Doing anything on Saturday 26 April?
From midday, thousands of people will be making their way from the Meadows in Edinburgh to Parliament for the third year running, reminding politicians that we’re still not doing enough as a country to get active transport moving.
It’s called Pedal on Parliament, but you should be there even if you don’t cycle. You should be there even if you never want to cycle.
You should be there if you believe that our cities, towns and villages should be places for us to live in, rather than stagnant, dangerous streets full of heavy machinery that maim thousands of us every year.
You should be there if you think that people dying because of smog is a problem we should have left behind in the Industrial era.
You should be there if the idea of children being driven 500 metres to school because there is no safe, active alternative strikes you as madness.
You should be there if you’re fed up with the stubborn political support to a 30mph residential speed limit that 80% of us disagree with.
You should be there if Britain’s continued position at the top of European pedestrian fatality scoreboards appalls you.
You should be there if you suspect the Scottish Government is going to fail to reach their ‘10% of trips by cycle’ target if they continue to commit a measly £3 per person annually on walking and cycling projects, no matter what spin they put on it.
You should be there if you want the freedom to choose a healthy way of getting around, rather than being forced to use a car because councils across Scotland can’t be bothered to enforce the planning guidelines we were assured would be used.
You should be there to demand that your politicians take your views into account, rather than hiding behind “this is how it’s always been done”.
You should be there.
Midday, Saturday 26 April.
Some bonus fun facts that I can work in now I’ve dropped the call-to-arms, ‘you should there’-ness:
- The PoP 8 point manifesto (complete with links to the research behind many of the claims I made above) is here. Cycling and walking is inseparable given both count as “active transport”, so if you’re not a cyclist just replace the odd word with a walking equivalent. Every point of the manifesto benefits you, whether you choose to walk or cycle.
- The distance from Middle Meadow Walk to the Parliament building is a smidge over a mile. Although most people will be on bikes, if you loiter near the front of the queue and walk it you’ll still reach the end way before the last bike sets off. Most people end up riding at walking speed anyway – it’s hard to wave regally to the cheering crowds when you’re flying over cobblestones.
- If you’re coming across from Glasgow, you’ve a couple of options. You could cycle all the way across, but it’s a pretty tedious slog, especially if there’s a headwind. If you’re going for speed try the B7066, or give the canal cyclepath a try if you’ve got rugged enough tyres. You could take the train, but be aware that bike spaces will be very limited (all the more reason to walk!). Or you could drive across.
- There’s some great (as in bizarre) bikes there, a carnival atmosphere, lot’s of happy people, and if it all get’s too much you’re in the middle of Edinburgh – there’s plenty else to do.