#iloh the Good

As cycle campaigners, it is often the bad and dangerous, or more often than not, the lack of cycling infrastructure that we shout about.  However, there is also some infrastructure around that we actually really do like, and would love to see more of.

To celebrate Valentine’s Day, the Cycling Embassy of Great Britain updated their Insert Loved One Here image creator, to enable people to show their love for genuinely good cycling infrastructure. Here in Glasgow, we decided to take make this physical, and had some stencils created with a love heart and the #iloh hashtag. An intrepid group of GoBike volunteers took to the rather chilly streets on the evening of the 13th of February, so that Glasgow could wake up the next morning to find a little bit of cycling infrastructure love. Here, we show you the bits we chose and why. Continue reading “#iloh the Good”

GoBike Consultations Digest, Issue 1, 23 January 2018 – Scotland wide!

Welcome to the first issue of our Consultations Digest, a regular post, updating you on consultations in these three areas:

  1. Consultations to which GoBike has responded.
  2. Upcoming consultations, for which we welcome your comments as to how we should respond, but we will also include here consultations for which you, as an individual, are asked to respond.
  3. Feedback on submitted consultations.

So we will be giving you far more information than we have in the past and we hope that this will encourage you, as GoBike members, to not only give us your views as to how we should respond but also to put your views directly to the organisation that has issued the consultation. Continue reading “GoBike Consultations Digest, Issue 1, 23 January 2018 – Scotland wide!”

GoBike Monthly Cycle Rides

Happy New Year to all of you! Feeling overindulged and in need of some air in your lungs? Well GoBike has the thing for you… Did you know that we run monthly cycle rides showing routes in and outwith the Glasgow area? Oh yes we do, and we’d love you to join us.

Our next ride is this Sunday 7th January and takes in a 15 mile safari around the inner city, with our annual review of Glasgow’s cycle infrastructure. Planned and led by Andy Preece, each monthly ride has a different destination – see our Cycle Rides section on the website for more info or check out the events pages on our Facebook.

Let’s keep our wheels turning in 2018!

Consultations: new and forthcoming in Glasgow, with even more speed cushions proposed for Santa’s sack

Here’s a picture of the brand new Broomhill School and the City Council propose to make the road going up to the right on the picture one-way.  But have they considered active travel and all the work other bits of the council do to encourage children to cycle to school?  We fear they haven’t.  So our letter to the council, GoBike Consultations Broomhill One Way 21 Dec 2017 about this plan, broomhill one way tro plan TRO201701501 confirms that we are happy with their proposal, provided that they maintain two-way cycling!  Let’s hope that we are lucky with this one. Continue reading “Consultations: new and forthcoming in Glasgow, with even more speed cushions proposed for Santa’s sack”

People Make Byres Road

Over the last year some of our members led by Euan, Iain and Jim have been working very hard on a ‘Space for People’ @peoplebyresroad campaign based around the planned changes to Byres Road. They’ve just put out a really interesting blog illustrating connections within our current cycling network, with suggestions on how Byres Road can help start to create better connections locally and also throughout the wider city network.

Have a read – it’s great – and if you like what you read give them a follow and a share. And thanks to you three for your excellent work.

https://space4peoplebyresroad.wordpress.com/blog/

An introduction from one of our new co-convenors – Iona Shepherd

In the second of two blog posts we would like to introduce our other new co-convenor – Iona Shepherd. As you may know, GoBike is undergoing a change in convenorship, as Trisha has decided to take a small step back after many hardworking and fruitful years as Convenor. We are deeply thankful that she has agreed to continue working on the ‘Consultations’ side of GoBike, and look forward to new horizons with her still on board. Here’s Iona:

“Cycling is going to change the world. Er, hold on you say, that’s a bit much isn’t it? Well, it changed my world in the little part of it I started really using a bike to get around in, here in Glasgow, and I truly believe that that can extend to the rest of the world. When I first realised that through travelling by bike, I could ditch the crowded bus, avoid the congestion, yet get to work faster and still not have to go to the gym in the evenings, my opportunities and horizons were opened up and suddenly I’d grown wings. I no longer had to worry about travel timetables, I had the freedom to go wherever I wanted to, by whatever route I chose, and I could stop off wherever took my whim. And I saved so much money on travelling around the city that it meant I could buy even more bikes! Oh and there’s more, I was fitter, healthier, energised and happy in the knowledge that I wasn’t impacting on the environment. And my happiness was fed further by all these other wonderful people on bikes, who’d chat about the weather at traffic lights, encourage me at locking stands, and nod conspiratorial hellos when out on the road. Cycling has given me absolute freedom.

I am aware though, that if you cycle in the West of Scotland you will know all of this, because these are the things that keep people here riding, because as you will also know, riding a bike here can often be really tough. The cycling infrastructure we have is few and far between, and the design and maintenance of what little we do have is decades behind the forward thinking cities in Europe. Our cycle paths tend to meander the long way round through back streets, taking us away from our desire lines of travel. What we need are direct routes if people are going to see cycling as a viable transport option. Direct routes such as the ill-fated and incomplete Bearsway that needed and failed to find brave political decisions to take space away from the motorist. We have a proliferation of shared use paths as the majority share of our cycling network. Shared use paths put people walking and cycling into conflict, they create confusion, they disappear as invisibly as they appear, and are simply not a good design for cycling speeds. Yet even now they are being built as standard into new infrastructure in areas like Govan Fastlink. Cycling around our networks, it is clear that very few of our paths join up, and we are often spat out with no consideration into busy roads. Some roads provide non-enforcable bike lanes in paint, often in the door zone, offering no protection and in many ways actually putting us in greater danger. Maintenance of the parts of the network we do have is given very low priority within our councils, where leaves can render some parts unusable during Autumn, ice, the same during Winter, and glass, potholes and parking are rife within our cycling spaces during the rest of the year. Our car-centric provision and attitudes can make folk on bikes feel very unwelcomed on our roads. Put in short, it’s not always pretty out there.

But things are slowly improving, thanks in a large part to cycling campaigners in organisations such as GoBike who have given up their free time and put in masses of work and effort into fighting for cycling to be considered and for better design. It is starting to feel like our voices are being heard in parliament and by some forward thinking councillors, and even out on the roads I am starting to see a difference not only in the improved design of lanes such as the South West City Way, but in the number of cyclists out using them all year round. I’m so excited that one of my main commuting routes up Victoria Road is soon to become a segregated cycle lane. There are big plans afoot for more people friendly spaces all over the city, in Woodlands, Battlefield, Byres Road, Queen Margaret Drive, and many others.  We have our hands full making sure that these plans have our needs properly met, but that’s a good thing, and it’s why we need your input. Already we have intrepid GoBike members out there working hard on mini-campaigns such as Space for People Byres Road, and Friends of the South City Way. This coming year we are going to need you all to get more involved and if you feel like you can be a part of our movement, you can help by joining our membership and having your head counted to make our voice more significant. Get involved in our conversation on Slack (drop us an email expressing your interest), you can help us write to councillors, show them your local roads, respond to consultations, like and share our social media, write us a blog, tell your friends about us, and engage in some real world action like the Ride for a Better Byres Road. We’d also love to know what you would like to see from us, and how you think we can improve as a campaign. Let us know your feedback and ideas – both Dave and I can be reached on convenors at gobike dot org .

It’s clear that these positive changes we are starting to see are going to take time to manifest onto our roads, and while that happens, people on bikes are facing challenges on a daily basis. I too face these daily challenges and that is a part of what gives me the push to want to fight harder to make the changes better and make them happen faster. I know that my co-convening sidekick Dave also faces similar regular challenges out on the road, and having already worked closely with him on projects like Pedal on Parliament, and Friends of Bearsway, I’ve seen how his energy, smart thinking and innovative approach can be of a huge benefit to pushing campaigns forward. I hope that by working together Dave and I can continue to lead GoBike forward as a force to be reckoned with.

So can cycling really change our world? In a country where 26% of us are living in poverty and 91% of low income families do not own a car, yet our roads are congested and overloaded and our health is putting pressure on the NHS to breaking point, I think the answer has to be yes. I believe that campaigns like GoBike will help to bring about a turning point towards a more utopian and people friendly way of living for us all. Dave and I are both really super excited about becoming co-convenors of GoBike and hope that you can help us guide you to change the West of Scotland to become better for people of all ages and all sizes, on and not yet on bikes. Thanks for having us along for the ride!”

An introduction from one of our new Co-Convenors – Dave Brennan

In the first of two blog posts we would like to introduce one of our new Co-Convenors – Dave Brennan. As you may know, GoBike is undergoing a change in convenorship, as Trisha has decided to take a small step back after many hardworking and fruitful years as Convenor. We are deeply thankful that she has agreed to continue working on the ‘Consultations’ side of GoBike, and look forward to new horizons with her still on board. David, it’s over to you:

Photo: Iona Shepherd

“When I am talking to someone in my cycle campaigning capacity I often find myself saying, ‘Current cyclists cycle despite the conditions, not because of them’. With a small adjustment that saying accurately describes the world of cycle campaigning up until very recently:

Many campaigners have campaigned for better cycle infrastructure, despite the political conditions, certainly not because of them!

For many years the ‘political will’ has not existed for the changes required to bring active travel to the masses. Many politicians in the past have given short shrift to the idea of adjusting the balance of the environment, away from the motor vehicle and towards more sustainable transport. The car has very much been the king in Glasgow and the surrounding areas for many years with the M8 being the greatest monument to the cause.

Despite a very unfavourable environment, campaign groups like GoBike have worked tirelessly over the years to try and improve the lot of those who chose alternative forms of transport. It’s been tough, and whilst the victories haven’t been widespread, there have been victories.

When I helped to set up the Pedal on Parliament campaign back in 2012, I got a taste of that environment, having attended a meeting where a transport minister almost shouted at us for not praising his pitiful attempts at ‘driver education’, and another meeting where a Glasgow councillor stated that he would never set a percentage of the transport budget aside for active travel, as long as he was in post.

However, even back in 2012, the environment was changing. The Times were actively campaigning for better infrastructure, City of Edinburgh Council were starting to talk about a big change in policy. The political environment was changing, all be it slowly.

Fast forward to today and we find ourselves in a very different situation. We have an Environment Minister who not only talks a good game, but actually puts his money where his mouth is. We have the council in Edinburgh spending 10% of its transport budget on active travel, and we have a Glasgow council that actually rates active travel and the local environment high up on its priority list.

Things are far from rosy of course. Edinburgh is still making significant design mistakes in its proposals, ‘Bikelash’ is a very real thing (I know this personally from East Dunbartonshire and Bears Way), and there are still areas where paint is seen as an adequate solution. However, the debate has well and truly moved on, with the vast majority of new cycle lane design proposals including segregated infrastructure. That just did not happen 10 years ago.

The  campaign discussion itself has also moved on, and more and more we are talking about ‘place’ and ‘people friendly’, rather than focusing on just the cycle infrastructure. It’s not about catering for cyclists, its about catering for people and enabling people to make their own decisions on which mode of transport suits a particular journey, and making sure that that mode is catered for.

Personally I’ve been lucky with my timing. Pedal on Parliament was a great achievement and all of us involved should be proud of what we achieved, but that only happened because there were also improvements in the political environment. It also feels like I am lucky in my timing for being accepted as Co-Convener of GoBike along with Iona. Glasgow is in a great position to make big strides over the next few years. Those that came before us have not been so lucky.

Thus, I think it is entirely appropriate to say that Iona and I, ‘stand on the shoulders of campaigning giants’. We are truly thankful to Tricia and all those who have been working hard in GoBike for many years, who have helped bring us to this point today.

We must not, though, be complacent. As demonstrated in Bears Way, something I will be revisiting in the future, there will be trouble along the way and we must prepare for that. As well as being willing to criticise the bad, we must be willing to praise the good, and to help our politicians to make the difficult decisions. We must also understand that not every decision will be exactly what we want, and we must accept that there will be a compromise or two along the way.

However, I am excited to be jointly at the helm of GoBike at what is undoubtedly an exciting time. I am particularly excited to be working with Iona, who I worked with in organising PoP Glasgow. Iona is full of fantastic ideas (far more then me!) and has the drive to take them forward. Along with Iona, and of course the rest of the GoBike team, I will strive to work with councillors and council officers to ensure that we get the best value for our money and the highest quality possible in Glasgow and the surrounding areas. I also aim to encourage more hyperlocal campaigns such as Friends of Bears Way, which will benefit from the backing of GoBike.

How are we going to achieve this? With your help. GoBike is only as good as its membership, so if you care about anything I’ve written about above, join us. Join as a member , join the conversation on Slack (drop us an email at convenor at gobike dot org to ask for a Slack invite) and spread the word to cyclist and non-cyclist alike, that Glasgow has the potential to be so much greater than it is already.

Together we can help to put people and people friendly environments back at the heart of our communities.”

Yoker to Knightswood, route to BMX park, part 2, Shared Footway section proposals.

You may remember that last month we responded quite positively to the proposals for the southern part of this scheme?  That was the segregated cycleway sections; we had reservations but the council staff responded promptly and we are reasonably happy with that stage.

It is not the same at all with the second phase, which is all shared footway.  There appear to be contradictions between the drawings that are on the website (and reproduced here) and the paper drawings we were sent by post.  Just about everything is proposed to be at the Absolute Minimum dimension given in Cycling by Design – this document includes a Desirable Minimum, an Absolute Minimum and even gives reductions on the latter, which helps explain why some of the cycling facilities in Glasgow are as bad as they are.  Consultation on this part of the scheme closes this Friday, 08 December, so, if you can, please do get your views in over the next 2 days.

Given the disappointment in the scheme I have copied the 4 Councillors for the Ward, it’s Ward 13, into the letter, so that they get our concern first hand.  Two of these Councillors toured the ward on Friday with us.

The Council documents are here: YokerToKnightswood-Redetermination-220x85mm-RTO redetermination Statement of Reasons redetermination information Report  32518_TRO_01-Lincoln Ave 32518_TRO_01-Dyke Road 32518_TRO_01-Archerhill road

The GoBike response, objecting to the proposals is here: GoBike Yoker to Knightwood Redetermination 061217

Please do e-mail the Council if you have views on this scheme.

Councillor tour 11, the SNP two cycle round Ward 13, Scotstounhill / Garscadden, Friday 01 December

The 2 SNP councillors for Scotstounhill /Garscadden, Michael Cullen and Chris Cunningham (MSP Roseanna Cunningham’s brother) toured Ward 13 with GoBike committee member, Alasdair Macdonald and member, Neil Lovelock, on Friday 01 December.  They are all pictured above, in discussion with a local resident on the canalside.

Cllr Cullen posted to his Facebook page straight after the event, and has issued these tweets:
GoBike ride leader, Andy Preece, provided these points along his planned route, which the councillors noted on their tour: Councillor Ward Tour – Scotstoun, details
Neil has responded to the councillors on these issues:
Route cycled
Andy Preece provided this route: Councillor Ward Tour – Scotstoun map but the actual route cycled is here: http://www.mapmyride.com/workout/2600587315
Space for Cycling guide
See this PDF: space_for_cycling_guide_for_decision_makers  of the document that Neil handed across a copy on Friday.
Cycle path access points upgrade
See below for a few before and after photos of some of the improvements made to the access points back in Feb 2015.
Dock St planning approval
This is via West Dunbartonshire Council. Original application was submitted in 2012 and a revised version approved in 2016. Latest ref no is DC15/251 http://www.west-dunbarton.gov.uk/planning-building-standards/planning-applications/view-and-comment-on-planning-applications/
nextbike membership discount
Details of how to get the 50% discount are here:

After the GoBike AGM (29 November) two rides to look at infrastructure, and more in Glasgow

After our AGM and Public Meeting tomorrow, 7:30pm at the Admiral Bar, with what is very likely to be a lively discussion about cycle infrastructure in Glasgow, why not join one or both of our forthcoming rides to look in more detail at the city?  Both rides devised and led by Andy Preece, with further details on our Rides page. Continue reading “After the GoBike AGM (29 November) two rides to look at infrastructure, and more in Glasgow”