Cycling towards a greener Scotland
Greener Kirkcaldy’s Cycling Outreach team attended Cycling Scotland’s Annual Conference in October. This year’s theme was “Cycling towards a healthier, fairer, safer and greener Scotland”.
We arrived at the John McIntyre Conference Centre in Glasgow by bike on a damp morning. We were pleased there was space for our bikes on the train, which isn’t always the case!
In the exhibition area, Cyclehoop showed examples of good, safe cycle storage. Grease Monkey demonstrated a bike repair station. Some of the delegates made use of this facility, as they got a flat while cycling to the venue!
There were a wide range of keynote speakers at the conference.
Prof Devi Sridhar spoke first. She highlighted the importance of how active travel can improve the health of millions of people by improving air quality in urban areas. It is not only people commuting by walking or wheeling that benefit. She spoke about how action comes from the community. We, the people who vote, create action and change. She used a brilliant example of the Netherlands.
Contrary to popular belief, people in the Netherlands did not always love cycling. After the Second World War cars became the main form of transport until the 1970s. The community, through protest and campaigning, created the changes. In 1971, 400 children were killed by cars in one year. This spurred the creation of a Safer Roads campaign which changed the country forever.
Patrick Harvie, Co-Leader of the Scottish Greens, gave an update. The Scottish Government has pledged further support for active travel (with £320m ring-fenced in next year’s budget, 10% of the transport budget).
Sally Thomas, the Chief Executive of the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations, called for more work to be done within Scotland’s more deprived areas and to support people living in these areas with active travel.
A positive drive for cycling in Scotland
We’re really happy that we attended the conference. It helped us build our relationship with our current partners, such as Fife Council and Cycling Scotland, as we were able to share Greener Kirkcaldy’s ambitions and discuss how we can work together. We also benefited from talking to SPOKES, the campaigning group, who can support our work by providing advice from their years of experience.
We left energised and excited about the positive drive for cycling in Scotland. It was great to see that there are many organisations across Scotland working towards similar goals as our own.
Peter Wooding, Development Worker (Cycling Outreach)
Find out more about our cycling and walking projects.