Increase in cycle track usage confirms Inverness as Scotland’s cycle city
Pictured with the new banners giving safety messages are L to R - Cllrs Richard Laird, Bet McAllister, Brian MacKenzie from the Highland Cycle Campaign, Cllr Janet Campbell, Neil Young the Council's Transport Planning Officer, Ian McNamara from the Highland Senior Citizen Network and Pat Hayden from Crown & City Centre Community Council
A significant increase in the usage of a major cycle route has reinforced the claim of Inverness to be Scotland’s leading cycle city.
There were a total of 83,746 trips over the cycle counter on a dedicated cycle route on Millburn Road in 2016, an 11.8% increase on usage in 2015.
The popularity of the route endorses moves to extend it further.
The outcome of a major funding application by The Highland Council is awaited on extending the cycle route into Falcon Square, Eastgate from its current finishing point near the entrance to the retail superstore and also at the eastern end towards the Raigmore Interchange.
According to the latest Census, 5.6% of people in Inverness cycle to work – the highest level of any city in Scotland. Across the Highlands, the level of people using cycling as their main mode of transport is 1.9%, higher than the Scottish average of 1.1% according to the 2013 Scottish Household Survey.
Previous work on the Millburn Road dedicated cycle route included alterations to the carriageway to create pavements that could be used by both cyclists and pedestrians, new road markings, upgrading of crossings, providing Toucan Crossings at two locations on Millburn Road and new LED street lighting.
The counter was installed by Sustrans Scotland as part a pilot scheme involving eight other locations across the country. The project received grant funding from the Scottish Government, following a successful application from the Highlands and Islands Transport Partnership (HITRANS).
Active Travel Officer from HITRANS, the regional transport partnership, Fiona McInally said: “The growing numbers of cyclists using Millburn Road is hugely encouraging and ably demonstrates what can be achieved when good infrastructure is built where people want to travel. All increases in cycling help Inverness and the Highlands move towards the Scottish Government aspiration of 10% of everyday journeys by bike by 2020."
Provost of Inverness Councillor Helen Carmichael said: “The route provides a dedicated, healthy and low carbon way of travelling. I am encouraged to see a high uptake of cycling in the city and we are committed to working with our partners to develop similar routes in suitable areas.”
To coincide with the statistics that show cycling in and around the city is becoming more popular, the Council is taking the opportunity to remind everyone travelling around Inverness to stay safe.
This week temporary road safety banners are going up on lampposts by a busy junction in the Crown area of the city to drive the safety messages home. Each banner contains two messages. On one side they display a warning to cyclists not to ride on pavements whilst on the reverse there is a message to remind car drivers to look out for cyclists at junctions. Both messages are accompanied by the generic reminder to “Go safe on our roads it’s everyone’s responsibility”.
Inverness Central Councillors, Janet Campbell, Richard Laird and Bet McAllister joined representatives from the Crown and City Centre Community Council, the Highland Cycle Campaign and Highland Senior Citizen Network earlier today (Tuesday 28 February) to see the new banners going up.
Cllr Campbell said: “It’s great news that more people are choosing to cycle and we want to ensure that they, pedestrians and drivers are all able to move around safely. Nevertheless, cycling on pavements can compromise the safety of pedestrians and such behaviour is not Crown specific but city wide. However, I do commend Crown area residents for strong representations made to both their local Community Council and local councillors, highlighting the dangers created by inconsiderate cyclists. Such representations have now culminated in today’s launch of advisory banners that will hopefully alert thoughtless cyclists on the dangers caused by cycling on pavements, and be rolled out city wide.
Cllr McAllister said: “I’m delighted that the danger for pedestrians using the very narrow pavements in the Crown area has been recognised and the banners are going up to remind cyclists to get off their bikes while on the pavements. This is a starting point as we have to look at the whole of the city centre with the aim of making it safer for everyone.”
Cllr Laird added: “It’s great to see the increase in people cycling and I hope the new safety measures will deter the small minority of inconsiderate cyclists who don’t dismount when on pavements and give all other cyclists in the city a bad name.”