The Scotsman - 13 March 2012
Round-the-world cyclist Mark Beaumont is backing a mass cycle on the Scottish Parliament to demand safer roads for bikes.
Grassroots campaign group Pedal on Parliament is urging cyclists from across Scotland to join it in the event on April 28.
Its members have enlisted celebrity backing in the form of Mr Beaumont, while former world individual pursuit champion Graeme Obree has also been approached about lending his support.
The group, which will set off from the Meadows at 2pm on the day, has released a manifesto which it feels will help the government reach its target of ten per cent of journeys being made by bike by 2020.
Its demands include more funding for cycling and training, lower speed limits, and for cycling to be central to local transport strategies.
Mr Beaumont said: “I support the manifesto points and hope that the politicians do take notice of them. There have been some tragic accidents in recent months and small changes could make the difference between life and death.
“I’m also glad that the Pedal on Parliament organisers understand that cyclists and motorists must share the road, too many times cycling safety campaigns get bogged down in adopting a them and us stance. I’m both a cyclist and motorist myself and I’ll do my best to be there on the day too.”
Cycle safety has been in the headlines following the death of cyclist Bryan Simons, 40, after a collision with a taxi on Corstorphine Road last week.
The crash followed the deaths of three other cyclists in the last 12 months.
Lynne McNicoll, the step-mother of Andrew McNicoll who was killed on Lanark Road earlier this year, launched her own cycling safety campaign following his death.
She said: “We strongly support any initiative that can deliver improved cycling safety. It will require strong partnership working to achieve this within an acceptable timescale. We also welcome the debate involving both local and national politicians together with cycling organisations. We need action urgently.”
Chris Oliver, chairman of Cycling Touring Club Scotland strongly supports the ride.
He said: “Scotland has a long history of popular cycling which has been all but forgotten. We call on everyone, young and old, fast and slow, whether they already cycle or just wish they could to, from right across Scotland to come along to Pedal on Parliament to put pressure on Scotland’s politicians to sign up to the manifesto and show the rest of the UK that cycling doesn’t just belong on continental Europe, it also belongs to the country where it first began.”
Lothian Green MSP Alison Johnstone also backed the campaign. She said: “I’ve called for a rethink around road design and we need to look carefully at urban speed limits.”
The city council said various steps to improve the city’s environment for cyclists had already been undertaken. These included new on-street parking, 20mph limits on more than 50 per cent of the city’s residential streets and the city centre-King’s Buildings cycle corridor which opens this spring.