New Spaces for People row: Cyclist tells of near miss as cycle lane makes him converge with articulated lorry

A seasoned cyclist has described a near-miss with an articulated lorry as he pedalled along a new cycle lane installed to keep cyclists safe.
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He said the cycle lane on Comiston Road – positioned between the pavement and parked cars – suddenly converges with the main traffic lane at the junction with Braid Hills Road, with cyclists and vehicles forced together by a protruding pavement on one side and a traffic island on the other.

The incident came as other road users complained the council had failed to create a required "buffer zone" between the cycle lane and parked cars on Comiston Road despite one being installed in a similar scheme on Lanark Road.

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Now Jason Rust, Tory councillor for Colinton/Fairmilehead, is calling for an urgent rethink of the whole design of the Spaces for People cycle lanes on Comiston Road.

The cycle lane on Comiston Road runs between the pavement and parked cars but the converges with the main carriagewayThe cycle lane on Comiston Road runs between the pavement and parked cars but the converges with the main carriageway
The cycle lane on Comiston Road runs between the pavement and parked cars but the converges with the main carriageway

He said the cyclist had copied him into his email to the council where he detailed how the near-miss happened.

The cyclist wrote: "I was cycling up from Morningside to Fairmilehead using the new cycle lane in Comiston Road for the first time. When I was approaching Braid Hills Road side entrance, I continued to follow the cycle lane and was shocked to find I was almost in collision with an articulated lorry also travelling south.

"I stopped immediately after the incident to establish how this had come about as I have been cycling up to Fairmilehead using this route for the past 20 years.

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"The extended payment at the road junction causes the cycle lane to direct cyclists into the traffic lane. Similarly, the adjacent traffic island directs the traffic towards the cycle lane.

"Thus the cycle lane and traffic lane are directed to converge in a restricted width less than the combined traffic and cycle lanes."

Cllr Rust said an urgent review of the cycle lanes was needed. “Making routes less safe than they were before is clearly at odds with the proposed aims of the scheme.

"If cyclists are being forced into the road near a junction without warning and at a busy pinch point then there is something clearly wrong.

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"It is also noticeable that in parts of the Comiston Road set-up the cycle lane is barely the minimum required width and for large parts there is no buffer zone between the lane and the parking – and also that the parking bays are extremely tight.

"The council immediately needs to pick up the serious safety issues raised by residents which the council itself has created on Comiston Road. It seems we have a narrow cycle lane, no buffer zone, a parking lane too narrow to fit a car, and carriageways too narrow for buses and lorries to pass each other safely, plus this specific dangerous junction. The design needs to be reviewed as soon as possible.”

A council spokeswoman said: “We are already aware of concerns around the cycle lane layout on Comiston Road at Braid Hills Road. Our Spaces for People officers are already looking to modify the road markings and improve the layout in the coming weeks. They will also be investigating the potential for additional buffer zones for cyclists on Comiston Road.

“This is a good example of the ‘try then modify’ approach we’re able to take with these temporary schemes.”

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