In my first ever video blog, I do a bit of ‘active travel’, first cycling to work, then taking my bike on the train to Edinburgh for the afternoon. A look at integrated transport in Scotland.
It was interesting to chat with Stirling Cycle Hub and I was grateful that Suzanne came on video at a moment’s notice. They have been doing good work at Stirling Train Station for several years now. I hope to get back there soon to do more audio or video content.
I missed the Tour of Flanders to take my 5 year old to the Scottish Bike Show today. The show has moved towards a family event, and I’d like my little one to get into bike riding, but of her own accord, because she likes it. I have marketing on my mind right now, for various reasons,
I’d have liked to attend on the Saturday, of course, and hear what Sir Chris, Brian Smith and Finlay Pretsell had to say, and then catch de Ronde today with a few chilled Chimays. I suspect that is what many folks did, given today was reportedly quieter than the Saturday, but family is where it’s at for me right now.
I was greeted outside the show hall by David Brennan who was leafletting for the Pedal On Parliament Scotland event on Saturday 26th April. I have meant to attend this gathering in the past, as safer cycling is something I want for my own and my kids’ future. Guerilla marketing, perhaps, but David is always open for a friendly chat and was interested to absorb the views / observations I offered from the Stirling perspective – is enforcing a rule that kids must operate their own lock encouraging younger ones to ride to school, for example?
Inside the hall, we headed for Kiddimoto’s inflatable track (above), which is a superb way for them to market their balance bikes, helmets and accessories and I5 went back for three shots on it. She has all but grown out of the Firstbike balance bike I bought her 3 years ago, and it has done it’s job of circumventing the need for stabilisers, so she was fully confident here and at the upper end of the age range for this attraction.
In May this year cyclists young and old will once more be converging on Holyrood to urge the Scottish Government to make Scotland a cycle-friendly nation and Pedal on Parliament needs the help of club riders as well as ordinary cyclists to make it a mass event.
POPs manifesto, and other cycling advocacy issues are often seen as the domain of urban cycling ‘campaigners’. This blog has moved more towards club and racing themes but I can think of two local racers off the top of my head who were knocked off their bikes recently, one of whom was out of work for 6 months, lost his hard-earned fitness and had a top end frame destroyed. Road safety equally affects racers like the Drum-Up audience and the ordinary leisure cyclist or commuter.
“Pedal on Parliament: just a ‘wee protest’ then?”: Ian McNicoll (father of Andrew McNicoll, killed on his bike in Edinburgh in 2012) and Mark Beaumont lead out the ride from the Meadows. Photo courtesy of Richard Cross; http://www.richardx.co.uk/
‘POP2’ will start from the Meadows in Edinburgh at 3pm on Saturday 18th May and end at the Parliament building where politicians will be presented with an eight-point manifesto. Last year, 3000 cyclists, young and old, attended – an amazing turnout considering Pedal on Parliament is a grass-roots group that didn’t even exist a year ago. It couldn’t have been achieved without a wide base of support from cycling clubs – and POP needs even more people to attend this year if they are to keep the pressure up. Please help us to spread the word among your members – and let us know if there’s anything else you can do, whether it’s distributing posters , by helping other cyclists attend, or even organising your own ride to Pedal on Parliament on the day.
Going Carbon Neutral Stirling is planning a motorist awareness campaign later in the year to learn more about how motorists currently perceive cyclists on the road.
GCNS said: “Cycling will go up if safety and perception of safety increases. Using a marketing and film intern from France, we will examine the views of European drivers with regards to cyclists…how do European drivers see cyclists as other roads users, how do they feel about them? Are they a cyclist themselves? We then will investigate Stirling drivers to try to understand why our drivers act differently. Why don’t we see cyclists? Why do we not give them priority all of the time? What prompts might drivers need to act differently? Are we prepared to act differently to make the roads safer for other users? ”
Going Carbon Neutral Stirling has been awarded funding from the Climate Challenge Fund for several cycle projects in the area. One of these involves a fleet of 15 cargo bikes that will be available on a month’s loan- intended to get cycling for transport or utility seen and accepted as a normal thing.
In December 2008 Stirling Council commissioned a study to improve cycle lane standards. Following on from this, they consulted members of Stirling Bike Club and other community members about what was good and what was bad for cycling in the city, using a Google Map to highlight good, ‘needs fixing’ and dangerous spots. Discussion thread on Stirling Bike Club forum.
Further to this the council worked with two members of the club and JMP Consultants to produce an advisory map of graded roads in the Stirling area. Thread
New crossing on A905 Stirling
The crossing above was installed following the consultation and helps cyclists and pedestrians to cross safely on a stretch of road that is prone to speeding, which is great news.
However the “cycle lane” that has been painted on the pavement near the crossing is a daft afterthought, and is symptomatic of the worst kinds of cycling infrastructure. It directs cyclists into the path of oncoming traffic on a side road.
Stupid cycle "lane"
This shows two sides of the coin when it comes to developing cycling infrastructure. On the one hand, the consultation and the desire amongst planners to improve the infrastructure in a co-ordinated manner is a big plus. On the other hand, the implementation tends not to be particularly “joined up”.
Further reading: another lively thread about what Stirling is like to cycle in.
European Mobility week Edinburgh is 16th – 22nd September. As part of this, the city is trying Bike Friday – an organised social commute ride, starting from several designated points at the edge of town- Portobello (Swim Centre), Corstorphine (David Lloyd Centre) and Gracemount (Leisure Centre).
The idea is to mix experienced cyclists with ones less used to riding in traffic to try a commute. This has been achieved successfully in London, as featured recently on the Guardian’s Bike Podcast.
Could this work in Stirling? The council have already consulted local cycling club in preparation for improvements to the bike path network in Stirling. The city’s rush hour traffic has several ‘black-spots’ (such as the Craigs roundabout) that are difficult to navigate on a bike. An organised group commute could help newer commuters to overcome fear of these areas.