On Sunday 19th May I pedalled on the Scottish Parliament with thousands of other cyclists in order to make the Scottish Government take notice and make cycling accessible and safer for everyone. In or around 3,000 people pedalled on Scottish Parliament last year and since then, despite some lip service, nothing has really changed to improve the situation for cyclists.
The event organisers have issued an eight point manifesto which states:
1. Proper funding for cycling 2. Design cycling into Scotland’s roads3. Slower speeds where people live, work and play4. Integrate cycling into local transport strategies5. Improved road traffic law and enforcement 6. Reduce the risk of HGV’s to cyclists and pedestrians7. A strategic and joined up programme of road user training.8. Improve statistics supporting decision – making and policy.
I am pleased to note that the event has been backed by Sir Chris Hoy and Mark Beaumont. I am so glad that cyclists have organised themselves in such a way and it is hoped, that this will be an annual event until politicians actually do something and realise that cycling is something that people want to engage in and therefore, they should be actively encouraging their electorate to take up cycling, but first they have to make it safer for them.
This protest comes in the week following the court decision of Gary McCourt who killed a second cyclist with his car and quite astonishingly, in five years time Mr McCourt will be able to sit behind the wheel again, how many strikes until someone is deprived of their licence? There is a separate petition being presented in that regard to call for people like McCourt to have their licence withdrawn for all time coming albeit nobody is rightly calling for him to spend any time in jail as a consequence of his criminal acts. There is also the petition brought by Kaya Burgess from The Times who was motivated by the serious injury suffered by one of his colleagues in London by an HGV. That petition managed to obtain over half a million signatures and once more, the politicians have confirmed that they will look at improving cycling - more hot air - but I don’t see anything materially happening, especially in Scotland.
Hopefully the efforts from cyclists on Sunday will send a strong message to politicians that the status quo is simply not acceptable.