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Record turnout for Scotland's first national Pedal on Parliament event

Cyclists across Scotland pedalled for better cycling conditions this weekend

Cyclists across Scotland pedalled for better cycling conditions yesterday, taking to the streets in a mass protest.

Three Scottish cities held events to mark the annual Pedal on Parliament (POP), with rides in Edinburgh, Inverness and Aberdeen.

Another is being held today in Glasgow where the minister of Transport, Humza Yousaf, will speak.

Police estimates suggested a record turnout in Edinburgh’s Meadows, where riders gathered before pedalling in their thousands down the Royal Mile to the Parliament buildings.

They were led out by the Talking Tandems, riders with visual impairment, and included many families.

It was a rather rainy affair in Aberdeen, where a hundred cyclists including many children rode out bringing a similar call for investment and safer roads to the council headquarters there.

120 turned out for the first ever event in Inverness.

Speaking at Holyrood, Alison Johnson for the Greens said, “If we invest properly in cycling we can cut congestion, and air pollution and tackle obesity and children can cycle to school.

“If you look at what happens in the Netherlands children have independence – and where people can cycle easily it benefits those on low incomes the most. This is not a niche activity, it benefits us all.

For the Liberal Democrats, Alex Cole-Hamilton said, “It is so important to have people here at parliament and council offices across the country.

“Edinburgh has two of the most polluted streets in the country in my consituency, and protests like this send a message to politicians that this has to be at the top of the political agenda. This should be a cross party issue, for Scotland in 2017 is still the sick man of Europe and we have to change that.

For the SNP, Councillor Adam McVey said, “I agree with a lot of the previous speakers about the importance of investment that we need. I'm proud of what has been delivered in Edinburgh with the massive expansion in 20 mph limits, so that streets aren't seen as just a 'car paradise' but a place where everyone feels safe.

“The SNP have committed to supporting the EW cycleway that will transform the west end of Edinburgh and will continue investing 10% of the transport budget in projects that will make a real difference. We stand handlebar to handlebar with the people here.”

For Labour, Daniel Johnson said, “This is a fantastic event that shows what kind of a city Edinburgh could be, with cyclists taking over the street over the cars. We have to reclaim streets for people and not for cars and that's what the agenda should be.

“We've seen the focus on the damage that cars do – we give up way too much space to empty cars and should start to give over some of that space to cycle lanes, to people.

“It is good that the Scottish government has committed to 10% of journeys by bike but we need the investment to back that up, so that people can cycle.”

For the Tories, Gordon Lindhurst said, “Long before I was a politician I was a cyclist, getting on a bike from before I can even remember. In Scotland we still have some way to go, although we have some great new cycle routes. Keep going, keep cycling and we will get there.”

Organiser David Brennan said: ”In its sixth year we've seen POP become a truly national movement, united behind safer streets for all. I want my children to grow up in a truly cycle-friendly Scotland, and that's why we're taking our message right across the country."

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.

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