Glasgow's council has positive news for cyclists - but what will drivers think?

By Catriona Stewart

Columnist/reporter

Glasgow's council has positive news for cyclists - but what will drivers think?

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GLASGOW could see an increase in cycle lanes around the city in order to support long term social distancing.

Council bosses have revealed they are looking at ways to create temporary additional pavements and cycle paths as more people are out on bikes and walking during lockdown.

But, with experts saying social distancing may last for some months as the country works to minimise coronavirus cases, more space is needed for pedestrians and cyclists.

Other countries have been looking at temporary measures to reduce road space for cars and repurpose routes for active travel.

Councillor Anna Richardson, City Convener for Sustainability and Carbon Reduction, confirmed that Glasgow is looking at similar measure.

She said: “We are actively looking at how we could introduce temporary footways and cycle paths to help support social distancing.

“We are still in lockdown, but there are already indications that social distancing will remain a feature of our lives in any case for some time to come.

“When we are able to move around more freely, more space will be required for people walking and cycling to keep their distance and help stifle further spread of covid-19."

Sales of bikes have risen rapidly in Scotland since lockdown with people using their daily outdoor exercise time to cycle.

With social distancing a vital part of keeping safe, and with fewer public transport options, cycle commuting is also becoming more popular.

Cycling Scotland's figures show that in some areas the number of cyclists has doubled or more.

Other countries have taken bold steps to create more space for active travel to support social distancing.

Bogotá, the capital of Colombia, began coning off cycle routes for its citizens.

New York and Vancouver have rolled out temporary bike lanes, as has New Zealand where flower planters are part of the new architecture.

London is also looking at repurposing space on its busiest roads to make it easier for cyclists and walkers to spread out more.

The local authority here will have to look at existing legislation to see what it can do to keep people safe.

The city already has a comprehensive cycling plan that is building segregated cycle routes across Glasgow.

Ms Richardson said she hoped that when lockdown is lifted people will still want to travel by foot and on bikes.

She added: “Once restrictions do begin to ease, it will be crucial that walking and cycling continue to be safe and convenient modes of travel that are good for health, air quality and traffic congestion. "