International bike spotting – Alison Piper

To help us get through the next couple of colder months, dandyhorse is going to be profiling cyclists from around the world! Folks who love to cycle, here in Toronto and further afield, will give us insight into what it's like to cycle in their cities. Want to add your voice to the bikespotting series? Get in touch with us at:

Alison Piper, Filmmaker - Glasgow, Scotland

What is it like biking in your city? 

Cycling is the quickest and most enjoyable way for me to get around Glasgow. I’m fully waterproof, which helps.

How are the bike lanes? 

The bike lanes are sporadic, some areas of the city are well equipped with bike lanes and some areas are not. Potholes are an issue, as are cars parking in bike lanes and forcing cyclists out in the road. It's good but there's a lot of work to be done.

What can the city do better?

Where possible, continue to build segregated bike lanes and create better legislation that would enable groups like Sustrans to work in Scottish cities and build cycle routes without spending years navigating bureaucracy. The Bears Way project is a great example of this, it would provide a safe cycle route to in and out of Glasgow, to connecting towns and also to Mugdock country park, but sadly there’s a lot of opposition from Bearsden residents who are concerned that the works would disrupt their commute during the building stage. I find this short-sighted opposition incredibly frustrating.

 Where else would you like bike lanes? 

In the countryside. I often work outside the city and it can be dangerous to cycle on narrow roads. I’d also love to see more protected cycle paths built on roads that are wide enough. There’s an excellent stretch of road past Eaglesham Moor where bike lanes take priority over car lanes. Traffic management like this wouldn’t work everywhere but it’s encouraging to see this kind of pragmatism painted on tarmac in the right places.

What is the relationship between cars and bikes? 

It’s not great. I’m a driver and a cyclist so I get abuse from both sides; a lot of drivers don’t understand which parts of the road cyclists have a right to occupy, and some cyclists can be very dangerous. Last year I nearly hit a cyclist with my car in the dark who didn’t have lights or a helmet on, terrifying. Most people who live in Glasgow are awesome but naturally a few of them arseholes, and some of them drive cars and some of them ride bikes.

If you could summarise city cycling in one word what would it be? 


Alison's most recent short film Stalactites is currently doing the festival circuit. You can learn more about Alison's work over here

Related Articles

dandy Scotland part 1: Kits and kilts

dandyCommute: Chris Sleath of Dynamo Works in Scotland

Story of a bike type in Scotland



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