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How these three pledges will transform Scotland for active travel

  • Investment: Provide sustained, long term investment in both cycling and walking, reaching 10% of the transport budget. A long-term commitment to raise the share of the transport budget spent on active travel over the course of the next parliament to our target of 10% will allow local authorities and delivery agencies, such as Sustrans and Paths for All, to plan for the future and invest in the staff and infrastructure needed to build a cost-effective active transport network. Current short-term funding and temporary boosts to spending make it hard for councils to plan ahead and tends to favour ‘quick wins’ rather than the highest priorities within a community
  • Infrastructure: Build and maintain dedicated cycling infrastructure, enabling people aged 8-80 to cycle. Too much infrastructure being built today doesn’t take into account the needs of all cyclists. Narrow on-road lanes might cater to existing cyclists but they don’t do much to create new ones compared with provision with separation from traffic. Meandering paths through parks, unlit at night, might provide families with a nice day out but won’t encourage women to walk or cycle to work. Barriers at the entrances to paths can bar those in wheelchairs and on non-standard bikes – such as hand cycles, cargo bikes or adapted trikes – from using them. Shared use pavements make neither walking nor cycling pleasant and are particularly detrimental to the visually impaired. The Dutch and the Danes manage to design their streets so that everyone who wants to can cycle or walk without coming into conflict with each other or with heavy motorised traffic. We should learn from their experience and bring the very best international practice to Scotland’s towns, cities and countryside.
  • Safety: Promote and deliver safer roads for both walking and cycling. Although Scotland’s roads are getting safer overall, the most vulnerable road users are seeing far less benefit from the long term decline in road casualties – especially in the most deprived areas. Slower speeds, better enforcement and training for all road users are the way to start to reverse this trend, even  as we make the physical changes to our road network that will bring even greater safety in the long run.

These three priorities were agreed upon in discussions with members of the National Cycling Interest Group (NCIG), and they were also the top priorities by a long way at a Space for Cycling campaigners’ conference in Scotland in 2015.

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