If any of you missed it, there’s still time to catch David Miller’s excellent Newsnight piece on iPlayer (the cycling bit starts about 7 minutes in – we’ll draw a veil over the ‘debate’ afterwards). We’ll mostly let the words and pictures do the talking, but as well as the contrast between the challenging conditions Dave Brennan faces daily and the wonderful safety with which children could ride to school in the Netherlands another contrast struck us.

bike and pedestrian bridge
Investing to save: bridges like this actually help save money in health and public transport costs

Compare the words of Gerrit Faber of the Dutch Fietserbond, talking about investment into the impressive cycling infrastructure that enables Dutch of all ages to ride:

“It saves a lot of money for public transport which is, for every km, much more expensive for the city than cycling. It saves a lot of money for measures against air pollution and it saves a lot of money for health care because in the Netherlands and Denmark there is less obesity than in all the surrounding countries.”

With the words of our own transport minister, Keith Brown:

“What we are actually involved in is modernising Scotland’s transport infrastructure. It’s my view for decades it’s been underinvested in. So for example we don’t have motorways between our cities, which we should have, in a modern developed country. So there’s a number of things if you take into account the road projects, which I know are contencious for cyclists, but we have to improve the infrastructure around Aberdeen, we had to do the M74, in my view. We need to have a resilience a crossing, crossing the Forth as well. So these things, they can’t wait, we’re reaching capacity in relationship to some of these things.”

and from an earlier news broadcast

safe cycling
‘Cyclists travel on roads too …’ – but until facilities like this become commonplace those cyclists will be confined to a tiny minority

“We’re doing quite a lot just now, in a very constrained financial environment, to improve the transport infrastructure generally. Cycling has to be part of that but I think it’s also true that we have to have an eye on the massively increased demand there is for our trains, and some of the pressures on roads. Cyclists travel on roads as well. Roads have to be improved.”

We wonder, which approach strikes you as the most ‘modern’ here – the Dutch, encouraging active travel because it pays back many times in improved health and well being – or the Scottish Government?

Answers on a postcard please – but don’t send it to us. Send it to Keith Brown, or your MSPs

Together we can make Scotland a cycle-friendly country.

Compare and Contrast…