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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 as a news writer in December 2021. He has written about cycling and some ball-centric sports for various websites, newspapers, magazines and radio. Before returning to writing about cycling full-time, he completed a PhD in History and published a book and numerous academic articles on religion and politics in Victorian Britain and Ireland (though he remained committed to boring his university colleagues and students with endless cycling trivia). He can be found riding his bike very slowly through the Dromara Hills of Co. Down.

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