With the shockwaves from the EU referendum result still reverberating around the world, it might seem like no time to think about cycling. But whatever the future holds we will still need to think about the really important issues beyond the immediacies of politics and personalities. Issues such as climate change and pollution, which knows no borders. Protecting our kids’ health, physical and mental, and our own. Enabling our cities to compete in a globalised world without the attraction of being within a larger market such as the EU or even the UK. We have long said that making Scotland a fit place for anyone to cycle in is a significant part of solving those issues. That hasn’t changed.
Scotland has shown that it is increasingly willing to forge a separate path from the rest of the UK, or at least England and Wales, and this vote merely continues that trend. It looks as if we are about to have yet another national conversation about Scotland’s place in the world and the sort of country we want to live in. During the last independence referendum, cycling and active travel were conspicuous by their absence during that debate, for all that the Scottish government likes to look to our northern European neighbours. We believe that any vision of a better Scotland, in or out of the EU or the UK, should involve a vision of less car dependency, fairer allocation of road space, freedom of choice, and safer and more humane cities, towns and villages. It may seem like a small matter when compared with the headline issues of economic rankings and foreign policy and international alliances. And yet, when it comes to the day-to-day impact on Scots’ lives, it actually couldn’t be more vital.