In February of this year the core organisers of PoP were just eight ordinary people. Admittedly we were eight cyclists who all in our own way felt passionate about cycling and about making cycling safer for all, but apart from that we were just eight normal cyclists.
Today we are still just eight cyclists. However, something has changed. 3000 other people (indeed, some of them non-cyclists) of all shapes and sizes came out to support the call those eight cyclists made for Scotland’s politicians, to make our country’s roads safe for all. It gave not just those eight cyclists, but everyone of you who came that day, a platform and a voice that would finally be heard in the corridors of Holyrood.
Of course this was just the start of the story, and now four months down the line we still haven’t seen any significant change in funding or policy. We have however seen the first significant steps towards that change. We have already talked with Scotland’s politicians, but only now have we been placed in a position where we know our voice will be heard in a way it can’t be ignored.
The real work of Holyrood happens in committees. At these meetings politicians discuss policy and make recommendations for changes to those policies. There are also meetings to discuss the Scottish budget and how money should be spent.
We can reveal that PoP have been invited to attend one of those committees as an expert, to provide opinion and evidence that we hope will eventually be incorporated into this year’s draft budget. We have been invited to the Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee on the 26th September to discuss active travel and the Cycling Action Plan of Scotland (CAPS).
We are of course under no illusions. They may still chose to ignore our evidence and advice, but the very fact that a group of eight grass-roots cyclists have been invited to the table, shows just how much power the 3000+ ordinary people at the original PoP event have when they come out to ask for what they want.
We will be there representing you. So we need to hear from you what you would like us to say. We’ll be researching our own evidence, of course, and putting forward the points in our manifesto, but we want as many of your voices as possible to be heard in the corridors of power.
We will do everything we can to ensure that cyclists and prospective cyclists get the very best deal possible, but we still need your support. Write to your politicians, local and national, remind them about our manifesto. Let them know that the time has come to make Scotland a cycle friendly nation.