Hundreds join mass cycle to back scrapped Bears Way bike lane extension

Cyclists gathering for today's "advocacy ride" along the Bears Way segregated cycle lane in Milngavie

Cyclists gathering for today's "advocacy ride" along the Bears Way segregated cycle lane in Milngavie

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Campaigners for extending a controversial segregated Milngavie-Glasgow cycle lane joined a mass ride today in protest at the plan being ditched.

Organisers said more then 200 cyclists turned out for the "advocacy ride", which comes days after transport minister Humza Yousaf announced a taskforce to tackle opposition to segregated lanes.

Nationalist councillors led a successful move to have a second section of the Bears Way along the busy A81 axed last month.

SNP councillors also played a leading role in South Ayrshire Council voting for a segregated lane in Ayr to be ripped up, while a cycle lane in Perth city centre has been replaced by parking.

Lanes with barriers to protect cyclists from other traffic are seen by ministers as crucial to help them boost cycling rates towards a hoped-for 10 per cent of journeys by 2020, compared to around 2 per now.

Dave Brennan, organiser of the Friends of Bears Way which staged today's ride, said: "With over 200 cyclists of all ages shapes and sizes riding along the Bears Way cycle lane today, we have sent a clear message that people want and need safe segregated lanes in East Dunbartonshire.

Cyclists taking part in today's "advocacy ride" along the Bears Way segregated cycle lane on the A81

Cyclists taking part in today's "advocacy ride" along the Bears Way segregated cycle lane on the A81

"Unfortunately a large proportion of those taking part in today's ride had to stop at the end of the lane as it it didn't feel safe for them to continue.

"Only the hardy rode on to where phase two is proposed to end.

"We hope the council will reconsider its recent decision not to extend the lane so that East Dunbartonshire can become people friendly."

Alan Moir, deputy leader of the council's Labour group, which runs the council in coalition with the Liberal Democrats and Conservatives, said: "Today's turnout had been fantastic.

"I understand we had over 200, and this has really put life back into the Bears Way project, because cyclists and non-cyclists are not prepared for this fantastic initiative to be mothballed.

"I welcome the recent strong supportive comments from the transport minister in relation to the importance of segregated cycle lanes.

"However, my concern in relation to the task force initiative is that it does not directly deal with the political decision-making and blocking at a local level.

"I hope he is able to address this impasse."

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