‘The Flying Scotsman’, two-time individual pursuit world champion (1993, 1995), and two-time world ‘hour record’ holder (1993, 1994) will be joining the masses in Edinburgh at 3pm at the Meadows on May 19th.
At last year’s demonstration 3,000 cyclists, young and old, filled the streets of Edinburgh on everything from expensive road bikes to tiny balance bikes, sending a message that they wanted to see real investment in cycling, making it accessible for everyone from the smallest child to a world champion. Mark Beaumont was among last year’s high profile names to join the critical mass ride.
With just £6 million set aside to develop cycling in Scotland over the next two years, campaigners still feel the Government’s commitment falls short, should the target of seeing 10 per cent of journeys made by bike by 2020 is to be achieved.
The Get Britain Cycling report suggests that nearer £20 per head would be required to achieve such levels of cycling and the Pedal on Parliament group are calling for five per cent of the transport budget to be allocted to cycling. It also encourages the Governemnt to go further in dedicating ten per cent of the budget to all forms of active travel, which in Scotland would amount to about £25 per head.
Graeme Obree explained his motivation for supporting and attending the event: "I would love to see Scotland develop a culture which supports cycling and encourages cycling as wholeheartedly as possible, be that for pleasure, leisure, transportation or competition. It’s one of the best ways to experience a town, city or the countryside, so any steps to improve consideration for the needs of cyclist will ultimately improve our country."
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, according to this review.
Pedal on Parliament’s eight-point manifesto asks for 1) proper funding for cycling; 2) cycling to be designed into Scotland’s roads; 3) slower speeds where people live, work and play; 4) cycling to be integrated into local transport strategies; 5) improved road traffic law and enforcement; 6) the risk of HGVs to cyclists and pedestrians to be reduced; 7) a strategic and joined-up programme of road user training; and 8) improved statistics supporting decision-making and policy.