Portobello Promenade cycle ban set to be lifted

Cyclists enjoying the beach front on a breezy, sunny day.
Cyclists enjoying the beach front on a breezy, sunny day.
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AS rules and regulations go, it was never one of the most effective.

The long-standing – and widely ignored – cycle ban on Portobello Promenade has finally been lifted, with council bosses now set to officially endorse travelling by two wheels along Edinburgh’s seafront.

City officials are consulting with members of the community about how to promote safe cycling to ensure pedestrians and cyclists can both use the prom without injury, and a series of new signs is set to be erected in the new year to replace the “no cycling” ones.

The move has been welcomed by Lothians cycle campaign group Spokes, although there are still concerns that “inconsiderate” cyclists could end up injuring pedestrians.

Ian Maxwell, spokesman for Spokes, said: “We have always been aware of a strong desire for cyclists to use the prom legally, but that there are also concerns about fast or dangerous cycling on the prom and Spokes is very happy to work with the community and make sure that doesn’t happen.

“We would back the idea behind the signs that are being proposed by the council.

“We have also offered to do some leafleting of cyclists using the prom just reminding then that they need to be careful of small children, dogs, elderly people etc.

“The prom is used by so many people and there’s no reason why cyclists shouldn’t be there, but they need to be aware of dangers.”

Mr Maxwell added: “Spokes is really pleased that after decades of persuasion we have finally reached a position where it will be legal to cycle on the prom.”

Despite having been banned from the prom, many cyclists ignored the rules and continued to use their bikes there.

Portobello councillor Maureen Child said people have been severely injured by speeding cyclists over the years, including a three-year-old boy and an elderly man.

Cllr Child said: “As well as those specific incidents, there have been numerous near-misses. We need to get the safe cycling message across and we have to educate people to have a thought for pedestrians.

“The signs should definitely say pedestrians have priority.

“The outright ban was not working and now cannot be enforced. However, there is a law against dangerous cycling and people can be charged.”

The new move is part of the council’s Edinburgh Promenade project, which will eventually link a 16km stretch from Cramond to Joppa.

A council spokesman said: “We are consulting with local groups on how best to promote considerate use of the promenade. Officers attended a meeting of the Portobello Community Council last week at which they presented and discussed options for new signage, which we plan to introduce in the New Year.”