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Government must get on its bike to hit cycling target

Scottish Greens Parliamentary Co-Leader Alison Johnstone MSP has slammed the Scottish Government for its failure to meet its own cycling target.

Scottish Ministers set themselves a target that by 2020 10% of everyday journeys will be by bike, but with just six months to go the figure sits at just 2%, with official statistics showing the number of people cycling actually declined last year.

The Transport Secretary is expected to make a statement to MSPs on this unacceptable performance today, following pressure from the Greens.

Alison Johnstone MSP said:“The Scottish Government’s performance on active travel is woeful. Ministers set themselves a target to get 10% of us cycling by 2020, but with just six months to go they are miles away.

“Only by equipping our towns and cities with safe cycling routes can we encourage people to get on their bikes as they head to work or allow their children to ride to school. Given that it’s now clear the Government cannot meet the 2020 target, the Transport Secretary must urgently engage with local authorities and establish exactly what it will take to deliver this target.

“Mr Matheson also needs to address the manner in which cycling projects are funded. Sustrans must be commended for their excellent work, but dishing out funds to a charity to deliver projects seems a rather bizarre way to fund key infrastructure schemes. I can only imagine the reaction if someone suggested we fund motorway expansion in the same way.

“Cycling is a cheap and easy way for most people to travel. It helps tackle health issues associated with inactivity like obesity, and reduces the impact of air pollution. We know that around a third of household in Scotland don’t have access to a car, indeed in Glasgow most households are carless, yet our urban areas are almost exclusively given over to cars. This must change so our communities can enjoy the social, health and wellbeing benefits that come with good active travel infrastructure.”