Away from busy roads – the University of Glasgow Travel Survey

When is away from busy roads not away from busy roads? When it’s beside it, but protected from traffic.

The results are out from the latest travel survey undertaken at the University of Glasgow and are online here and here for everyone to peruse.

We have been looking through it at GoBike and have major concerns with the wording of one of the provided responses to questions about cycling – “More cycle routes away from busy roads”.

Table 3.12 – Encouraging Cycling (top responses for Gilmorehill Campus)
What would encourage you to cycle more?
39% – Better / safer cycle routes and improved lighting
39% – More cycle routes away from busy roads
34% – Nothing would encourage me to cycle / cycle more
28% – More direct cycle routes

We would argue (and we know others had highlighted this during the survey process too) that “away from busy roads” could as easily be read as “protected from busy traffic” and therefore “segregated cycle lanes” as opposed to the assumption the report is making, that respondents are indicating a preference for quieter cycle routes through the campus, and away from direct routes such as University Avenue. We certainly would suggest that a fear of mixing with traffic is at the heart of why these respondents have chosen this answer for why they don’t cycle more, and not necessarily that they want to be able to cycle a longer more convoluted route to get to where they are going.

The finding of a preference for “away from busy roads” is repeatedly referred to within the final report (e.g. 5.3.2 The most popular response for both staff and students is a desire to see better / safer cycling routes and improve lighting around the University campuses and / or more cycle routes away from busy roads.)

We fear that the ambiguity of the wording may allow for this finding to be artificially skewed. UofG are likely to be looking for backing for their plans to provide cycle routes through their campus in lieu of ignoring the more important direct arterial route of University Avenue. We are highlighting it here in the hope that it might avoid this happening and the 700 people who signed our petition agree.

Protected bike lanes seem the most obvious solution to providing space for cycling “away from busy roads”, and they also tick the important requirement for routes to be direct.  The cost of inconvenience is that people will often choose not to cycle. There has also been another suggestion from within our team though. How about solving the need to create space “away from busy roads” by “making the roads not busy”. Now wouldn’t that be a mind blowing idea!

Buried within the appendices of the UofG Travel Survey Report 2019 are a couple more pertinent comments which we sincerely hope will be taken on board:

More evidence that improved cycling infrastructure is good for health.

We have recently linked to a new report published by the Department of Health and Social Care and the Scottish Government on our Evidence pages (see Health) called the UK Chief Medical Officers’ Physical Activity Guidelines that provides a wealth of evidence to show just how valuable exercise such as active travel is, not just to ourselves personally, but also on a much wider scale. We believe this goes a long way to show just how much of a health issue active travel is and should be treated as, particularly when it comes to funding considerations.

Here are some key quotes and infographics pulled out by one of our members for us.

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It was beautiful and sad and perfect

We were devastated that someone tragically lost their life cycling on our roads in Glasgow this week. To show our support the cycling community came together and held a vigil at the scene. This included a two minute silence, which was started and ended by the ringing of a bike bell. During this we remembered a young woman and stood with her, her family, her friends and each other.

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The Bearsway Needs You

Our members from the Friends of Bearsway mini-campaign would like your help following their protest during Pedal on Parliament weekend that aims to kick start the completion of the Bearsway.

They have written a letter of appeal to local councillors and would like help hand delivering them to local surgeries. If you can help get in touch on their facebook or via email.

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Review of University Avenue proposals called for in light of University of Glasgow Climate Emergency declaration

We were surprised and pleased to see yesterday that the University of Glasgow have joined other institutions by finally recognising that we are in a state of climate emergency. Clearly this will have implications for the implementation of safe sustainable travel on University Avenue and so we have written to the principle as follows:

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GoBike Board of Shame Pop Up – University Avenue

The notorious Board of Shame is still out there on it’s Pedal on Parliament weekend adventures, its latest location having been spotted on the equally notorious University Avenue. Highlighting the fact that both the University of Glasgow and Glasgow City Council have drastically failed to uphold active travel policies, the Board marked the Uni failing harshly, and rightly so. A lack of protected space for cycling on University Avenue will create a gap in any chance of a linked up cycling network in Glasgow.

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East Renfrewshire protest was just the ticket!

As a part of Pedal on Parliaments pop up weekend last week GoBike hosted a pretend parking ticket hill climb race designed to protest the need for safer cycling conditions in East Renfrewshire. This attracted local participants on Ayr Road, who rode bikes up the hill and delivered fliers to cars parked in the cycle lanes.

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GoBike Board of Shame Pop Up – Kilmarnock Road Door Zone

GoBike’s Board of Shame is out and about for Pedal on Parliament’s pop-up weekend. Many of you found it yesterday on Kilmarnock Road in the nasty cycle lane painted in the door zone. We have written to the council off the back of the protest. It read:

Roll Up! Roll Up! For Glasgow City Council’s FREE ride of danger rollercoaster THE DOOR ZONE!! Ride in it and get whacked! Ride out of it and get smacked! No height restrictions apply! Mind how you go! Brought to you by GoBike for Pedal on Parliament pop up weekend. #pop2019 #popuppop @gobikeglasgow

We have written to the council off the back of the protest.

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**Success!!** Byres Road Designs With Segregated Cycle Lanes Have Been Approved!!!

The design changes we’ve worked so hard to change, to include safe space for cycling, went to committee today and have been approved!!

Read the full council statement here!

This is fantastic news for cycling and walking on Byres Road. Congratulations to every member who played their part in this campaign, especially those involved in Space for People Byres Road.

Continue reading “**Success!!** Byres Road Designs With Segregated Cycle Lanes Have Been Approved!!!”