Today’s announcement of the new Streets Ahead road safety campaign should be welcomed by all of those who use the roads in Edinburgh and the Lothians.
The recent deaths of Andrew McNicoll and Bryan Simons have brought into sharp focus the daily dangers that cyclists face on the Capital’s streets.
Edinburgh City Council could not reasonably continue to support cycling in the city and not act after such tragedies.
The new initiative is a project which involves police, fire services and the health board, as well as organisations such as Lothian Buses and Edinburgh University. This broad approach is essential in restoring confidence among all road users in the city.
The news follows moves by Cycling Scotland to increase the proportion of pupils who receive cycle training on the road from the present level of 27 per cent to 40 per cent by 2016.
At its core is a renewed education campaign for all. This is a key starting point.
Many cyclists correctly feel that motorists fail to recognise them as proper road users and do not allow them enough space. But cyclists must also be aware that, on some occasions, their behaviour on the road is often below standard.
But after education must come enforcement.
For example, drivers who fail to observe cycle junction boxes should be warned. Repeat offenders must be fined.
Cyclists who believe that the Highway Code does not apply to them must be treated similarly.
This is not just an arcane ideological war over rights of way on our roads. People have died. And will continue to die unless we all pull together and act in the common interest.
Our roads are for all. For cars, motorbikes, push bikes and pedestrians.
All must have space, and all must feel the force of the law if they misbehave.
Once again, it is the contest that has sent Edinburgh wild. Super-cute 14-month-old Deryn Baxter has been crowned Top Tot 2012 after polling an incredible 11,000 votes.
In total, more than 67,000 votes were cast, which demonstrates the popularity of the annual event.
Congratulations to Deryn, who is now the talk of nurseries throughout the Capital, and to everyone else who took part and voted. Of course, they are all top tots in our eyes.