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Move seen as essential element of getting more people to switch to cycling

Members of the Scottish Parliament have given their backing to a campaign seeking to get bus operators to allow bicycles to be carried on them.

While the issue has been raised as a result of the difficulty of reaching the Glentrees mountain bike centre near Peebles, south of Edinburgh, which cannot be accessed by train from the capital, bus operators throughout the country are being urged to allow bicycles to be carried.

Green MSP Alison Johnstone, who represents the Lothians constituency, has tabled a motion in the Scottish Parliament urging bus companies to provide bicycle racks for both everyday trips and leisure journeys, and her call has been echoed by Marco Biagi, the SNP MSP for Edinburgh Central.

"I was contacted by a constituent who said he wanted to use public transport to get to Glentress, but found it virtually impossible with his bike,” Ms Johnstone told The Scotsman.

"Bicycle racks are used on buses in the United States, Australia, Wales and some big European cities.

"I just think that if we're serious about encouraging cycling, then it's the sort of thing we should be doing here.

"I'd like to see the city council speak to Lothian Buses about this. Putting bike racks on buses is not exactly radical, but if we're serious about cycling, we have to start doing more to encourage cyclists."

Edinburgh is the only city in the United Kingdom that has signed the Charter of Brussels, which has a goal of 15 per cent of trips being made by bicycle by 2020, and last month the city council backed measures to let cyclists ride on pavements in some areas that do not have on-street bicycle lanes.

Mark Sydenham from the Better Way to Work campaign supported the initiative, but not in every situation. "It would be great for certain routes, but not necessarily on every bus. I have seen it in action in San Francisco and it works really well,” he explained.

"The bus pulls up and you put the bike on the rack. It has its limitations because it has the capacity to delay buses and that's why bus firms have been reticent in the past, but I've seen it working well.

"It would be ideal for the likes of Glentress. Mountain biking has really taken off and you'll often see the road between here and Peebles packed with cars on a Sunday morning. It would be good to get all those people on to buses," he added.
 

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.