Edinburgh's Drum Brae North will see bollards return after cars drive in cycle lane and on footpath
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Bike lane bollards will be partly reinstated along an Edinburgh road just weeks after they were removed following concerns for cyclists’ safety.
Footage ,which has emerged online showing motorists driving in the cycle lane and mounting the pavement on Drum Brae North, has led the council to return the defenders along half of the cycleway. Transport convener Scott Arthur said action had to be taken to improve safety, adding the “lawlessness” displayed by drivers was “depressing to see.”
One city councillor challenged the move however, raising concerns about taking a “hokey-cokey approach” to the scheme. Councillors agreed to the road layout change in September amid concerns cyclists were “at risk when coming downhill on the steepest section of the hill.” Officials said cyclists were in danger of colliding with the bollards, originally installed as part of the Spaces for People scheme, if they had to take “evasive action such as if someone was reversing from a driveway.”
They were ripped out in January but the painted cycle lane was kept. However, locals warned the authority it had become even more dangerous along the stretch without proper separation of driving and cycling space. The transport committee voted to reinstate the segregation poles on Thursday. They will only be returned to the section “where issues have been reported and observed” from 56 Drum Brae North to the end of the bike lane, just north of the junction with Barntongate Avenue. This will cost the council up to £5,000, a report said.
It added the issues reported included “multiple vehicles regularly encroaching into the cycleway” and drivers using the bicycle route as a second lane of traffic. Removal of the bollards also “made parents feel unable to safely cycle with their children,” the report said. Videos posted on social media show the cycling space has been treated as another lane for traffic by many drivers since the defenders disappeared.
Dave Sinclair, council transport manager, admitted taking them out was the wrong decision. He said: “I think we’re clearly revisiting that to manage the risk – we have a duty of care and we have seen the videos. I think it’s reasonable that we reinstate the area where we know that driver behaviour is so poor that physical reinstatement is reasonable.” He added officers would continue monitoring activity to determine if bollards should be reinstated along the rest of the road.
Lib Dem leader Kevin Lang questioned whether the move risked being “piecemeal and premature.” He added: “I’m a bit worried about this hokey-cokey approach that appears to have been taken with this road. I’m worried we’ll be back here again, probably pretty soon with something else, and the hokey-cokey will continue.” Councillor Lang said “incredibly disruptive” roadworks which have shut the Clermiston Road North for several weeks “probably doubled the volume of traffic on Drum Brae North.”
The Conservatives’ Christpher Cowdy added there was “fairly calm traffic” on the road before the nearby road closure and suggested this had given rise to an increase in incidents reported to the council. However, head of placemaking Daisy Narayanan responded that the problem was down to driver behaviour rather than volume of traffic. Councillor Arthur said: “We’re just accepting there’s an issue here that needs to be addressed. I think most people accept that something has to be done here. What this is about doing is reinforcing that message to drivers that they shouldn’t be driving in the bike lane and they shouldn’t be driving on the footpath.”