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 email@example.com. 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.
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.
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.
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. http://www.parliament.scot/parliamentarybusiness/CurrentCommittees/99826.aspx
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: http://www.parliament.scot/mspfinder/index.html
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!
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.
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. https://www.cycletoworkday.org
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…
We had our second meeting recently. Lots afoot! Some events, a campaign… Watch this space!
Saturday saw a busy event of all things cycling at one of the GP surgeries in town. There was a good turn out with a wide age range, with Mary, 83, lifelong enthusiastic cylist, our new mascot! She only stopped cycling three years ago when too many cars chased her off the roads. She misses the wind in her hair zooming around town and has found that a mobility scooter just isn’t quite the same. She misses pedalling!
The launch of WheelNess got off to a sunny start: this is a local collaboration funded by Cycling UK that aims to bring cycling within reach of 150 people who might not otherwise have cycled. For any info contact firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
Dave was the ace Doctor Bike from Velocity Cafe and Bicycle Workshop who was kept busy all day mending people’s bikes and teaching some basic skills.
The Home Energy Scotland team kept everyone up to speed with free trials of their ebikes and info on ebike loans. Several people signed up for their free ebike trials. Call them on 0808 8082282 or visit their website http://www.energysavingtrust.org.uk/scotland/home-energy-scotland if you want a trial as well!
Cycling Without Age Inverness was also there with their trikes attracting a lot of attention. Check out https://www.facebook.com/groups/CWAInverness/ for more information. They have done a great job of taking out folk who can no longer cycle or get out much for spins around town and along the river.
The whole event was possible thanks to a Big Bike Revival grant from Cycling UK. Cycling UK are still open for grant applications for a few more weeks if you want to get funding to run a Doctor Bike at your workplace! Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our Midsummer’s Day got off to a great start: lots of coverage in the local news, with the Inverness Courier, the BBC and MFR all taking up our cause!
We got lots of lovely messages from people telling us what they were doing, and a good turn out at the Big Fit Walk and the Big Bike Ride.
We might not have managed to get 10% of Inverness out on the streets, but that was always an ambitious target, and this is a start!
If you want to get involved for future campaigns, or have something you would like us to discuss or get involved with, why not drop us an email. We are meeting soon to form a plan for our Next Steps… Watch this space! And thanks for your support.