Cycling protesters call for better road safety

Pedal on Parliament will target Holyrood again. Picture: Jane Barlow
Pedal on Parliament will target Holyrood again. Picture: Jane Barlow
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The family of a pensioner killed while cycling have accused politicians of ignoring growing calls for improved road safety provision and branded sentencing guidelines for drivers who kill “a joke”.

The comments, from the family of Audrey Fyfe, 75, who died in August 2011 after being struck by a car driven by Gary McCourt in Portobello, came as the third annual Pedal on Parliament ride was announced in the Capital.

Mrs Fyfe’s daughter Linda Hamilton, 46, of Meadowbank, her sister Aileen Brown and their father Ian Fyfe, led 4000 demonstrators in the 2013 Pedal on Parliament ride, alongside “Flying Scotsman” Graeme Obree and the family of cyclist Andrew McNichol, who died in January 2012 after colliding with a parked car on Lanark Road.

Ms Hamilton said: “We’re now in our third year of Pedal on Parliament, and despite the fact that more and more people are backing the campaign every year, we seem to be getting lots of talk and very little action from politicians. They just don’t seem to be listening.”

In September last year the Crown Office lost an appeal against the “unduly lenient” sentence handed down to McCourt, who was banned from driving for five years and ordered to carry out 300 hours of community service after being convicted of causing Mrs Fyfe’s death, despite having already been jailed for reckless driving after causing the death of another cyclist, George Dalgity, 22, in Edinburgh in 1985.

Audrey Fyfe’s widower Ian, 81, of Joppa, said: “The government keeps urging more people to use their bike to commute, but the fact is that most people don’t because it’s perceived as being dangerous. And it’s no wonder they feel that way when someone’s driving can cause the death of two innocent people and they can be back behind the wheel five years later. It’s a nonsense, an absolute joke. How can they call that justice?”

Pedal on Parliament will see thousands of cyclists hold a minute’s silence in the Meadows to remember those killed on Scotland’s roads, before riding down the Royal Mile to call on politicians to support their manifesto for safer cycling.

Graeme Obree said: “Pedal on Parliament are asking for an investment, so people can cycle freely and without fear. We want a network from our homes to our workplaces, our shops and schools. It’s an investment in the health of the nation.”

Latest figures show the Scottish Government is behind on its target to see ten per cent of journeys made by bike by 2020 – in the last decade, the percentage commuting to work by bike has risen only 0.1 per cent to 1.6 per cent.

• The 2014 Pedal on Parliament will take place on Saturday, April 26.