Pedal On Parliament Attracts Thousands

26 April 2015, 06:03

Thousands of people have cycled to the Scottish Parliament to promote the benefits of cycling and walking and demand safer roads.

Pedal on Parliament is a grass roots movement calling on politicians to make Scotland a cycle-friendly country.

Started in 2012, it has brought thousands of cyclists onto the streets of Edinburgh every year.

Organiser David Brennan rode the bike that was being ridden by cyclist Andrew McNicoll when he was killed on the roads in Edinburgh just before the first Pedal on Parliament. The bike was donated by Mr McNicoll's family.

Introducing a minute's silence for those who have died on the roads, he said: "The fact that there are so few scratches on this bike, shows just how vulnerable we are on the road.

"We need to see conditions where everyone can ride and families do not suffer the tragedies the McNicoll family have.''

Transport minister Derek Mackay attended the event, and pledged additional spending on cycling.

He said: "We'll put our money where our mouth is to invest in infrastructure so that cycling is seen as a proper mode of transport - across a range of policies.

"There's consensus across the political parties to invest in cycling, and at local level. I commend Edinburgh council for leading the way on 20mph limits and I will make it as easy as possible for other councils to follow suit.''

Cyclists came from as far afield as Glasgow, Moffat and Elgin, while a parallel event in Aberdeen also drew 150 cyclists.

Emilia Hanna, of Friends of the Earth, said "We're here to tell the government that we have the right to cycle safely - without being knocked down but also without being suffocated by pollution from too much traffic.''

Conservative MSP Cameron Buchanan said: "We need to do more to create continuous cycling infrastructure so cyclists don't end up running red lights. Holland and Denmark lead the way on this.''

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie said: "My pledge is to keep Derek Mackay to live up to his pledge. Liberal Democrats have committed to increase spending on active travel every year. We need drivers to think about us as vulnerable people on the roads. Your voice is being heard in parliament and we will continue to make it a priority.''

Labour MSP Sarah Boyack said: "We need more clarity and transparency so we can track the money and make sure it integrates into transport, health, and planning policies.''

Green MSP Alison Johnstone said: "This fantastic grass-roots movement means the message is getting through - we can get that budget up year on year until we see the transformative change we need. I want to see an end to fatalities but also an increase in our healthy active population - not a vision, but a target''