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SNP joins Labour in calling for removal of “death trap” cycle lane

The temporary six-mile route connects Paisley with the village of Howwood, but local politicians have raised safety concerns

The future of a temporary cycle route that links Paisley with the village of Howwood is under threat after local politicians described the path as “dangerous” and called for it to be scrapped.

The 10-kilometre cycle lane, which also takes in Spateston, Johnstone and Elderslie, was installed last year as part of Renfrewshire Council’s aim to improve active travel in the area and to “provide a safe route for cyclists travelling between the communities”. 

The route, one of nine similar initiatives across Renfrewshire, was funded through the Scottish Government’s Spaces for People fund and supported by Sustrans Scotland, as part of the area’s response to the pandemic.

Renfrewshire Council has said that it will make a final decision on whether the route should be made permanent once a full consultation has been carried out.

> Council docked government funding over ripped out bike lane 

However, opposition to the cycle route has garnered cross-party support in recent weeks, with both Labour and the SNP (despite the scheme being funded by the Scottish government) calling for the lane to be ripped out and for the project to be reassessed. A petition urging the council to stop work on the path has reached 1,300 signatures.

In December, Labour councillor John Hood told the Daily Record that the new bike lane was a “death trap” covered in leaves and claimed that it was harming local businesses.

He also said that motorists had raised concerns about the narrowness of the road in certain places and that the congregation of Elderslie Parish Church were no longer able to park outside in the street since the lanes were installed. 

> Enforcing cycle lane would prevent drivers from parking (illegally) outside Presbyterian church, claims Dublin elder 

“I’ve been dealing with this as soon as it started,” he said. “They put the cycle lane in front of the shops on the Beith Road and they lost about 70 percent of their business straight away.

“The whole set up is a death trap. The cycle lane has filled up with leaves which makes it slippy and treacherous for cyclists.

“I was there once and saw a car go down the cycle lane. I’ve seen parents and children coming out of the joint campus and walking along it.

“I’m a cyclist, I don’t drive and I use my bike to go everywhere. I’ve used this cycle path and it’s not working.

“I would like to see it re-thought – they need to do something. The council did a small consultation with certain groups but it was last November during lockdown. They never asked the people who actually use the road.”

> Plans to segregate cycle lane shelved — to delight of residents who park in it 

This week, SNP councillors Andy Steel and Jacqueline Cameron joined Hood in his criticism of the project, tabling a motion to scrap the current plans and calling for the council to go “back to the drawing board”. 

Steel said that he wasn’t comfortable with the route, which he claimed included debris and potholes on the section through Johnstone, and that he was “incredulous” any cyclist would want to use it.

“The section on Beith Road, Johnstone continues to raise issues over safety, maintenance and flooding, months after being installed,” he said. “We need to take recognition of concerns and look for better solutions.”

Cameron also said: “We want the community to be clear that we have listened to their concerns, understand that they didn’t feel fully consulted or engaged, and that their local knowledge is vital to getting the design of the cycle path right so that it meets the requirements of cyclists, motorists and pedestrians alike.”

Steel and Cameron’s motion to halt work on the cycle route will be heard at a full meeting of Renfrewshire Council on 3 March.

Ryan joined in December 2021 and since then has kept the site’s readers and listeners informed and enthralled (well at least occasionally) on news, the live blog, and the Podcast. After boarding a wrong bus at the world championships and ruining a good pair of jeans at the cyclocross, he now serves as’s senior news writer. Before his foray into cycling journalism, he wallowed in the equally pitiless world of academia, where he wrote a book about Victorian politics and droned on about cycling and bikes to classes of bored students (while taking every chance he could get to talk about cycling in print or on the radio). He can be found riding his bike very slowly around the narrow, scenic country lanes of Co. Down.

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giff77 | 2 years ago
1 like

The lane has now been officially scrapped and officer have now been ordered back to the drawing board. One of the main issues was it not being kept clean. Still trying to figure out why my council couldn't staff people in to sweep it. Then again. Pretty much every proposed route never materialised.

giff77 | 2 years ago
1 like

Sadly the majority of the plans never came to fruition as there had been such a kickback by local shops and whatnot. Any that were implemented were in some of the most obscure areas.possible.  It's really disappointing because the town is a nightmare to commute through be it 2 or 4 wheels and to have established a network of lanes to allow drivers become accustomed to before making them permanent would have been ideal. 

lukei1 | 2 years ago

"Road is too narrow" = I cannot believe I have to adjust my speed in order to drive safely, this is an outrage

wycombewheeler | 2 years ago

In December, Labour councillor John Hood told the Daily Record(link is external) that the new bike lane was a “death trap” covered in leaves and claimed that it was harming local businesses.


I can think of a cheaper solution than ripping it out. Perhaps someone with some level of influence with the council could arrange to get the leaves swept at the end of November.

spen | 2 years ago

A simple but obvious question - it's been in about a year, how many cyclists have died?

chrisonabike | 2 years ago

Not sure why the SNP / Labour are moaning - is this just the usual politicking? It does seem "but cycling" is always a great way to belabor the incumbents, whatever your party's stated policy on active travel. This says:

Conservatives 5, Independent  4, Labour 4, SNP    5

It's an almost perfect bingo sheet of old favourites and "selective concern":

  • Death trap / safety concerns
  • Killing local businesses
  • Motorists had raised concerns about the narrowness of the road
  • Churchgoers can't park.
  • "Not working"
  • Inadequate consultation / local "knowledge and expertise" not sought
  • We're cyclists ourselves.

We're only missing "it's causing pollution / congestion" and "ambulances can't get through".

That's not to say it might not be great. It's the UK it's quite likely that this goes from nowhere to nowhere much, is split up by dangerous junctions and there is no money / provision to keep it adequately clear.  However with so much support and concern I'd have thought that they'd be building more cycle facilities, not less.  So churchgoers can cycle to church and businesses benefit from more local trade.

Jacobi replied to chrisonabike | 2 years ago

What I think it boils down to with these councillors is that the Scottish council elections are on 5th May and 'shopkeepers and church could influence/ask/tell their customers not to vote for me cos of a bike lane'.

eburtthebike | 2 years ago

“The whole set up is a death trap. The cycle lane has filled up with leaves which makes it slippy and treacherous for cyclists."

Now even the leaves hate us, infesting the cycle lanes but avoiding the roads.  If this is what makes it a death trap, pardon me but maybe he's being a little dramatic?  Any sensible politician who didn't have an agenda, would be asking for this scheme to be reviewed in a year, not demanding that it be ripped out before it's finished.

“I’m a cyclist, I don’t drive and I use my bike to go everywhere. I’ve used this cycle path and it’s not working."  So maybe wait until it's finished before diving in with ridiculous criticisms, and frankly, I'm not sure how any cyclist would be quite so vociferous about a segregated cycle lane.

Or is this just the congregation of Elderslie Parish Church stirring it because they can't park on the road and obstruct the cycle route, and perhaps Labour councillor John Hood worships there?

Awavey replied to eburtthebike | 2 years ago

I've worked in the past with people who I would label as keen cyclists, who were often vehemently opposed to cycle lanes like this one,and would even join campaigns to lobby for removing them.

Though they were often hard to pin down on their precise objections, they used to rationalise it as no cycle lane was always better than a half designed one. But basically anything less than full Dutch style segregation, and theyd be totally against it.

chrisonabike replied to Awavey | 2 years ago
1 like

Fear of change - any change - is often underestimated. There is also still a strain of what might be described as the "keen vehicular cyclist" mentality. (You can see an example or two on even). Kinda a mash up of genuine concern and bad experience (much UK cycle infra is not fit for purpose, unmaintained or positively dangerous and it often gives up / leads you astray), elitism (lanes are for slow and/or incompetent cyclists, I cycle so others can/should), individualism (no-one's going to tell me where to ride) and frank Stockholm syndrome (identifying with the dominant party e.g. motorists).

I understand where this came from.  Indeed many of the practical vehicular cycling ideas are still entirely relevant on UK roads (primary / take the lane). However it's time to move on now if we want more than a few of the strong and fearless (or contrarian / bloody-minded) to be empowered to cycle. And despite lots of objections adding infra - even where that means requiring its use - can make it much better for hardened roadies too (about speed, about why people fear being restricted to cycling infra).

Secret_squirrel | 2 years ago

I hope a local wanders by and gives us the gossip.  A 10km segregated lane is a huge win and shouldn't be knocked back even if it has teething troubles.

HoarseMann | 2 years ago

It doens't look great, but it's not really any different to a section of roadworks. I don't think I've ever heard anyone call roadworks a death trap.

grumpyoldcyclist | 2 years ago

So fill in the potholes and clear the leaves, simple,
What, you want it ripped out?
Oh it's a car storage problem really isn't it?

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