Hundreds got on their bikes for The Bears Way project

Bears Way advocacy ride

Bears Way advocacy ride

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Over 200 people took part in the Friends of Bears Way ‘advocacy’ ride in Bearsden on Sunday (November 6).

The Friends of Bears Way called it an advocacy ride because they say they are not natural protestors and they weren’t looking for confrontation.

Friends of Bears Way

Friends of Bears Way

Instead they wanted to create a welcoming, celebratory atmosphere.

They cycled along Phase 1 of the cycle path from Burnbrae to Hillfoot and some participants carried on along the proposed route for Phase 2 of the project, from Hillfoot to Kessington.

Phase 1 of the project has been controversial and unpopular with many local people and commuters because they say it’s caused increased congestion along the road.

In response to a number of complaints from constituents Councillors voted against Phase 2 of the project at a council meeting on Thursday, September 29 so it’s not going ahead now.

However Friends of Bears Way has collected 2,821 signatures for a petition which asks the council to complete the project.

One of the organisers of the advocacy ride, David Brennan, said: “There was a great mix of young and old, experienced and inexperienced cyclists.

“The number of local families attending was particularly encouraging, demonstrating that segregated cycle infrastructure encourages inclusive cycling.

“We were also encouraged by the number of drivers who, when driving past, showed their support with friendly toots and waving. The demonstration had a friendly, inclusive atmosphere.”

Mr Brennan acknowledges that while the Bears Way cycle lane isn’t perfect, he says it is a step in the right direction.

He added: “We are grateful that both Labour and the Conservative councillors voted to extend Bears Way, but it was incredibly disappointing that SNP, Liberal Democrat and Independent councillors voted against the extension of the lane.

“Unfortunately this leaves us in the position of having a lane that satisfies no-one and will not help to reach the governments vision of a 10 per cent modal share of cycling by 2020.

“As the roads of East Dunbartonshire continue to get busier it is time for central government and local government to invest in active travel and to complete many more projects like the Bears Way.

“A significant shift towards more sustainable modes of transport will only occur when roads like the A81 are made people friendly.”