‘The priority is to make people feel safe in the saddle’

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the tragic death of Andrew McNicoll at the start of the year brought the issue of cycle safety in Edinburgh to the fore.

The fact that it was followed by another fatality with the death of Bryan Simons in March, projected it on to the national agenda.

Last weekend thousands of cyclists joined the Pedal on Parliament protest to demand safer roads. And at the centre of it all was one very special family. Charity campaigner Lynne McNicoll, who opens her heart to the Evening News today, is grieving the loss of her stepson Andrew but in typical style is focused on finding a positive from the tragedy.

She speaks of campaigning to make cycling safer in Edinburgh through measures such as restricting parking near traffic islands and reducing speed limits. And, vitally, she is focused on breaking down the barriers between cyclists and other road users, teaching mutual respect.

If Edinburgh is to hit its ambitious targets to have 15 per cent of all journeys made by bike by 2020, the first priority is to ensure that people feel safe sitting in the saddle.

There must be the infrastructure in place with more dedicated cycle lanes and clearer signs as well as the threat of fines for those motorists – or cyclists – who flout the rules.

We report today on the impact on congestion that the bus lane spy cameras have had. That is perhaps an unintended, if predictable, result of enforcement which will inevitably drive more commuters to consider travelling by bike rather than sit in a queue of traffic.

More cyclists on the roads will in itself make cycling safer, but we need to grasp the opportunity now to ensure those on two and four wheels are educated on how to coexist safely.

As Lynne says: “We are all road users, we all need to respect each other on the road.”

Skate achievement

It’s a common moan among youngsters that there is nothing to do and no facilities. It is not very often that the youngsters themselves decide to do something about it.

A group of teens in Drylaw have done exactly that and are hoping to see their £250,000 plans for a skatepark become a reality. In a little over a year, they have already been awarded £40,000 towards the project and are about to start making more funding applications.

That is an impressive achievement for any community project, let alone one run by schoolchildren. We wish them all the best with their venture, which really is an example to everyone young or old.