17th April 2014

Politicians Do Listen, Sometimes

Pedal on Parliament is such an important rally, a fair few politicians will be pedaling on parliament next Saturday too.

While it’s part of our democratic culture to hold politicians accountable (and give them a good slagging when they deserve it) it’s only fair to offer praise when they step up to the plate, so we applaud the MPs, MSPs and councillors who have pledged to pedal on parliament next Saturday too.

This reminded me (the Bike Co-op’s Ged) of a recent example of a politician doing the right thing.

Part of my daily commute takes me down a two-lane one-way street (the slip road to Cramond Brig, Queensferry Road). The inside lane is for buses and bikes, the outside lane is for all other vehicles.

Traffic lights half way down this street facilitate merging onto the busy Queensferry Road. This makes sense apart from one flaw. The traffic lights did not register someone on a bike, so they never changed in the cyclist’s favour. Cyclists therefore had two options. Wait at the lights, perhaps for half and hour, till a bus came and triggered the lights to change, or ignore the red light. Naturally, even the most law-abiding cyclists got into the habit of running this red light.

I sent a quick email to Edinburgh Council’s transport convener, Lesley Hinds, to point out this infrastructure blip this January. Within a few days the traffic lights were recalibrated and they now change to green when you approach them on a bike.

To be honest, I wasn’t confident that I would get such a positive and speedy response. Just shows. Some of our representatives do actually get things done – but it helps if you make them aware of your concerns.

If something needs fixing in your locale, we urge you to contact your councillor or MP. You might be pleasantly surprised by the response.

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