CAMPAIGN groups insist the roll-out of new 20mph speed limits across most of Edinburgh will boost the number of cyclists on the roads.
Last week it was revealed the ambitious plans, which will affect around 80 per cent of the city’s streets, will start being phased in from July. The city centre – covering Queen Street to the Meadows – will be the first area to see the controversial £2.22 million policy enforced, with the entire Capital covered by February 2018.
It’s about a general attitude that roads are meant for a wider range of uses and not just for motor vehicles to go as fast as possible.Ian Maxwell
Ian Maxwell, of Lothian cycle campaigners Spokes, said the move would “accelerate the growth” of cycling across the city.
He said: “We are very positive about the idea and we have seen how well 20mph had worked in other areas.
“Any speed reduction is going to be useful and it will also mean that the roads are less intimidating to people who are thinking of cycling. If the road looks safer, then more people will ride bikes.
“It’s about a general attitude that roads are meant for a wider range of uses and not just for motor vehicles to go as fast as possible.
“It’s all part of a positive move in the right direction – it’s slower than we would like, but it’s happening.”
The 20mph roll-out is the first of its kind in Scotland and will be phased in over a period of 24 months, with key arterial routes – including Ferry Road, St John’s Road and Telford Road – keeping their current limits.
But the scheme has met with outcry in some quarters, with concerns raised it may impact on Lothian Buses’ journey times.
Pedestrian campaign group Living Streets insisted the Capital was “leading the way”.
Stuart Hay, director of Living Streets Scotland, said: “Lower speed limits will soon be the new norm for all residential and shopping streets, as other areas emulate Edinburgh.
“It’s encouraging that there have been very few formal objections to this scheme, a fact that points to growing public acceptance of the need for safer streets. Work still needs to be done on education and enforcement to deliver the full benefits of the scheme in terms of enhanced safety and a better environment for walkers.”
John Lauder, national director of Sustrans Scotland, said: “It’s fantastic that the 20mph speed limit will now be rolled out across the city.
“The Bike Life Edinburgh study clearly shows the Capital’s residents want to see more people travelling by bike – and that includes people who regularly drive.
“Edinburgh is following the best practice of cities and urban areas across the UK and Europe, and I hope that other cities and urban areas across Scotland will follow suit.”