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Updated Cycle Action Plan for Scotland unveiled

Aim remains 10 per cent of journeys by bike by 2020... but funding falls far short of what campaigners want

The Scottish Government yesterday unveiled its updated Cycling Action Plan for Scotland (CAPS 2013), three years after the original version was published in 2010. Like its predecessor, the new plan calls for 10 per cent of journeys in the country to be made by bicycle by 2020. The plan though rejected calls for a strict liability law to be incorporated in to Scotland's civil law saying there was no evidence such a change would lead to a reduction in casualties.

The revised action plan also calls on local authorities to reduce speed limits in residential areas to 20mph as part of a wider strategy including developing cycling infrastructure that is aimed at encouraging more people to ride bikes, as well as meeting road casualty reduction targets and achieving better integration with public transport.

In recent months the RoadShare Campaign backed by a range of cycling organisations had been calling for a strict liability to become part of Scottish civil law - the basic concept is that drivers - being the operators of vehicles that pose a greater risk to other road users - would automatically be deemed at fault in incidents involving more vulnerable road users, for insurance purposes, unless they could prove otherwise.

Such a move was however rejected in the Cycling Action Plan which said:

"The available data does not supply robust evidence of a direct causal link between strict liability legislation to levels of cycling and KSIs (killed and seriously injured statistics), when countries like the UK and Ireland are clearly reducing fatalities in cyclists and all other road users without strict liability legislation in place."

Those who campaigned for the change will get a chance to make there feelings known at another new initiative announced today, a national cycling summit, scheduled to take place in the autumn, with attendees including Transport Minister Keith Brown, Heads of Transportation and relevant Committee Convenors from throughout Scotland.

The summit will aim to take the lead on delivering the aims of CAPS 2013 – summarised in a series of 19 ‘actions’ that appear at the end of this article – as well as benchmarking progress made in implementing them.

As well as calling upon local authorities to develop their own strategies to promote cycling at local level, CAPS 2013 also outlines some of the funding that will support that planned growth, including calling upon other government departments to provide financial support.

Transport Minister Keith Brown, who earlier this month undertook a fact-finding trip to the Netherlands to look at issues including cycle integration with the rail network, including parking and cycle hire schemes, said: “We are committed to the vision outlined in the updated CAPS document for 10% of journeys to be by bike by 2020 and continue to invest in the infrastructure required to increase participation in cycling for everyday travel.”

Specific funding from Transport Scotland includes more than £27 million during the current Spending Review period from 20012-15, most of that going on grants to Sustrans, plus £20 million through grants to local authorities, among other things. Given that relates to a three-year period, it equates to around £3 a head in a country of 5 million people.

Once any potential match funding from local authorities is factored in, plus any other potential spend, that looks like being a long way short of the 5 per cent of Scotland’s transport budget – equivalent to about £20 million a year – that Pedal on Parliament has called for.

John Lauder, director of Sustrans Scotland, said: “This is a good time to publish a refreshed version of the Cycling Action Plan for Scotland: having 10% of trips by bike by 2020 is achievable but only with a focused approach from all levels of government.

“It is therefore good to see both the Scottish Government and the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities backing CAPS.  The meeting between the Transport Minister and key local authority leaders is key to creating a sense of impetus. 

“There is no doubt that the public has an appetite to cycle more, that is clear from Pedal on Parliament last month.  Making the decision to cycle easy and logical is the challenge for Scotland going forward."

Specific funding was announced yesterday for two projects - £45,000 to
Edinburgh Bike Station for its Dr Bike Cycle Safely Programme, and
£34,000 to Cycling Scotland to establish the inaugural Fresh n Lo Pedal for Scotland Aberdeen Bike Ride, due to be held this autumn.

Commenting on CAPS 2013, Councillor Stephen Hagan of the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA), said: "Scottish Local Government welcomes the refresh of the Cycling Action Plan for Scotland. Achieving a greater proportion of everyday journeys by active travel but specifically cycling will be crucial in addressing Scotland's climate change objectives, while improving both safety for vulnerable road users and the health of Scotland's communities.

“The Plan calls for local leadership. Councils have a long-standing commitment to Scotland's Climate Change ambitions with all 32 Scottish councils having voluntary signed up to Scotland's Climate Change Declaration, demonstrating local leadership on these issues but also a continuing recognition that further action is needed and there are links to many other policy areas around health and community safety.

“Scotland's identity is to a large extent local and so are people's expectations.  The Plan outlines an ambitious vision for Scotland and also a framework for councils' delivery of local communities' expectations of the places they want to live in and cycle around for years to come. As COSLA spokesperson  I warmly welcome that ambition and am confident that councils will deliver on it."

Ian Aitken, chief executive officer of Cycling Scotland, added: “The new set of actions in the revised CAPS are a welcome response to the measures Cycling Scotland called for in our CAPS progress report,  particularly in relation to the need for greater leadership.

“The annual summit between the Transport Minister and senior local authority figures will be a key measure in delivering complementary local strategies to support the CAPS vision of 10% of journeys by bike.

“We look forward to working with councils to support a renewed focus on the reallocation of road space and the reduction of traffic speeds and volumes to create coherent local cycle networks, which when delivered alongside behaviour change measures such as training and promotion, will ensure that that people feel that cycling is the most obvious and enjoyable way to travel.”

Cycle Action Plan Scotland 2013 actions:

1. Establish an annual national cycling summit involving the Minister for Transport and local authority Heads of Transportation and relevant Committee Convenors, to lead delivery and gauge progress.

2. Develop for each local area the strategic approach to supporting functional cycling (and active travel more broadly), mapping the appropriate infrastructure improvements required along with supporting promotional work to achieve tangible changes in travel choices.

3. Continue to promote a national training programme on cycling-integration design and best practice to planners, designers and engineers, through the delivery of accredited modules such as Making Cycling Mainstream, and promote the use of planning policy - Designing Streets, Cycling by Design cycle guidance and Smarter Choices, Smarter Places good practice.

4. Continue to develop and maintain community links – i.e., high quality, local infrastructure to support active travel (routes and public realm improvements) particularly in urban areas where high levels of cycling can be achieved, along with associated infrastructure such as cycle parking facilities at key destinations including schools, bus and rail stations, shopping areas and workplaces

5. Continue to develop and maintain the National Cycle Network to provide long distance cycling routes, connecting rural communities and promoting tourism

6. Develop better integration with public transport, through partnership working with interests such as rail and bus/coach operators and RTPs

7. Establish the Cycle Hub at Stirling Station as a pilot and evaluate it pilot for potential wider roll-out at other railway stations

8. Promote the implementation of 20 mph schemes in all residential areas and share best practice across the country.

9. Develop and deliver a ‘Mutual Respect’ Campaign for all road users (complementing the ‘Give Me Cycle Space’ campaign aimed at drivers).

10. Continue the roll-out of Bikeability Scotland cycle training through schools, steadily expanding participation, particularly in on-road training (Bikeability level 2). Develop and promote support for this, including volunteer-led delivery and parental involvement.

11. Develop Adult Cycle Training resources, building on Bikeability Scotland standards, including an essential skills module as a pilot for potential roll-out nationwide.

12. Promote and support community-led cycling initiatives, through signposting resources and providing support for projects that will promote cycling participation in an inclusive, accessible way. Evaluate the delivery of the Cycle Friendly Communities Fund programme to date and promote the learning to further develop approaches to supporting communities.

13. Continue to promote projects which encourage primary school pupils to continue cycling when progressing to secondary schools, such as I-Bike and delivery of Bikeability Scotland level 3.

14. Promote cycling for young people more broadly, for leisure or travel, for fun, health and sport, through the promotion of cycling activities, events and led cycle rides

15. Develop approaches to promoting access to bikes – e.g., develop Bike Library schemes for schools and communities to promote access to bikes in areas of low cycle use or deprivation, as taster cycling sessions.

16. Encourage all employers across all sectors to become Cycle Friendly (e.g., by offering support for workplace cycling facilities and promotional resources, active travel champions, travel planning)

17. Develop follow-up work from the Smarter Choices, Smarter Places evaluation report, applying learning to encourage active travel as part of community-based sustainable transport promotion.

18. Report annually on an appropriate suite of national indicators to inform the national picture of cycling participation

19. Develop local monitoring, using data from local cycle counts and surveys etc., with support from national delivery bodies to develop a coordinated approach to data collection.

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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Dnnnnnn | 9 years ago

10% target?

Given that the % of trips made by bike has been 1% for as long as the data is available, how serious is this?

That's a rhetorical question, btw...

Ottadini | 10 years ago

CAPS makes the right noises but I can't see a clear practical route for much of the delivery, even with the watered down targets. Without that the 'shrug of responsibility' from Scottish Government to individual councils will just be met with a shrug back.
Take Bikeability for example, this is delivered in Scotland by a plethora of different volunteer models involving Police, teachers, parent volunteers, active schools co-ordinators, paid trainers and is largely a postcode lottery dependent on which school your child is at and the interest of school management and parent champions in taking it up. This is a big problem in my Stirling Council area, especially where the capacity of schools is getting sliced through cuts to admin.
CAPS aims to offer all children Bikeability training by 2015 but on the ground this looks impossible unless there is a requirement for all schools to deliver, and the proper resourcing to get it integrated into the school week. At the moment swimming lessons get far more integration into the core hours of the week than Bikeability does.

Darkerside | 10 years ago

Much more debate here:

General impression is that this is a significant climb-down from the position they originally declared. The target has been changed from '10% of journeys' to '10% of everyday journeys', which will presumably be later twisted to '10% of all journeys under 2 miles', or something that enables the target to be reached without actually doing a great deal.

There's a also a general shrug of responsibility from government to local authorities.

This article suggests the 2013 CAPS is an improvement, and there we see the real reason for the update: paint a picture of progress, but reduce the targets and remove central responsibility.

Same old stuff.

Simm0 | 10 years ago

The 20 mph speed restriction is getting all the headlines but I don't see that making any considerable difference to me personally other than turning some drivers further against cyclists.

Point 9 regarding "mutual respect" and "give me space" is far more important and could make a difference IMO. I do however still feel that the laws have to be changed to protect vulnerable road users.

Most of us will encounter incidents on a daily basis where drivers take chances around us simply out of impatience or selfishness, quite happy to risk our lives to save a couple of seconds. Until this mentality is challenged using stiff deterrents then the roads will remain a dangerous place for cyclists.

Andrewwd | 10 years ago

The roadcc article doesn't mention it, but as part of this updated plan, ambitions for Strict Liability have been abandoned. Disappointing.

netclectic | 10 years ago

Personally I think 6 & 16 are key.

No mention of fixing the general road infrastructure though. Glasgow City council are currently feverishly wasting money patching up holes in the road for this weekends nation champions road race route. I'll be surprised if the holes aren't back by the weekend unless they divert all traffic in the mean time.

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