Showing that it’s not just big cities that need more and better provision for cycling, Scottish parliamentarian John Lamont has called for cycling facilities to be improved in rural areas such as his constituency of Hawick.
According to the Hawick News, he said: “Investment in cycling in the Borders pales into insignificance when compared to more urban areas.”
Mr Lamont is calling for the conversion of the area’s disused railway lines into bike paths.
“There are some great cycling routes including the loops to Newcastleton and Roberton. However, these routes could be made more popular if parts of the A7 road were improved and made safer for cyclists. This could also help many of our local tourism businesses if more cyclists visited the area.”
Cycling’s profile has never been higher, but Mr Lamont points out that surveys show many people won’t get on their bikes because they think the roads are too dangerous.
“We have a unique opportunity at the moment to encourage more people to take up cycling”, he stated. “We cannot allow this opportunity to pass us by and we need to be doing everything we can to encourage cyclists on to our roads. But unfortunately many are being put off by the dangerous environments we currently have on our roads.”
While urban cycling fatalities are the ones that often make the news, RoSPA points out that around half of cyclist fatalities occur on rural roads.
The perceived danger of the roads is why the Borders area needs investment in a cycling network, Mr Lamont said. “By converting old rail lines and building new cycle routes we can help to vastly improve safety and encourage more people to take up this healthy hobby.”
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.