Thousands of cyclists are taking to the streets of Edinburgh today to call for more investment in cycling just days before local elections take place.
The enormous mass ride in the capital will include a number of politicians, and a smaller satellite event in Aberdeen will see cyclists ride from Hazelhead Park to Marischal College.
Five years of Pedal on Parliament events have seen participation rise steeply, and this year’s ride will be led out by a tandem club which pairs visually-impaired stokers with sighted captains.
The Fife Talking Tandems cycling club ride 40 miles to the start line and set off from the Meadows at noon.
Mike Young, secretary of the Talking Tandems, told the BBC: "Our presence on Saturday amongst so many other likeminded people will demonstrate that visually impaired cyclists - and those who suffer from other disabilities - love getting out on their bikes for all the reasons that sighted and able bodied cyclists do.
"But like them, we need a safe environment in which to cycle, and sometimes this requires different approaches and additional investment."
The event comes days before the Scottish Parliament election, on Thursday 5 May. Among those joining the annual protest will be party leaders Kezia Dugdale (Lab), Willie Rennie (Lib Dem) and Patrick Harvie (Green) as well as Transport Minister, Derek Mackay.
Denise Marshall, on behalf of Pedal on Parliament, described PoP as “a fun, family-friendly event but with a serious purpose”.
She said: “When PoP started, cycling and active travel were barely on the agenda, with regular cuts to funding. Now, the Scottish Government likes to boast that it's spending record amounts on active travel – whilst cutting funding for local authorities to spend on cycling and walking.
“Without proper investment, cycling will never reach the levels set by the Scottish Government's own Cycling Action Plan of 10% of journeys by bike. We hope that, with the election looming, our politicians will realise that now is the time to do what the majority of Scots have said they support and invest in proper cycle tracks that suit not just young fit cyclists, but groups like the Talking Tandems."
Pedal on Parliament is making eight key demands of politicians:
Proper funding for cycling (5% of the transport budget & 10% for active travel overall).
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
The rides take place as follows:
Edinburgh: Riders gather at the Meadows from 11.30, and depart at midday for Holyrood via the George IV Bridge and the Royal Mile.
Aberdeen: The second annual Aberdonian Pedal on Parliament ride leaves from Hazelhead Drive at midday. Riders will cycle to Marischcal College to present their case to City and Shire Councillors, and, they hope, some MSP candidates, too.
After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.