Cyclists in St Andrews are putting their and other road users’ lives at risk by flouting basic road safety rules.
After being contacted by readers, the Citizen experienced the problem first hand – in less than 10 minutes, three cyclists were spotted pedalling the wrong way along a one-way street where parked cars left space for only a single car to pass. Minutes later, another cyclist narrowly avoided serious injury when she breenged out on to the roundabout on City Road.
Craig Ian Bones, who described himself as a keen cyclist who wears the correct safety gear, laid the blame for the dangerous behaviour at the door of students: “I have witnessed several times already cyclists riding down the wrong way on a one-way street. This is extremely dangerous but frustrating for drivers.”
Mr Bones went on to remark on the number of cyclists not wearing helmets and apparently listening to music in earphones while cycling and called for something to be done for the safety of the students and drivers.
Don Burnett warned: “Someone will get hurt soon. Every time the classes come out from the Buchanan Building, students on bikes cycle up as far as Subway and just keep going, either that or mount the pavement.
“I have had words with several of them and they just keep going. They get away with it at the start of term and just keep doing it.”
Another resident highlighted the problem of cyclists turning right into the David Russell apartments from Buchanan Gardens, cutting across vehicles coming up behind them. He recalled at least one accident where a cyclist was knocked off their bike through no fault of the driver.
One experienced local cyclist, who asked not to be named, said she was almost knocked off her bike as she slowed down at the end of Church Street to turn left into South Street when another bike rider, ignoring the ‘no entry’ sign, nipped round the corner to ride the wrong way up Church Street.
“I’ve also been surprised to see bikes coming the wrong way along Market Street, which hasn’t been a problem for me on my bike, but it’s a different matter when you’re driving a car,” she said.
However, she feels that, with so many bikes in town during the academic year, it is long overdue for the town to become more cycle friendly rather than berate cyclists, especially students: “It works okay having a bike lane in Greyfriars Garden running contrary to the traffic so could we not do something similar on our other one-way streets?”
It’s a problem the police are well aware of.
PC Leisa Metcalfe, who acts as Police Scotland’s liaison officer with St Andrews University, highlighted the problems of overseas students arriving to study in St Andrews, some of whom were not aware of Scotland’s rules of the road, or even roundabouts. “This is a problem we are aware of,” she said, “and we are working with the university to encourage safety through education.”
A university spokesman said that the university actively promotes cycle safety including organising visits to halls of residence by cycling organisation Cyclepath and a year round poster campaign which reinforces messages of cycle safety. “The University expects students to comply with the highway code,” the spokesman added.