Campaigners claim cycling in the capital is 'a joke' as video released showing state of roads

Campaigners have claimed cycling in the capital is ‘a joke’ in a new video released to highlight the dangers on roads as congestion spikes during the festival.

Organisers of Critical Mass shot the film to show what it’s like for cyclists in Edinburgh faced with widespread potholes, dangerous junctions and cycle paths that turn sharply or end abruptly.

The group which holds protest rides about the safety of two-wheeled users claims there's also a significant issue in the city with drivers that ‘ignore what little good cycle infrastructure the city does have’.

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Previous mass rides have caused controversy as the group has blocked off main roads in the city with hundreds of bicycles, and other people-powered machines in a bid to ‘reclaim’ spaces for cyclists and fight for safer conditions on the roads.

Critical Mass ride through the capital
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The new video which has been released to coincide with the festival season shows footage of a cyclist navigating busy roads and ‘poorly designed’ cycle lanes with the words ‘cycling in Edinburgh is a joke but it’s no laughing matter’.

It comes as one of the local organisers of Critical Mass has also released a single and music video starring a nine-year-old cyclist from Edinburgh and a whole cast of locals, as they ride around the city’s streets to highlight the conditions cyclists face.

Musician Dan Abrahams said the parents of the nine-year-old girl gave permission for her not to wear a helmet in the video for the single ‘Our Streets’ in order to show the real dangers for cyclists riding on roads close to cars and buses.

Critical Mass claims the Capital only has 2 miles of cycle tracks separate from traffic and pedestrians, compared to the countries like the Netherlands where 25 per cent of all roads are cycle friendly.

Theft is also an issue, with a reported 1,746 reported cycle thefts in Edinburgh in 2020/21, and 57 per cent of residents saying secure storage would encourage them to cycle more.

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Several campaign groups say people are put off by the conditions and call for measures to make the city more bike friendly which they argue would ease traffic and noise pollution, while promoting healthier lifestyles.

According to Sustrans, 47 per cent of Edinburgh’s residents cycle, but only a quarter do so regularly.

Sam Wheldon-bayes, one of the ride’s organisers, said “Every Edinburgh resident knows that the city is difficult to get around in August. Cycling should be an easy way for residents and visitors to get across the city and avoid the traffic, but the streets are intimidating for new road users. The council needs to make more protected bike lanes, connect them up better, and prioritise cyclists and pedestrians in their transport plans.”

Duncan Dollimore, head of campaigning at Cycling UK said: "We all want to live on safe, vibrant streets, but too many people are currently put off cycling. Politicians and decision makers need to hear the message that for the people and the planet, the bicycle really is best."

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Edinburgh Critical Mass meets on the last Saturday of every month at 2pm on Middle Meadow Walk.

The organisers are inviting residents and visitors to join the August ride on Saturday 27th, leaving Middle Meadow Walk at 2pm.