Over the weekend I joined with between 3,000 and 4,000 cyclists in Edinburgh to take part in Pedal on Parliament.
The event, organised by the campaign of the same name, brought together cyclists from across Scotland to cycle from the Meadows to the Scottish Parliament in a call for action to transform Scotland into a cycle-friendly nation.
The Edinburgh Reporter produced the video above which gives a flavour of the event.
In support of the campaign’s aim, organisers have produced an eight-point manifesto that outlines their calls for a more integrated approach to cycling encompassing dedicated cycle facilities, road design and planning, road safety, transport strategy and the need for proper funding.
Arriving at Parliament following the ride from the Meadows, I got the chance to address the event. I spoke about how we needed to join up the national cycle network routes with real improvements in local routes that are safe for people to use whether they are going to school, to work, or just out for a leisurely ride.
The event follows on from the first Pedal on Parliament a year ago which again attracted over 3,000 people. Organisers were moved to repeat the event this year in frustration over the lack of visible change in the last 12 months. However, one point I noted during my short speech was that more politicians joined the ride this year demonstrating the increased awareness of cycling issues among Scottish and UK representatives.
You can hear an excerpt from my speech, again courtesy of the Edinburgh Reporter, below:
The points outlined in the Pedal on Parliament manifesto are a constructive contribution towards how we as a country can move towards the Scottish Government’s target that 10% of all journeys should be made by bike by 2020. I would like to hear the Scottish Government respond more positively to the policy proposals from the campaign to outline what action they are taking to ensure that the 2020 target is met.
Alongside national action, there is also work going on at a local level. In 2010, the City of Edinburgh Council, along with NHS Lothian and other partners, launched an Active Travel Action Plan. The plan outlines a range of activities including network improvements, better parking facilities, a program of maintenance on cycle lanes and improved training for school children and adults alike. The plan also highlights the need to get employers on board to provide support such as bike parking and changing facilities to allow people to cycle to work.
Implementing these plans is not just about one of funding. It is about sending a message that we need sustained investment year on year to deliver a cycling infrastructure that can compete with the best in Europe.
What puts most people off cycling isn’t our weather – its concerns about safety. That means redesigning our streets, slowing traffic and investing in dedicated routes. The families of Andrew McNicoll and Audrey Fyfe joined the Pedal on Parliament event and the speech by Lynne McNicoll whose stepson Andrew died while cycling, was a moving reminder that much more needs to be done.