An update about what is happening Scotland wide…

We thought some of you might be interested in what is going on at a national level. This is the text of an email update from Suzanne Forup and Sally Hinchcliffe from We Walk, We Cycle, We Vote:

“We’ve been abit quiet on the WCV front over the last couple of months, but we (Sally and Suzanne) met a couple of weeks ago to discuss ideas and a proposed plan for 2019 including supporting some of the major events in the upcoming calendar:

Pedal on Parliament on 26 to 28 April

PoP has just announced the 2019 plan for PoP up PoPs – please get involved or set up your own action. And let the PoP team know!

Edinburgh Open Streets

City of Edinburgh Council has announced it’s Open Streets dates, starting on Sunday 5th May, as part of the City Transformation – we’re sure your physical and online support of these would be welcomed. Details of the City Transformation interim report and its proposals are here:


Meeting Lee Craigie, Active Nation Commissioner

Representatives from GoBike, Spokes and ourselves will meeting with Lee Craigie in March to discuss campaigning issues. Please let us know if you’d like something specific raised.

WCV Campaigner training days in May/June – focus on inclusion?

Suzanne has met colleagues at RNIB several times over the last couple of months, building a positive relationship through the tandem cycling project we are delivering together. There is interest in seeing if we can collaborate on responses to design consultations – it’s a complicated issue and can get quite technical, but bringing together walking/cycling campaigners with people that campaign for disability inclusion in street design could help us all make our arguments for safe, separated space stronger. We’d welcome your thoughts before we take this further with the RNIB and other potential partners.

Design standards

We understand that consultations or discussions on design standards – Cycling by Design and Designing Streets – should commence in the not too distant future. It’s vital that we all contribute to these and ensure that we develop world-leading standards that enable everyone to walk and cycle safely (see above point on ‘everyone’). We’ll let you know when we have more information, or perhaps the better informed can tell us!

Upcoming consultation – local

The world seems full of consultations, and it’s challenging to respond even though it’s absolutely vital that we do! We know that the next round of Community Links Plus awards are likely to be announced in in May/June, no doubt leading to more opportunities to engage with local authorities on specific plans. Please let us know about any local consultations and we’ll try to encourage people to respond.

Upcoming consultations – national

National Transport Strategy and Strategic Transport Project Review (STRP2) are on the 2019/20 agenda but timescales for effective and direct responses aren’t clear to us. When we have something more helpful to say we’ll be in touch!

The Transport Bill Stage 1 continues, with a number of organisations signing a letter to political leaders backing the Workplace Parking Levy: – please support if your organisation feels able to!


Local campaigner events – autumn 2019

We had some great feedback from the local campaigner events and the consultation training events we did in the autumn of last year. We’d like to run these again in different locations in the autumn of this year – let us know if you’d like one in your area or if you would like to share your expertise!

All best wishes

Suzanne and Sally

Suzanne Forup

We Walk, We Cycle, We Vote Co-ordinator

First steps…

January drawing to a close, and a sense of real momentum building. Lots of great things bubbling away in Inverness…

What have we achieved this month? Well, lots of conversations, to start off with! Long chats with Brian from the Highland Cycle Campaign on teaming up for better impact. Great meeting with Catriona Burgess from RNIB. Waiting to hear back from Disability Highland Community of Practice. A great first meeting with Stuart Black and his team that you can read about here. Starting to have chats with the taxi community about how to work together as well.

January has been a month of many milestones for Inverness and cycling: after the great news that Lee Craigie was made Active Nation Commissioner in December, lots of inspiring talks by Jenny Graham about her Round the World adventures, Sustrans’ iBike projects going really well with Velocity developing their Go By Cycle project in schools to complement their existing fantastic Bike Academy and Cycle to Health projects, Cycling UK’s WheelNess program going very well with now nearly 150 bikes matched with people who might never have cycled otherwise, some great evaluation coming out of it with powerful stories, the possibility of an All Ability Bike Centre being discussed for the campus, Cycling Without Age reached its 1000th passenger-ride in 8 months and had its latest trikes delivered.

It’s also been a month of public consultations – on the 20mph bill, on the Torvean site and the Accessing Inverness project – we are learning about how to phrase things and have really valued the help and advice from GoBike and Walk Cycle Vote. A steep learning curve!

The month also started with good news about funding for OYSI and our Festival of Walking and Cycling – but ended with the bad news that we may not be able to get match funding for it and may therefore lose it. We are desperately looking for funds to build some capacity to deliver our vision – so watch this space for more news. And if you can think of any pots of gold, please contact us at

The priorities for February?

  • Getting transparency about what projects are brewing and using the website as a repository for these.
  • Organising our first AGM
  • Planning Pedal on Parliament 2019
  • Focus on walking, public transport and accessibility
  • Working with Sustrans on a”schools, taxis, public transport and police” Share with Care campaign
  • Continue to campaign for a joined up approach to the A82. It’s not good enough to say “it’s BEAR Scotland’s problem” – it is a whole city problem.
  • Keeping those conversations happening…

There is a lot on our plate – but it’s all fun and in a good cause!

OYSI response to the 20mph bill

Last few days of the response to the 20mph bill. Your chance to respond if you haven’t already done so. We have submitted a response for OYSI but it would be really helpful if you could think of submitting your own response too.

Want to read what we submitted? 

Do you think reducing the default speed limit on most urban and residential streets would enhance road safety?

There is good evidence that schemes that have implemented a reduction to 20mph in urban and residential areas have seen a reduction in casualties and collisions (eg Brighton ).

The current patchwork of variable 20/30 mph creates speed restriction fatigue so that it is poorly respected in those 20mph zones and very rarely enforced.

This would also enable the better adoption of other speed reducing interventions which would promote Active Travel such as the introduction of segregated cycle lanes.The health and community benefits of increasing the proportion of people who regularly cycle and walk are well established, and will last generations.

The power balance of our street scapes at the moment is largely skewed towards cars, over “walkers, wheelers, and rollers”. For our towns and cities to reshape themselves into a more human scale, we need to start redressing that power relationship so that the hierarchy becomes something more like pedestrians/wheelchair users > cyclists > cars. The benefits, social and health wise, are well demonstrated.

For behaviour change to happen, there needs to be a will from the bottom (motivation) which is matched by facilitation from the top (laws and infrastructure). The Smoking Ban in public places was a great example of the lasting impact of legislation with a public health remit. This is a bold and enlightened step which could start to reverse some of the poor health outcomes Scotland has seen in the past, and place Scotland in the vanguard of building healthier communities. The evidence that it works and enhances communities is there.

Do you think the reducing the default speed limit on most urban and residential streets would have a positive or negative impact on you or your organisation?
As a group representing those many people who would like to be able to walk or cycle to work safely, including those with disabilities, reducing the speed limit would have an extremely positive impact for us.

If the Bill is passed, should its roll-out be accompanied by a national awareness campaign?

Absolutely yes. We feel it would be important for people to understand the reasons behind it (analogies with the smoking ban might be helpful) and the positive transformational effect on communities with examples eg from Brighton.

Should Police Scotland be required to take additional enforcement action, over and above that used to enforce the current 30mph limit, following the introduction of a 20mph limit on most urban and residential streets in Scotland?

Absolutely. The educational impact of operations like Close Pass on the effect of motorist behaviour are great examples of how that enforcement could be educational rather than punitive in the initial phases.

With a significant and growing proportion of older drivers now being responsible for road casualties and fatalities, this might yield unexpected benefits of identifying older drivers who are no longer fit to be driving.

The increased resourcing for enforcement may be offset by a reduction in casualties.

The introduction of the bill would be assisted by infrastructure changes which contribute to speed reduction such as Active Travel infrastructure.

If the Bill is agreed, how long should local authorities be given to complete the roll-out of the new 20mph limit?

Many councils have currently held plans to consider further 20mph zones until they know the outcome of this bill. While we recognise that it may be difficult to carry out consultations as to which roads would be exempt from the 20mph bill in a very tight timescale, we would support its introduction as soon as possible.

Do you have any comments on the impact that the Bill might have on the following issues:
Human rights or equalities for any particular group of people

This will have a positive impact on those with visual impairment, those with disabilities who are unable to drive, those using mobility aids, households with children, those who have no access to cars or have to rely on public transport, those living in deprived areas.

Sustainable development

This is one measure which can effectively contribute to reduced car use and increased uptake in active travel.

Island, rural or remote communities

Some rural communities suffer from trunk roads crossing their communities and a poor provision for safe Active Travel infrastructure. Careful consideration will need to be given at locality level as to how exemptions are decided.

Pedal on Parliament 2019… get your thinking caps on

Year on year, Pedal on Parliament has grown as an event across Scotland. We are looking for anyone who might want to get involved in the 2019 edition in Inverness… Email us at And watch this space for more info… Don’t forget in the meantime that there is the Accessing Inverness public consultation underway about the city centre – answers before 2nd February.

2018 – Jenny’s world record, Lee’s appointment and OYSI finding its voice

Before we get on to 2019 proper, let’s just finish 2018 by celebrating two great Inverness inspirations.

Jenny Graham:  fastest unsupported cycle around the world, utter legend, all the more so for her self effacing nature, her seemingly permanent good cheer, and her complete can-do attitude. If she doesn’t create a generation of Inverness cyclists, I’m not sure what will. Read more about her world record here.

Lee Craigie: the big news of December 2018 was the appointment of Lee as Active Nation Commissioner. Local to Inverness, as many of your will know, a founding member of Velocity Cafe and Bicycle Workshop, Lee is a former elite athlete and an Adventure Syndicateer who is an inspiration for many, many people. She has a natural ability to connect across all ages – her youth work coaching teenagers for events like the Strathpuffer and her BBC Radio Scotland series Life Cycles earlier in the year are great witnesses to that.

The last year has been one of finding our feet here in Own Your Street Inverness (OYSI): making connections, starting to form key relationships, working out what our goals are, learning how to use social media, learning about local decision making.

Jenny and Lee set the tone for us this year, looking ahead: this is about trying to do something you believe in (making Inverness a better place), even if you are an amateur, with the skills and the means available, with good cheer, and trying to connect with everyone, across the ages and across the whole of society.

So if you are motivated to do something positive in 2019, join us! You can follow us on Facebook  or Twitter or email us at

A82 crossing of Inverness: what a mess!

Some weeks ago, OYSI attended a preliminary public consultation session about Bear Scotland’s plans to improve the paths and crossings all the way along the A82 as it passes through the full length of Inverness.

The plans they showed indicated a complete lack of awareness of current design standards.  They offered more of the same fragmented approach to path design – whereby the path gives priority to traffic on the huge number of joining roads and commercial premises – and ceases altogether at roundabouts.  This is not in accordance with design standards and would result in huge lost opportunity far safe, continuous flow shared use paths from one end of the city to the other.  It’s critical that we get a good outcome from this work – as almost all other core active travel paths radiate out from the A82.  If we want to get higher numbers involved in active travel – we have to get this one right.

As newcomers to campaigning, we were surprised and concerned to learn that, because the A82 is a trunk road, that neither Highland Council nor Sustrans have much influence over Bear Scotland – who are primarily focused on through traffic flow.

How do we go about ensuring that Bear managers understand and enforce good design standards?

Do active travel leaders in Scottish Government have colleagues in Transport Scotland who can scrutinise plans and insist on appropriate design and build?

We have written to Bear and to local councillors, and we await the outcome.  Early indications from the the consulting team indicate –  “its nice to see how other countries deal with this – if only we had the space”

If we do nothing, the single most important core route through Inverness will remain lost to the many thousands of citizens who could use the shared use path beside it – to travel to work, home, school, shops etc.

This is really important for Inverness.

20 mph Bill…

Scotland could lead the way internationally with the proposed bill on restricting residential urban areas to 20 mph. The Rural Economy and Connectivity committee (who oversee Transport issues) are examining the proposed bill over the next few months. Several of our local MSPs are involved in that committee: Edward Mountain, Gail Ross and John Finnie.

The most effective form of campaigning is for our local MSPs to realise how much this matters to individual constituents. So if you feel strongly, as OYSI does, that 20mph is a safer speed for our residential areas, why not get in touch with your MSP – sometimes going to their surgery is the best way to make your voice heard. You can find your MSP’s contact details here:



Want to make your workplace cycle-friendly?

Now is the time! Cycling Scotland have opened a further round of funding, for up to £25,000 per employer.

In Inverness we have already seen how easy it is to do… Seven shelters have gone up across GP surgeries in Inverness thanks to this fund from the last funding round. Cycling Scotland are really helpful, the application form is easy, so check out their link…

Download the application pack and apply before the deadline on November 12th 5pm.

You too could end up with a new shelter, or showers, or lockers, as well as a Cycle Friendly Employer Award. Here is the one from Kingsmills Medical Practice obtained through this grant.


What a great thing to get sorted in time for Spring 2019!

“Damp squib” proposals

There were many Own Your Streeters attending the Public Consultation on the A82 last week. A palpable sense of disappointment at how timid the proposals are – a token gesture to improvement rather than a definitive commitment. This is perhaps understandable in that these proposals were coming from BEAR Scotland whose chief interest is ensuring safe flow of traffic on their roads.

This is the time for the community to stand up and show its hand. Local politicians need to hear how much we care about creating a city that is fit for walkers, cyclists, wheelchair users, the visually impaired. There are now alternatives available for traffic wishing to reach the A82. Let’s make Inverness a person centred place and not a car logged 1970s town planner’s heaven.

Click here to see how you can have your say.

Cycle to Work on Wednesday 15th August…

All agreed that this summer hasn’t quite been the usual weather. It’s been lovely to see so many Invernesians out and about by foot or bike or scooter or skateboard.

Wednesday 15th August is the date to leave the car at home for Cycle To Work Day.  A yearly event, there are prizes to be won and fun to be had.

What can you do in your work place to mark the event? You could have a breakfast for those who have walked or cycled… Or plan to buddy up with a less/more confident cyclist… Or plan a sociable ride home…

You could use it as an opportunity to think about a Cycle to Work scheme – there are several of them and they are all easy for employers to set up (get in touch if you need a steer in the right direction).

So, lots you can do, if you want to take the first step towards reducing car use – let’s see if we can cool this planet down again…