Record-breaking cyclist and adventurer Mark Beaumont led a mass ride on the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh today to call for safer roads and more investment in active travel.
Thousands of cyclists joined the Pedal on Parliament (PoP) demonstration, which began in the Meadows in Edinburgh and ended with a rally outside Holyrood.
Those attending the event, now in its seventh year, want the Scottish Government to commit to spending 10% of the transport budget on active travel.
They also called for cycling for all ages and abilities to be “designed into Scotland’s roads”, and for roads to be made safer.
Addressing the crowds, Beaumont urged campaigners to talk to their own communities about the issues confronting cyclists.
He said: “This specific ride, Pedal on Parliament, might be incredibly short in terms of distance, but I genuinely think its overall effect can be pretty profound.
“I think it’s incredibly important that we keep the culture around this conversation positive.
“I personally have been doing less advocacy, less communication on social media around road safety and culture because, for me, I am not particularly interested in talking to an echo chamber of polarised views.
“I am interested in talking directly to people who have the imagination and actually want to put specific actions in place to see the changes that we want.
“Naysayers and negativity don’t actually get us to where we want to go.”
While politicians were in attendance, there were no speeches from them this year with the organisers instead focusing on the views of younger cyclists.
Charlotte Brennan, eight, said she felt like “the roads are only for people who drive”, while Mhairi Gormley, 17, said she had been reduced to tears by the treatment she has received from drivers.
“The solution to this problem is to have fully segregated paths for cyclists which will physically protect us from drivers,” she said.
Green MSP Mark Ruskell cycled 50 miles from his home in Doune to join colleagues Patrick Harvie and Alison Johnstone at the Edinburgh ride.
Mr Ruskell has put forward proposals for a member’s bill to reduce the speed limit in built-up areas from 30mph to 20mph.
He said: “Momentum is growing for slower speeds to create safer streets which encourage more walking and cycling.”
Transport Minister Humza Yousaf has met Mr Ruskell regarding his plans.
He said: “The Scottish Government continues to increase investment in active and sustainable transport.
“We have invested over £217 million in active travel since the start of the 2011 spending review and, as announced in the Programme for Government, we have doubled the active travel budget from around £40 million to £80 million a year from 2018-2019.
“We are learning from other European neighbours, such as the Netherlands, how best to build active and healthy communities, where everyone can participate and benefit from.
“Our focus will be on making our towns and cities safer and friendlier with more segregated infrastructure, where appropriate, improvements to the public realm and putting people and place before motorised vehicles.”
A Demonstration also took place in Inverness on Saturday, with another planned for Aberdeen on Sunday.Join our Facebook group Our Edinburgh to share images and news from and around the Capital
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