Third Pedal on Parliament announced for Saturday 26th April 2014
April this year will once again see Edinburgh’s streets taken over by a colourful mass of cyclists of all shapes and sizes calling for a cycle-friendly Scotland.
Pedal on Parliament (“PoP”), the grass-roots organisation which brought 4000 demonstrators to Holyrood last year, from children on balance bikes to champion cyclist Graeme Obree, have announced their third mass protest ride on the Scottish Parliament on Saturday the 26th of April.
People will be gathering at noon at the Meadows for a minute’s silence to remember those killed on Scotland’s roads and then riding down the Royal Mile to call on politicians to support the PoP manifesto for safer cycling.
This will be a light-hearted occasion, but with a serious purpose.
Last year saw 12 cyclists killed in Scotland, the highest number for several years, and 2014 has already seen three cyclists die, the most recent only this week.
Meanwhile the latest census figures show that the Scottish government is far behind on its target to see 10% of journeys by bike by 2020 - in the last decade, the percentage commuting to work by bike has risen only 0.1% to 1.6%.
The organisers believe that without real and sustained investment in cycling and roads designed to accommodate people of all ages and abilities, then these figures will not improve.
Organiser David Brennan said,
“This year Scotland will be hosting the Commonwealth Games, bringing some of the world’s top cyclists to race around the streets of Glasgow. Yet if those same riders were to venture out in Glasgow on the roads that I and others cycle on any other day of the year, they would be shocked at how little quality provision there is for people who chose to travel by bike. As a result I often feel that my safety is compromised and many potential cyclists are discouraged from starting at all.”
“We may have produced some great sporting cyclists as a nation but we’re a very long way from being a cycle-friendly country. We want to see a Scotland where anyone - from Sir Chris Hoy to my four-year-old daughter - can enjoy the freedom of getting about by bike if they wish, and not having to wait until the roads are closed to do so.”
Graeme Obree, who led the ride last year alongside the families of Audrey Fyfe and Andrew McNichol who were both killed on their bikes on the streets of Edinburgh, said,
“Pedal on Parliament are not asking for spending here, but an investment, so that young people can cycle freely and without fear. We want a network from our homes to our workplaces, our shops, and schools and everywhere we want to go. It’s an investment in the health of the nation.”
Investment in cycling and other forms of active travel has been shown to return up to 19 times the amount invested in reduced congestion and improved health and pollution levels. It also makes the roads safer for everyone, including drivers, and substantially improves lives and livelihoods, as the experiences of places as diverse as New York, Copenhagen and Seville have shown.
Pedal on Parliament believe that with proper funding and well-designed cycling infrastructure, Scotland can be a healthier, wealthier and above all happier place.
Pedal on Parliament’s eight-point manifesto asks for:
- Proper funding for cycling;
- Cycling to be designed into Scotland’s roads;
- Slower speeds where people live, work and play;
- Cycling to be integrated into local transport strategies;
- Improved road traffic law and enforcement;
- The risk of HGVs to cyclists and pedestrians to be reduced;
- A strategic and joined-up programme of road user training; and,
- Improved statistics supporting decision-making and policy.
The first Pedal on Parliament on April 28 2012 brought 3000 people onto the streets of Edinburgh, and the second saw 4000 gather, including hundreds of kids.
Several children completed the 1.5 mile protest ride on balance bikes, with others on tagalongs, trailers, child seats, or pedalling alongside their parents. Cyclists rode in from as far afield as Aberdeen to join the event.
Directions to the starting place are on the PoP website HERE.
The website address for The Andrew Cyclist Charitable Trust is http://www.andrewcyclist.com
People killed in Scotland whilst riding their bicycles in 2014:
- George Fairley, 78, from Kirkliston killed 10am Sunday 16 February on B800 Kirkliston to South Queeensferry;
- Grant Gourlay, 48, from Dundee killed 10:30am Wednesday 16 April on A926 between Maryton and Kirriemuir
The police are also seeking witnesses after a 33 year old woman was injured in a hit and run collision in the Liberton area of Edinburgh at 9:30am on 17 April - please see HERE.