Will the Coronavirus lead to an increase in cycling in Scotland?

Cycling in Scotland has grown exponentially during the Coronavirus lockdown however "innovative thinking" will be needed to maintain this progress.

Cycling Scotland say people's habits have changed during lockdown. Pictured are the Kelpies in Falkirk.

The number of cyclists has increased by over 200% in many parts of Scotland according to Cycling Scotland who work with local authorities and transport bodies to monitor traffic on cycle routes across the country.

The national body, who encourage people to take up cycling, found that Dundee witnessed a 269% growth in cyclists with Newton Mearns seeing a 250% growth and the number of bikes clocked in Livingston rising by 201%.

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Policy and research director Neil Greig, of road safety charity IAM Roadsmart, said that new thinking would be needed to ensure that the recent growth in cycling continued.

A cyclist on Seabraes Bridge in Dundee. Picture: Cycling Scotland

"I think there will be an increase in cycling after the Coronavirus but not a huge one, he said.

"The biggest barrier to cycling is road safety. People people unsafe cycling beside cars and we welcome the growth in bike routes particularly around city centres.

"We need innovative thinking if we are to get people out of their cars.

"The problems of over congestion in our cities will still be there once the Coronavirus ends.

"In England there has been some successful park and cycle schemes where people drive to a car park linked to a safe cycle route into the city centre and continue their journey by bike from there."

Denise Hamilton of Cycling Scotland said she was hopeful that the increase in cycling would remain as people's transport habits had changed during lockdown.

She said: "We would hope that, as the lockdown has continued for a long period of time. that people will have formed long term habits and that this increase in cycling will continue.

"One thing is clear, however, we cannot return to normal as we face a climate emergency.

"We cannot emerge from one crisis and go into another and the need for low carbon transport has never been greater.

"The biggest barrier to the increase in cycling is fear of road traffic and we can overcome this by continuing the grow the number of separate cycle paths, encouraging police to take action against dangerous driving and training cyclists how to stay safe on the roads.

Bike shops across Scotland have reported a bumper sales period with cycling outlets allowed to remain open during the lockdown period.

Some shops have sold out of all but high-end models and been forced to introduce an appointments system.

Denise Hamilton of Cycling Scotland said the sales increase was unsurprising.

"Cycling has excellent benefits for people's physical and mental health, she said.

"Numerous people, who have take up cycling during the lockdown, has said how energised and positive they feel after cycling. They find it quite addictive."

Five schemes aimed at transforming travel across Scotland w

Sustrans Scotland and Transport Scotland’s flagship active travel programme, Places for Everyone, will see £60m invested in 200 travel projects across the country.

Here are the five flagship projects.

EDINBURGH

George Street will benefit from a £20m investment that will see footways widened, the creation of a new segregated cycleway, changes to existing crossings and new areas of green ‘pocket parks’ created with trees and plantings at points along the street which will offer new pedestrian seating.

The route along George Street will connect to Edinburgh’s ongoing Meadows to George Street improvements to allow for direct travel to the south of the city on segregated or shared-use paths.

GLASGOW - Avenues PLUS project

The £19m investment will provide segregated cycling facilities and footway improvements on a number of streets leading to and from the City Centre.

The city’s lack of bike storage is also expected to be tackled with the pilot of new high capacity public bike stores as based on models used in the Netherlands, helping to make sure tenement dwellers and those short on storage space can secure their bikes.

GLASGOW - Yorkhill & Kelvingrove Cycling Village

The project will create segregated cycle lanes linking three National Cycle Routes and key transport points in the west of Glasgow, including Exhibition Centre Station and Kelvingrove Park.

To make it safer for people moving around the local streets, new or improved crossing points, more dropped kerbs and adjustments to junctions to help reduce excessive vehicle speeds will be introduced.

ARBROATH

Arbroath is to benefit from £6.9m infrastructure funding that will see two lanes of traffic change into a 1.5km walking and cycling pathway, whilst new crossings will be put in place across the A92 to reconnect the town's shops and attractions alongside creating more attractive and green public spaces.

Transport links will be improved, with the walk from Arbroath Station to the town centre made easier thanks to new crossings.

National Cycle Network Route 1 will also be enhanced with new connections to the train and bus stations.

PERTH

Perth & Kinross Council has secured £6.45m to transform the city’s Dunkeld Road into an accessible walking, cycling, and wheeling thoroughfare for the local community.

As well as connecting the neighbourhoods of Bertha Park, Inveralmond and Muirton to the City Centre, improvements along a 1.2mile (2km) stretch of Perth’s ‘Motor Mile’ will include reallocation of parts of the A912 duel-carriageway to create a fully segregated cycle-lane and improve its footways.

Residents to the north of Perth will also benefit, with a proposed bridge connecting to National Cycle Network Route 77 and upgraded connections to Stanley and Luncarty.