Scotland local elections 2022: Starting cycling revolutions

Local elections on 5 May are the most important ever for cycling in Scotland. Cycling UK’s campaigns and policy manager in Scotland, Jim Densham, explains why and how you can speak up for cycling

In only 10 weeks’ time on 5 May, Scotland goes to the polls to vote in the local elections across all 32 Scottish council areas.  

There are many ways to get involved and call for local action for cycling, but one simple way is to tell politicians that this matters to you by signing our campaign petition. 

Take action


Like Brenda from Bristol you might be saying to yourself:, "You're joking - not another one!" as it’s less than 10 months since last May’s Scottish election where voting took place for MSPs to represent us at Holyrood.  

Since then, we have seen a huge boost for cycling with a record budget for active travel, a swathe of cycle-friendly policies announced by the Scottish Government, the first ever Minister for Active Travel, and the public consciousness pricked when COP26 came to Glasgow.  

Much of this success has been because of you and your support for our campaigns. 

Over 3000 people supported Cycling UK's Holyrood election manifesto messages that moved political parties to adopt many of our asks in their own election campaigns.  

In November, a huge turnout of cyclists for the COP26 march through the rainy streets of Glasgow was an amazing milestone for cycle campaigning in Scotland and the ‘This Machine Fights Climate Change’ message went viral. 

Building quickly on this strong foundation is now essential and the local elections are a key opportunity.

Influencing councils is key to achieving cycling revolutions across Scotland and makes the forthcoming local elections the most important ever for cycling in Scotland

Jim Densham, Cycling UK campaigns and policy manager in Scotland

Local elections matter 

More money for active travel from national government can only go so far, without buy-in and strong support from councils we won’t see any actual improvement for cycling or more people experiencing the benefits.  

Local councils are the ones who send out the planners, surveyors and diggers to create the cycle lanes and redesign our neighbourhoods to encourage and enable cycling, walking and wheeling for short, local journeys.  

Influencing councils is key to achieving cycling revolutions across Scotland and makes the forthcoming local elections the most important ever for cycling in Scotland.  

That’s why, as we launch our election campaign, our message is ‘delivery now’ - we're asking councils to make it happen by spending the record levels of funding now available for cycling, walking and wheeling on high-quality cycle routes and other projects which make neighbourhoods better for people. 

We're calling for cycling revolutions in local communities across Scotland to enable more people to cycle for pleasure and short local journeys, in attractive and safe urban and rural spaces. 

Our manifesto for cycling 

Cycling revolutions are essential in each local council area so we have developed a manifesto for cycling with 10 actions we want every council to take. 

If councils follow this checklist of actions it could transform how people choose to travel.  

These manifesto asks can be summarised into three key messages to councils:  

  • It's time to create a network of safe cycling routes to enable short journeys by bike.  
  • Cycling infrastructure is good value for money and brings many benefits to communities and people.   
  • Make neighbourhoods better for people and cycling rather than cars in rural and urban communities.  

What can I do?


Sign our campaign petition to show your support for the three message above and to tell politicians you care.  

Take action


Thousands of signatures, like last year, will send a strong message to political parties, councils and councillor candidates of the local support across Scotland.  


Connect with our Cycle Advocacy Network (CAN) network to learn of other actions you can take to call for change where you live ahead of the election.   

CAN champions can find information, campaign guides and events to energise local campaigning.  

Local campaigns 

Partner a local cycling campaign with us during the election to boost your message. 

At Cycling UK in Scotland we also want to support local campaign groups to call for local cycling revolutions in your council areas.  

Get in touch to coordinate and share ideas on how we can share your messaging, develop campaign asks, host a hustings and other support events.  

Email Campaigns.