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Scottish cycling provision "decades behind" despite handful of good local authorities

Study commends five outstanding authorities but transport minister says focus should be on commuters

Ten of the 32 Scottish authorities were praised in the country’s first assessment of cycling policy since 2008. However, Scottish transport minister Keith Brown called for further action to support bike-commuters in Scottish cities and said that not enough has been done over the last five years.

Speaking to The Scotsman Brown said that “substantially more” needs to be done to improve cycling provisions in Scotland, as the country’s cycling infrastructure is “decades behind” where it should be.

While the assessment praised Glasgow, Edinburgh, Fife, Clackmannanshire and Aberdeenshire for having outstanding focus on cycling provisions, Brown said that councils must focus on aiding commuters if the government are to achieve their 2020 target that ten percent of journeys be made by bicycle.

“It’s where we can change; commuting should be the priority.” Brown said. “What we have to look at is where we can shift people from cars and other environmentally-damaging forms of transport to cycling and walking.”

The National Assessment Of Local Authority Cycling Policy 2013 study, which the minister was responding to, was launched in Glasgow this week by newsreader and national cycling charity CTC president Jon Snow. It investigated how all 32 Scottish councils are coordinating efforts to encourage greater cycle use.

Mr Snow, a cyclist and bike commuter himself, also spoke to The Scotsman after the unveiling of the report.

“Cycle commuting will affect the way people live their lives while they are at work,” Mr Snow said. “If you get cycle commuting going, you will also get the natural usage of bikes while people are at work.”

The parameters under which the councils were analysed within the study were: leadership and commitment from councillors and senior staff; the degree of consideration given to cycling across council policies and strategies; the amount of resources committed to cycling; the development of infrastructure to support cycling; promotion; monitoring cycling levels and understanding the needs of local cyclists.

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