Leader: Bus lane move should be welcomed

The decision to relax restrictions should be welcomed.
The decision to relax restrictions should be welcomed.
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The decision to relax restrictions around Edinburgh’s Greenways will be welcomed today.

That’s to say it will be welcomed by the proportion of motorists who actually understand the current restrictions. A huge number just adopt the policy of avoiding at all costs.

And that’s exactly what they will continue to do unless calls for a public information campaign today are heeded.

Edinburgh’s system of varying bus lane restrictions on different stretches of road has always seemed needlessly confusing. Even if you know the rules, you can draw disapproving looks and beeps from other motorists stuck in a line of traffic.

From parking enforcers to bus lane cameras, the Capital’s policy of enforcing regulations to the letter has left many drivers terrified of risking a ticket.

If this move is to have any impact on relieving congestion outside of peak times then motorists must have the confidence to use the lanes, safe in the knowledge they will not be fined by a rogue camera.

That may mean there is a case for better and clearer - perhaps electronic - signage to indicate when a bus lane is live as well as a “don’t fear the greenways” campaign.

Neil Greig of the Institute of Advanced Motorists sums the problem up well today when he says the initial experience of bus lanes cameras was “entirely negative”.

“People were scared by the stories of people being caught turning into side streets and the operating times not working properly.

“There is a lack of trust that a camera won’t catch you even though you have the right to be there.”

Bringing empty bus lanes back into use is a sensible and long overdue move.

Let’s just make sure everyone knows about it.

For the council, the rarity of a pro-motorist policy should be an easy sell.