BORDERS roads are now more dangerous because of the new 20mph areas, according to a cyclist.

Scottish Borders Council started rolling out its Space for People programme last week (October 5), with the 18-month scheme due to implement new speed restrictions in 91 towns and villages.

However, Ian Burton, of Kelso, cycles 50km around the Borders each week and says cars are struggling to overtake cyclists due to the new 20mph limits.

Mr Burton, 58, said: “It struck me as being a good idea on paper. When I am in town [Kelso] actually on very few occasions do people come close – you do get the odd idiot.

“Cars were quite good at coming to my tail then whizzing past. [Recently] this car was just up my tail at 17-18mph coming past at a walking pace.

“I braked to let the car past so you have to be more in tune.”

Mr Burton, who is a business and IT consultant, described having vehicles driving next to him as “uncomfortable”, something which has become more common under the new scheme.

Border Telegraph:

“I think it will make it more dangerous,” he said. “I think a lot of people don’t understand where the back left corner of their car is.

“I don’t think we have solved the issues. All we have helped is considerate drivers maintain their consideration.

“I am not convinced [about the scheme],” he added. “We are not going to change most of the behaviour. Overall, most of the drivers are driving very grown up and are courteous, giving lots of space.

“I think they should have consulted the population as a whole. I am not sure it is a cycling issue.”

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While Mr Burton agrees with the 20mph zones around schools as it will “stop the odd nutter”, he described introducing the speed restrictions across the Borders as “bizarre”.

“You can’t do 20mph in Kelso – it’s built up and you’ve got cars on both sides of you,” he said.

“The majority of people around here are fine, it feels slightly bizarre. Introducing a 30mph zone would be more useful.

“The real solution is for people to be more polite, the problem is ignorant people aren’t going to be polite.

"What are we going to solve other than irritating nice people who are considerate drivers?

“The idiots are idiots and there are still going to be idiots. I think everyone will just ignore it and hold it in complete contempt.”

Mr Burton says the Spaces for People scheme is “solving the wrong problem”, with speeding motorists causing issues on the B6350.

The programme will introduce a 30mph zone on the B road between the community hall in Sprouston and Whitmuirhaugh Farm Cottages, a stretch that covers around half a mile.

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However, another potential issue has arisen, with Mr Burton saying that he has pulled away from cars on his bike when going down hills due to the speed limits.

“If they [the police] are stopping all the cars, am I going to have to have a speedo on my bike?” said Mr Burton. “It struck me as mildly bizarre.

“The world has gone a bit mad.”

SBC listed the aims of the scheme in the frequently asked questions section of the programme's webpage, citing safety as a reason.

It states the programme aims to: "Reduce the risk and severity of injuries as a result of collisions between vehicles and vulnerable road users."