Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Cyclists ride on capital calling for safer roads

Pedal on Parliament event
Image caption Hundreds of cyclists made their way from the Meadows to Holyrood

Cyclists have taken part in a demonstration in Edinburgh calling on candidates in next week's local election to make the roads safer.

The protest follows the deaths of two cyclists in the capital this year.

Organisers, Pedal on Parliament, say the campaign has been backed by the likes of Sir Chris Hoy.

Up to 2,000 cyclists were involved in the event, Lothian and Borders Police confirmed, making their way from the Meadows to the Scottish Parliament.

The group, Pedal on Parliament has created an eight-point manifesto designed to help the Scottish government meet its target of achieving 10% of journeys by bike by 2020.

They want proper funding for cycle network, slower traffic speeds and a reduction in the risks posed by HGVs along some cycle paths.

Transport minister Keith Brown said he backed calls to make Scotland a "cycle-friendly nation".

Mr Brown said: "Pedal on Parliament has bold ambitions and this government shares that ambition to make Scotland a cycle-friendly nation.

"Back in January, I addressed the cyclists who attended the Stop Climate Chaos rally at St Andrew's House in Edinburgh when I gave a commitment to listen and do more to help."

He said there has been "considerable progress" and investment in cycling infrastructure across the country.

More than £20m will be spent to support "active travel", which includes cycling, over the next three financial years.

Mr Brown said the government was working with the City of Edinburgh Council to pilot and assess 20mph zones in residential areas.

'Next generation'

The government aims to reduce by 30% the number of people killed on the roads by 2015.

The minister added: "Getting the next generation on board is pivotal.

"We have agreed a 40% target for on-road cycle training with Cycling Scotland and have given our support to every child or young person having the opportunity to saddle up."

Labour MSP Richard Baker said more investment was needed to ensure Scotland's cycling networks were fit for purpose.

He said: "We all share the desire to get more people cycling in Scotland, but it has to backed up with word as well as deed.

"The reality is that disproportionate cuts to the cycling budget are hitting plans and cycling networks across Scotland."

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