Don’t forget – please join the We Want to See Double demonstration on Wednesday the 30th October asking John Swinney to double the funding available for cycling and walking. More investment is important – not least because it does actually work. If you look at Sustrans’s latest report, cycling and walking levels are rising on the National Cycling Network. Where new Community Links have been built, levels have risen even more, quite spectacularly in some cases. And that’s not the only indicator. A report on Glasgow from the Glasgow Centre for Population Health earlier this year found that cycling was up 25% since 2009. The authors calculate that Glasgow will benefit to the tune of £4m through longer life expectancy – and that’s a conservative estimate as it doesn’t even take into account cyclists’ reduce sick days. Meanwhile, Sustrans calculates that some of their projects have produced a benefit in reduced health costs, congestion and pollution of up to £9.50 for every £1 spent. There’s very little else in government spending that generates that sort of a return. Indeed, there’s very little else in life.
So you might think that we don’t need to stand outside St Andrews House telling the people with the purse strings that they should be filling their boots with pretty much the best value-for-money investment they could make. Indeed, you’d think we’d have to beat them off with a stick. But it seems we need to spell it out for them in simple terms if they’re going to get the message, and we’re going to have to keep repeating it until they understand.
Remember, it was at a similar protest two years ago that the seeds were sown that grew into the first Pedal on Parliament. An impressive turnout then helped reverse the decline in active travel spending, but that is not enough: we need real and sustained investment. We need your voice and your presence to remind our politicians that investment in active travel isn’t just for the few who already do it – it’s for everyone. And that includes them