Cycling experts and transport heads will explore how to encourage a more diverse range of people onto two wheels in Scotland in a major cycling conference next week.
Scottish Minister for Transport, Humza Yousaf, MSP will attend the Cycling Scotland Conference at Perth Concert Hall, along with chief executive of Sustrans Scotland, Xavier Brice, Scots adventurer Mark Beaumont, and health and tourism representatives.
As part of the planned events there will be study tours, meetings and rides across Perth and Kinross and around Scotland. Dr Jenny Mindell, reader in Public Health at UCL is among speakers, and the conference will end with a discussion between Brice, Andrew Brown, of Glasgow City Council and Keira Anderson of Cyclehack.
Attendees may ponder a recent flurry of anti-cycling backlash which have led to the scrapping of plans to extend proposed cycle routes and even the ripping out of one protected cycle route, despite the fact it did not reduce motor traffic capacity on one Ayrshire road. They may also discuss how to arrest falling cycling levels, after campaigners said last month there was “no way” the government could hit its cycling targets to achieve 10 per cent of journeys by bike by 2020.
Monday from midday until 4pm will see a selection of four study tours around local areas, many which have improved their cycling routes.
One tour will take in Perth town centre, and changes helping make its streets more friendly for cycling, thanks to Community Links funding. A second will take in the rural cycling network from Kinross, onto the Loch Leven Heritage Trails. A third will visit Dundee waterfront, mostly off road, which has seen significant investment, including cycle links. In Falkirk a fourth ride will visit the Helix Park and the Kelpies.
There will also be a “Cake and Chat” event with the Women’s Cycle Forum Scotland, a membership organisation open to anyone, which “aims to promote and encourage women in cycling in all its forms”.
Tuesday will feature a number of talks and breakout sessions throughout the day.
The conference is sponsored by Perth and Kinross Council and supported by Transport Scotland.