Letters: Alarm bells are ringing over plan for more cyclists

YOUR article "Cranking up to one journey in six by bike" (News, 3 June) in which the Capital is the first UK city to sign up to ambitious cycling targets filled me with despair.

As an Edinburgh pedestrian, life on the city pavements in the past few years has become fraught and dangerous.

I have twice been knocked into by speeding cyclists riding on the pavement. Last week I witnessed a high-speed cyclist riding along the main road. Suddenly he jumped his bike off the road and on to the pavement, landing just in front of my shocked neighbour. Unabashed, the cyclist shot off and continued pedalling along the pavement at a very dangerous speed. All because he wanted to avoid a red light at Canonmills.

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I am now reduced to walking nervously along our dedicated pedestrian walkways, looking behind at regular intervals (cyclists no longer use bells), standing to one side to enable groups of teenage cyclists free access to the pavement – and I also give way to joggers and mums with prams.

Even crossing the road at a green man is problematic. Cyclists ignore the traffic lights and speed past those of us who try to cross the road safely. Being a pedestrian in the 21st century is a hazardous business!

So until our police or councillors can ameliorate the situation – definitely no more cyclists please!

Lucina Prestige, Canonmills

Hard pedalling to come for bike bid

I FEEL encouraged after reading the article on the city council's cycling plans. This is an important, courageous and inspiring aspiration, and I look forward to seeing the details in due course. I hope that many other British cities will follow Edinburgh's lead.

However, the Scottish Government will now really need to wake up to this challenge, which will be difficult to meet without central support and funding.

We may aspire to be the Athens of the North architecturally, but preserve us from the Greek capital's appalling traffic problems, which make it one of the most polluted cities in Europe, even when half the city's cars have to be banned on alternate days; that just proves that it takes more than plenty of warm sunshine to bring cyclists on to the street!

Dr Guy Johnson, Sighthill Health Centre, Edinburgh

Be shore to take beach into account

DIANA CAIRNS (Letters, 4 June) is correct that Portobello Promenade is not an ideal setting for football or rounders, or for letting your dog off the leash.

But next time she is on the Prom, if she looks to one side, she may observe a large, flattish, sandy coloured object, known locally as the beach.

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What's most surprising about the Open Space Audit mentioned is that this hugely valuable open space has been omitted altogether. Surely it should be included in some way?

Sean Watters, Brighton Place, Portobello, Edinburgh

Indictment of city policy on housing

SUE GYFORD'S report "One in 17 people in city waiting for a council house" (News, 1 June) highlights the fact that 27,000 people in the city are on the council house waiting list. This figure represents an appalling indictment of both the SNP-Liberal administration and their Labour predecessors.

Indeed the statistics almost certainly mask the full extent of the problem as repossessions in the mortgage market rise steeply and other families in need walk away having concluded it is now futile to approach the council for help.

This appalling housing shortage in Scotland's richest city puts the SNP-Liberal coalition to shame. Not only have they failed to act, the position has clearly deteriorated from the one which they inherited.

The record of the Labour council that preceded them was awful, it's true. Labour tried to eradicate the problem not by building more houses but by selling off our existing council houses in its ill-fated stock transfer ballot.

But current housing leader Paul Edie and his team have simply continued this record of failure. Who can believe they see the provision of affordable, quality, rented accommodation as a priority when they spend so little on it compared to, say, the 600 million they have allocated to the city tram scheme?

Since neither Labour, Tory, Liberal Democrat or SNP Councillors support publicly owned housing for rent, as long as they inhabit the City Chambers the needs of our citizens will continue to receive inadequate provision.

Colin Fox, Scottish Socialist Party, Alloway Loan, Edinburgh

Beautiful Flower not meant as an anthem

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I READ with interest the News article about Flower of Scotland (News, 2 June) and current opinions regarding its suitability as our unofficial national anthem.

The song was never written to be sung on the terraces or as a song to represent our nation. The unfortunate thing is it has been murdered so many times that we take it for granted and familiarity has bred contempt.

Let's come up with something more like the combined anthem sung by Ireland and not the usual shortbread tin standards being trotted out such as Scotland the Brave and Highland Cathedral.

My vote would be for an anthem to the tune of Take the High Road with lyrics by Forbes Masson and Alan Cumming (of Victor and Barry fame) – now that would be worth hearing.

Fraser McCowan, Paisley Crescent, Edinburgh