Cyclists in Scotland are getting ready for the second Pedal on Parliament ride, which will take place on Saturday 18 May 2013. The reason for the repeat of the original ride last April, say organisers, is that “despite plenty of warm words from politicians since then, nothing fundamental has changed so we’re doing it again.”
One of the organisers of the ride, Dr David Brennan, said: “After the first Pedal on Parliament last year, Scotland’s First Minster Alex Salmond said we were ‘pushing on an open door’.
“Yet although they have listened to our arguments we’re still not seeing any real change, as the recent budget announcements have shown.
“Spending for cycling has stopped falling, but it’s nowhere near the levels we need to make the roads safe for my young family to cycle on – and that’s the sort of change we need to see.”
Last year’s ride saw 3,000 cyclists - including children on balance bikes and ten times the pre-ride estimate - take to the Scottish capital’s streets in support of an eight-point manifesto to support safer cycling in the country. The key demands of that manifesto are:
- Proper funding for cycling
- Design cycling into Scotland’s roads
- Slower speeds where people live, work and play
- Integrate cycling into local transport strategies
- Improved road traffic law and enforcement
- Reduce the risk of HGVs to cyclists and pedestrians
- A strategic and joined-up programme of road user training
- Improved statistics supporting decision-making and policy.
In a press release, organisers of Pedal on Parliament 2 said: “This will be a light-hearted ride, but with a serious purpose. The most recent road safety figures for Scotland show that the numbers of cyclists and pedestrians killed and seriously injured has actually risen.
"Experts have warned that the numbers of pedestrians and cyclists killed or seriously injured on Scotland’s roads are set to exceed those in cars within a few years.
“The Olympics and the success of Scottish cyclists Sir Chris Hoy and Paralympians Aileen McGlynn, Karen Darke and Neil Fachie created a huge interest in cycling last year, with thousands more Scots taking to two wheels – but they will quickly give up if the conditions they encounter on the roads aren’t safe and inviting, and that will require real investment.
"The Scottish government has a target of 10% of all journeys to be taken by bike by 2020, yet despite some high profile announcements of investment in cycling in the wake of the last Pedal on Parliament, it still spends barely 1% of the transport budget on cycling.”
As last year, the ride will start at The Meadows, with cyclists asked to ensure they arrive ahead of a minute’s silence at 3pm, and riders will then head across the George IV Bridge before turning right onto the High Street and towards Holyrood.
As it left The Meadows, the 2012 ride was headed by round-the-world cyclist Mark Beaumont and Ian McNicoll, whose son Andrew had been killed while riding to work earlier in the year.
Mr McNicoll and his wife Lynn, Andrew’s stepmother, set up the charity Andrew Cyclist in his memory, and speaking about the launch of Pedal on Parliament 2. Mrs McNicoll said: “Ian and I remain committed to working with others to make cycling in Scotland safer for all abilities and we strongly support the aims of the Pedal on Parliament team and will work with them to help achieve their aims.
“We are delighted to support Pedal on Parliament Scotland 2013. The turnout at POP in 2012 was incredible and we hope that the turnout at this year’s event will be even higher. We will be there!”
There’s a video of the route below that points out some hazards to be aware of along the way – it was compiled ahead of last year’s ride, so the date at the end is for that edition.
One participant, Gary Buckham, posted this video of the ride itself to YouTube.
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.