Mums get on their bike to launch Scotland local election campaign We Walk, We Cycle, We Vote
Along with dads and kids, the campaigning mums highlighted the launch of #walkcyclevote, a collaborative campaign that is targeting local election candidates for the upcoming council elections on 4 May. We Walk, We Cycle, We Vote is asking council candidates to pledge their support for more financial investment in local authority budgets for cycling and walking, improved infrastructure to enable everyone to cycle and walk safely and conveniently, and to tackle local barriers to increase walking and cycling in their council wards.
Enabling more people to walk and cycle can provide an answer to some of the most long-term pressing issues faced in Scotland, including air pollution, town and city congestion, ill health, obesity and the rising cost of physical inactivity to the NHS. The research and evidence to back up the positive outcomes of walking and cycling is overwhelming. Walking and cycling are also cost effective methods of transport for short journeys, and can be a great way of spending time with children if the environment is safe and accessible. The mothers campaigning for walking and cycling today want their kids and everyone else to be able to walk and cycle easily and safely and will be asking council candidates if they agree.
Caroline Brown, Director of the Edinburgh Festival of Cycling said:
“I want my children to grow up in a Scotland where walking and cycling are the obvious choices for short, everyday journeys. At the moment, all across Scotland, these transport modes are neglected by politicians and lack the investment and infrastructure to make our towns, cities and countryside safe and accessible for anyone looking to jump on a bike or walk from A to B. The #WalkCycleVote campaign will be asking all candidates in the local elections if they support more investment, better infrastructure and local action to reduce walking and cycling barriers, and as a voter I’ll be asking them too.”
Suzanne Forup, Head of Development Scotland at Cycling UK and a mum of five year old Sebastian, said:
“It’s not easy to walk places with my little boy when I am so concerned about air pollution and his safety due to high levels of traffic. We are also extremely limited in where we can cycle for the same reasons. I’d love for my family to be able to cycle safely in Edinburgh, but without separated cycle provision from traffic it’s almost impossible to achieve. That’s why I’m here today with the #WalkCycleVote campaign – I’m here for every family who would choose to walk and cycle if the conditions were right and I’m sure many other families and individuals would like to know if their council candidates agree with me.”
Daisy Narayanan, Mum of two and Deputy Director of Sustrans Scotland, said:
“Cycling is a wonderful way to get around, to be healthy and to have fun as a family. It’s also a great way to tackle the issues we have in Scotland with sedentary lifestyles, especially among children and young people. We need to have safe routes to school, to work, to the park, to the shops - which in turn requires a joined up approach to the provision of safe cycling and walking infrastructure. I’m supporting this #WalkCycleVote campaign today so that my two children, and children throughout Scotland can get around by bike for more of their everyday journeys.”
We Walk, We Cycle, We Vote will be contacting local authority council candidates across Scotland over the next few months and will publish candidates’ responses to the campaign’s three asks, as well as providing resources and guidance for local campaigners in communities across the country. If you’d like to learn more about the campaign and to get involved, visit www.walkcyclevote.scot.
Notes to editors
About We Walk, We Cycle, We Vote
- There is a selection of images to illustrate the We Walk, We Cycle, We Vote campaign launch on this link.
- We Walk, We Cycle, We Vote (WCV) is a collaborative campaign comprised of 47 members from across Scotland, including Cycling UK, charities, volunteer-led community groups and campaigning organisations. See the full list of members on the website: http://www.walkcyclevote.scot/who
- WCV was founded in 2015, initially as a campaign for the 2016 Holyrood elections. In 2017 the campaign is spanning Scotland and asking council candidates from all political parties to pledge their support for walking and cycling in advance of the local elections on 4 May.
- The campaign is asking candidates from all political parties to pledge their support for the following three asks:
- Investment: Provide sustained, long term investment in both cycling and walking, reaching 10% of the transport budget.
- Infrastructure: Build and maintain dedicated cycling infrastructure suitable for people of all ages and abilities.
- Local action: To solve the main local barriers to active travel, as identified by residents and businesses.
- We Walk, We Cycle, We Vote is a non party-political campaign.
About WCV’s three campaign asks
Investment: A long-term commitment to raise the share of local authority transport budgets spent on walking and cycling to 10% will allow councils to plan for the future and invest in the staff and infrastructure needed to build a cost-effective active transport network. In Scotland, the City of Edinburgh Council is the only local authority that has so far reached 10% of its transport budget ring-fenced for cycling. Current short-term funding and temporary boosts to spending make it hard for councils to plan ahead and favours ‘quick wins’ over the highest priorities within a community.
Infrastructure: Too much infrastructure being built today does not encourage walking and cycling, as it doesn’t make journeys simple and convenient. Current design guidelines do not reflect best practice and the legislative framework inhibits innovative solutions. Narrow on-road lanes might cater to existing cyclists but they don’t do much to create new ones compared with separating cycles from traffic. Meandering paths through parks, unlit at night, might provide families with a nice day out but won’t encourage women to walk or cycle to work. Barriers at the entrances to paths can bar those in wheelchairs and on non-standard bikes from using them. Shared use pavements make neither walking nor cycling pleasant and can be particularly detrimental to the visually impaired. We should learn from the Danish and Dutch and bring best practice walking and cycling infrastructure to Scotland’s towns, cities and countryside.
Local action: Every local community has different barriers to tackle for better walking and cycling provision. Local action to improve active travel could be anything from slower speeds, the removal of physical barriers such as bollards and chicanes, improved street or path lighting, better walking and cycling surfaces, or the development of a local route or access point to make walking and cycling journeys safer, more direct and convenient. Every community is different and we would like to see council candidates pledge to take named actions to improve active travel in their local area.
Press contact information
Cycling UK Press Office