Despite a damp June 17, there was a great turnout and lots of appreciative comment at our 2015 Spokes Bike Breakfast.
The breakfast, which was also part of Edinburgh Festival of Cycling, resulted in well over 100 happy tweets and retweets. Without a hashtag, you’ll not find most of them, so we’ve pasted a few in below. Next year will be #SpokesBB to make them instantly accessible!
@McGowanAlistair Sinclar #C5 @SpokesLothian bike breakfast
Many pictures were taken, some of which can be found by clicking the above tweets. You may find more appearing on the Edinburgh Festival of Cycling flickr group. Please tell us of any more Bike Breakfast online photo sets.
Councillors/MSPs at the Bike Breakfast
Please tell us if anyone is omitted
* = member of Spokes
Ward 4 – Forth
Cllr Cammy Day Labour – tweet
Ward 9 – Fountainbridge/Craiglockhart
Cllr Andrew Burns Labour [Council Leader] – tweet – who received a round of applause for cycling to work every day (almost)
Cllr Gavin Corbett* Green [apologies sent due to family illness]
Ward 10 – Meadows/Morningside
Cllr Melanie Main* – Green
Ward 11 – City Centre
Cllr Joanna Mowat – Conservative
Ward 15 – Southside/Newington
Cllr Steve Burgess Green – tweet
Cllr Jim Orr* – Independent
Cllr Cameron Rose* – Conservative
Ward 17 – Portobello/Craigmillar
Cllr Maureen Child* Lab – tweet
Alison Johnstone MSP* Green [speaker, see below]
- Edinburgh Bicycle did a massive job on chain-cleaning and ran a £100 prize draw
- Police Scotland security-marked large numbers of bikes.
- Sustrans Scotland
- Edinburgh Festival of Cycling
- Sustrans BikeLife project
- City of Edinburgh Council, cycle team
- Cycling Scotland
From Spokes Dave du Feu thanked the breakfast organisers from the Council and Spokes, the stall holders and everyone who had come along – including a good number of politicians.
He congratulated Edinburgh City Council on two UK firsts. They are the first council to commit to 10% of transport spending going to cycling – as recommended back in 2008 by the Association of Directors of Public Health. This is a really big decision, putting Edinburgh ahead of all 300+ councils and the Scottish and UK Governments. As a result, Edinburgh had attracted considerable additional match-funding from Sustrans, and several big projects were in the pipeline. Secondly, although bike carriage on trams is common in the US and Europe, Edinburgh is the first UK city to allow it on regular services (offpeak).
However there were some concerns, of which two important ones are…
- Cutting back bus lanes – Bus lanes are not perfect cycling infrastructure, but hugely better than nothing. We are very disturbed that the council is scrapping Saturday and off-peak weekday bus lanes for 18 months, with a view to permanence – despite 150 written objections from individuals, community councils, and others – and when Glasgow is expanding its bus lane times.
- Main roads into the city – these are the source of the most serious crashes involving cyclists, and are scary to many people. 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.
At National level, the Scottish Government had almost doubled cycling investment for 14/15, up from around 1% of transport spending to nearly 2%, and the Minister has promised it will be no less in 15/16. However, this was still hopelessly insufficient alongside their aim of 10% of all trips to be by bike in 2020. Government priorities are shown by the £3000m project to dual one road (A96, Aberdeen-Inverness) – equal to 75 times annual ~£40m cycling investment for the whole of Scotland [Spokes 122, p6-7].
With Holyrood elections in 2016, a top priority now is to email MSPs about party election manifestos. They could adopt Edinburgh’s policy – 5% of the transport budget going to cycling, rising by 1% a year up to 10%.
From Edinburgh City Council, Transport Convener Cllr Lesley Hinds …
Cllr Hinds spoke of projects now underway, and coming soon…
- Cycle use continues to rise. Up in the 2011 census, and the Council’s automatic counter data shows a 20% further rise in the 3 years from 2011.
- The Council’s cycling budget – 8% of transport spending in 15/16 rising to 9% and 10% in the next two years. To ensure this continues, it is 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. This combination was bringing some excellent projects, including…
- The widely-praised A90 path – the opening of which had been her first lengthy bike ride
- The Innocent-Meadows segregated & quiet-road route – to be opened shortly and followed next year by Meadows-Canal.
- Leith Walk – enhanced cycle lanes in the narrower north half, segregated in the south including the imminent Pilrig-MacDonald Road section
- George Street – the experiment ends in September, with interim advisory lanes to be provided pending a final George Street layout with segregated onroad lanes, which will be widely consulted on
- East-West largely-segregated route, Roseburn to Leith Walk [Spokes 122 page 4]. It is difficult, but it will be done. A major design/consultation exercise will be held this summer
- The cycle-carriage off-peak tram trial– first in UK on a scheduled service
Finally, Cllr Hinds emphasised the great importance of people contacting their own 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. In particular, she thanked all the people and organisations supporting the Council’s city-wide 20mph plan, which helped counter the inevitable opposition.
From the Scottish Parliament, Alison Johnstone MSP …
Alison Johnstone MSP, who is a co-convener of the Scottish Parliament Cross-Party Cycling Group and a long-standing Spokes member, congratulated Edinburgh on its budget decision, which gave a lead to other councils and the Scottish Government.
Public health was a major issue, with physical inactivity having become one of the most significant causes of premature death, and cycling or walking for everyday journeys could make a huge impact on this.
She urged everyone to lobby their MSPs and political parties for an adequate, regularised and rising cycle funding in manifestos for the Scottish Parliament Holyrood elections in 2016. Parties are already thinking about what will go into their manifestos.