The Aberdeen Cycle Forum have been running satellite PoPs for a number of years now, but with the campaign to get segregated tracks up Union Street, things are kicking up a notch. In a guest blog (originally posted here), Rachel Martin explains why you should join her in Aberdeen on Sunday 29th April.
Pedal on Parliament is an annual demo for a safer, more cycle-friendly Scotland. The Scottish government wants to increase rates of cycling but money has traditionally been spent on non-effective measures like cycling proficiency training in schools and advertising programs designed to encourage active travel. However the reason most people do not ride their bikes is because they perceive it to be unsafe and perceptions of safety are just as important as actual safety. The biggest factor in a person’s decision to ride a bike or not is having safe places to cycle and Aberdeen has few.
It’s cheap to deliver a cycling proficiency training course to school children but it has little impact on cycling rates because most parents, myself included, won’t let their kids cycle on the road with traffic. City councils need to build segregated cycle paths but these are expensive – although much cheaper than building new roads – and there may be resistance from motorists who oppose bike paths. Politicians therefore need to see public support for cycling infrastructure otherwise they’ll be worried about losing votes and will continue to promote private motor vehicle use over active travel.
No city has ever solved its traffic problems with the private motor vehicle because cars take up road space that is disproportionate to the number of people they’re capable of moving. Bicycles take up very little space on the roads, they don’t produce any toxic fumes, and they provide much-needed health benefits which reduce the burden on our NHS.
Pedal on Parliament is our chance to show local politicians that we, the voting public, support the building of segregated cycle paths in Aberdeen. We’ll be cycling as a large group from Rubislaw Terrace Gardens, down Albyn Street, then along Union Street and finishing up at the Town House on Broad Street.
There will likely be longer feeder routes for people who want a longer ride. We expect these to start from Hazelhead Park, Westhill, and Dyce. We also want to encourage people to dress up and make it a fun event. Come as your favourite super hero or character from a book; decorate your bike; bring some music. We’re looking forward to it!