Sadly, no sooner had we published our last post – and with the paint barely dry on the ghost bikes at Holyrood – we were overtaken by events. A female cyclist, still unnamed, was killed near Drumnadrochit in the Highlands. That means that the tally of cyclists killed in 2013 is already nine – the same as the whole of 2012.
As Albert Einstein probably didn’t say, the definition of insanity is repeating the same mistake and expecting different results. Unfortunately, Scotland’s cycling policy seems to be based on exactly that principle. Continue to spend measly amounts of money (the £58 million the government keeps mentioning is spread over a number years, and is not just for cycling either). Waste some of it on well-meaning but ineffective campaigns urging road users to treat each other with respect. Continue to spend eye-watering sums on trunk road projects that not only turn those roads into lethal near-motorways that are extremely hostile to vulnerable road users, but also serve to increase traffic in the towns and cities they serve. Continue to use weak and outdated design guidelines that mean what little provision is made for cyclists is hopelessly compromised. Rinse, repeat, year after year, while encouraging Scots to get out on their bikes and what happens? Deaths rise.
The government must not be allowed to get away with trotting out the same failed ‘solutions’ every time another family loses a parent, child, partner, loved one. They must not be allowed to pass the buck back to local authorities that are simply following their lead. They must not be allowed to continue to feed Scotland’s car dependency. Making Scotland safer for cycling – safer for everyone to cycle – is not difficult. The Transport Minister and his officials have visited the Netherlands and seen how it can be done. There are no excuses left. This policy of madness must end.