Wider pavements plan to suit bikes

CYCLISTS are to be given access to more of the city's pavements in a bid create an off-road cycle route between Leith and Portobello.

Part of Seafield Road will see its pavement widened to more than 11ft to allow both cyclists and pedestrians to use it.

The initiative is part of the city council's commitment to the Charter of Brussels, which sets a goal of having 15 per cent of journeys by bike by 2020.

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As well as a continuous off-road route between Leith Links and Portobello promenade there are plans to create cycle lanes on pavements at the junction of Carrington Road and East Fettes Avenue and at Arboretum Place outside the Botanics.

Earlier this year the council began statutory procedures to permit bikes on sections of the pavement on the A8 Glasgow Road and at Granton. That initiative was part of a project to create a continuous off-road cycle route from South Gyle to Newbridge, which will form part of the city's "family network" of bike routes. In Granton, it was to create an off-road route linking the existing cycle path with Silverknowes esplanade.

So-called "lycra louts" - cyclists who use the pavements - are breaking the law as it stands.

City transport convener Councillor Gordon Mackenzie said: "These latest measures are key to the ongoing improvement of the city's pedestrian and cycling networks, particularly our family-friendly cycle routes, and support the council's policy of encouraging active and environmentally friendly travel.

"Naturally, paths must be wide enough to safely accommodate both cyclists and pedestrians and part of this work will involve widening sections where this is not already the case."

Chris Hill, from online forum CityCyclingEdinburgh.info, said he welcomed anything that encouraged more people to cycle. He said: "There are definitely places that are wide enough for legally-shared use by pedestrians and cyclists."