To the Pedal on Parliament team it is hard to remember what life was like before POP existed. Running POP takes a lot of hard work and uses up a lot of our spare time, so it feels like we have been doing this forever. However, the reality is we have only been in existence for just over two years. In that two years a lot has happened and some progress has been made. Whilst POP has certainly had a significant hand in this, we certainly cannot claim all the credit. Many other organisations in Scotland have been working towards the same goal: a safer Scotland, no matter what form of transport you use.
2014 is an important year for Scotland with the referendum in September. No matter what the outcome, Scotland will have a new future to look forward to and this provides those of us who want to see more active travel with an excellent opportunity to set out a stall for Scotland’s future, ourselves included. We’ve always been clear in our manifesto about what we think is required to transform Scotland for cycling, but we think it would be helpful to flesh out these points into a roadmap towards a cycle-friendly country (and a walking-friendly one as well)
Unlike previous vision statements and plans, this roadmap would not just consist of warm words and promises. It would need to lay out realistic interim targets, and it would need to suggest a realistic budget for reaching those targets. It would also need to identify the barriers to progress (such as poor design standards) and propose better alternatives. It would need to consult people – ordinary, everyday cyclists, as well as those who would like to cycle – about what they need to give them the freedom of two wheels. With such a plan, should the future government really wish to make Scotland a cycle friendly nation, it would have a document that details step by step how they could get there.
But we can’t do this alone. We need to join with all those other organisations who share our goal of a healthier, less polluted, less congested, wealthier and even happier Scotland to create such a roadmap. The thousands who turn out to Pedal on Parliament show that we are not alone in wanting to see such a future. So let us join together to create a realistic plan to get there, whatever the outcome of September’s vote.