Cycling on the road comes with rights and responsibilties - Readers' Letters

Two things struck me in your article on this weekend’s Critical Mass protest (News, 26 November); one was the incoherence of the message from activists and organisers, the other was the 18 per cent increase in accidents.
Cyclists using roads have rights and responsibilities, says a readerCyclists using roads have rights and responsibilities, says a reader
Cyclists using roads have rights and responsibilities, says a reader

The protest will block off main roads through Causewayside, Bruntsfield and Morningside to protest against climate change and road safety yet they are happy “to ride through red lights” and say they “are not blocking traffic”. It is about “reclaiming” the streets that have never been the main domain of cyclists. If “it’s not a major disruption”, then why describe them as “desperate measures”?

Cycling Scotland suggest a 47 per cent increase in cycling across Scotland in 2020 and an 18 per cent increase in accidents in Edinburgh. It is only surprising that it is so low. I am a cyclist and would like to see more everyday users. I consider myself a confident and safe cyclist and any accident is one I could have avoided. Just as the Critical Mass organiser rightly suggests “motorists get it” so cyclists need to “get it” that cycling on the roads, as well as a right, comes with responsibility, to keep everyone safe and avoid disruption.

Christopher Cowdy, Edinburgh

Free travel plea

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How extensive should the concessionary travel scheme be throughout Scotland? Edinburgh Council leader Adam McVey made a valid point this week about the knock-on effects of the introduction of free bus travel for those under 22 from January.

A shift from use of the trams (not covered by the scheme) to buses will have an effect on Transport for Edinburgh finances; if the policy is to be extended to cover the trams it would be unrealistic to expect the local authority alone to fund it. This highlights an anomaly which has existed since the tram network began.

It was financed in the main by central government, in circumstances which were controversial. But the concessions for pensioners only applied to people who were resident in the Edinburgh City Council area.

The then Transport Minister, Keith Brown, suggested that this was applying the same principle as worked on the Glasgow Subway. Whatever the rights or wrongs of this approach, the time has come to look again as how concessionary travel, for under-22s and pensioners, can be extended at national level. Plainly the cost will be a factor but it is a matter Finance Secretary Kate Forbes should look at closely. The welfare of the young and elderly, the impact on the environment, the benefits in terms of tourism, the ending of the anomaly mentioned above and the viability of the Glasgow Subway and the Edinburgh tram network, should all be factors she takes into account.

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If she and her colleagues can get this right, it can ensure the viability of concessionary travel for the coming decades.

Bob Taylor, Glenrothes

The next inquiry?

You reported this week that the investigation into the shambolic £776m project has now taken longer than the Chilcott Inquiry into the Iraq War (News, 22 November), and at £12m and rising will probably end up costing the same.

Yet only this week Edinburgh City Council was issuing a press release about how swimmingly well the Newhaven "completion" is going. Srangely, similar press releases were regularly being made during the original late and financially crippling installation of the tram system, which as yet shows no standalone financial viability. It will be interesting to see if this inquiry offers any answers before a new inquiry is demanded into this latest "investment" by the Edinburgh City Council.

K Clark, Edinburgh

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