From Dave Brennan:
At last. Cycling and active travel has had its own debate in the Holyrood Parliament. It’s been long overdue. Well done to the Green party (Alison Johnstone in particular) for using some of their precious debating time to cover it.
Being at work during it, I couldn’t watch it live, but now having managed to watch it here on the BBC web site (and have put a copy here so you can do the same) I am reasonably pleased with how it went. There was little of the victim blaming that often perculates these debates (yes cyclists need to behave!) and there were a lot of positive words.
HOWEVER…did you notice that was in capitals….HOWEVER, I wasn’t impressed with the government response. Once again the SNP government has felt the need to remind us about the funding that it has already committed to cycling. It amounts to a hill of….not very much at all, and certainly no where near the funding levels that we have asked for in our manifesto.
Ah, but as a campaigner you are always going to ask for loads of money aren’t you?
Actually no. We aren’t asking for all that much, certainly when you consider how much is spent on transport budgets every year. For example £508m (including VAT and inflation) is about to be spent on a few miles upgrade of the M8/A8/M73/M74. The M8/A8 section will cost £28m a mile!
The government wants active travel to account for 10% of the modal share of transport by 2020. We are asking for 5% of the budget. Not new budget, but 5% of the budget that is already there. That would have a tiny impact on the main transport budget, but a huge impact on cycling infrastructure. Most importantly that 5% of spending wouldn’t just benefit cyclist. If our roads are designed and built correctly, pedestrians would be better off as road design would also take into account their needs, and drivers would be better off because for every new cyclist generated, one less car is on the road (most cars during rush hour are single occupancy).
So for the sake of a couple of miles of motorway we could revolutionise active travel throughout the whole of Scotland and benefit every type of road user!
The time has past for words, and blustering about what the government is already doing. To be quite frank, it is doing very little. The time has come for radical change. Is the SNP a forward thinking party? We will find out over the coming weeks and months.
That is why we are asking you to support Pedal On Parliament. We need to send a strong message to our politicians. Sign our petition, write to your MSPs and councillors and pedal/walk/roll or skate with us on the 28th April.