A £6million funding package will be spent on delivering a more comprehensive cycling network in Scotland, improving tourist cycle routes and better connections for bike commuters, it has been confirmed.
Transport Minister Keith Brown unveiled the details following the announcement in Finance Secretary John Swinney’s Budget.
The investment will enhance the National Cycling Network across the country through the Community Links initiative, connecting people to schools, workplaces, shops and health centres.
Additional funding will help local authorities improve cycling infrastructure on smaller roads, aimed at benefiting commuters. The famous Land’s End to John O’Groats route will be upgraded from Barnton Junction to the Forth Road Bridge and money will be available for local authorities to improve the cycle route along the A90.
More cycle paths will be created in Glasgow in time for the Commonwealth Games and further routes have been identified for improvements in Dundee, Kirkcaldy and Edinburgh.
In addition, cash will be used to allow thousands more Scots schoolchildren to learn how to be safer on their bikes through Bikeability Scotland and Give Me Cycle Space.
Brown said: “I’ve been working closely with the cycling community in recent months to find out exactly what’s needed to get more people in Scotland on their bikes.
“What has been clear is that we share a vision for a Scotland that is safe, enjoyable and accessible for people to get around by bike.
“I want to ensure that people who currently cycle, and those who are considering it, are given even more reason to get about by bike by continuing to improve Scotland’s cycling infrastructure and this money will do that.
“We know that for many people, the safety aspect is keeping them from experiencing the great number of benefits that can be found in cycling – health improvements, a better environment and the savings to your pocket, as well as the fun aspect.
“Schemes such as Bikeability Scotland and Give Me Cycle Space, which teach kids how to stay safe on their bikes, are doing a great job of encouraging them to cycle from an early age and that’s why I am ensuring that we continue to fund their work.
“We want to ensure all P6/7 pupils have access to on-road cycle training. This additional funding will allow more local authorities to move to on-road training through staff training, recruitment of volunteers and bike library schemes, particularly in more deprived areas.”
Cycling Scotland chief exec Ian Aitken added: "I'm delighted that this new funding will help us continue our work in equipping Scottish schoolchildren with the skills and confidence to cycle.
“By delivering Bikeability Scotland cycle training and awareness campaigns like Give Me Cycle Space together we are able to give children the skills they need to cycle confidently and to reassure parents by telling motorists to watch out for children cycling to school.
“We are working with local authorities across Scotland to increase the amount of training which is delivered on-road, as opposed to in the playground, as training is far more beneficial when delivered in a live road environment.
“This funding will enable us to support the network of over 4,000 amazing volunteers that are currently delivering cycle training, increase the number of children receiving training on-road, and to continue to campaign for greater consideration for cyclists using the road network."