Pedal on Parliament (PoP) is almost upon us again (the 25 April, in case you haven’t yet pencilled it in to the calendar) and, for the first time, I won’t be pedalling.
I’ve got Owen for the day, and neither of us are up for cycling across with the child seat on the back of my tourer. We could take the bike on the train, but with only four cycle spaces every fifteen minutes between Glasgow and Edinburgh, it would be a big gamble getting there and back.
It just wouldn’t work.
Happily, Pedal on Parliament isn’t just for cyclists. Owen and I will be there on foot, waving the flag for the pedestrians of Scotland. This isn’t a particularly original idea—Denise Marshall has already written on Tech Addiction about why she’ll be walking the route, and indeed we’ll be joining in on the “feeder walk” she’s organised from Waverley station. However, it’s worth a brief pause to go over how the PoP manifesto would benefit everyone using their own energy to get around, whether that’s walking or cycling.
That manifesto (presented in detail here) is:
- Proper funding for cycling (5% of the transport budget on cycling, with a further 5% on other active travel*).
- Design cycling into Scotland’s roads (ie “going Dutch”, including not just dumping cyclists on footpaths).
- 20mph speed limits where people live, work and play (which would result in a 41% decrease in road casualties compared to 30mph).
- Local councils to build cycling in transport strategies, including ring-fenced funding and links with public transport.
- Sensible road traffic law and enforcement, so that parked cars don’t block pavements, dropped kerbs and sightlines and crossing places.
- A comprehensive package to eliminate the risk of lorries to cyclists and pedestrians, including better driver training, visibility, and limitations to where the biggest vehicles can be driven.
- A strategic and properly funded programme of road user training, including cycle and pedestrian awareness for HGV, bus and other professional drivers.
- Solid research and statistics on cycling to guide investment and decision-making.
With the exception of four and eight, people on foot will benefit just as much as those on bikes if the manifesto was adopted.
If you’re fed up of dire pavement surfaces because all the money goes on potholes, come to Pedal on Parliament.
Or if there’s no safe route for you to walk to work, the shops, the pub, or your local school.
Or if you think the odds of a kid surviving being struck by a car outside their home should be better than a flipped coin.
Or if you’re fed up of cyclists riding on the pavement because the roads are too dangerous.
Or if you want a fun day out with thousands of bizarre bikes, a general carnival atmosphere, and a rare chance to walk unimpeded through the centre of Edinburgh.
Come to Pedal on Parliament.
Saturday 25 April. Noon at the Meadows (if you’re on foot, come to the front of the big queue!), 11am at platform two of Edinburgh Waverley, or on the 0930 train from Queen Street (drop me a note if you’re coming along and I can make sure you get there ok!).
*Slightly comically, the Scottish Government includes public transport and taxis within their definition of active transport. Here, we mean methods of getting around that actually burn off cake.