June 2014

Hot breakfast!

Even the sun visited this year’s June 18 Spokes Bike Breakfast – with another great turnout and lots of appreciative comments…

breakfast @Ruth_BCT BqZgjfyCcAEUa-q CROPAfter (and during) the breakfast, which was also part of Edinburgh Festival of Cycling, Spokes received a good hundred happy tweets and retweets, including…

@Ruth_BCT … First ever cycle to work this morning & I survived! Helped along by the @SpokesLothian cyclist’s breakfast – thanks! pic.twitter.com/agCtJrQL1q

@TheBagie … @edfoc @SpokesLothian @LesleyHinds @AndrewDBurns Many thx for brekkie #BikeBreakfast #Edinburgh Bacon Roll fuel for 15K detour on commute

@McGowanAlistair… @adamrmcvey @CyclingEdin @SpokesLothian Thanx for event. Appreciated getting bike registered @EdinburghPolice chain-cleaned @EdinburghBikes

@talloplanic @SpokesLothian Thanks for holding another great Bike Breakfast. Up extra-early this year to join queue for rolls! @LAHinds @JimEadie_msp

@dnwood … Lots to see and do, lots of friendly faces, lots of free stuff (bacon!) at the @SpokesLothian Bike Breakfast! http://twitpic.com/e6er1a

@SH_IpsosMORI … Excellent bacon roll and coffee at the @Edinburgh_CC @SpokesLothian bike breakfast. Worth riding up the Mound for.

@AndrewDBurns … Here’s the @SpokesLothian Bike Breakfast – viewed from my Office window! – taken earlier this morning 😉 pic.twitter.com/JsAnIFpAMb [Spokes Note: this shows that Cllr Burns gets to work early, as there’s almost no one there yet – must be 7.30am!]

@adamrmcvey … Arrived in a busy City Chambers on my bike (albeit a little sweaty) for the @SpokesLothian bicycle breakfast pic.twitter.com/41ojA4wjHj

@CllrChasBooth … Bikes galore at the @SpokesLothian bike breakfast pic.twitter.com/SXhEOTL9Pk

@gavincorbett … With the evergreen @davedufeu at a very busy @SpokesLothian bike breakfast during @edfoc week

@SarahBoyackMSP … @SpokesLothian @edfoc @CyclingEdin @JimEadie_msp @LAHinds Thanks for Spokes Breakfast. Great turnout & focus on sustained investment

@backonmybike … Offer food and the cyclists arrive! Great buzz @SpokesLothian Cycle Breakfast! pic.twitter.com/n4bfZilNSJ

Many pictures were taken, some of which can be clicked in the above tweets.  Find more here at flickr.com.  You may find more appearing on the Edinburgh Festival of Cycling  flickr group.   Please tell us of any more Bike Breakfast online photo sets.

Also a nice Breakfast write-up from Edinburgh Council Leader Cllr Andrew Burns, who got a round of applause from the crowd for cycling to work every day.

Councillors/MSPs at the Bike Breakfast

Please tell us if anyone is omitted
* = member of Spokes

Ward 4 – Forth
Cllr Cammy Day Labour
Cllr Steve Cardownie SNP [Council Deputy Leader]
Ward 5 – Inverleith
Cllr Lesley Hinds  Labour [Transport Convener][Speaker – see below]
Cllr Nigel Bagshaw*  Green
Ward 9 – Fountainbridge/Craiglockhart
Cllr Andrew Burns  Labour [Council Leader] – who received a round of applause for cycling to work every day (almost)
Cllr Gavin Corbett*  Green
Ward 13 – Leith
Cllr Adam McVey SNP [Transport Vice-Convener]
Cllr Chas Booth*  Green
Cllr Gordon Munro*  Lab
Ward 15 – Southside/Newington
Cllr Steve Burgess  Green
Cllr Jim Orr*  Independent
Ward 16 – Liberton/Gilmerton
Cllr Bill Cook  Lab
Ward 17 – Portobello/Craigmillar
Cllr Maureen Child*  Lab

Scottish Parliament

Jim Eadie MSP SNP  [speaker – see below]
Alison Johnstone MSP*  Green
Sarah Boyack MSP*  Lab

Stalls included…

Speeches breakfast @AndrewDBurns BqZynsIIUAEGX0t

From Spokes   Dave du Feu thanked the breakfast organisers from Spokes and the Council, the stall holders and the many people who had turned up.  Sadly there were no centrally-organised feeder rides this year, as coordinator Mike Smith had left – Spokes would welcome a volunteer for next year!

He congratulated Edinburgh City Council on sticking to the budget commitment to allocate 5% of transport spending, rising by 1% a year, now 7% in 2014/15, to cycling projects – this is a really big decision, which sets Edinburgh apart from every other Scottish local authority and the Scottish Government.   As a result, Edinburgh had attracted considerable additional match-funding from Sustrans, and several big projects were in the pipeline.

However there were some concerns, of which two important ones are…

  • Main roads into the city – these are the source of the most serious crashes involving cyclists, and are frightening to many.   The Active Travel Action Plan includes an action to improve their cycle facilities, yet almost nothing has been done.  Furthermore, the actions on such roads should include segregated and/or mandatory facilities.
  • Maintaining a strong central cycling team – the council is increasingly devolving financial and staff resources to local areas and local teams.  This makes sense for some purposes (e.g. new drop kerbs) but we are concerned at signs that it may go too far and threaten the strength of the central cycle team.  The team is essential to prioritise, design and consult on major schemes, to maintain standards in transport and planning and, essential for the council, to continue raising significant outside match-funds.

At National level, the Scottish Government had almost doubled cycling investment for 14/15, up from around 1% of transport spending to nearly 2%, resulting in many new projects throughout Scotland.  However, this was still hopelessly insufficient alongside their aim of 10% of all trips to be by bike in 2020.  Worse, much of the cash was from ‘windfall’ sources, such as underspending on the next Forth Road Bridge, not a regular cycling budget.  It was therefore quite possible that cycling investment would fall back towards 1% in 15/16 and beyond.

There is plenty scope above for concerned members of the public to lobby their councillors on local issues and their MSPs on the budget for 15/16 and beyond.

From the Scottish Parliament, Jim Eadie MSP …

Jim Eadie, who is a co-convener of the Scottish Parliament Cross-Party Cycling Group, spoke of areas where he would like to see big changes…

  • A culture-change towards road use and conditions for cycling.  Edinburgh’s 20mph proposals were a good step in this direction.
  • More Cycling Champions in Councils and the Scottish Parliament, to help push for policy improvements and proper cycling budgets
  • More councils to follow Edinburgh’s lead in giving higher emphasis to cycling
  • Consistent and growing investment in cycling by the Scottish Government, rather than much of the funding being dependent on sporadic windfalls from other budgets.

In conclusion, he urged everyone to lobby their MSPs for an adequate, regularised and rising cycle funding in the 15/16 government budgets and beyond.  Only with enough support from MSPs would this happen.

From Edinburgh City Council, Transport Convener Cllr Lesley Hinds …

Cllr Hinds spoke of projects now underway, and coming soon…

  • The Council’s 7% cycling budget.  She emphasised that this was not set in stone, but was decided each year by councillors, whose views differ considerably.  It was up to everyone to ensure that their own councillors understood the value of provision for cycling.   The council’s budget also wins big match-funding capital from Sustrans, benefitting the local economy.
  • Cycle training for HGV drivers [see Spokes 119, p5]
  • Leith Walk, enhanced cycle lanes in the narrower north half, segregated in the south
  • George Street – Edinburgh’s first physically segregated onroad cycle route
  • East-West largely-segregated route, Roseburn to Leith Walk – a major design/consultation exercise, thanks to Sustrans match-funding
  • A cycle-carriage off-peak tram trial after 6 months, first in the UK on a scheduled service
  • A Walking Forum to work on the Active Travel Action Plan alongside the Cycle Forum

Finally, like Jim Eadie, Cllr Hinds emphasised the great importance of people contacting their councillors periodically about cycling issues.  This helps not just with specific issues, but with maintaining general support amongst councillors, so that they remain positive when budget decisions are made.

Cllr Hinds said that although she is happy to receive tweets it was absolutely vital that this did not replace individuals contacting their own councillors.  The council will only give a priority to active travel if most councillors understand and support it – otherwise a Transport Convener can achieve much less and the cycling budget itself could be threatened.

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