As mentioned in citycycling last month, we're backing (and indeed are involved in helping set up) the 'Pedal on Parliament' - a sort-off protest, but more celebration-with-a-point ride in Scotland's capital. It's taking place on 28th April (the same day as a similar ride in London, which in itself is a follow-up to a previous ride). The best way to explain why we're supporting this? We might as well let you read the manifesto which is the entire background...
You can read more about the ride, and see all the references which back up the points in the manifesto, by clicking here to visit the PoP website. This also being the age of social media there's a Twitter feed (@POPScotland) as well as the hashtag #POP28. And last, but not least, there's even a Facebook Group for the ride.
Text in red in the manifesto are our additional comments on what's there.
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Cycling should be the obvious solution to many of Scotland’s ills. It is cheap, healthy, democratic and convivial, benefits local economies and makes the streets a safer place for all. Cyclist benefit themselves – physiologically their bodies are, on average, many years ‘younger’ than non-cyclists’, and they suffer less from the ‘western’ diseases that beset Scotland so – and they benefit others, cutting congestion and improving air quality. And yet bikes barely seem to be taken seriously as a mode of transport while the majority of Scots don’t cycle, simply because they feel it is too risky. Although statistically the benefits of cycling vastly outweigh the risks, poor design and maintenance of roads and cycle routes, dangerous driving, and lack of enforcement mean those risks remain unacceptably high. Making Scotland safe for cycling and walking, and – more importantly – making it feel safe, could transform our cities and villages and the lives of the people who live in them.
The Scottish government has already made a start. It led the world in signing up to a low-carbon future, part of which will include much higher levels of cycling. The Cycling Action Plan for Scotland (CAPS) set the target of having 10% of all journeys in Scotland made by bike by 2020. Whilst many of the individual points in CAPS are welcome, CAPS does not add up to a coherent, researched and costed path to reach the 2020 target – and nor has it received anything like the necessary funding. Furthermore, even the existing funding levels are under threat. The history of UK cycling policy is full of strategies which have been quietly shelved when it becomes clear that their targets are not going to be met. We hope the Scottish government will not join Westminster in this hall of shame.
We call on all Scotland’s politicians, of all parties, to sign up to the following eight point manifesto in order to make cycling a realistic choice for everyone, from eight to eighty – and show the rest of the UK that cycling doesn’t just belong on continental Europe, but in the country where it all began...