In May this year cyclists young and old will once more be converging on Holyrood to urge the Scottish Government to make Scotland a cycle-friendly nation and Pedal on Parliament needs the help of club riders as well as ordinary cyclists to make it a mass event.
POPs manifesto, and other cycling advocacy issues are often seen as the domain of urban cycling ‘campaigners’. This blog has moved more towards club and racing themes but I can think of two local racers off the top of my head who were knocked off their bikes recently, one of whom was out of work for 6 months, lost his hard-earned fitness and had a top end frame destroyed. Road safety equally affects racers like the Drum-Up audience and the ordinary leisure cyclist or commuter.
“Pedal on Parliament: just a ‘wee protest’ then?”: Ian McNicoll (father of Andrew McNicoll, killed on his bike in Edinburgh in 2012) and Mark Beaumont lead out the ride from the Meadows. Photo courtesy of Richard Cross; http://www.richardx.co.uk/
‘POP2’ will start from the Meadows in Edinburgh at 3pm on Saturday 18th May and end at the Parliament building where politicians will be presented with an eight-point manifesto. Last year, 3000 cyclists, young and old, attended – an amazing turnout considering Pedal on Parliament is a grass-roots group that didn’t even exist a year ago. It couldn’t have been achieved without a wide base of support from cycling clubs – and POP needs even more people to attend this year if they are to keep the pressure up. Please help us to spread the word among your members – and let us know if there’s anything else you can do, whether it’s distributing posters , by helping other cyclists attend, or even organising your own ride to Pedal on Parliament on the day.
This will be a light-hearted ride, but with a serious purpose. The most recent road safety figures for Scotland show that the numbers of cyclists and pedestrians killed and seriously injured has actually risen. Experts have warned that the numbers of pedestrians and cyclists killed or seriously injured on Scotland’s roads are set to exceed those in cars within a few years.
The Olympics and the success of Scottish cyclists Sir Chris Hoy and Paralympians Aileen McGlynn, Karen Darke and Neil Fachie have created a huge interest in cycling this year, with thousands more Scots taking to two wheels – but they will quickly give up if the conditions they encounter on the roads aren’t safe and inviting, and that will require real investment. The Scottish government has a target of 10% of all journeys to be taken by bike by 2020, yet despite some high profile announcements of investment in cycling in the wake of the last Pedal on Parliament, it still spends barely 1% of the transport budget on cycling.
One of the organisers of POP2, Dr. David Brennan, said, “After the first Pedal on Parliament last year, Scotland’s First Minster Alex Salmond said we were ‘pushing on an open door’. Yet although they have listened to our arguments we’re still not seeing any real change, as the recent budget announcements have shown. Spending for cycling has stopped falling, but it’s nowhere near the levels we need to make the roads safe for my young family to cycle on – and that’s the sort of change we need to see.”
Lynne McNicoll whose step-son was unfortunately killed whilst cycling to work last year and who set up the charity Andrew Cyclist said, “Ian and I remain committed to working with others to make cycling in Scotland safer for all abilities and we strongly support the aims of the Pedal on Parliament team and will work with them to help achieve their aims. We are delighted to support Pedal on Parliament Scotland 2013. The turnout at POP in 2012 was incredible and we hope that the turnout at this year’s event will be even higher. We will be there!”
Pedal on Parliament urges anyone who cycles in Scotland, or who would like to cycle in Scotland but doesn’t feel safe to join them for POP2 and maintain the pressure on the Scottish Government to put cycling at the heart of its transport policy. Together we can make Scotland a cycle-friendly nation.
 Scottish Transport Review Issue 55, Nov 2012, “Reported Road Casualties
in Scotland”. http://www.stsg.org/str/str55.pdf