Rethink over ‘dangerous’ Edinburgh roundabout cycle lane

Kevin Lang at the at Silverknowes roundabout. Picture: Ian Rutherford
Kevin Lang at the at Silverknowes roundabout. Picture: Ian Rutherford
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TRANSPORT bosses have ordered a rethink of plans for a cycle lane at a busy roundabout after cyclists warned it could make the route more dangerous.

Work on a major project to resurface the Silverknowes roundabout – where Silverknowes Road meets Silverknowes Parkway and Lauriston Farm Road – had already been under way for two days when city transport convener Councillor Lesley Macinnes tweeted that “a fresh look is being taken on the cycling infrastructure” at the site.

Cycling campaign group Spokes was not consulted in advance about the decision to add a cycle lane. And the group said such a move went against government guidelines.

Peter Hawkins, of Spokes’ planning group, said: “Peripheral cycle lanes at roundabouts are dangerous for cyclists because the cyclist doing anything other than a left turn is vulnerable to the conflict with vehicles exiting the roundabout.”

He said replacing the roundabout with traffic lights would be the ideal solution, but a “compact” roundabout with narrower lanes which slowed the traffic down would be better than cycle lanes.”

Liberal Democrat councillor Kevin Lang, whose ward includes the area, said the first he knew of the plans for the roundabout was when he saw yellow warning signs about the roadworks a week before they began.

He said: “When I approached council transport officials, I was told it was a major project to resurface the road and pavements, install new pedestrian crossings, traffic islands and, critically, new painted cycle lanes on the roundabout. It would involve road closures, contraflows and major diversions.”

Local consultations had taken place in June 2016 and the work was due to begin in January this year, but was later postponed until September.

Cllr Lang, who was elected to the council in May, said as soon as he posted details of the plans online, residents complained they had had no notice of the roadworks and cyclists voiced concerns about the cycle lane.

He said: “This whole project has been a shambles involving a flawed design and botched communications with the community. Given all the concerns raised, particularly from cyclists, it is right that officials are being told to think again.

“However, to announce a review of the roundabout design just days after the construction work started shows how flawed this whole 
process has been. There are also serious questions on how a design, which now seems to be accepted as unsafe, was proposed in the first place.”

Cllr Macinnes said she understood the concerns that had been expressed. “I’ve asked for further consultation to take place with those concerned to see if we can identify a better way to improve road markings and signage for cyclists. Resurfacing Silverknowes roundabout will make it much smoother and safer for all road users. We are listening to what people have to say to help us make the most appropriate improvements. As a council, we must make evidence-led decisions about where and how we spend on behalf of Edinburgh’s residents.”