CYCLISTS in the Capital have been handed a double dose of “wheely” good news.
A new bike lane has been opened into Waverley Station after complaints that cyclists had to dismount and share a narrow pavement with luggage-laden pedestrians and parents with buggies.
And council chiefs unveiled 17 new bin lorries with special technology to detect cyclists and prevent accidents.
The new cycle lane on the north ramp from Waverley Bridge into the station includes gated barriers at the foot, road markings and new signage.
Phil Verster, managing director of the ScotRail Alliance, said: “Cycling access into Waverley is an issue which has been raised time and again in recent years. We have listened and we have taken action.
“This is the first of a range of improvements that we intend to make to cycling facilities at Waverley. Plans are under way to introduce a ScotRail CyclePoint hub by 2018 and we will be sharing more details of those plans with our passengers soon.
“Servicing the station while balancing the various needs of our passengers is a significant challenge but we are putting our passenger needs first. The north ramp continues to be required for deliveries, so this will be a mixed use facility and we’d urge all cyclists to exercise caution.”
Edinburgh Southern SNP MSP Jim Eadie, convener of Holyrood’s infrastructure committee, which called for better access for cyclists, said the new ramp was “a victory for common sense”.
He said: “I’m delighted that following Mr Verster’s appearance before the committee, he listened and acted upon the concerns that were expressed on behalf of cyclists.
“We had a situation where cyclists, pedestrians and mums with buggies were all vying to use a very narrow space. I will now work to ensure access to the Capital’s main rail station for all cyclists, pedesterians and disabled people is the best it can be.”
The new lane was also endorsed by Transport Minister Derek Mackay, who said cycling facilities at stations were vital in allowing more people the opportunity to start and complete rail journeys by bike.
He said: “Provision of cycle access into Edinburgh Waverley is an issue that station users feel strongly about. I am therefore pleased to see it resolved and can assure the public we will be looking at further options to increase station accessibility in the future.”
Meanwhile, the introduction of 17 new “cycle-friendly” bin lorries comes after the technology was successfully trialled on eight trucks. It now looks set to be installed in all future large council vehicles.
Sensors on the side of the vehicle detect when a cyclist travels alongside it, alerting the cyclist with an audible message, and sounding a warning buzzer to the driver. There is also an illuminated sign that lights up to alert anyone travelling towards a lorry when it is turning left and a speaker announcing the manoeuvre for additional warning.