Cycling: Not just for superheroes!

Monday April 22nd 2019

Pedal-on-Parliament-Midlothian

This year, the annual Pedal on Parliament protest is expanding its reach even wider than before, and will bring a weekend of pop-up action to local streets around Scotland. Unlike the mass demonstrations of previous years, POP 2019 will bring a multitude of creative protests that highlight specific barriers to cycling and the need for safer cycling infrastructure on local streets across the country.

Local Midlothian cycling campaigners, have organised a Midlothian event in King’s Park, Dalkeith, on Saturday 27th April, 12noon – 2pm. There will be activities in the park and a short group ride at 12.30 led by Alan Brown, who is a director of Bike Station, a cycling charity that promotes good mental and physical health through encouraging people to cycle.

Pedal on Parliament have been a voice for people who cycle within Scotland for eight years. They also represent a significant proportion of the population who don’t cycle because of the barriers or lack of provision within the transport network. In their manifesto, Pedal on Parliament ask not only for proper funding for active travel, but for our roads to be designed for the needs of cyclists of all ages and abilities.

Sally Hinchcliffe, one of the founding organisers of Pedal on Parliament said:

“We all know the benefits that more cycling would bring to Scotland – and we all know why people don’t do it despite all the advantages. Quite simply, the roads are often just too scary for all but a tiny few. Instead of being able to hop on a bike and ride, would-be cyclists face fast roads, heavy traffic, terrifying junctions and drivers who seem to be out to get them.

“Cycling should not just be for the fit and the brave. It should be for school kids getting to school. It should be for families who can’t afford a car, for shift workers, for those with disabilities, for those living in the meanest streets as well as the leafiest suburbs. At the moment, those who would benefit most from cycling are the ones who are least able to do it. We want to see that changed.”

Cycle campaigner and POP organiser Iona Shepherd said:

“This year we aim to point our protests at specific barriers to cycling that, if improved, would open up active travel to so many more people. Using a bike to get around brings endless benefits not only to our own pockets, health and mental wellbeing, but to the wider environment, with benefits to air quality, congestion, costs to the NHS and boosts to local economies. If we can break down the issues on our roads that prevent most people from cycling, we can start to see these benefits manifest.

“Barriers to the uptake of active travel are plentiful. Our Pop-Up protests will be highlighting issues like lack of cycle space separated from vehicular traffic, poorly designed and maintained paths, and lack of safe routes to schools. These are all barriers we face too often in Scotland and, in the cloud of climate emergency, we desperately need to see that change.”

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