Westhill Cycle Path Petition

Westhill Cycle Path Petition

The Westhill Cycle Path provides a key link for cyclists between the area of Westhill and Aberdeen City Centre. The Path has good sections and the Aberdeen Cycle Forum would like to see all parts of the path brought up to a good standard, especially:

1) the narrow path that runs alongside the A944 near the new Prime 4 development; this path is too narrow and is unsafe. ACF is calling for this to be widened to meet national cycle path standards.

2) the barriered section near the 5 mile garage that forces cyclists either through the layby or to dismount. ACF is calling for this to be redesigned to provide a continuous and safe section of cycle path.

If you use the Westhill Cycle Path as a commuter, a leisure cyclist, a pedestrian, or just want to improve transport safety for non-motorised transport, support ACFs campaign by signing the e-petition

If you are willing to collect physical signatures, a copy of the paper petition is available here.

Cycle Count 2013

The annual cycle count was completed in May of this year. The results can be found in .pdf form here.

The count is up 8-9% on last years count but is 10% below the count in 2011.

Compared to 2008, the count is up 18%. If the Deeside Line is excluded, the increase is only 12%.

The proportion of female cyclists was 17%, similar to previous years.

There has undoubtedly been growth in cycling since 2008 but overall the growth has been modest.

The three-year averages highlight the uneven pattern since 2008:

– Growth has focused on just a few of the sites – the Deeside line and King St most notably, and to a lesser extent on the North Deeside Rd and on Auchmill Rd.

– Most of the other seven sites have seen little or no growth

– One site has seen an actual decrease – Queens Rd (near Hazlehead). This must raise serious issues about the quality of the Westhill cycle route. We would have expected the Westhill cycle route to have raised cycling levels on this corridor so the count supports ACFs view that further work is required to bring the whole route up to a good standard.

It is notable that the sites in Aberdeen that have recorded the largest increases since 2008 are on corridors that have decent cycle provision. The Deeside line has benefited from progressive improvements and so too has the on road cycle lane along North Deeside Road. King Street has decent stretches of continuous on road cycle provision in both directions, especially along its central section. Auchmill Road is harder to decipher, but our count shows almost half using the pavement which does provide a continuous route with few interruptions. With this now re-classed as shared use, we shall see how this impacts on future counts.

The experience of the successful routes needs to be applied more widely; more routes that provide continuous and direct provision, without being fragmented or continually losing priority; allocation of road space to cycling that is made free of parked cars; more effort to improve cycle safety at junctions and pinch points; and a city centre welcoming to cycling.

Campaign for Strict Liability: Road Share

Via Cycle Law Scotland:

Cyclist safety in Scotland has reached a critical point. According to Transport Scotland, 156 cyclists were seriously injured on Scotland’s roads in 2011, the last year for which data is available. This represents an increase of 13% from 2010 and of 34% from its lowest point in 2005. Add to this the seven cyclists that were tragically killed on the roads in 2011 and you can clearly see that something desperately needs to be done to protect vulnerable road users.
This is why Cycle Law Scotland (CLS) is today launching a campaign to change Scots civil law to introduce strict liability for the protection of cyclists and other vulnerable road users who are involved in road traffic accidents. This change to the current law is designed to protect the most vulnerable road users and to reflect a road user hierarchy based on mutual respect between motorists, cyclists and pedestrians.

We believe that while the Scottish Government is encouraging more people to take up cycling to improve their health, it must also provide the legal protection afforded to others and strict liability in civil law is the proper approach for a mature socially conscious nation as it addresses the unacceptable human cost of the current system. At present, cyclists injured in accidents involving a car currently wait, on average, 6-9 months to receive compensation, when the case is relatively straightforward. In serious or fatal injuries, the cyclists or their families can wait in excess of two years before their case is decided. This situation is untenable, as in all cases handled by CLS, primary fault and responsibility always rests with the driver of the motorised vehicle.
We will be taking the campaign to the Cross-Party Group on Cycling in the Scottish Parliament on Thursday 18 April, 2013 and will be pushing for a private members’ bill as a catalyst to a change in the law.

You can get involved in the following ways:-

– Visit our website for more information regarding the key messages, to review the arguments and a Q and A.

– Like our Facebook page (username: cyclelawscotland) to show your support and share our posts with your fans.

Follow us on Twitter and retweet to your own followers.

– Sign our e-petition on the Scottish Government website.

– Share this information within your organisation and with cyclists across Scotland.

The UK is out of step with the rest of Europe being one of only five countries on the Continent that does not operate a system of strict liability for road users, alongside Cyprus, Malta, Romania and Ireland. If Scotland does not want to be seen to be lagging behind, it has the opportunity to take a lead in the UK and change the system.
Under strict liability, when a cyclist is injured by a motorised vehicle they automatically receive compensation. Likewise, when a pedestrian is injured by a motorised vehicle or bicycle, strict liability shall ensure they are granted automatic compensation as well. The party liable, however, will be able to present evidence that the cyclist or pedestrian was at least partly to blame, thereby ensuring fairness in proceedings.
Crucially, in this time of straitened public finances, it is also more cost effective than the current system. As strict liability ensures injured cyclists and pedestrians promptly receive just compensation, it thereby avoids the need for expensive litigation. This not only would see the cost burden of insurers fall, but avoiding court proceedings will reduce pressure on the public purse as well.
Cycle Law Scotland was set up by lawyers who as keen cyclists recognised the need for a specialist legal service for those involved in a road traffic accident through no fault of their own. Together with my 25 years as a personal injury solicitor, we bring personal experience of the problems and hazards cyclists encounter while travelling on Scotland’s roads to ensure cyclists involved in accidents and their families receive the best possible legal advice and personal representation.
In those countries in Europe where we see extremely high numbers of cyclists, strict liability exists as an integral part of a holistic approach to encouraging safer roads for cyclists, with the consequent health and environmental benefits this brings. This is our chance to begin to effect the step-change needed to bring Scotland in line with its cycling ambitions.

Deeside Line Improvements

Deeside Line Improvements

The latest improvement to the Deeside line has seen tarmac laid on the remaining 1.5km or so to Culter station. The route is now sealed surface all the way from Duthie Park. This is good news and is the latest stage in a round of improvements that started around 2000 with the installation of bridges over Hardgate and Holburn St. This is down to the council taking a sustained interest in the route, and excellent funding support from Sustrans and Nestrans – as well as consistent pressure from ACF. Our annual cycle count has shown a steady increase in cycle use which confirms what we already know – good quality cycle provision encourages cycling!

If you are benefitting from this investment, let your councillor know! Don’t know who your councillors are? Click here.

New Union Square Cycle Stands

New Union Square Cycle Stands

Since even before Union Square opened, ACF has been making the case for more cycle stands at the Guild Street entrance. The five stands there are frequently at capacity. So it is good to see our pressure has finally paid off. Five new stands have been installed, doubling the number of spaces. Some good news to start off the new year!

Are your cycling friends, colleagues or relatives also members of ACF? If not, tell them about ACF and ask them to join! Joining up is easy (click the ‘Join’ button on the homepage) and it’s free!

Aberdeen Cycle Forum calls for action on roundabouts

Aberdeen Cycle Forum calls for action on roundabouts

Cyclists in Aberdeen today called for action to improve safety at roundabouts. This call follows the tragic death of a cyclist at the Kings Gate/Anderson Drive roundabout last week.

Derek Williams, chairman of the Aberdeen Cycle Forum, said, ‘Large, multi lane roundabouts are the most dangerous part of the road network for cyclists yet they are unavoidable for many cycle journeys in the city. It is not reasonable to expect cyclists to cycle through these as part of their day to day journeys.’

The Cycle Forum lists the roundabouts on Anderson Drive, at the Beach Boulevard, either end of St Machar Drive, at the Queen Elizabeth bridge and Maberly Street as particular risk spots.
ACF is calling for the roundabouts to be replaced with signalised junctions or to have safe and convenient routes that cyclists can use to bypass them.

Derek added, ‘If the council is serious about encouraging more and safer cycling, then it has to make these junctions safe for cycling. The advent of the AWPR is the opportunity to make the city truly cycle and pedestrian friendly, but the planning has to start now.’

Council Cycle Priorities

Council Cycling Priorities

A cluster of recent decisions appear to show that cycling is still low priority for some parts of the council. It is frustrating for us to be spending most of our time at the moment on firefighting council measures instead of working on more positive matters.

1.The council will be trialling ‘over the festive period’ the banning of straight ahead movements from Virginia Street/Trinity Quay to Guild Street, across the Market St junction. If you are cycling from the harbour and heading for the train station, or to College St, you will not be able to do this. You will be forced either south down Market St or will have to bail out early and go up Marischal St. The intention is to ease up traffic flows though it will probably just shift problems elsewhere. The trial is to see if the change should become permanent.

2.Three junctions have been redesigned (two have become signalised) due to the new Tesco on Rousay Drive. The junctions are RousayDrive/Lang Stracht; Eday Rd/Stronsay Dr and Kings Gate/Stronsay Dr. None of these have had advance stop boxes installed (apart from two pre-exisiting ones on the Lang Stracht). ASLs should be a standard cycle safety measure now at signalised junctions. And a right turn restriction from Kings Gate onto Westholme Avenue has been imposed. All without any consultation with ACF.

3. Those of you that cycle the Westhill cycle path will be all too familiar with the narrow stretch, just west of the Park and Ride access. ACF requested that the large Prime 4 development which is now being built adjacent to this narrow stretch should contribute to its widening and upgrading. The path will presumably become busier once the business park is open, adding to safety concerns for users on this skinny bit of tarmac. This was a step too far for planners and no contribution was sought, meaning the path will continue to be way below standard.

4. The mess up with the Tesco junctions has reinforced our concerns about the planned junction for the new Morrisons on the Lang Stracht. This takes a chunk out of the existing on road cycle lane and adds in a left filter lane that risks drivers cutting across cyclists who are wishing to cycle straight ahead (heading west). Rather than assisting on road cyclists with an approach cycle lane to the junction, cyclists will be presented with a short stretch of cycle path interrupted by a two stage pedestrian crossing. There is so much wrong with this design that we are amazed officers can even propose it.

We are challenging all of these and we are making sure the council’s ‘cycling champion’ Cllr Ross Thomson knows all about our concerns.
If any of these will affect you, please let us know: info@aberdeencycleforum.org.uk

And let your councillors know you are concerned (find your councillors at writetothem.com)

Aberdeen City Council has a Cycle Champion

Aberdeen City Council has a ‘Cycle Champion’

One of the points in the ACF manifesto for the local elections in May was that the council should designate one of its councillors as a ‘cycle champion’.

We are really pleased then that the new council has responded well to this idea and councillor Ross Thomson has enthusiastically taken on the role – even to the extent of being taken on a cycle tour of the city centre! We are hoping this means a higher profile for cycling within the city council and means that issues relevant to cycling in Aberdeen should get a better hearing.

Councillor Thomson has already helped set up a useful meeting to look at how to get more primary schools offering Bikeability Cycle Training – another key point in the ACF manifesto.

The council has encouraging cycling as part of its vision statement for the city and we hope that Councillor Thomson’s cycling role will help translate the vision into action.