New priority for Glasgow cycle route ice clearance with innovative salt spray

Dave Keane of Sustrans Scotland and Glasgow city councillor Councillor Anna Richardson with the new vehicle. Picture: Glasgow City Council
Dave Keane of Sustrans Scotland and Glasgow city councillor Councillor Anna Richardson with the new vehicle. Picture: Glasgow City Council
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Segregated cycle paths will be cleared of ice and snow faster using salt spray in a Scotland-first announced by Glasgow City Council today.

Officials have also given the off-road cycle lanes a higher status for treatment so they are classed like top-priority roads.

The South City Way runs between Queen's Park and Glasgow city centre. Picture: Christopher Slade

The South City Way runs between Queen's Park and Glasgow city centre. Picture: Christopher Slade

The moves are to enable cyclists to keep riding throughout the winter when such routes may have been left uncleared for longer in the past.

The council will deploy a new vehicle that sprays salt solution which acts upon ice, frost or snow without requiring any pressure from passing traffic to break down the salt.

It said the salt solution was less corrosive to bikes than traditional grit.

It will cover the South West City Way, West City Way, Sauchiehall Street and the partially-complete South City Way.

Spraying will normally start at 5am and take about four hours to cover all the routes into the city centre from Pollokshields, Kelvingrove Park, Charing Cross and Queen’s Park respectively.

National cycle route 75 between Bell’s Bridge beside the SEC on the Clyde and Carmyle will also be covered.

The joint initiative with path developers Sustrans Scotland is also aimed at reducing the risk of bikes skidding on grit.

READ MORE: State of our cycling lanes tells different story to SNP rhetoric

Council sustainability and carbon reduction convener Anna Richardson said: “Even with a growing amount of dedicated cycle routes in the city, winter conditions can very off-putting for people who cycle.

'We have to make cycling a viable option twelve months a year'

“But if we are to see a sustained switch to cycling as a routine form of transport, then we must make the most of our cycle lanes all year round.

“Using salt solution was found to be the best way to make our cycle lanes as safe as possible during winter and so we are delighted to introduce a new saline spraying vehicle to our winter fleet.

“Whenever gritters are called upon to treat our top priority roads for cars and other vehicles, we will also instruct the cycle ways to be sprayed with brine.

“Encouraging more people to cycle is critical to our effort to decarbonise the city’s transport system.

“As part of the effort to tackle climate change, we have to do everything we can to make cycling a viable option twelve months a year.”

READ MORE: WHY THERE ARE STILL BIG HILLS TO CLIMB EN ROUTE TO CYCLING PARADISE IN SCOTLAND""

John Donnelly, co-convener of GoBike, the Strathclyde cycle campaign, said: "After the extremely dangerous conditions of the cycle paths last winter, we called for action from Glasgow City Council for a drastic re-prioritisation of the winter maintenance policy.

"We requested a policy that more fairly reflects the right for all people to get around, not just those who have access to a car.

"We are gladdened the council not only listened, but have acted upon this.

"There will always be more paths and routes that could be gritted and de-iced.

"However, this is a significant step in the right direction."

Sustrans Scotland infrastructure delivery manager Dave Keane said: “Icy paths are a bugbear of people who want to walk, cycle or wheel year round.

“We hope the combination of Glasgow’s growing network of segregated cycle routes and the use of salt solution to keep them clear will make year-round cycling a choice for more people as they travel to school or work.

“This is the first time that a path clearing machine like this has been used by a Scottish local authority.”