‘Cycling in Glasgow can be scary but will get better with new paths’

Glasgow councillor Anna Richardson goes by bike to the chambers in George Square.

‘Cycling in Glasgow can be scary but will get better with new paths’ Cllr Anna Richardson

A Glasgow councillor who cycles to work says it can be ‘frightening’ riding near traffic in the city – but will get better when a huge network of paths are built. 

Mum-of-three Anna Richardson goes by bike to the chambers in George Square from the southside and has been travelling to COP26 events on two wheels.

Councillor Richardson, who is the council’s convenor for sustainability and carbon reduction, recently announced the city will get 270km of walking and cycling routes by 2030.

The Langside politician said: “I absolutely love cycling and using it as a mode of transport.

“It feels relaxing and safe to cycle along the South City Way and Broomielaw. But it frightens me sometimes among traffic.

“During the day I can cut through parks. But at nightfall I will go down a busy road rather than go through a park on my own.”

She said the new cycling routes coming to the city will follow the road network – and as a result will be well lit.

Councillor Richardson, who has a hybrid Pinnacle bike, added: “A large population of people would like to cycle in Glasgow but they don’t feel safe due to vehicles.”

Glaswegians need to travel by public transport and cycle more to make sure the city reaches net-zero carbon emission targets by 2030. 

The upcoming £470m infrastructure would ensure all Glasgow residents will live no more than 800m from a safe cycle path.

It means people would be able to cycle to most of the city within half an hour.

But getting people to pedal their way around will be a battle as it requires a change in culture.

For example, research shows 76% of women don’t cycle currently.

Data showing how many people rented bikes in the city as part of a public hire scheme found at least 36% were women and 55% male. 

However, lockdown demonstrated when the traffic disappears many more residents are keen to get on their bikes.

Cllr Richardson said: “In lockdown people bought bikes and went out. They actually did it when the traffic was taken away.”

Encouraging people to try it more, she recommended opting for quiet routes first to help build confidence.

Councillor Richardson continued: “It is a fantastic way to move around, a great way of getting exercise and is good for the climate and air quality.”

By local democracy reporter Sarah Hilley

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