Edinburgh Cycling

edinburgh cycling

Edinburgh Cycling – Stuartie C

A marvellous view down to Edinburgh on the right.

I have visited Edinburgh on quite a few occasions. The city has a lot of character, and it’s always good to visit. Like most UK cities, cycling seems to be a fairly marginal form of transport – despite the attempts of some cycling advocates. However, in the past few years there have been signs of an increase in cycle rates. One survey found that at commuting times, cyclists made up to 20% of transport.

Volunteers monitored traffic on Lothian Road and Forest Road, and discovered that cyclists make up an average of 15% of all traffic during busy commuter times. For the first time in the six years that the survey has been undertaken, cycle commuters travelling into the city made up a fifth of all traffic.

The survey also found that the total number of cars fell to 1849, the lowest level ever counted, with buses and other commercial vehicles remaining at a fairly constant level, at just over 700. (Cycle rates Edinburgh)

A study by Cycling Scotland found in Edinburgh, 5% use the bike to travel to work. This is slightly higher than 3% average for whole of Scotland. (Cycle stats Edinburgh).

Advocates argue with more funding, this rate could continue to rise.


Edinburgh cycling -photo by:  Chris Malcom

Cycling past the tram tracks in Edinburgh.

The tram tracks have been rebuilt three times as heavy buses have created cracks near to the rails. This has caused headache and difficulties for cyclists negotiating the city centre.

The City council report, ‘Tram rails have now been installed on Princes Street and cyclists should be aware that they are a potential hazard. The following tips will help you to negotiate them safely:

  • Always cross tracks as close to 90 degrees as possible
  • Prepare to cross the tracks well in advance
  • Check behind early enough to concentrate solely on crossing the tracks and ensure your manoeuvre is not rushed
  • Make other road users aware of your intentions through appropriate hand signals
  • Take extra care when it is wet
  • Dismount and cross on foot if necessary or use an alternative route


Not exactly, inspiring for cyclists. I guess trams aren’t necessarily incompatible to cycling. Trams haven’t stopped Amsterdam becoming a popular cycling city.


Obstacles to Cycling

The usual mix of narrow pavements and share use paths.

Some barriers to cycling in Edinburgh

Edinburgh by: magnificent octopus


rainy edinburgy

Photo by Edinburgh photographer John Gilchrist

The rain doesn’t deter Edinburgh cyclists, but it gets higher than average rainfall. Good waterproofs are essential.

Organised Rides and Cycle Routes

edinburgh cycle path

Photo by M Lewis

Despite difficulties, Edinburgh also has groups seeking to encourage cycling. There are some good cycle paths, for example, this disused railway line.

edinburgh cycle lane

Photo by M Lewis

But, like most UK cities, cycle provision is very patchy ranging from good to absurd, with little overall co-ordination and vision.

edinburgh cycle map

edinburgh cycle map The Bike Station



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