A LAWYER is going wheel to wheel with Boris Johnson tonight for a major cycling award.
Brenda Mitchell, who runs Capital-based Cycle Law Scotland, has been nominated for the Cycling Advocate of the Year Award at the Cycling Media Awards.
She is up against the London Mayor and former racing cyclist Chris Boardman, amongst others.
Ms Mitchell has led the Road Share campaign, which has called for drivers to face presumed liability if they are involved in a collision with a cyclist or pedestrian.
The mother-of-two, from Peebles, said she was “honoured” to have been nominated, but wasn’t expecting to win.
Ms Mitchell said: “I am honoured to have been selected as a finalist for this prestigious award alongside two great cycling champions, Boris Johnson and Chris Boardman.
“It is testament to just how much our campaign has touched people in Scotland and in the UK.
“If we are to achieve an increase in safe active travel, we need legislative change that protects those who are most vulnerable to injury.”
Ms Mitchell’s nomination follows her two-year campaign to change the current Scottish civil law.
She believes legislation often fails the nation’s cyclists and pedestrians – leaving some injured or bereaved following road traffic collisions battling for years to receive compensation.
Ms Mitchell told the News more needed to be done to make both motorists and cyclists aware of their own safety responsibilities.
The solicitor said that Edinburgh was one of the leading cities in the UK “as far as cycling is concerned”, but added it was essential that cyclists and drivers were thoroughly aware of safety legislation.
Ms Mitchell said: “We need to learn from our more forward-thinking European neighbours who have for decades protected their vulnerable road users. Legislative change is just as important as funding for infrastructure. It is our desire to get more people out walking and cycling.”
Ms Mitchell hailed the city council for committing to spending ten per cent of its transport budget on cycling by 2017 and for becoming the first council in the UK to allow bikes on trams.
The personal injury lawyer, who has more than 25 years’ experience, is also doing all she can to promote cycling personally.
She is encouraging woman to join her Belles on Bikes group – a social club for women of all ages and abilities.
Ms Mitchell said: “The group in Edinburgh was really successful so I have now started it in the Borders.
“I think at first, when people start cycling, safety is always at the forefront of their mind.”
The Cycling Media Awards will take place at Islington Metalworks in London tonight.
It has been organised by BikeBiz publisher NewBay Media, and is aimed at recognising the best UK media outlets, writers, bloggers, broadcasters and photographers in the world of cycling.
The winner will be judged by a panel of 100 people from the cycling media.
Ms Mitchell said: “The fact I’ve been nominated for this award is nice for Scotland – and I think Edinburgh is definitely moving in the right direction with cycling.”
Boris Johnson has been seen as something of a cycling pioneer in London, his “Boris Bikes” hire scheme in particular proving a big success.