The near two-mile Quality Bike Corridor project linking George IV Bridge to Edinburgh University’s King’s Buildings was launched this week by city council chiefs who spent £650,000 on the green scheme.
But cyclists have been quick to pour scorn on the danger route, saying it is discontinuous, littered with parked vehicles and has stretches where cyclists are forced to jink out into the path of moving traffic.
On Twitter, one cyclist, gilmertonJoe said: “Just cycled this new route. Diabolical – my life flashed before my eyes!”
The initiative has been condemned by Lothian Greens MSP Alison Johnstone, who labelled the “part-time” route “disappointing” for cyclists.
Ms Johnstone said: “While there are some real improvements that I welcome, many cyclists are extremely disappointed that vehicles are permitted to park on top of the cycle lane at all sorts of different times and there is a lot of misunderstanding about the new parking hours.
“It’s not good enough for the council to have spent hundreds of thousands of pounds creating a part-time cycle lane and then give it a grand title as if this is the best we can do.”
Council regulations mean commercial and residential vehicles are still able to park on sections of the on-road bike paths, forcing cyclists to weave in and out of traffic rather than having a dedicated lane.
Criticism has come just days after a major cycling conference in Edinburgh where Dutch officials offered tips about how to improve cycling.
The city’s transport vice- convener, Jim Orr, promised to look to Holland in a bid to make the Capital more bike friendly.
Today, he moved to defend the new route. He said: “For every pound we invest in cycling, we often get a pound from Sustrans, which is government money that means our money goes further, but also means we’ve got the additional expertise to bring in.”
A £250,000 contribution from the Scottish Government and £100,000 from alternative transport charity Sustrans helped fund the scheme.
Dave du Feu, lead organiser for pro-cycling campaign group Spokes, said: “While Spokes very much welcomes the new corridor, we would have liked stronger measures, including further restrictions on parking in cycle lanes, trial of segregated sections where possible and resurfacing of the worn-out red lanes on The Mound.”
Transport Minister Keith Brown said: “Edinburgh has an admirable reputation on cycling and the upgrading of this key route will enhance that.”