Scottish parents took to the trail paths of Edinburgh on Mothering Sunday to launch a new cycling initiative called We Walk, We Cycle, We Vote.
The campaigning parents highlighted the launch of #walkcyclevote – a collaborative campaign that is targeting local election candidates for the upcoming council elections on May 4th.
We Walk, We Cycle, We Vote is asking council candidates to pledge their support for more financial investment in local authority budgets for cycling and walking, improved infrastructure to enable everyone to cycle and walk safely and conveniently, and to tackle local barriers to increased walking and cycling in their council wards.
Enabling more people to walk and cycle can provide an answer to some of the most long-term pressing issues faced in Scotland, including air pollution, town and city congestion, ill health, obesity and the rising cost of physical inactivity to the NHS; campaigners claim that the research and evidence to back up the positive outcomes of walking and cycling is overwhelming.
Director of Edinburgh Festival of Cycling Caroline Brown commented: “I want my children to grow up in a Scotland where walking and cycling are the obvious choices for short, everyday journeys. At the moment, all across Scotland, these transport modes are neglected by politicians and lack the investment and infrastructure to make our towns, cities and countryside safe and accessible for anyone looking to jump on a bike or walk from A to B.
“The #WalkCycleVote campaign will be asking all candidates in the local elections if they support more investment, better infrastructure and local action to reduce walking and cycling barriers, and as a voter I’ll be asking them too.”
Head of development Scotland at Cycling UK and a mum of five year old Sebastian Suzanne Forup added: “It’s not easy to walk places with my little boy when I am so concerned about air pollution and his safety due to high levels of traffic. We are also extremely limited in where we can cycle for the same reasons.
“I’d love for my family to be able to cycle safely in Edinburgh, but without separated cycle provision from traffic it’s almost impossible to achieve. That’s why I’m here today with the #WalkCycleVote campaign; I’m here for every family who would choose to walk and cycle if the conditions were right and I’m sure many other families and individuals would like to know if their council candidates agree with me.”
Mum of two and deputy director of Sustrans Scotland Daisy Narayanan concluded: “Cycling is a wonderful way to get around, to be healthy and to have fun as a family. It’s also a great way to tackle the issues we have in Scotland with sedentary lifestyles, especially among children and young people.
“We need to have safe routes to school, to work, to the park, to the shops - which in turn requires a joined up approach to the provision of safe cycling and walking infrastructure. I’m supporting this #WalkCycleVote campaign today so that my two children, and children throughout Scotland can get around by bike for more of their everyday journeys.”
We Walk, We Cycle, We Vote will be contacting local authority council candidates across Scotland over the next few months and will publish candidates’ responses to the campaign’s three asks, as well as providing resources and guidance for local campaigners in communities across the country. Learn more about the campaign here.