THOUSANDS of cyclists have pedalled to the Scottish Parliament calling for safer cycling on the country’s roads.
Families with small children were joined by politicians and marchers for today’s event in Edinburgh, organised by the Pedal On Parliament group campaigning for more funding invested in cycling and lower speed limits in areas used by cyclists.
It was the third mass bike ride from the Meadows down the Royal Mile to be held by the group, with the families of cyclists killed in recent years joining in - including the family of Andrew McNicoll, who died in 2012.
Outside Holyrood, speeches were opened by children including Kyle Thomas, 11, who said: “I believe cycling is the future for Scotland. Cycling down the high street I thought to myself that this is how cycling should be, there wasn’t a single car on the road but lots of cyclists as it should be.”
Lynne McNicoll, stepmother of Mr McNicoll, said: “I was at the first Pedal On Parliament and to see so many more people attending today is just fantastic.
“The children have said it all for us - but I’m here because I don’t want anyone else to feel the way we feel every day since Andrew was killed on his bike.”
She urged everyone who attended to talk to their MSPs and get their support.
Transport Minister Keith Brown said: “We have to educate our children if we’re to make the network safe for children and their parents. We’re unapologetic about investing in education but it’s not the only thing to be done - we’re investing in safer routes to schools.”
The group has an eight-point manifesto asking for cycling to be integrated into local transport strategies and improved road traffic law and enforcement.
Organiser David Brennan said: “It’s been a lot of work putting this all together but it will be worth it if my kids can have the freedom to ride their bikes growing up.
“We’d like to see organisations across Scotland and the government working together to create a proper road map for safer cycling and walking - not just a vague vision or an educational initiative to teach children how to ride in traffic.
“In this year that Scotland decides its future, whatever the outcome of September’s vote, we know we can build a future for cycling in this country for our children and our children’s children.”