Sustrans contractor parks car on cycle path

A passing cyclist looks askance at the surveyors with their parked car. Picture: Scott Taylor

A passing cyclist looks askance at the surveyors with their parked car. Picture: Scott Taylor

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IT’S the cycling-friendly charity that encourages people to live healthily and do their bit to protect the environment.

But Sustrans chiefs were left red-faced when a contractor drove his car on to one of the city’s best-known cycle routes to carry out a survey.

The worker caused consternation among people using the popular Roseburn Path in the Haymarket area, who soon took to social media to vent their anger.

One commentator branded the worker “lazy” because he drove onto the path despite being less than 100 metres from a road, while another was concerned about him partly blocking the path or damaging it.

Sustrans described the incident as “unfortunate” but stressed that the worker was not employed directly by the organisation.

John Lauder, the group’s national director, came out in person within half an hour to make sure the vehicle was moved.

One member of a city cycling forum wrote: “If I hadn’t been hurrying to work I would have stopped and asked why they felt the need to bring a car onto the path. What kind of signal does that send out?”

Another added: “Astonishing that the subcontractor even considered driving along there. Lazy.”

The incident also sparked a flurry of angry tweets directed at Sustrans and Mr Lauder.

Cycling Edinburgh asked: “Is this really a @SustransScot survey with a car on a busy cycle path?” and an angry cyclist tweeted: “Is this really necessary? Blocks path and damages verge [and] drags mud onto path.”

Responding directly to the criticisms on Twitter, Mr Lauder said: “Yes, it was a subcontractor, not observing contract. Is now off path.”

Ian Maxwell, of cycling campaign group Spokes, said he was “surprised” that the incident had happened, adding: “Sustrans is a very environmentally friendly organisation and I would have thought this is an exception that has caught them out.

“They are a genuine organisation if terms of practising what they preach. I am sure they will take note of this and won’t get caught out again.”

He said it was not common to see cars on the cycle path unless essential maintenance work was being carried out.

A spokesman from Sustrans Scotland confirmed they were alerted to an “unfortunate action” by a subcontractor yesterday morning. He said: “The issue was personally rectified by National Director John Lauder and steps are being taken to avoid any future incidents involving external contractors breaching contract.”

john.connell@edinburghnews.com