Local Government Elections – Questions to ask at our Hustings, 19 April

Interesting article in the Herald today (31 March) about power in our local councils.  it’s worth reading to get a view on what we will be voting for on 04 May and perhaps a question to ask at our Hustings on 19 April, 7:30pm in the Admiral Bar on Waterloo Street in Glasgow.  Here’s our flyer for the event: May2017 GB! Hustings flyer

Here’s the information we sent to the 5 candidates, who will be on our Hustings Panel, which might also help you frame your question:

GoBike, as perhaps you know, is a campaigning group of people who cycle in the Strathclyde area, with most of our support in the Glasgow travel to work area.  Our main focus is on good cycle infrastructure and on 21 February we met with the Transport Minister, Humza Yousaf, to present these 4 important aims:

1. 20mph Speeds in Urban Areas

  • Multiple benefits of safety, environment and air quality agreed by central/local governments, residents, road safety groups and cyclists. Change from urban 30mph to 20mph is in progress.
  • Implementation rates are slow due to budgetary constraints and perceived requirement for complex and expensive traffic calming. Cities risk developing a confusing patchwork of 20mph islands in a 30mph sea.

Action requested: That Holyrood make Scotland a better place by passing legislation to expedite 20mph as the default urban speed limit, except on specified non-residential arterial roads

2. Use of Evidence When Specifying Location and Design of Urban Cycle Facilities

  • Most existing cycle facilities suffer from two main failings: they are discontinuous and their positioning takes little cognisance of the preferred routes that cyclists use (cycle desire lines). They tend to be installed where local authorities see un-utilised road space, rather than from an assessment of cyclists’ needs.
  • Data concerning cycle desire lines is becoming abundantly available and shows that urban cyclists in Scotland substantially travel on direct (radial) main road routes that connect the suburbs with city centre. Cycle desire lines frequently cross local authority boundaries.

Action requested: That Holyrood preferentially promotes and funds cycle facilities that are based upon evidence of cyclists’ needs, such as directness and continuity of route, and those which allow connection between local authority areas

3. Space Reallocation

  • Evidence shows that cyclists tend to travel in straight and continuous paths from suburban areas into urban centres, preferentially using the main roads, where cycle speeds are faster than on back road routes.
  • Unless the desire by cyclists to use these direct main road routes is satisfied, then further spending on back-street cycle facilities will be largely wasted. The desire for cyclists to use main roads means that due consideration must be given to providing space on these.

Actions requested: 1) Holyrood mandates new build roads and renovated roads must have cycle facilities as a primary design criterion. 2) Prioritises facilities on faster/direct main road routes

4. Presumed Liability

  • It is a well-established legal principle that anyone who uses a dangerous instrument should be presumed to be liable in the event of death or injury as a consequence of its use. 
  • It is therefore unfortunate that insurance companies generally take an adversarial position when vehicles come into collision with unprotected road users such as cyclists and pedestrians. Compensation may be delayed or denied as result.
  • At present, the UK is one of only five European countries (along with Cyprus, Malta, Romania and Ireland) that do not operate some form of strict liability law for vulnerable road users.

Action requested: That Holyrood makes Scotland a better place by enacting presumed liability legislation between motorists, cyclists and pedestrians

GoBike is one of the founder members of Walk,Cycle,Vote  the pan-Scotland active travel grouping and the 3 common aims for the councils that will be elected on 04 May are:

  • Investment: Provide sustained, long term investment in both cycling and walking, reaching 10% of the transport budget
  • Infrastructure: Build and maintain dedicated cycling infrastructure suitable for people of all ages and abilities
  • Local Action: To solve the main local barriers to active travel, as identified by residents and businesses”

We do hope that you will be able to get along on 19 April but should you be unable to, you may submit a question by e-mail to hustings2017@gobike.org