I’ve spent most of my adult life explaining why I love being on my bike. The freedom, the fitness, the fresh air…
But, honestly, it seems like the vast majority of people I speak to either don’t have a bike (and don’t want one) or have one and are too scared to use it…
Most people that I know here in the Central Belt either walk or take the bus. Money for better cycling is all well and good, but what’s in it for the pedestrians? The benefits that come of a population that can use a bike go beyond just improving the lives of existing cyclists like me. Cities where there are more cyclists have fewer cars — this means lower air pollution and roads that FEEL safer for everyone.
Building better infrastructure for people cycling also usually involves improving things such as pedestrian crossings, repairing pavements, and adding dropped kerbs so that wheelchair users and people pushing buggies are able to get across the street more easily. And cyclists who feel safe in protected lanes are less likely to take to the pavements to get away from cars.
But what about the DRIVERS, I’ve heard some cry — giving space over to separated infrastructure will reduce car lanes, and the cyclists will STILL insist on using the roads! Ah, I respond, but increasing the number of cyclists reduces the number of people driving cars! With around half of journeys under 5km made by car in Scotland, many of these journeys could easily be made by bike which would reduce congestion on the roads. You wouldn’t need as many car lanes and the ones you’d have would move more smoothly for it. And the vast majority of people on bikes would prefer to use well-designed cycling infrastructure over having to dodge taxis in the city or steel themselves for a lorry passing at 50mph on a narrow A-road — build it CORRECTLY, ensure it’s joined up to a network of cycle tracks and cycle lanes, keep it clean and it will get used! Also, with fewer cars on the roads, you will have fewer potholes!
If you have a bike but have so far been too scared to cycle in the cities, Edinburgh and Glasgow will have closed roads for the length of the route.
If you don’t have a bike but do want to cycle, nextbike Glasgow are offering free hires on the day and CycleTrax in Edinburgh are offering half-price hires
Or, if you don’t want to ride a bike but believe that safer roads for cycling will improve your life, come along to Pedal on Parliament as a pedestrian! Help us show that we, the people of Scotland, want better roads for EVERYONE. If you’re coming along to Edinburgh, you can join us at the Meadows and walk alongside the riders. In Glasgow, Aberdeen, and Inverness, you can join the riders at their respective finishing points (George Square in Glasgow, Aberdeen City Council offices at Marischal College, and Highland Council Headquarters on Glenurquhart Road in Inverness) where the rallies and speeches will be happening.
We’ll see you at the weekend, as we Pedal – and Pedestrian! – on Parliament.