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Katie rides to School

Katie rides to School

The people behind Pedal on Parliament have just realised a new video, Katie rides to School, shows how if we were to make the roads safer everyone benefits. So please watch the video, join us on 25th April 2015 to Pedal on Parliament and share the message. We will all be better off when Katie rides to School!

Katie cycles to school. Katie loves cycling to school. Some of her friends do it too.

Katie’s mum bought a bike, too, to take Katie’s brother to nursery. Katie’s mum was surprised it was actually quicker on the bike. Now, when she doesn’t have to go to work, she has time to stop into town and meet her friends. On her way home, she pops into the shops.

Katie’s dad was told by his doctor to lose some weight, so he cycles too.

And at the weekend, they all go out together.

Katie cycles to school though she can only do it because her town built a cycle path very close to the school. Before that, she would have to ride in the road or on the pavement. It was just easier to go in the car.

Katie’s mum can only cycle into town because traffic is gone from the high street. Before, it was clogged with cars. It was just easier to go to the supermarket.

Katie’s dad only started cycling to work because they built a cycle track on the road on his office. Whatever the doctor said, he didn’t like having to deal with all the traffic before. He just wanted to get back safely to his family.

We believe making it safe for Katie and her friends to cycle to school, Katie’s mum to cycle to the shops, and Katie’s dad to cycle to work makes it better for everyone. Including people who don’t even cycle, like shopkeepers, pedestrians, and even other car drivers.

So that’s why we pedalled on parliament – If more kids like Katie are to cycle to school, we need safe space for cycling. If more people are to shop in the local town centre, we need roads where cars don’t dominate. If more people were to cycle to work, we need roads designed with cycling in mind.

This takes investment, but it is investment will pay back tenfold. If we do this then Scotland’s people will be healthier, our towns will be wealthier, our roads will quieter, our air will be cleaner, and our children will do better in school.But, more importantly, we will all be happier.

So join us, for Katie, for everyone – Pedal on Parliament.

An open letter on the Nice Way Code

An open letter on the Nice Way Code

I was among the “key stakeholders” who were consulted on the Nice Way Code advertising campaign, I strongly advised against the approach taken and tried to warn them that it was likely to result in a backlash from many ordinary people. However, my advice was ignored (I should add that I was not alone in expressing unease at the tone and message being sent by the Ad campaign). It was clear from the outset that it was never going to create a “culture of tolerance” on Scotland’s roads, after all this sort of respect approach has been around for 100 years, and there is no evidence that any such campaign has worked so far.

Sally Hinchcliffe, one of the organisers of Pedal on Parliament, who helped draft the letter, said: “I’ve never seen such anger online – and this was in response to what should have been an innocuous campaign asking people to get along. Instead, we’ve felt we were being demonised for running red lights, treated as though we’re a separate species, and told to ‘grow up’ for cycling on pavements. The tone was really misjudged and seemed, if anything, to make out that it would be our fault if we were hit by a car – even though statistics show that when people are knocked off their bikes it’s far more likely to have been the driver at fault than the cyclist. I’m a law-abiding cyclist, like everyone else I know who rides a bike, and to have our own government seemingly pandering to this stereotype of cyclists as lawless and a danger to themselves is really galling.” It also has to be remembered that this campaign has been launched at a time when the number of people being killed on the roads while riding a bicycle is rising (as are the number of pedestrian fatalities). This is something which Cycling Scotland would rather not talk about, prefering to state that the total number of deaths on the roads is down (this is due to reduced numbers of fatalities among car occupants, at a time when people are driving less distance and at lower top speeds due to the recession).

The Nice Way Code was launched by the Scottish Transport Minister Keith Brown MSP on the 5th August 2013, and was immediately met with large scale derision. Many people, across Scotland and beyond, feel that is it a massive waste of public money and as a result they have joined forces to write an open letter to the Scottish Government, asking for the Nice Way Code campaign to be scrapped. The campaign, which was intended to promote ‘mutual respect’ among road users, has triggered widespread anger among cyclists who feel that the adverts – particularly one showing a cyclist running a red light. The adverts have attracted controversy on social media with thousands of negative comments, blogs and tweets (and spoof twitter accounts) coming from cyclists and non cyclists alike, far beyond Scotland. The letter immediately garnered dozens of signatures as soon as it was posted on Facebook and tweeted, with over 80 people signed up in just over 24 hours. This letter has now been sent to a wide range of Scottish newspapers, the First Minster Alex Salmond MSP and cc’d to Keith Brown MSP.

The letter reads:

The Nice Way Code is failing in its own terms

At the launch of the Nice Way Code, Transport Minister Keith Brown said, “The Nice Way Code campaign seeks to build a culture of tolerance and patience between cyclists, motorists, pedestrians and all other road users across Scotland.” However, everything that has come out of this campaign – which was paid for out of the Active Travel budget – seems likely instead to create conflict, reinforcing divisions between people based merely on their mode of transport. One advert encourages cyclists not to run red lights simply in order not to give other cyclists a bad name (and not because it’s dangerous and discourteous, not least to pedestrians) – lumping all cyclists together and implying bad behaviour by a tiny minority justifies hostility to everyone who chooses to ride a bike.

As cyclists we are used to hearing from a few uninformed drivers that ‘all’ cyclists run red lights, ride on the pavement, hold up traffic and generally deserve to be treated like obstacles on the road. But we never expected our own government to run adverts saying the same thing. As nine cyclists have died on Scotland’s roads already this year, it’s unsurprising that this campaign seems to have angered almost everyone who regularly rides a bike.

Safer roads will not come from lecturing people and pandering to stereotypes. We believe they will come from rethinking our current emphasis on designing roads purely for motor traffic and redesigning them to remove the sort of conflicts these adverts reflect. Pending that, it’s clear that many people who don’t ride bikes themselves are unaware of the needs of cyclists on the road. A campaign that really aimed to build a culture of patience and tolerance could have helped to educate them about these things, and to get cyclists, drivers and pedestrians to see things from each others’ point of view. Calling cyclists names is not it.

We urge the Scottish government to recognise that it has made a mistake and to pull this campaign before it ramps up tensions on the road even further. We suggest that it takes this opportunity to start a real dialogue between road users about how we can recognise that we are all people, and behave accordingly.

Signatories

Adrian Roberts, Dalkeith
Alan Munro, Pedal on Parliament, Glasgow
Andrew Lamberton, Edinburgh EH6
Andrew W.D. Smith
Andy Lulham, Crawley
Andy Preece, Glasgow
Anthony Robson, Edinburgh, EH15
Barnaby Dellar, EH15
Barry O’Rourke EH23
Ben Cooper, Kinetics, Glasgow
Bill Kennedy, Currie, Edinburgh
Bill Telfer, Langholm
Brian Mackenzie, Inverness
Bruce MacDonald, Edinburgh, EH11
C.A. Looby, Edinburgh
Chris Byrne, Edinburgh
Chris Hill, CityCyclingEdinburgh.info
Christine Helliwell, Edinburgh
Colin Davidson,
Colin Lindsay, Edinburgh
Dave du Feu, Linlithgow
Dave Holladay, Glasgow, G3
David Brennan, Pedal on Parliament, Glasgow
David Edgar, Glasgow
David Gardiner, Laid Back Bikes, Edinburgh
David Hembrow, Assen, The Netherlands
David McKeever, Glasgow
David Monaghan, Edinburgh, EH10
David Morrison, Edinburgh, EH6
David Wilcox, Bristol
Davie Park, Edinburgh, EH11
Denise Marshall, Falkirk
Diana Laing, Edinburgh
Diane Adams, Edinburgh, EH10
Dougie Overbars, Edinburgh
Duncan MacLaren, Edinburgh
Duncan Wallace, Edinburgh, EH11
Eva Viktoria Ballin, Edinburgh
Fran Henderson
Garry Dawes, South Shields
Graeme Hart, Hart’s Cyclery, Edinburgh
Grant Mason, Edinburgh
Heidi Docherty, Edinburgh
Henry Whaley, Edinburgh, EH12
Hugh Thomas, Pedal on Parliament, Edinburgh
Ian Bruce, Edinburgh
James Thomson, Kinross
Jemma Smith
Jenny Wilson, Edinburgh
John and Rosie Rutherford, Dumfries
Karen Sutherland, Gorgie, Edinburgh
Keith Walters, Dumfries
Ken Murray, Edinburgh
Keridwen Jones, Edinburgh, Spokes member
Kim Harding, Pedal on Parliament, Edinburgh
Lee Kindness, Edinburgh, EH15
Lynne and Ian McNicoll, Edinburgh
Mark Macrae, Edinburgh
Mark Treasure, Chair, Cycling Embassy of Great Britain
Martyn Wells, Edinburgh, EH10
Neil Bowie, Carse of Gowrie, Perth
Niall Anderson, Edinburgh
Nigel Shoosmith
Paul Jakma, Glasgow
Paul Milne, Dunbar
Philip Ward
Richard Pelling, Fyvie, Aberdeenshire
Robert Gormley, Edinburgh
Ronald Brunton, Edinburgh
Rory Fitzpatrick, EH11
Ros Gasson, Edinburgh
Ruari Wilson
Ruth Kirk, East Kilbride
Sally Hinchcliffe, Pedal on Parliament & Cycling Dumfries, Dumfries
Sara Dorman, Pedal on Parliament
Scott Hutchinson, Edinburgh
Scott Simpson
Sean Allan, Edinburgh EH8
Shan Parfitt, Aberdeen
Shaun McDonald, Edinburgh / Ipswich
Stephan Matthiesen, Edinburgh
Sweyn Hunter, Kirkwall, Orkney
Tom Orr, Edinburgh EH21
Tom Russell EH15
Tony Stuart KY11
Ulli Harding, Edinburgh
Verity Leigh, Edinburgh

Thoughts on the Ghost Bikes

Thoughts on the Ghost Bikes

Yesterday I was at Holyrood for the placing of two Ghost Bikes outside the Scottish Parliament. There was also a Tombstone showing the numbers of people who have been killed while riding a bicycle on Scotland’s roads over the last five years (the tally on the Tombstone showed 35 deaths). Following the press call, the tombstone was moved to the Meadows, as this is probably the busiest cycle path in Edinburgh. What we didn’t know at the time of the press call was that the tally on the tombstone had become out of date already. Another person had died, bringing the total for this year to nine, which equals the total for 2012, and it’s only July. As a consequence, the following press coverage was sombre. However, it wasn’t long before the usual voices started blithely blaming the victims, rather than the real issues on our roads.

It should be remembered that changing mode of transport doesn’t necessarily make people more or less careful, but it does change the amount of damage that they can do to others. When you are in control of heavy and dangerous machinery , a moment’s inattention can be fatal, but not necessarily for the operator. One of the paradox effects of modern car safety design has been to convince drivers that they are invulnerable, and this has increased the risk to others.

The solution to this is to take a harm reduction approach: A) restrict speed (and therefore the risk of harm to others) where motor vehicles and more vulnerable road users are mixed (and enforce speed limits). B) provide safe space for vulnerable road users, separated from motor vehicles where speed and volume of motor vehicles can not be reduced. C) place the responsibility for safety on those most capable of doing harm and hold them responsible when they do harm. This third point is a very real problem, there is a grim joke that if you want to get away with murder, use a car. Of course most deaths on the roads are not premeditated, but a report by the insurance company AXA has calculated that there are over 800 deaths a year on British roads due to “disrespectful driving”.

If our roads are to be made safer, we have to change the culture of driving. This CAN be done, just look at France. Twenty years ago French drivers where notorious for their driving habits, and yet today ask anyone who has cycled in France recently, and you will hear glowing reports about safe driving. What brought about this change? The use of the legal system to change driver behaviour, the introduction of the strictest Strict Liability laws in Europe (note: the UK is one of only five countries not to have such a law), a law requiring drivers to give cyclists road space, and strict enforcement of the speed limits. All of this has combined to make France a major destination for cycle tourism (although not all cyclists think that French drivers are that safe).

Culture is something that can change and something we have to change to make the roads safer. There is also the suggestion that we can’t have mass cycling here because we don’t have a “cycling culture”, but there is no reason why we could not have a “cycling culture” here, we just need a safer road environment. This is not just good for “cyclists”, it is good for pedestrians too, and we are all pedestrians at some point.

Until this happens we are, sadly, going to see more Ghost Bikes appearing on our streets.

The nine cyclists who have died on Scotland’s roads so far this year are:

  • Alastair Dudgeon, 51, Kincardine (A985) 6th January
  • Alistair MacBean, 74, Inverness (A82) 22nd January
  • Charles Aimer, 42, Errol (A90) 17th March
  • Craig Tetshill, 21, Gorthleck (unclassified road) 16th May
  • Kyle Allan, 8, Aberdeen (Great Northern Road) 21st May
  • David Wallace, 52, Perth (West Mains Avenue) 12th June
  • Douglas Brown, 79, West Lothian (B9080), 11th July
  • Connor Shields, 14, Ellon (A975), 17th July
  • Mary Brook, 59, Drumnadrochit (A831), 22nd July

When will this madness end?

After PoP what next?

After PoP what next?

On the 19th May approximately 4,000 people turned up at Holyrood for Pedal on Parliament, calling for Scotland to become a cycle friendly nation. The question is how do we get there? There are two models which are generally given as examples of how to go about it, the Dutch and the Danish. It is interesting to note that, as a result of the Pedal on Parliament protests, the Scottish Transport Minster, Keith Brown MSP, is going to Amsterdam on a fact finding trip. This is to be commended, let’s hope he learns something useful.

He could also take a fact finding trip to Copenhagen to find out more about the Danish model. However, as this would be at the tax payers expense and Copenhagen is rather more expensive that Amsterdam, a cheaper solution would be for him to attend the Bicycle Culture by Design talk in Edinburgh on the 15th June as part of the Edinburgh Festival of Cycling.

I have been told that the Danish model is an easier fit for the current conditions in the UK. While I make no claim to be an expert on the difference between the these two models, the Dutch model is not just infrastructure, but is a whole approach which the Dutch call Duurzaam veilig or Sustainable Safety. Whereas the Danish model is more based around the infrastructure, if I have got this wrong no doubt I will be told on the 15th June by Copenhagen’s bicycle ambassador himself. There is much that we can learn, back in the 1970’s Copenhagen was just as car-clogged as anywhere else, but now 36% of the population arriving at work or education do so on bicycles, from all over the Metro area. 50% of Copenhageners use bicycles each day. They all use over 1000 km of bicycle lanes in Greater Copenhagen for their journeys, one side effect of this is to improve the quality of life for those living there. Even Britain’s best known petrol head, Jeremy Clarkson, described Copenhagen as paradise.

Apparently Copenhagenizing is possible anywhere, so why not here?

Copenhagenizing is possible anywhere

The thing we want to avoid is the London scenario, where the only thing they copied from Copenhagen was the colour of the paint.

Pedal on Parliament II, launched

Pedal on Parliament II, launched

While I was away skiing in Austria Pedal on Parliament 2 was officially launched with this video:

This year Pedal on Parliament is going to be bigger and better than ever, make a note in your diary to be on the Meadows in Edinburgh at 15:00 on Saturday the 18th of May 2013 and make sure you are there to be a part of history. Together we can make Scotland a cycle friendly Nation!

Pedal on Parliament, let’s do it again

Pedal on Parliament, let’s do it again

Last year I got involved in an event which turned out to be far bigger than any of us expected – the first Pedal on Parliament. Ever since, people have been asking if we could do it again. Well, the answer is yes! There will be a Pedal on Parliament II, on the 18th May 2013, and this time it is going to be even bigger and better.

Why is this important? Last year 3,000 people turned out to join the ride, and this has had a real impact in moving cycling up the political agenda,and not just cycling but active travel in general. This is where Pedal on Parliament is different, we are not just another cycling group, we have always said that we want to make the roads safer for everyone. When our eight point manifesto is fully implemented, Scotland will be a better place for everyone. As Alistair Gray put it, Work as if you are in the early days of a better nation. So the clock is ticking, tell all your friends to be there, come and be a part of Pedal on Parliament II and we will make Scotland a cycle friendly Nation.

How we came to Pedal on Parliament

How we came to Pedal on Parliament

Last year I wrote a post about how the Dutch got their cycle paths. A key part of this was the Stop der Kindermort campaigns of the 1970’s. On the 28th April the Dutch celebrate their Queen’s Day, while we here in Scotland took inspiration from their Stop der Kindermort campaigns and Pedalled on the Scottish Parliament to call for safer roads for all.

The genesis of the of Pedal on Parliament can be traced back to a meeting in Edinburgh to discuss the formation of a Scottish Consulate of the Cycling Embassy of Great Britain, involving Sally Hinchcliffe, Dave du Feu, Dave Brennan and myself. There was some talk of taking a protest ride to the Scottish Parliament, but at this stage there was no formal plan. The Pedal on Parliament campaign really started on the 24th February, with a single e-mail to Sally and myself from Dave Brennan:

Hi Guys,

The call has gone out for cyclists to go to London on the 28th April in a show of support for the ‘cycle revolution’. I’d love to go, but I just can’t make it. Too far, too expensive, too difficult. 🙁

However, that got me thinking, surely this is the right time to push the agenda north of the border. We have a separate parliament who have yet to make any major noises about this campaign. So, I’m wondering if we need a Scottish ride to coincide with the London ride. Probably an Edinburgh ride to Hollyrood.

What do you guys think?

I’ve started writing a blog post about it, we would need a lot of support from others, and this might be a good time to get support from the Scottish press (we’d ideally have support from the Times as well). We’d obviously need Spokes, GoBike, Cycling Scotland etc on board.

Just thought I’d pass it by you guys first.

I’ll have to cancel my entry to the Kinross Sportive which is a shame! 🙁

Dave

 

Since then it has been a roller coaster ride, the three became seven and then eight, and before we knew it we had started a revolution. We had a website (run by Alan of Go Bike), we were getting press coverage in local then national papers, even a couple of mentions on the BBC and STV evening news. On the evening of the Spokes Hustings (29th March) Michael MacLeod of STV suggested that there could be as many as a 1,000 people turning up on the day. This was the figure we started to talk about, even though I for one didn’t entirely believe it.

Around this time we decided that we really ought to have something to give to Parliament, well, we had our Manifesto (a modified version of the one I had originally written), but we felt the need for something more. So it was that we started an on-line Petition and watched the signatures trickle in. The numbers were disappointing at first, but did give us an idea of where we where getting support from, all across Scotland. It also meant we could watch the momentum grow over time, and by the 28th April we had a little over 3,000 signatures.

We somehow managed to blag a wee bit of money out of Spokes and CTC Scotland, which paid for some flyers, using one of the posters designed by the Magnificent Octopus’ (or Andy Arthur as we know him). Andy also kindly donated the monies he was paid for designing a poster for a cycle rally in London, which paid for some blue Hi-Viz tabards for the marshals. We chose blue so that it would stand out from the expected sea of yellow, but I digress. Armed with said flyers, three of us headed for the Scottish Bike Show, where, with the aid of a wonky wallpaper table (is there any other kind?) we set about trying to reach people we couldn’t reach via Twitter and FaceBook Thanks to the Scottish Bike Show for letting us do this for free!.

As the day grew closer, so the flurries of Tweets we were sending to the world increased, as did the blizzard of e-mail between ourselves. Anth, Alan and Sara were busy organising feeder rides and recruiting volunteers to help with publicity, marshalling, etc. We were all working flat out, no one was free wheeling, and, despite the strong characters involved, there were no fallings out.

The day its self dawned, there were three laptops on the breakfast table, the e-mails and tweets were still flying, to try and encourage last minute support. Checking the Petition, we noted that we had just got past the 3,000 signature mark on-line, we had also picked up around 250 on paper at the Scottish Bike Show. About 09:30 there was a phone call from the Police to ask about numbers and arrangements for the day. The conversation went something like this:

Police: so you are expecting 300 (this was the number we had put on the original application form)
Me: um no we are expecting around 1,000 now
Police: OK we will work with that

I later heard that the police briefing for the event had said that they expected around 600 riders to take part. Some of the feedback we have received from participants since the ride has been critical of us, for not anticipating the number of people who turned up on the day. But we literally had no way of knowing how many would turn up. The petition had only just gone over 3,000, and from mapping the first part of the post codes we knew that almost 1970 of those came from the central belt, but how many of those could be expected to turn up on the day? We knew there were going to be some people coming in on feeder rides, but no firm numbers.

Setting off at midday, we (Dave B and I) headed for PoP HQ, Andy’s flat just off the Meadows, to meet up with the rest of the team. This was also to be the meeting point for the non-political invited riders, namely the McNicoll’s (parents of Andrew McNicoll who was sadly killed while cycling in Edinburgh in January) and Mark Beaumont (the round the world cyclist). While there, we tried testing the megaphones we had borrowed (yes, we had 2!), only to find we had bought the wrong batteries, cue mad scramble to get more batteries and pull strings to find if we could borrow a portable P.A. system. Next, there was the phone call from Mark Beaumont to say that he was stuck in traffic on the Forth Bridge, cue jokes about telling him to get on his bike. Fortunately, the Standing Orders for the day were “Keep Calm and Carry On”, which was what we did.

Andy’s neighbours must have wondered what was going on with the constant comings and goings. Ian and Lynne McNicoll arrived with a friend (whose name I have unfortunately forgotten), we had just done the introductions when a tall figure appeared in the doorway. I looked up and thought I recognise that nose, and said “Hello Mark, come in”. The others were looking a wee bit stunned, so I set about doing the introductions as if I was introducing old friends, until I got the friend of the McNicoll’s, when I went blank, at which point the room fell silent and Mark Beaumont looked confused. Fortunately, Ian realised what had happened, finished the introductions, and we were back on track.

People filtered in and out, I left the flat for the last time about 13:30, when I received a call on my mobile from a BBC cameraman down at Holyrood, asking when we expected to arrive and what we would do when we got there. I said that people had been told to gather from 14:00 and we would set off at 15:00. He asked if there were going to be many people. I looked down Argyle Place and across to the Meadows, on the far side I could already see a crowd gathering, so I said I thought that we would make our predicted figure of about a thousand.

Across the Meadows, I went looking for people I was expecting to see, and met some old friends I hadn’t seen for years. The crowd continued to swell, we asked people to keep to one side of Middle Meadows Walk, but it was soon clear this was filling up rapidly. It was when someone told me that people arriving were backing up Argyle Place and fanning out along Melville Drive, that I started to realise that this was really BIG. However, we didn’t really know just how big yet. A conversation caught on video with the police suggested that it was well over a thousand! The new batteries for the megaphones arrived, but we found that we still couldn’t get them to work, so to tell people about the planned minute’s silence, marshals walked down the line telling people at intervals and asking them to pass the message on. It worked! When the whistle was blown to signal the start of the minute’s silence, the whole park fell silent, even people walking past stopped talking. It was a truly eerie feeling, being faced with thousands of people with the only sound being a few birds in the trees.

ThousandsPhoto by Chris Hill.

After the silence came a cacophony of bells, hooters and cheers! Then the ride was led off by Mark Beaumont and the McNicolls, I filtered into the line later on and rode along, chatting with people on the way. There was a wee bit of a delay getting from George IV Bridge on to the High Street, and a taxi driver in Victoria Street decided the solution was to lean on the horn in his cab. Well, until one of the police officers went and had a word with him. Generally the drivers were well natured and patient, more amusing was the reaction of the tourists who cheered and took photos. Every one seemed to be smiling.

On reaching the Scottish Parliament, the organising team all headed for a grassy knoll which stands out (the grounds in front of Scottish Parliament have been landscaped to accommodate rallies such as ours), and invited politicians headed over to meet us as they arrived. All had ridden from the Meadows, we were very happy to have cross party support. Half an hour after the first riders had arrived at Holyrood, we heard from the police that the last riders had just left the Meadows. Once everyone had finally arrived, a number of short speeches were made. However, due to the size of the P.A. system we had blagged at the last moment, quite a number people didn’t realise that speeches were happening, as they couldn’t hear them.

There was a further discussion with the police about numbers, they said at a “conservative estimate there were at least 2,500 people and probably 3,000”, this figure was agreed by many of the others who were there. There was a comment from the politicians that this was one of the biggest rallies they had seen outside the Scottish Parliament, and definitely the most friendly. The buzz was amazing and has continued for well over a week!

Only days to go before the Pedal on Parliament: time for action!

Only days to go before the Pedal on Parliament: time for action!

The clock is counting down: 8 years, 2 months, 10 days, 1 hour, 38 minutes ago, the masses will set off to Pedal on Parliament with the purpose of calling for safer roads for all! We need you to help, if you can join us on The Meadows on Saturday and be a part of the ride. But even if you can’t be there to ride with us, there are still things you can do: sign the petition and write to your MSPs and councillors, asking them to implement our Manifesto. You can also write to your MSPs and ask them to support Motion S4M-02641 which has been lodged with the Scottish Parliament.

PEDAL ON PARLIAMENT - Poster 2

 

So join us, together we can make Scotland a cycle friendly nation!

 

British cycling success comes at a price

British cycling success comes at a price

It is great to see the recent success of the British cycling team (note that this table may not be up to date). However, as this video shows, for some promising British athletes there can be a high price to pay.

This should be regarded as total unacceptable, no one should have to take their life in their hands to train for a relatively safe, legal activity. This is why I urge you to support the Pedal on Parliament campaign, which aims to make our roads safer for everyone. Please help us to make a change by signing the petition and joining us on the 28th April 2012.

Oh, and if anyone feels that having good quality cycle infrastructure is in some way a threat to cycle sport, have a read of this, there is no threat to cycle sport from making the roads safer for all.

This post is dedicated to the memory of Jason MacIntyre.

An accidental revolution

An accidental revolution

It started out as a conversation on Twitter about The Times’ Cities fit for cycling campaign. We were bemoaning fact that it was all centred around London and there was nothing in Scotland. Dave Brennan, aka Magnatom, who writes The Mind of a Helmet Camera Cyclist blog, was the first to break and announced “I am going to write a blog post about this”, well someone had to. He came up with this call to arms, urging people to ride to Holyrood on 28th April, then sat back and waited to see what would happen. My response was to draft my own version of The Times’ eight point manifesto.

It wasn’t long before more tweets, then e-mails began to fly, a core group formed, and the whole thing started to snowball. A thousand e-mails and a little over a week later we had formalised our manifesto, drafted a press release and produced a website, thus Pedal on Parliament was born!

It wasn’t long before we started to get positive press, but the big surprise was the coverage we got from the Edinburgh Evening News, a paper which hasn’t always been friendly towards cyclists, but this is a very welcome change of editorial direction. We also received support from Mark Beaumont, who said: I support the manifesto points and hope that the politicians do take notice of them. There have been some tragic accidents in recent months and small changes could make the difference between life and death. I’m also glad that the Pedal on Parliament organisers understand that cyclists and motorists must share the road, too many times cycling safety campaigns get bogged down in adopting a them and us stance. I’m both a cyclist and motorist myself and I’ll do my best to be there on the day, too. Thanks Mark, we really appreciate your support!

On Monday morning, I was asked if I could get some people together for a photo call that same afternoon! At that time, only three members of the core group were in Edinburgh (of the others, three are in the west of Scotland and one in the centre), and I did wonder if it could be done. But fortunately, a call on social media for volunteers was picked up by an other blog and the local Edinburgh Cycling Forum. So by five o’clock there was a reasonable turn out for the photo call, and we gained a new member for the core group.

Grassroots campaign group Pedal on Parliament
© Johnston Publishing Ltd

We also have coverage in the cycling press, from road.cc and bikebiz. Day by day the momentum is building, you can now follow the campaign on twitter and FaceBook. There are an increasing number of posters available, with more to come, great work Andy!

As this is a campaign to make Scotland’s roads safer for everyone, whether you live here or visit, you can join in by signing the newly launched petition. Those of you who do live in Scotland, please write to your elected representatives and urge them to support the manifesto to help make Scotland a healthier, happier, safer place for us all to live in. Don’t forget that the Scottish local elections are on 5th May. Now is the time to focus the minds of your local councillors and persuade them to follow the City of Edinburgh’s example and commit 5% of their transport budget to active travel. We can do it, we can make Scotland a cycle-friendly nation again, if we work as if we are in the early days of a better nation!

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
Margaret Mead

Let's Make Cycling in Scotland SAFE for ALL

Please sign the petition and get your friends and family to sign it to, and if you can please join us on 28th April at two o’clock on the Meadows, to set off at three o’clock to Pedal on Parliament!!

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!
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