This Sunday, people in Aberdeen will be demonstrating for more and safer cycling infrastructure in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire. Rachel Martin of BikePaths4UnionSt and POP Aberdeen explains why

A new ring road has been built around Aberdeen without any provision for cyclists and one particular intersection is now more treacherous for cyclists than it was before. People using the Deeside Way must navigate a dangerous intersection to cross the B979 to rejoin the pathway. The problem is due to a missing pavement which hasn’t been completed and it’s not clear whose responsibility it is to complete.

AWPR road
A still from the video showing how the crossing dangerously puts drivers and cyclists/pedestrians in conflict

The Deeside Way is an old converted train line which is completely traffic-free and popular with cyclists, walkers, joggers, and even horses. The AWPR goes straight past the Deeside cycleway and could have provided a fast and direct route for cyclists to get to the airport and beaches to the north of Aberdeen, had they included a segregated cycleway in the design. Instead cyclists will be banned from using the road. Ironically, an event has been planned for the weekend of September 8 and 9 for cyclists and pedestrians to celebrate, among other things, active travel.

The people of Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire think it’s unacceptable in the 21st Century for new roads to completely ignore the needs of cyclists and other modes of active travel. The cyclists and pedestrians of Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire are gathering for a demonstration outside Marischal College on Sunday 9th September at 12 noon to demand better provision for active travel. A lot of money has been spent building the new AWPR but cyclists were not considered in the design and its construction has made conditions worse for cyclists.


AWPR relief road
The fencing and lack of a pavement mean that cyclists and pedestrians are forced to perform this dangerous manoeuvre if they want to use the Deeside way.

(More photos and the video are available here)

We want all road projects – including new builds and maintenance works – to incorporate active travel in the design phase.

Getting more people to make trips by bike has huge benefits for us as individuals and for society as a whole. For society it reduces health expenses, air pollution, congestion, road maintenance costs, greenhouse gases, and absenteeism. For individuals it’s cheap, keeps us fit and healthy, and is lots of fun. To profit from these benefits we need to get more people on bikes – to get more people on bikes we need to build segregated cycle paths. Building more roads increases traffic in the long term and a recent report found that it fails to “provide the congestion relief and economic boost promised”

If you want to join Rachel and the Aberdeen Cycle Forum you can sign up to the Facebook event here  – and if you want to take things further Aberdeen Cycle Forum are jointly hosting a Walk Cycle Vote Campaigners’ Day in Aberdeen at the end of the month.

Want safer cycling in Aberdeen? Demo this Sunday!