A BORDERS cyclist felt forced to pedal furiously to stay ahead of a long queue of cars on a new 20mph road, a community council has heard.

Temporary speed restrictions have been implemented in all of the Borders’ towns and villages as part of Scottish Borders Council’s Space for People programme.

The aim of the £1.2 million scheme is to “make it easier and safer for people to walk, cycle and wheel for every day journeys”.

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However, Galashiels Community Council member Bill White says the money would have been better spent on improving the cycle routes the region already has.

“First of all, there was no consultation on this [the new limits],” he said.

“I saw a young lad pedalling like hell with 20 cars behind him because they can’t go past.

“I totally agree in having the limits in school areas, but I am seeing 25 cars one after another on the main roads. There has to be pollution in that.

“It would be much better if they spent the money on improving what we have already got.”

Fellow member Douglas Johnston says the community council could put work into making sure people are aware of the cycle paths off the roads in the area.

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“I cycle and to be out on the roads it is just Russian roulette,” said Mr Johnston.

“We could maybe put some thought into making people aware of the cycle path off Langlee main road and on Black Path.

“We are actually doing something then. It might save someone getting scraped off the road at Langlee.”

Galashiels councillor Euan Jardine was in attendance at the virtual meeting and urged members of Galashiels Community Council to “give it a wee bit of time” before making judgements about the programme.

“It is to encourage people to get out more, get in the sunshine, get their vitamin D,” he said about the scheme. “It is 18 months, it isn’t a lifetime.”

Regarding an earlier complaint about a lack of uptake in cyclists using the roads since the speed limits were introduced, Mr Jardine said: “It is the winter so we need to remember that.

“I have heard a couple of elderly people saying they feel a bit more safe crossing the roads now.

“Give it a chance, let it embed. We just need to see. And please feed into our consultation.”

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The speed restrictions are part of an 18-month pilot scheme from the council to encourage safer active travel.

SBC says there will be community council surveys followed by an online public consultation in spring 2021 as part of the process to decide whether the measures become permanent.

Judith Cleghorn, chairwoman of Galashiels Community Council, said the matter will be discussed again at February’s meeting, adding that “people don’t like change”.

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