‘Friends of Bears Way’ support group set up

Ronan McCaffery
Ronan McCaffery

A group of people who live and work in the area have defended the new cycle lanes on the A81 which are part of the council’s ‘Bears Way’ project.

They gathered recently on Milngavie Road to show their support for the cycleway, which has faced criticism from many local people since it opened.

Four-year-old Ronan McCaffery cycled along the segregated lane on the busy main route for the first time.

His mum Lise says she would never have allowed him to do this before the ‘Bears Way’ project.

She said: “The cycle lane which is now separated from the road and protected makes it child’s play for Ronan to enjoy his new found freedom.

“If Ronan can ride on it, it proves the lane really opens up the road to everyone.

“For me the reward of having a cycle lane for Ronan growing up outweighs the inconvenience of having it built.”

The Milngavie and Bearsden Herald has been inundated with letters and phone calls as well as comments on our facebook page about the ‘Bears Way’ project.

The main concerns include the road being narrowed and bus stops and bin lorries causing tailbacks.

Some cyclists have even complained about the lanes not being safe because motorists have almost hit them at junctions.

However, Lizzie Reather, a Friend of Bears Way, said: “We are keen to make Milngavie and the surrounding areas friendlier for people, not just motorists.”

The first phase of the Bears Way links Burnbrae in Milngavie to Hillfoot in Bearsden, and East Dunbartonshire Council plans to extend the route and put in a new roundabout at Burnbrae, which they say will be safer for cyclists and walkers.

Lizzie added: “We appreciate that some local residents are concerned about parking and congestion, but we feel the improvements to the streetscape will benefit everyone, and that many of the residents’ concerns can be mitigated with careful design.”

David Brennan an organiser of Pedal on Parliament, a group campaigning for the government to invest in active travel, said: “I’ve been critical of the lane’s design in the past, but having seen the council’s plans for expansion, I’m excited about a Bears Way cycle lane that could take commuters from Milngavie into Glasgow whilst separated from traffic. Milngavie Road is incredibly busy with traffic and this lane offers a real alternative to the car, and improves the local environment.”