets KSI's due to their hole digging?

ktache replied to chrisonabike | 1 year ago

It's the Diversion signs, primarily for the benefits of the drivists, that block cycle routes that really get me.

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