Riding in the gutter

New white lines have appeared on the road from Dunbar to Broxburn which seem to be supposed to be forming a safe cycle lane. In some places the ‘cycle lanes’ are less than 46cm wide. Guidelines from Transport Scotland state 1.5m width as an absolute minimum, and their Cycling by Design document, section 5.1.3 says:

Lane widths narrower than 1.5m can present a hazard to cyclists and motor vehicle drivers. Only in exceptional circumstances should widths down to 1.0m be considered where it is safe to do so – for example where stationary traffic blocks the route to an advance stop line and the proposed lane is safe from obstructions such as gullies.

Sub-standard width or poorly located cycle lanes can provide a false sense of security for both cyclists and motor vehicle drivers and encourage poor lane discipline from both. In many cases, a narrow cycle lane can encourage close proximity overtaking by motor vehicles … Limited space alone is not a reason for providing sub-standard width cycle lanes. Alternative solutions should be sought at such locations.

Cycling this route this morning, I can testify that the new lanes are a hazard, forcing cyclists into the gutter, and discouraging them from taking up the primary road position. Drivers also pass far more closely and at higher speeds than previously.

I have contacted East Lothian Council to find out what they plan to do.

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