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Pedal on Parliament returns to Edinburgh in April for a third year

Thousands of cyclists expected to call for safer roads, more investment and improved facilities for those on bikes

There may be no Sky Ride in Edinburgh this year, but Saturday 26 April will see the third annual Pedal on Parliament ride. Last year's edition brought 4,000 cyclists including former world champion Graeme Obree onto the streets of the Scottish capital to campaign for safer roads and more investment in cycling infrastructure to turn Scotland into a cycling nation.

As in previous years, cyclists of all ages and abilities are invited to meet at the Meadows at noon, where a one-minute silence will be held to commemorate people killed on Scotland’s roads including the 12 cyclists who died last year and the two who have lost their lives so far in 2014.

The ride will then set off via the Royal Mile to the Scottish Parliament to call on politicians to back Pedal on Parliament’s manifesto, which calls for:

Proper funding for cycling

Cycling to be designed into Scotland’s roads

Slower speeds where people live, work and play

Cycling to be integrated into local transport strategies

Improved road traffic law and enforcement

The risk of HGVs to cyclists and pedestrians to be reduced

A strategic and joined-up programme of road user training and

Improved statistics supporting decision-making and policy.

The Scottish Government has an ambitious target of 10 per cent of journeys in the country to be made by bicycle by 2020, but Pedal on Parliament says it is “far behind” in achieving that goal, with census figures showing that the percentage of people commuting by bike grew only 0.1 of a percentage point in the decade to 2011, standing at just 1.6 per cent in that year.

The ride’s organiser, David Brennan, said: "This year Scotland will be hosting the Commonwealth Games, bringing some of the world's top cyclists to race around the streets of Glasgow.

“Yet if those same riders were to venture out in Glasgow on the roads that I and others cycle on any other day of the year, they would be shocked at how little quality provision there is for people who chose to travel by bike.

“As a result I often feel that my safety is compromised and many potential cyclists are discouraged from starting at all. We may have produced some great sporting cyclists as a nation but we're a very long way from being a cycle-friendly country.

“We want to see a Scotland where anyone - from Sir Chris Hoy to my four-year-old daughter - can enjoy the freedom of getting about by bike if they wish, and not having to wait until the roads are closed to do so."

Graeme Obree added: "Pedal on Parliament are not asking for spending here, but an investment, so that young people can cycle freely and without fear.

“We want a network from our homes to our workplaces, our shops, and schools and everywhere we want to go.

“It’s an investment in the health of the nation."

You can find more information on this year’s ride on the Pedal on Parliament website.

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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pjclinch | 10 years ago

It is sad to note that while the Great White Paper on an independent Scotland assures that, amongst other things, we'll still be entering Eurovision if we leave the UK, there's no mention of cycling at all...

As POP say, all we're really getting at the moment is lip service, so "what's in his manifesto" for Mr. Salmond does not really have much beyond lip service for bikes (i.e., "targets" that are aspirational visions with warm words and no cash).

But we'll spend Lord knows what on dualling the A9 (not necessarily with decent cycling tracks alongside), so That's All Right Then!

Gennysis | 10 years ago

Politicians just reflect public opinion.

Want a cycling revolution?

Then we all need to take on some responsibility for starting it and keep pushing to make it happen.

POP are being pro-active about organising this, and its clear from the turnout for their events that their approach is successful.

Hopefully POP and their work will continue to raise the public awareness of their points in the manifesto, and this will in turn lead to change.

OldRidgeback | 10 years ago

Yeah, that's the Scottish Government headed by 'who ate all the pies' Alex Salmond. I wouldn't hold out any hopes for a cycling revolution if he gets his way. You can bet I'm annoyed I don't get a chance to vote no to independence thanks to him.

harrybav replied to OldRidgeback | 10 years ago
OldRidgeback wrote:

'who ate all the pies' Alex Salmond... ..I don't get a chance to vote no to independence thanks to him.

You may be obsessed with someone else's tummy, good luck to you, but I'm not sure how you can blame him for you not getting a vote in the referendum. You just have to be 16 or over, resident in Scotland and enrolled to vote.
He fought to get 16 and 17 year olds into the referendum though it was known they tend to intend to vote No. I think that, relative to other politicians, he has a reputation for being plain and doing what's in his manifesto.

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