This year’s Pedal on Parliament is on Saturday 26th April, starting from the Meadows at 12 noon. I wasn’t able to go to the first PoP, but last year I did manage to attach myself to the end of the ride. This year, however, I’ve got involved with helping with the feeder ride from Harrison Park. (Indeed, the more observant among you will notice that I’ve got a page about it on here).
The fact that we need to have a feeder ride to help children and less confident adult cyclists get from Harrison Park to the Meadows says all you need to know about conditions for cyclists in Edinburgh today. If I had to cycle with a child from Harrison Park to the Meadows, we’d go along the canal. That’s fine for me and one hypothetical child, but not for a big group; and the canal doesn’t go all the way to the Meadows anyway. The official cycle route comes off before the end of the canal, and then goes along a road with narrow, potholed cycle lanes, to a very awkward junction at the King’s Theatre. Here, you have to turn right, and then there’s a left turn onto a quiet road that takes you to the Meadows. It is the right turn that is the problem, because the traffic coming the other way also has a green light and there’s a fault in the lights so that the oncoming traffic gets a longer green than the traffic coming from the direction I’m describing. So everyone, drivers and cyclists, is hurrying to get through the junction before the lights change again. Oh, and the road surface is terrible, just to add to the fun.
With my hypothetical child in tow, I’d probably pull up on the left, get off our bikes, wait for the pedestrian phase and then walk across. But we shouldn’t have to do that, and it isn’t going to work with (what we hope will be) a large group. We hope we’re going to get some police help. To be honest, if we don’t, I think we should just stop the traffic until everyone is through the junction anyway. What are the Powers That Be going to do about it if we do?
I’m pleased that my MSP, Marco Biagi, is among the politicians who are going to come and meet us at PoP this year. I need to think of a question to ask him if I get the chance. Maybe I’ll ask if politicians will ever have the courage to take road space away from cars…