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Pedal on Parliament returns on Saturday for fifth year

The annual ride comes days ahead of the Scottish Parliamentary elections, calling for investment in infrastructure

This year’s Pedal on Parliament event on Saturday (23 April) will see thousands of cyclists, including three party leaders, converging on the city streets of Edinburgh and Aberdeen  calling for more investment in active travel.

The event comes days before the Scottish Parliament election, on Thursday 5 May. Among those joining the annual protest will be party leaders Kezia Dugdale (Lab), Willie Rennie (Lib Dem) and Patrick Harvie (Green) as well as Transport Minister, Derek Mackay.

The Fife Talking Tandems cycling club, with visually impaired stokers led by sighted captains, will make a 40 mile round trip to Holyrood to lead the ride to Holyrood.

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Denise Marshall, on behalf of Pedal on Parliament, described PoP as “a fun, family-friendly event but with a serious purpose”.

She said: “When PoP started, cycling and active travel were barely on the agenda, with regular cuts to funding. Now, the Scottish Government likes to boast that it's spending record amounts on active travel – whilst cutting funding for local authorities to spend on cycling and walking.

“Without proper investment, cycling will never reach the levels set by the Scottish Government's own Cycling Action Plan of 10% of journeys by bike. We hope that, with the election looming, our politicians will realise that now is the time to do what the majority of Scots have said they support and invest in proper cycle tracks that suit not just young fit cyclists, but groups like the Talking Tandems."

The mass ride, now in its fifth year, has become so popular organisers say the riders can stretch for a mile and a half from Parliament to the Meadows. PoP says most people won’t cycle unless they feel safe doing so, and they want politicians to see cycling as something for everyone.

Mike Young, secretary of the Talking Tandems, and himself a visually impaired stoker, said: "Our presence on Saturday amongst so many other likeminded people will demonstrate that visually impaired cyclists – and those who suffer from other disabilities - love getting out on their bikes for all the reasons that sighted and able bodied cyclists do."

However, he adds people with disabilities, like most people, need a safe environment in which to cycle.

He said: “Sometimes this requires different approaches and additional investment. We would therefore take this opportunity to remind the Scottish Government that cycling comes in many forms besides ‘mainstream’ and ask them to keep in mind the needs of disabled cyclists".

Pedal on Parliament is making eight key demands of politicians:

  1. Proper funding for cycling (5% of the transport budget & 10% for active travel overall).
  2. Design cycling into Scotland’s roads.
  3. Slower speeds where people live, work and play
  4. Integrate cycling into local transport strategies
  5. Improved road traffic law and enforcement
  6. Reduce the risk of HGVs to cyclists and pedestrians
  7. A strategic and joined-up programme of road user training
  8. Improved statistics supporting decision-making and policy

The rides take place as follows:

Edinburgh: Riders gather at the Meadows from 11.30, and depart at midday for Holyrood via the George IV Bridge and the Royal Mile.

Aberdeen: The second annual Aberdonian Pedal on Parliament ride leaves from Hazelhead Drive at midday. Riders will cycle to Marischcal College to present their case to City and Shire Councillors, and, they hope, some MSP candidates, too.

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djfleming22 | 8 years ago
1 like

I am sorry but what a complete waste of time, everybody turns up and nothing gets done the roads are a mess never mind putting some instructure in for cycling its a joke and as for the
Secretary of State for Transport turning up thats like Cameron saying were all in it together while take a £7000 pay rise and Osbourne screwing us all at the same time.

Eric D replied to djfleming22 | 8 years ago
1 like

djfleming22 wrote:

I am sorry but what a complete waste of time, everybody turns up and nothing gets done

Yes, inertia and apathy are the only way to make progress ! </sarcasm>

Commadore | 8 years ago

I'd be careful, they might ban disc brakes from this event.

stenmeister | 8 years ago

A popular event and a credit to all those taking part and organising. But has any change taken place in the last five years? I live South of Glasgow and have seen very little change in infrastructure.

ibike | 8 years ago

Scotland sounds an enlightened place. It's hard to imagine the Secretary of State for Transport and all the party leaders attending a similar event in England!


giff77 replied to ibike | 8 years ago

ibike wrote:

Scotland sounds an enlightened place. It's hard to imagine the Secretary of State for Transport and all the party leaders attending a similar event in England!


The Secretary of Transport is there to receive the petition. To send a minion would be bad form and one couldn't expect him to protest against his party's ineptness towards cycling in the country.  As for the others the only one who cycles is Patrick Harvie the others tend to show up on bikes for a photo shoot.  One does need to remember that the elections are round the corner so much posturing from the respective party leaders.  The only MSP who cycles to work is Claudia Beamish (labour) who is also a strong advocate for cycling infrastructure. So actually. Not that enlightened in regards to sustainable transport. 

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