Our third party conference ride gave us the opportunity to explore some of surprisingly attractive Dunfermline and discuss the importance of the right signage in the right place..
It was cold in Dunfermline on Saturday so I think someone at the Scottish Liberal Democrats took pity on me standing alone outside and triggered the fire alarm, causing all 400 or so delegates to join me in the Vine Centre car park for an impromptu discussion about the benefits of active travel and a quick distribution of our campaign postcards.
In a more scheduled appearance, the leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats, Willie Rennie, joined us later for a chat about the campaign and how well designed infrastructure can cater for both the sports cyclist and family on bikes. As a keen cyclist and runner, Willie is very supportive of measures to get more people in Scotland more active.
Despite the cold and impending rain, a small band of resilient people on bikes launched off into the road as we were slightly confused as to where the shared use path started and stopped. Crossing a main road, it was good to be able to get straight across without being impeded by barriers.
The shared use path on the other side of the crossing took us onto this, a popular path linking the Dunfermline Queen Margaret station to the town centre. It wouldn’t cater for mass cycling, but it worked well for our little group and kept us safely away from the main road.
Unfortunately all good things come to an end and inevitably we were back onto the road, ‘sharing’ with the cars.
We stopped several times to view the cycle user signage to discuss its effectiveness on helping us to locate an appropriate route through the town.
Exhibit 1: Standing here at the end of the on road cycle markings, we could see a tantalizing path on the opposite side of the road. But with no drop curb or crossing you had to make a quick dash to get to it..
Exhibit 2: This has two routes signed – one up a moss covered slope and the other into some bollards and a curb (or the pavement) – but no indication of where it might take you.
Compared to the signage you find in the Netherlands, you might find yourself needing a map quite often to get around in Scotland’s towns.
Thank you so much to our friends at Dunfermline Cycling Club for coming out and literally showing us the way around Dunfermline! It’s a lovely town with a superb Abbey in its historic centre and it could be a great place to cycle with the right investment in its infrastructure (and some better signs).