“The great city is not the one that has highways, but one where a child on a tricycle or bicycle can go safely everywhere.” – Enrique Penalosa

Children cycling on empty streets
Children cycling on empty roads in Edinburgh – photo Ewen Maclean

Many of us have now had the best seat in the house seeing just how this vision translates into a reality. Not just in our cities, but in towns and neighbourhoods across the country – quieter roads setting the scene. Children are comfortably cycling alongside their parents, key workers are turning to active travel for their commute, teenagers are getting about on their own steam relatively carefree and much of the purpose-built infrastructure that has been built is a setting for Copenhagen-levels of cycling.

The benefits of active travel are vast but, with restrictions easing and public transport at reduced capacity, we now must ensure that it remains a priority measure in managing this crisis. It will prove vital in tackling air pollution as well as addressing the mental-health legacy of Covid-19.

Union Street closure in Aberdeen
Aberdeen is one of Scotland’s most car-centric cities, but has closed off Union Street to motorised traffic. The start of real change in the Granite City? Photo Rachel Martin

Research indicates that air pollution has worsened the outbreak in many countries. Social isolation, stress, and anxiety borne from the pandemic and its knock- on effects have left others just as vulnerable. The sharp reduction in the use of motor vehicles at the start of lockdown brought cleaner air to many but, if walking and cycling is returned to the margins, dangerous levels of air pollution will quickly return.  It is vital that those who wish to walk and cycle be able to do so in safety. Eyes have been opened but we must stop our politicians sleepwalking back to car-centricity.

Temporary cycle lane on Clyde Street
Temporary cycle lane introduced as part of the #SpacesForPeople measures in Glasgow – can we make these changes permanent? Photo Iona Shepherd

The beginning of this month should have seen PoP events taking place all around the country  but we needed to cancel on the grounds of public safety. By the time we made the difficult decision, we were already in possession of our merchandise for this year. 

Sciennes Selfie
Sadly there were to be no pop-up bike buses this year – but maybe we now have a chance to see kids take to the streets in these numbers anyway? Photo Ross Crook

Whilst our organisers and volunteers donate their time for free, campaigns such as #SpaceForDistancing and planning for PoP at COP26 (at which we remain determined to make an impact) still attract costs. As we’re definitely in the midst of some T-shirt weather one way you can help financially is by purchasing one of these fabulous garments designed by the talented Andy Arthur.

Pop t-shirts hanging to dry

We can’t go back to where we were (and neither can the t-shirts) so pledge your support for a cycle-friendly Scotland by ordering a t-shirt today – 

https://pedalonparliament.org/merchandise/

Together we can help make Scotland a cycle-friendly country.

We’ve seen what the future could look like – help make sure we don’t return to our car-centric past