Cyclists to get ‘pioneering’ two-stage right turn on Leith Walk

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SCOTLAND’S first two-stage right turn junction to boost cycle safety is to be installed in Edinburgh this month.

It will be followed by a bus stop “bypass” for cyclists – another novelty.

The new turning lane at the McDonald Road junction on Leith Walk is designed to make riders feel less vulnerable to traffic when going right.

This is expected to particularly appeal to less experienced cyclists.

Instead of having to wait in the middle of the road, cyclists will be directed left into McDonald Road first to cross Leith Walk.

They will get priority over other vehicles in both stages of the process with cycle-only green lights.

“The design is not optimal due to lack of space. Drivers might be tempted to turn alongside cyclists”

MARTIN MCDONNELL

The city council said such junctions had proved successful in London and Europe.

However, a similar junction in Southampton three years ago proved initially controversial, amid claims it had made cycle safety worse.

The Leith Walk junction would also enable riders to cross tram tracks at 90 degrees, rather than at a dangerously sharp angle, should the line be extended along Leith Walk to Newhaven.

The new junction is due to be in operation by the end of the month, with the bypasses.

These will form part of a new 700m long section of segregated cycle lanes on Leith Walk between Iona Street and Brunswick Street.

The bypasses divert the lanes round the back of bus stops so cyclists do not have to pull out to overtake stopped buses.

Cycle campaigners expressed doubts about the innovations.

Martin McDonnell, of Spokes, the Lothian Cycle Campaign, said: “The design is not optimal due to lack of space.

“There is concern that a cyclist turning left into the side road [to turn right] will be mistaken for a left-turning cyclist and drivers might be tempted to turn alongside them.

“We also have concerns about the cycleways being part of the pavement.”

Daisy Narayanan, deputy director for built environment at cycle path developers Sustrans Scotland said: “We believe the turn will improve junction safety and enable a better flow of people on bikes.”

City council transport convener Lesley Macinnes said: “By introducing the first two-stage right turn junction in Scotland, we are proud to be proving once again that Edinburgh is fully committed to making active travel [cycling and walking] as attractive and accessible as possible.”