The Scottish Government yesterday unveiled its updated Cycling Action Plan for Scotland (CAPS 2013), three years after the original version was published in 2010. Like its predecessor, the new plan calls for 10 per cent of journeys in the country to be made by bicycle by 2020. The plan though rejected calls for a strict liability law to be incorporated in to Scotland's civil law saying there was no evidence such a change would lead to a reduction in casualties.
The revised action plan also calls on local authorities to reduce speed limits in residential areas to 20mph as part of a wider strategy including developing cycling infrastructure that is aimed at encouraging more people to ride bikes, as well as meeting road casualty reduction targets and achieving better integration with public transport.
In recent months the RoadShare Campaign backed by a range of cycling organisations had been calling for a strict liability to become part of Scottish civil law - the basic concept is that drivers - being the operators of vehicles that pose a greater risk to other road users - would automatically be deemed at fault in incidents involving more vulnerable road users, for insurance purposes, unless they could prove otherwise.
Such a move was however rejected in the Cycling Action Plan which said:
"The available data does not supply robust evidence of a direct causal link between strict liability legislation to levels of cycling and KSIs (killed and seriously injured statistics), when countries like the UK and Ireland are clearly reducing fatalities in cyclists and all other road users without strict liability legislation in place."
Those who campaigned for the change will get a chance to make there feelings known at another new initiative announced today, a national cycling summit, scheduled to take place in the autumn, with attendees including Transport Minister Keith Brown, Heads of Transportation and relevant Committee Convenors from throughout Scotland.
The summit will aim to take the lead on delivering the aims of CAPS 2013 – summarised in a series of 19 ‘actions’ that appear at the end of this article – as well as benchmarking progress made in implementing them.
As well as calling upon local authorities to develop their own strategies to promote cycling at local level, CAPS 2013 also outlines some of the funding that will support that planned growth, including calling upon other government departments to provide financial support.
Transport Minister Keith Brown, who earlier this month undertook a fact-finding trip to the Netherlands to look at issues including cycle integration with the rail network, including parking and cycle hire schemes, said: “We are committed to the vision outlined in the updated CAPS document for 10% of journeys to be by bike by 2020 and continue to invest in the infrastructure required to increase participation in cycling for everyday travel.”
Specific funding from Transport Scotland includes more than £27 million during the current Spending Review period from 20012-15, most of that going on grants to Sustrans, plus £20 million through grants to local authorities, among other things. Given that relates to a three-year period, it equates to around £3 a head in a country of 5 million people.
Once any potential match funding from local authorities is factored in, plus any other potential spend, that looks like being a long way short of the 5 per cent of Scotland’s transport budget – equivalent to about £20 million a year – that Pedal on Parliament has called for.
John Lauder, director of Sustrans Scotland, said: “This is a good time to publish a refreshed version of the Cycling Action Plan for Scotland: having 10% of trips by bike by 2020 is achievable but only with a focused approach from all levels of government.
“It is therefore good to see both the Scottish Government and the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities backing CAPS. The meeting between the Transport Minister and key local authority leaders is key to creating a sense of impetus.
“There is no doubt that the public has an appetite to cycle more, that is clear from Pedal on Parliament last month. Making the decision to cycle easy and logical is the challenge for Scotland going forward."
Specific funding was announced yesterday for two projects - £45,000 to
Edinburgh Bike Station for its Dr Bike Cycle Safely Programme, and
£34,000 to Cycling Scotland to establish the inaugural Fresh n Lo Pedal for Scotland Aberdeen Bike Ride, due to be held this autumn.
Commenting on CAPS 2013, Councillor Stephen Hagan of the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA), said: "Scottish Local Government welcomes the refresh of the Cycling Action Plan for Scotland. Achieving a greater proportion of everyday journeys by active travel but specifically cycling will be crucial in addressing Scotland's climate change objectives, while improving both safety for vulnerable road users and the health of Scotland's communities.
“The Plan calls for local leadership. Councils have a long-standing commitment to Scotland's Climate Change ambitions with all 32 Scottish councils having voluntary signed up to Scotland's Climate Change Declaration, demonstrating local leadership on these issues but also a continuing recognition that further action is needed and there are links to many other policy areas around health and community safety.
“Scotland's identity is to a large extent local and so are people's expectations. The Plan outlines an ambitious vision for Scotland and also a framework for councils' delivery of local communities' expectations of the places they want to live in and cycle around for years to come. As COSLA spokesperson I warmly welcome that ambition and am confident that councils will deliver on it."
Ian Aitken, chief executive officer of Cycling Scotland, added: “The new set of actions in the revised CAPS are a welcome response to the measures Cycling Scotland called for in our CAPS progress report, particularly in relation to the need for greater leadership.
“The annual summit between the Transport Minister and senior local authority figures will be a key measure in delivering complementary local strategies to support the CAPS vision of 10% of journeys by bike.
“We look forward to working with councils to support a renewed focus on the reallocation of road space and the reduction of traffic speeds and volumes to create coherent local cycle networks, which when delivered alongside behaviour change measures such as training and promotion, will ensure that that people feel that cycling is the most obvious and enjoyable way to travel.”
Cycle Action Plan Scotland 2013 actions:
1. Establish an annual national cycling summit involving the Minister for Transport and local authority Heads of Transportation and relevant Committee Convenors, to lead delivery and gauge progress.
2. Develop for each local area the strategic approach to supporting functional cycling (and active travel more broadly), mapping the appropriate infrastructure improvements required along with supporting promotional work to achieve tangible changes in travel choices.
3. Continue to promote a national training programme on cycling-integration design and best practice to planners, designers and engineers, through the delivery of accredited modules such as Making Cycling Mainstream, and promote the use of planning policy - Designing Streets, Cycling by Design cycle guidance and Smarter Choices, Smarter Places good practice.
4. Continue to develop and maintain community links – i.e., high quality, local infrastructure to support active travel (routes and public realm improvements) particularly in urban areas where high levels of cycling can be achieved, along with associated infrastructure such as cycle parking facilities at key destinations including schools, bus and rail stations, shopping areas and workplaces
5. Continue to develop and maintain the National Cycle Network to provide long distance cycling routes, connecting rural communities and promoting tourism
6. Develop better integration with public transport, through partnership working with interests such as rail and bus/coach operators and RTPs
7. Establish the Cycle Hub at Stirling Station as a pilot and evaluate it pilot for potential wider roll-out at other railway stations
8. Promote the implementation of 20 mph schemes in all residential areas and share best practice across the country.
9. Develop and deliver a ‘Mutual Respect’ Campaign for all road users (complementing the ‘Give Me Cycle Space’ campaign aimed at drivers).
10. Continue the roll-out of Bikeability Scotland cycle training through schools, steadily expanding participation, particularly in on-road training (Bikeability level 2). Develop and promote support for this, including volunteer-led delivery and parental involvement.
11. Develop Adult Cycle Training resources, building on Bikeability Scotland standards, including an essential skills module as a pilot for potential roll-out nationwide.
12. Promote and support community-led cycling initiatives, through signposting resources and providing support for projects that will promote cycling participation in an inclusive, accessible way. Evaluate the delivery of the Cycle Friendly Communities Fund programme to date and promote the learning to further develop approaches to supporting communities.
13. Continue to promote projects which encourage primary school pupils to continue cycling when progressing to secondary schools, such as I-Bike and delivery of Bikeability Scotland level 3.
14. Promote cycling for young people more broadly, for leisure or travel, for fun, health and sport, through the promotion of cycling activities, events and led cycle rides
15. Develop approaches to promoting access to bikes – e.g., develop Bike Library schemes for schools and communities to promote access to bikes in areas of low cycle use or deprivation, as taster cycling sessions.
16. Encourage all employers across all sectors to become Cycle Friendly (e.g., by offering support for workplace cycling facilities and promotional resources, active travel champions, travel planning)
17. Develop follow-up work from the Smarter Choices, Smarter Places evaluation report, applying learning to encourage active travel as part of community-based sustainable transport promotion.
18. Report annually on an appropriate suite of national indicators to inform the national picture of cycling participation
19. Develop local monitoring, using data from local cycle counts and surveys etc., with support from national delivery bodies to develop a coordinated approach to data collection.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.