Edinburgh women stress need for safe cycle paths after dark

The event on Friday aimed to pressure Edinburgh City Council to make cycle paths around the city safer, especially for women and girls.

Kirsty Lewin of Spokes Porty, one of the organizers of the ride, said: “We welcome the Council’s ambitious plans to improve cycling conditions in the city and the upcoming work on women’s safety in public spaces. .

“However, Edinburgh’s current cycling infrastructure is poor and unsuitable, especially for women. Improvements are far too slow.

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“The Council must prioritize projects that allow women and girls to feel safe and comfortable, and to travel with confidence. “

The ride, which took place to coincide with the end of 16 days of UN activism against gender-based violence, lasted about an hour and followed a short route around the city center, starting at Middle Meadow Walk in 7:30 p.m. Cyclists dressed and covered their bikes in colorful lights for the event.

The organizers, who support Transport Scotland’s recent Cycling by Design guidelines, want safe and comfortable cycling infrastructure, protected from traffic – or off-road – on direct, well-lit routes. Routes with “natural surveillance” – such as busy streets – are preferred.

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Light up the night: Women of Edinburgh stress the need for safe, darkness-friendly cycle lanes. (Photo credit: John Preece)

It is believed that more women would take up cycling if they felt more secure.

Emily Wood, who lives in Portobello and works in Inverleith, said: “I’m not a very confident rider so I much prefer the routes that I know well.

“I’m nervous about riding dark, lonely, winding roads and would never ride a bike on a busy road. My balance is not good, so I need wide, protected cycle paths.

“I would like to cycle more to work and for other trips around town, but the infrastructure is not there to support me, especially in winter.

Light up the night: Women of Edinburgh stress the need for safe, darkness-friendly cycle lanes. (Photo credit: John Preece)

Dr Caroline Brown of the Urban Institute at Heriot Watt University said off-road trails should not be considered suitable cycling infrastructure because they are not safe for everyone at all times.

She said: “Male violence does not only affect female victims, it affects the behavior of all women who assess the risk of every decision they make.

Campaigners say women need to decide whether busy roads and junctions are better than secluded and off-road paths after dark.

Figures from the sustainable transport organization Sustrans, published in 2017, show that women represent 37% of cyclists in the city.

At the COP26 climate summit last month in Glasgow, discussions were held to highlight the idea that making cities less dangerous for women by developing safer and well-lit cycling and walking routes goes hand in hand with the fight against climate change.

Reducing the number of cars on the roads and replacing them with well-serviced cycle lanes would be a step towards equality by helping to make more people, especially women and girls, feel safer and more secure. confident on their bike, it has been said.

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