Thousands of people from all over Scotland gathered in the meadows today to call on the Scottish Government to do more to make cycling safer.
This is the second year that cyclists have come together to Pedal on Parliament – and this year the protest was even bigger than last year.
Greener Leith organised a “feeder ride” last year, and it picked up about 25 people by the time we’d got to the Meadows. In 2013, as the photo above shows, we’d beaten that tally before we even left Leith Links. In the end, there were about 33 folk on the Greener Leith feeder ride, spanning a huge range of ages and cycling experience.
We were delighted that Labour MP Mark Lazarowicz, came, as he did in 2012, to support the ride too.
We asked some of the people who came on the ride why they decided to Pedal on Parliament.
Dave Parry, from Trinity, said: “I came on the first ride. Looking back, it looks like this one is bigger. I think that it feels a bit more organised than last year.”
Asked whether he thought anything had changed in the last year he said: “Yes, I think there’s better facilities, particularly in the Leith area and towards Portobello, which I use a lot more now, but there’s still a lot to be done. There’s still a lot of glass on the cycle tracks which is not great but I think the awareness of cycling has increased since last year, so things are going in the right way.
Asked what he wanted the Scottish Government to do as a consequence of the Pedal on Parliament ride he added simply: “Help us ride our bikes more.”
Charlotte Bunting, who cycled with her young son in a child seat said: “I’ve come along today because I’ve been cycling for years, I commute to work, quite a long cycle to work, and I’m committed to trying to improve that situation.
“I was hit by a car once and I was injured quite badly, so I’m quite keen to make the roads safer. I’m also keen to make the roads safer for my baby too as I want him to get cycling too.
“Cycling is important for lot’s of different objectives that the government has, for health and wellbeing, for a better environment, and happier people. There’s lots of targets they can meet by promoting cycling so I would encourage them to do that.”
“I think the government needs to invest in educating drivers a lot more, but also making the roads safer by keeping cycling on the roads. I don’t think we should be hidden away off the roads, but that the roads should be made safer for cyclists.”
Lorna Hoy, from Newhaven said: “I came on the ride because I like cycling and I think it’s a great way to get around Edinburgh and I think it’s lovely to meet all these people with different kinds of bikes. Some with lycra, some with children on the back, some in fancy dress – I’ve just seen a wee girl dressed up as a ghost! I think it’s a good way to get around, but I think the roads in Leith – and in Edinburgh – are pretty dreadful at the moment.”
“If there was one thing that I want the government to do, it’s make it safer on the roads, and perhaps on the pavements – I think that there should be certain cycle lanes that are off the road and out the way of traffic.”
Thanks to everyone who came on the Leith feeder ride and supported the Pedal on Parliament campaign. If you couldn’t make the ride, but support the aims of the campaign, you can always write to your MSPs – and don’t forget the Lothian’s list ones – to ask them to support the Pedal on Parliament manifesto. An easy way to do this is by using the site www.writetothem.com