Campaigners met Scotland’s transport minister in Edinburgh yesterday (21 March) to push for greater safety measures for cyclists, following a number of cycling deaths in recent months (Guardian bike blog).
The safety summit with Keith Brown MSP comes amid a grassroots campaign to promote safe cycling in Scotland, which will culminate with a ‘Pedal on Parliament’ protest rally in Edinburgh next month.
According to the Guardian blog, the Scottish Government has set ambitious targets for promoting cycling, including a commitment to ensuring that 10% of all journeys in Scotland will be made by bike by 2020. But campaigners say little has been done to reach these targets, and recent fatalities highlight the need to act soon.
The Government convened the meeting with road safety professionals and campaigners following the death of 40-year-old cyclist Bryan Simons in Edinburgh earlier this month – the fourth cycling death in the capital in the last year.
The charity Sustrans said it will use the meeting to appeal for more space to be made available on roads for cyclists and for 20mph limits to be introduced on residential roads across Scotland.
The Scottish Green Party, meanwhile, has called on Holyrood to immediately identify and redesign the 50 worst road junctions in Scotland for bike users.
Alison Johnstone, Green MSP, said: “The Government could take the lead right now and identify the 50 worst junctions for cyclists in Scotland. With an ambitious target for increasing cycling, now is the time to make the radical changes we need.”
The Greens have also called for action on urban speed limits, on school cycle training and on a rolling programme to improve road design for cyclists, reports the Guardian.
The minister will be presented with a manifesto by the Pedal on Parliament campaign, launched recently to mirror efforts in England to promote cycling safety. The campaign was started by David Brennan, 38, a keen amateur cyclist, who has organised a cycle rally in Edinburgh on April 28, where cyclists are being asked to ride their bikes through Edinburgh to the Scottish parliament building.
David Brennan said: “Cycling should be as easy as riding a bike. But the vast majority of roads I would not want my children to cycle on and that’s wrong. I think the key demand has to be more finance for infrastructure and safety, bringing the levels up. We’re spending millions on short sections of motorway; all we’re asking for is a relatively small percentage of that to go on cycling infrastructure.”
The Pedal on Parliament manifesto asks local and national politicians to sign up to a series of pledges, including proper funding for cycling, designing cycling into Scotland’s roads, integrating cycling into local transport strategies and solid research on cycling to inform and support policy making.
Click here to read the full Guardian bike blog.