PEDALLER

Scotland: demands grow for action, not nice words, to save lives

nicewaycodeToday the Scottish government launched its ‘Nice Way Code’ which asks people who drive to give cyclists more space and overtake them with care. Keith Brown, Transport Minister, said that the government’s campaign “seeks to build a culture of tolerance and patience…”

The government plans to do this by raising awareness that “road safety really is everyone’s responsibility.”

The police are quoted in the Evening Telegraph as stating, “there is a responsibility on all road users to be prepared, act responsibly and be aware of others around them at all time.”

Various groups have been called in to promote being nice, including Cycling Scotland.

CHANGE THE ROAD ENVIRONMENT

The campaign group Pedal on Parliament (POP) set its sight on the government’s myopic view:

Research shows that the most effective means to reduce road deaths are changes to the road environment and lower speeds. Education campaigns, especially where not backed up by visible enforcement, do very little. Spending nearly £500,000 asking drivers, cyclists and pedestrians all to be nicer to one another offers poor value for money on its own.

Putting it even more bluntly, Sally Hinchcliffe, an organiser at POP, said,

It’s the way our roads are designed and policed that put drivers and people on bikes into conflict.

We couldn’t agree more! We urge the Scottish Government to create space for cycling in order to address the 5 years of rising numbers of people killed while riding a bicycle.

BUILD BETTER INFRASTRUCTURE INSTEAD

David Brennan, who uses a bicycle to commute to work in Glasgow, has written a ‘conversation’ of what he supposes the government’s campaign is to inspire on Scotland’s road: see his magnatom website for Nice Way Code? Nice To Be Safe.

Needless to say, he was not impressed with the government’s campaign:

Stop wasting money! Seriously! Keith and his government have just wasted £424,000 of tax payers money that could have been used to build cycle infrastructure. ,

LARGE INCREASE IN PEOPLE KILLED OR INJURED

The City Cycling Edinburgh forum point to Transport Scotland’s own statistics which show a grim reality: compared with the 2004-8 baseline, there has been a 19% increase in people killed or seriously injured (KSI) whilst riding a bicycle.

No surprise then, that today Frank McAveety, the Cycling Tsar for Scotland, had this to say to the HearldScotland regarding Glasgow, one of the places where he is currently touring around by bicycle:

There is a lack of obvious space for cyclists and there needs to be a regular examination of key junctions in the city.

He finishes by highlighting how places such as Amsterdam get it right for people who choose to cycle. The Times reported that there are 1.1 people killed on average per 100,000,000 km cycled but that is far less than the 3.8 over the same distance in the UK.

Click thumbnail to read an article about the Get Britain Cycling report.

Click thumbnail to read an article about the Get Britain Cycling report.

GET BRITAIN CYCLING

STV news also reported on today’s launch in its article ‘Cycle Group: campaign shows ‘lack of commitment’ to saving lives‘. They reported that the government told them “Effective road safety relies on the three ‘E’s – education, enforcement and engineering.”

The government went on to say that just £3.80 per person is spent on cycling. The recent Get Britain Cycling report to the UK Parliament called for a minimum of £10, increasing in short order to £20, per person to be spent.

TAKE ACTION YOURSELF, TOGETHER

You can do something: organise or join-in a local protest ride on Monday 2nd September 2013, at the same time that the UK Parliament debate gets underway. See details HERE.

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