IT is strange how unaware some cyclists and pedestrians seem to be about their own and each other’s safety. There seem to be two main problems: with education and with enforcement (Letters, June 22).
Police involvement with cycling proficiency classes at primary school largely ceased many years ago. Bikeability is the replacement, delivered by volunteers on three levels. The Transport Secretary has stated that increased funding has been made available and £1 million was used by 52 per cent of all schools during 2019/20.
Patricia Fort asks why so many people cycle on the pavements and it would be really good to know the answer to that. Teaching little children to cycle off the road is understandable, and personal safety is probably the main factor for every cyclist. This suggests that the education of drivers, adults and children is failing. Bikeability training, especially including level 3, which is teaching confidence on the road to Primary Six and Seven pupils, is paramount. It must be given to all pupils in all schools. Sadly, there are stories of head teachers saying to willing volunteers that they do not have room in the curriculum in Primary 6 and 7 to run the level three training. This is inexcusable.
Where is the risk assessment of the dangers of not giving pupils these skills at the right age? As well as giving them confidence they would learn parts of the Highway Code including that it is illegal to cycle on pavements that are not designated for shared use.
Enforcement is the second part of the problem. Many shared-use paths have been created in recent years. Sometimes this is the only option, but sometimes it is the cheap option and this is often borne out by the chronic absence of proper signage. Cyclists do not know whether they are still on a designated path and pedestrians are not reminded that they are still on a shared path.
Seeing cyclists on a pavement tends to encourage other cyclists to copy. Police enforcement seems to have reduced. Their manpower is additionally occupied policing walkers in organised marches. The UK Department for Transport’s consultation on the possible use of electric scooters in Britain rather weakly proposed enforcement as the way to keep them off pavements. I hope that Glasgow City Council will do a fuller risk assessment than this in their proposed trial.
The works going on throughout Scotland to make more space on pavements and to create more cycle paths for required social distancing is hugely positive. In welcoming this for Glasgow, Peter Hayman uses the common term “active travel”. We need to remember that this term includes both walkers and cyclists. Grouping the two together is unhelpful, even dangerous, for risk-controlled policy outcomes at times. We are talking about the safety of walkers and the safety of cyclists. Both matter.
R J Ardern, Inverness.