Speed limit cut on East Renfrewshire road agreed but safety concerns for cyclists remain

A cut to the speed limit on a stretch of Ayr Road which is an accident black spot has been agreed — but safety concerns over parking in cycle lanes remain.

Cabinet members at East Renfrewshire Council backed a plan to reduce the limit from 40mph to 30mph on just over three miles of the road at a meeting today (Thursday).

It comes after figures showed 22 crashes between January 18 and December 31, 2022 — with one fatal crash, four serious injuries and 18 slight injuries over the five years. Two out of every three casualties were cyclists or pedestrians.

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However, at a meeting with Police Scotland last week, concerns were raised about drivers parking in cycle lanes on Ayr Road. Cllr Caroline Bamforth, SNP, asked what could be done to address the issue, which she said was a “danger to cyclists”.

Chief Inspector Graeme Gallie, area commander for East Renfrewshire, said: “We can only issue a ticket if we physically see that the person is driving across the white line. There is no traffic regulation order in place in relation to parking within that cycle lane.

“If a vehicle is parked within that cycle lane and we don’t see it being parked, unfortunately we cannot deal with that as an offence.

“But if officers see a vehicle crossing the white line and there is no reasonable excuse for doing that, I would expect them to intervene, try and educate the driver and, where appropriate, issue a ticket.”

He said the council could introduce a traffic regulation order which if “applied for no parking reasons, it could be enforced by local council wardens”.

A council official said staff in the council’s roads department could look into the issue.

On the speed limit change, a council official said: “Accident records demonstrate an undesirable number of collisions with casualties including cyclists and pedestrians. The proposed change would improve safety for all road users, especially the most vulnerable.”

It is set to come into force after a six-week period to allow for any potential judicial review.

The A77 Ayr Road extends from the boundary with East Ayrshire Council at the Floak Bridge to the A726 Eastwood Toll in Giffnock.

Previously part of the Gretna-Stranraer-Glasgow-Stirling trunk road managed by Scottish Ministers, it has become the responsibility of East Renfrewshire Council since the M77 opened between Haggs and Malletsheugh.

The council has altered the road to provide a cycle lane, a vehicular traffic lane in each direction and a right turn area. National policies have now established a “road user hierarchy” which prioritises pedestrians and cyclists and promotes 20mph limits in residential areas.

The 3.2 mile (5.2km) stretch of Ayr Road affected by the change includes seven controlled pedestrian crossings. Four are between Mearns Cross and Maidenhill, where there are schools, bus stops, shops, restaurants, businesses and a leisure centre.

Council leader Owen O’Donnell, Labour, said the “statement of reasons seems entirely sensible for doing this”. “Particularly when we look at the average speeds now, they are actually pretty close to the 30mph limit so it shouldn’t have a significant impact on road users.”

Consultation on the speed reduction was held earlier this year, with six letters of support and five objections. Opponents raised concerns about traffic flow and longer journey times.

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