Sustrans Scotland has asked for more space to be given to cyclists on the country’s roads ahead of a Cycling Summit being held in Edinburgh today with participants including Scottish Transport Minister, Keith Brown. The Scottish Green Party, meanwhile, is calling for an urgent redesign of the country’s 50 most dangerous junctions for cyclists.
During today’s meeting, the sustainable transport charity’s director for Scotland, John Lauder, will outline initiatives Sustrans has undertaken including installing two-way cycle lanes in some streets in Glasgow, and will also issue an appeal for 20mph to be made the default speed limit on residential streets.
"Cycling is a great way to get Scotland fitter and healthier, while allowing people to save money while getting around,” said Mr Lauder.
“However, many people are put off using their bike for regular journeys as they feel our roads are unsafe.
"Scotland needs to employ a can-do attitude to main roads in our towns and cities if we are going to make cycling safer on our roads."
The meeting, which is being hosted by the Scottish Government's Road Safety Operational Partnership Group, comes after four cyclists were killed on Edinburgh’s roads in the past 12 months, two of those since the start of this year.
While the Scottish Government has ambitious targets for cycling – it wants 10 per cent of journeys in the country to be made by bike by 2020 – cycle campaigners and some politicians believe that too little progress has been made towards that, and that the current priority must be to improve conditions for riders on the road.
One speaker will be Green MSP Alison Johnstone, whose party has called on the minister to urgently identify the 50 worst junctions in Scotland for cyclists and have them redesigned.
"There needs to be a louder voice for cyclists in Scottish politics and I welcome this opportunity to meet with road safety officials to see what more can be done to embed cycling at the heart of transport policy,” said the Lothian MSP.
"Among other things, I think we need to have a review of urban speed limits, with top priority given to the interests of pedestrians and cyclists. I also want to see every Scottish school able to provide cycle training, and every Council able to invest in better road design.
"The Government could take the lead right now and identify the fifty worst junctions for cyclists in Scotland. With an ambitious target for increasing cycling, now is the time to make the radical changes we need."
Next month, cycle campaigners are staging a Pedal on Parliament ride at which a manifesto will be delivered to Mr Brown, containing eight pledges that they are calling on politicians at both local and national levels to endorse.
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.