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Transport expert says Scottish capital should prioritise bikes, public transport

Transport writer and campaigner Christian Wolmar, who is seeking the Labour nomination for the 2016 London mayoral election, has said that Edinburgh could model itself on Danish capital Copenhagen and make cycling a normal part of everyday life.

Wolmar said: “You introduce everything from 20mph zones to more controlled parking, to quite possibly thinking of more sophisticated charging schemes than we have.

“You take road space away [from motorists] to give it to bus lanes and cycle lanes – you do all those things, and you have a plan for 20 years ahead.

“The most liveable cities in Europe have done that. Copenhagen has gradually reduced the number of car park spaces available in the centre and widened cycle lanes, and people don’t cycle there because it’s healthy or environmentally friendly – they do it because it’s the quickest and easiest way to get around.”

The race for London

Wolmar is fiercely critical of the last two London Mayors, Ken Livinstone and Boris Johnson. He accuses Livingstone of losing his nerve after introducing the congestion charge, but he saves his real ire for Boris Johnson’s attitude toward cyclists and cycling.

“[Boris Johnson] proclaims his support for cyclists but actually in many respects has made life more difficult for them by insisting that nothing should be done that might affect the ‘smooth flow of traffic’,” Wolmar writes.

“The bike hire scheme is a nice innovation and is a useful way of introducing people to the joys of cycling but it is not a substitute for the type of provision for cyclists seen in many European cities.

“For all Boris’s supposed pro-cycling policies, very little will change over the next four years to attract more of them or to make existing ones safer. His cycle superhighways are a dangerous mirage, encouraging cyclists on to main roads while doing nothing to protect them.”

Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.

Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.

Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.

The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.