Lothian MSP - ‘Spend £20 per person on cycling’

The proposal would include pothole repairs and repainting road markings. Picture: Greg Macvean
The proposal would include pothole repairs and repainting road markings. Picture: Greg Macvean
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A LEADING Lothian MSP says £20 should be spent on cycling infrastructure and safety for every person in Scotland in a “once-in-a-generation” fund designed to bring roads up to European standards.

A proposal that would involve £100 million – five per cent of the Scottish transport budget – being spent on cycling and walking infrastructure across Scotland has been put forward by Green MSP and co-convener of Holyrood’s cross-party group on cycling, Alison Johnstone.

Expanding the use of 20mph zones in residential and shopping streets and ploughing tens of millions into repairing potholes, repainting road markings and redesigning risky junctions are the top spending priorities.

The blueprint was released in the wake of two popular Edinburgh cyclists being killed in the past three weeks. Pensioner Douglas Brown, from Leith, died in hospital on Sunday after being hit by a truck as he cycled on the B9080 Linlithgow to Kirkliston road three days earlier. Mr Brown was a founding member of the Edinburgh Triathletes.

The club also lost vice-president Andrew McMenigall, who died after being struck by an articulated lorry in Cornwall during a fundraising bike ride on July 2.

Ms Johnstone said: “My heart goes out to the families and friends of both men who have died doing something that they clearly both loved. Although both tragedies took place in very different places, the common theme is that both were victims of a transport system which treats cyclists as second-class citizens.

“At the moment the Scottish Government spends a minuscule 0.7 per cent of its transport budget on cycling and walking infrastructure. If we are remotely serious about hitting the target of having ten per cent of all journeys made by bike by 2020 – the current rate is just one per cent – we need a substantial shift in funding.”

The model has been backed by cycling campaign group Spokes. Edinburgh City Council is also targeting an even more ambitious 15 per cent of all commuter journeys being made by bicycle by 2020.

A Transport Scotland spokesman said an average of £3.80 per head was being spent on cycling in Scotland – more than double that of England outside of London.

The spokesman said almost £58m was being invested into cycling infrastructure, training and road safety projects, adding: “Later this month we will unveil details of the Mutual Respect road safety campaign, which has been developed with input from key safety partners and is being backed by funding of £424,000 from the Scottish Government to help change behaviour on our roads.”