At the moment, cycling in Scotland enjoys a greater profile than it has for generations.
The idea that we should be significantly increasing public spending on this transport mode now has the editorial support of more or less every national newspaper.
Westminster and Holyrood politicians are falling over themselves to support cycling. Transport minister Keith Brown even visited the Netherlands in June to see their cycling successes for himself.
It is tempting to believe that “cycling’s time has come” but personally I don’t believe it – or not yet at least. There is still much work to be done simply because few kinds of radical change are easy.
But, as an experienced campaigner for another form of change (democratic change) I’m sure that many cycling “lobbyists” could benefit from learning from other campaigners.
Any “alternative vision”, whether constitutional or transportational, can seem irrelevant, undesirable or unachievable, but with hard work and a large dose of that most vital ingredient, positivity, change normally comes, if the cause is just.
The recent reaction of some cycling stakeholders to the Nice Way Code mutual respect campaign is an illustrative example of where positivity was lacking.
The quirky tone (“See Cyclist, Think Horse” for example) might not have appealed to everyone, but an awful lot of cyclists got themselves very wound up by this and anger is simply an unattractive and unhelpful emotion in almost all situations. Don’t get me wrong, every single fatality on our roads is a tragedy, but things are moving in the right direction and we need to keep public opinion on our side.
Ordinary people want to join movements which are inclusive, representative, cool and constructive and so it is imperative that all cycling campaigners do so with smiles on their faces.
Each and every parliament, assembly or local authority in the UK could do more to encourage cycling, but why view your glass as half empty? Amsterdam and Utrecht weren’t built in a day.
We cyclists (or “fast moving pedestrians” as some call us) won’t get anywhere if we forget to bring some love into the room when we want political support.
• Councillor Jim Orr is cycling spokesperson for Edinburgh City Council