Glasgow City Council is proposing new rules for the management of parks, see: http://www.glasgow.gov.uk/parkmanagementrules – and note that “park” has a wide meaning and includes George Square in the city centre. 2 of the rules, in particular, are of interest to cyclists.
Clause 1.4 of the proposed rules refers to an “Unauthorised Gathering” which means any gathering, meeting or assembly in a park of 20 or more people, which has not had the prior written consent of the Executive Director of Land and Environmental Services, however it was organised.
This has implications for any group, not only of cyclists, who assemble in an area deemed to be a park, prior to setting off on a cycle ride, or something such as a trip to an art gallery. For example, cyclists from Glasgow arranged to meet in George Square last year prior to cycling to Edinburgh for the Pedal on Parliament event. Go Bike, since it achieved the right for cyclists to cycle through the city parks some 25 years ago, has led several rides through parks, the latest being on Sunday 05 January, when 30 of us did an excellent cycle tour of the parks on the southside of the city. We stopped several times to regroup and, finally, we admired the view once we had all made it to the high point, the flag pole, in Queen’s Park. 30 of us “gathering” together in this way – without the prior consent of the Executive Director of Land and Environmental Services – could thus be considered to be “unauthorised“.
Clause 7.2, second sentence of the proposals states that “Cycle speed should not exceed 5 miles per hour.” Anyone who has tried cycling alongside a pedestrian will know that it is very unstable to cycle at such low speeds; even children, or adults, learning to cycle will be going at speeds above 5mph – if only to try and keep their balance. The average “moving speed” of the Go Bike ride through the parks last month was 7.6 miles per hour, with a maximum of 16.3 mph. A limit of 5mph, if and when enforced, would thus remove our hard-won right to cycle in parks and other parts of the city covered by these new rules.
Go Bike proposes that, if the City Council wishes to ban some types of “Unauthorised Gathering” then they should be specific about the type of behaviour they wish to ban. A blanket ban covers not only cyclists but a group of families meeting together.
Most cyclists cycle at speeds appropriate to their surroundings so the second sentence of Clause 7.2 quoted above should be removed leaving the clause as: “Cyclists must maintain proper control of the cycle and ensure they do not endanger other road users.” Those who don’t would be in contravention of Clause 2.1 “No one shall in any park: (c) commit any act of anti-social behaviour in any park,”
Thus, there is a plethora of rules drawn up to cover almost any eventuality. The Council would do far better to employ park wardens to look after and maintain these “dear, green places” in our city.
If you have read the proposed rules, at http://www.glasgow.gov.uk/parkmanagementrules and agree with Go Bike, then please submit your views by e-mail to email@example.com to arrive by Friday 14 February at the latest