It’s been one amazing weekend and we’re still recovering from the incredible turnout in Glasgow today – on top of POPs in three cities yesterday. Whether you made it along or couldn’t join us, here’s our press release and a selection of the many great photos from the day – enjoy
Cyclists including hundreds of families took the fight for a better deal to the streets of Glasgow today for the very first time. In a continuation of Saturday’s protest rides in Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Inverness, the 6th edition of Pedal on Parliament rolled into the city centre for the first time this afternoon, with a demand for better conditions for cycling.
Baking in fine spring weather well over a thousand riders descended on George Square to make their case directly to city leaders and to Scotland’s Transport Minister Humza Yousaf. Across Scotland over the full weekend this totalled over 5000 cyclists all together.
Organiser Lizzie Reather said: “Glasgow stands at a crossroad. For decades, it’s been hollowed out by urban motorways, despite having the lowest car ownership levels in Scotland. Now, finally, it looks as if it’s taking its first steps towards rebalancing its streets towards people. Today’s protest has shown that there’s a huge appetite for this change in the city.”
“People Make Glasgow” bike hire scheme operator nextbike made 200 free hires available for the day. Julian Scriven, Managing Director of nextbike UK, said “As the leading cycle hire provider in Scotland, we are committed to getting more people on bikes and cycling across the country. For cycle hire to be successful we would like to see further support from the government in terms of long-term thinking – roads have to be re-designed to ensure safety of all road users.”
Attending the protest, father of two John Chivall said, “I want my children to lead active, healthy lives, but as a family we too often have to resort to using the car for short journeys as Glasgow doesn’t yet have a joined-up network of safe cycle lanes. The South West City Way is a great start, but we urgently need more investment in building high quality protected cycle lanes on all main routes to enable families like mine to choose the healthier and more sustainable option of cycling to school, shops and work.”
Speaking in front of the City Chambers, local SNP Councillor Anna Richardson said “Let’s make Glasgow a cycle-friendly city for women, children and all our citizens.” She referred to Glasgow SNP’s commitment to the 10% of transport budget for active travel.
For Scottish Labour, Councillor Matt Kerr said “Cycling brings out the best in people,” that cycling is “a social justice issue” and “builds confidence in people.” He highlighted Labour’s commitment to a cycling “mini-Holland” pilot in the Woodlands area of the city.
Scottish Green Party Co-convener Patrick Harvie said “Cycling is the ‘superior’ way and the happiest way to get around the city. Every penny spent on infrastructure needs to take into account people on bikes, people walking and those with disabilities”. He went on to highlight the need for a change to land use and our planning system.
Paul McGarry of the Scottish Liberal Democrats said “For many the idea of commuting to work seems impossible [and] we need to change that.” Referring to his own experiences of cycling to work he made the case for a holistic planning approach to new developments to ensure cycling.
For the Scottish Conservatives, Tony Curtis said “More focus should be made on being safe on the roads” and emphasised the benefits for mental health and well-being. “Our party’s policy is to provide an additional £5m for active travel, establish one flagship cycle route in every town in Scotland and to remove dangerous HGVs from the road. I would be happy to take over as cycling csar [for Glasgow].”
Mark Fiddy, an independent council candidate for Glasgow Southside and who has a visual impairment, talked about making Glasgow much more accessible for people with disabilities.
Transport Minister and Pollok SNP MSP Humza Yousaf congratulated the cross-party consensus on cycling and praised the inclusivity and diversity of the cycling community. “Segregated cyclepaths are crucial for breaking down barriers. I promise you, what [Pedal On Parliament] are saying is being heard at the highest level of government”. He then emphasised the importance of cycling amongst children and young people.
In addition to the politicians present, Mahnoor Campbell of local community group Al-Meezan, talked about setting up a successful, 66-strong all-women Islamic cycling club. “[riding a bike] changed my life”. “We have a network but it doesn’t extend far enough,” and ending with “a helmet on top of a hijab doesn’t look that bad!”
Organiser David Brennan made his own personal contribution to the day, highlighting the issues in his own council area of East Dunbartonshire, home to the Bears Way cycle path which was controversially halted last year. Addressing the crowd, Dr. Brennan said “It isn’t just about a cycle path – it’s about health; it’s about freedom for children, it’s about air pollution and the environment, and it’s making our towns and cities for people”.