Parts of Scotland’s cycle path network, including a large section of one of the routes used by cyclists riding from Land’s End to John O’Groats, are to get a £6 million makeover.
The funding was originally announced in Scottish Finance Secretary John Swinney’s budget last month, and details have now been confirmed by the country’s Transport Minister, Keith Brown.
Besides improvements to the route between Barnton and Junction and the Forth Road Bridge on the eastern route regularly ridden by cyclists undertaking an end-to-end ride, Glasgow is also set to benefit from more cycle paths ahead of the city hosting the Commonwealth Games in 2014.
Elsewhere, investment will also be made in facilities in Edinburgh, Dundee and Kirkcaldy as well as on the A90, while cash will also be provided to Bikeability Scotland as well as cycle safety campaigns.
"I've been working closely with the cycling community in recent months to find out exactly what's needed to get more people in Scotland on their bikes," Mr Brown commented.
“What has been clear is that we share a vision for a Scotland that is safe, enjoyable and accessible for people to get around by bike.
“I want to ensure that people who currently cycle, and those who are considering it, are given even more reason to get about by bike by continuing to improve Scotland’s cycling infrastructure and this money will do that.
“We know that for many people, the safety aspect is keeping them from experiencing the great number of benefits that can be found in cycling – health improvements, a better environment and the savings to your pocket, as well as the fun aspect.
“Schemes such as Bikeability Scotland and Give Me Cycle Space, which teach kids how to stay safe on their bikes, are doing a great job of encouraging them to cycle from an early age and that’s why I am ensuring that we continue to fund their work.
“We want to ensure all P6/7 pupils have access to on-road cycle training. This additional funding will allow more local authorities to move to on-road training through staff training, recruitment of volunteers and bike library schemes, particularly in more deprived areas.”
Ian Aitken, Chief Executive of Cycling Scotland, added: "I'm delighted that this new funding will help us continue our work in equipping Scottish schoolchildren with the skills and confidence to cycle.
“By delivering Bikeability Scotland cycle training and awareness campaigns like Give Me Cycle Space together we are able to give children the skills they need to cycle confidently and to reassure parents by telling motorists to watch out for children cycling to school.
“We are working with local authorities across Scotland to increase the amount of training which is delivered on-road, as opposed to in the playground, as training is far more beneficial when delivered in a live road environment.
“This funding will enable us to support the network of over 4000 amazing volunteers that are currently delivering cycle training, increase the number of children receiving training on-road, and to continue to campaign for greater consideration for cyclists using the road network."
Next month, Cycling Scotland, along with the Embassy of the Netherlands in the UK, is hosting a conference that will discuss how the Dutch have succeeded in achieving such high levels of cycling, and how that can be replicated in Scotland. Further details can be found here.
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.