Published On: Thu, Jun 15th, 2017 at 12:04pm

2017 Edinburgh Bike Breakfast

Councillors from the Labour Group, Green Group, Conservative Group and SNP and one Green MSP – where are the LibDems?

The 2017 Spokes Bike Breakfast was held today at the City Chambers. This is a busy spot this week as it is also home to the UK Supreme Court for most of this week so security in the area is tight.

Hot breakfasts were handed out to all cyclists who got there between 7.30 and 9.30am and there were stalls on all things cycling, including the informative Spokes maps and the police who were there to advise on road safety.

This has been hosted by the council for over 35 years and in view of the increasing number of cyclists in the city it becomes ever more popular.

A good crowd of cyclists visited the City Chambers quadrangle between 7.30 and 9.00am

Advice on keeping your bike in order!

SNP Group Leader and still likely Council Leader, if the Scottish Labour Exec ever get their ducks in a row, Adam McVey who said : “I went through a traumatic experience a couple of weeks ago when I turned 30. I have now joined the male, stale and pale category so I am clutching my cycling helmet to prove that I do still cycle into the City Chambers.” Cllr McVey who was Deputy Convener of Transport and Environment during the last administration continued : “Our health as a city needs cycling, our air quality needs cycling, our congestion needs cycling. I spent the last three years as the city’s Cycling Champion getting really into the root causes of congestion in this city, air quality, of understanding our transport mix, of understanding how we can improve our transport and our health and how we can link everything together in terms of lifestyle and transport. Transport has overtaken energy when considering air quality issues linked to carbon.

Cllr McVey mentioned the death of medical student Zhi Min Soh just the other week and said that despite all the investment in infrastructure there is still a lot to be done.

Alison Johnstone MSP attended the breakfast and called attention to the work done by Spokes to highlight cycling in the city. The organisation is in its 40th birthday year!

She said : “Lack of investment in safe walking and cycling infrastructure is contributing to the deaths of millions of people and overlooking a great opportunity to contribute to the fight against climate change.”

But she explained that while she agreed with the sentiment  these were not her own words but came from the United Nations Environment Programme.

Alison said : “Last autumn the UN called for 20% of all transport budgets to be spent getting people cycling and walking. My own party’s manifesto commitment was for at least 10% of any transport funding to be spent on walking and cycling. But I feel we need to tackle this issue and be more serious about it.

“We have a woeful national health record such as obesity and the stress epidemic. Cycling is the solution to so many of those problems. The Scottish Government’s transport manifesto is very focussed on the technology such as electric cars – but you may still sit in a traffic jam with all your electric cars!

“We are part of the solution especially today on National Clean Air Day.”

Alison also quoted the Copenhagen model which is held up as the epitome of what cycling in cities can look like. She continued : “The Danish Cycle Embassy has said that what really helped them was very strong political leadership and a former Mayor who had a dedicated and truly authentic interest in cycling. So we do need to continue to lobby our politicians at a local level and national level and demand the change we need to see.”

Cyclists gathered in the quadrangle at the City Chambers for a roll and cycling chat.

Many brought young children with them carried on the backs of bikes.

Cycling as a destresser?

Labour councillors Maureen Child, Cammy Day (who may yet be the Deputy Council Leader) and Marion Donaldson listening to the speeches.


About the Author

- Founding Editor of The Edinburgh Reporter. Edinburgh-born multimedia journalist, and always available for freelance work. A keen iPhoneographer!

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