Realistic cycling goals

"By 2020, 10% of all journeys taken in Scotland will be by bike." Realistic or not?

That is the statement that opens the Scottish Government’s Cycling Plan for Scotland: Consultation.

The consultation goes on to say that, currently 2% of people cycle to work and only 1% of children cycle to school. So, considering trips to work and school form only part of our journeys, the suggestion that ‘10% of journeys in Scotland will be by bike’ seems a little far fetched.

I can hear it now: “Shall we go to Ballater/Banff/Brechin, dear. Get your cycle clips! We need some practice before we cycle down to Edinburgh next week for the Festival Fringe.”

Swiss trains

...take a lesson in how-to-organise-public-transport from the Swiss

The consultation says that, 88% of respondents to the consultation exercise said they would like to cycle more often. Yea, probably the same 88% who would say they would like to get fit by climbing all the Munros in Scotland before lunchtime.

Not that I am agin cycling. I am part of that 88%. I would like to cycle more. But (a) it is not safe (b) I am not fit enough to get anywhere distant this side of Christmas.

I predict that in 2020 most journeys in Scotland will be taken in, by-then, largely zero-emission cars. I’d like to think more journeys would be taken on public transport, but until we take a lesson in how-to-organise-public-transport from the Swiss, I rather doubt it. (Our public transport is either disconnected, inconvenient, or expensive exactly what the Swiss system isn’t.)

On a serious note, I do have concerns that by making an unrealistic statement like this, the bicycle lobby will somehow corner more millions of our very limited public money to be spent on white elephants. Spend money on cycling, but spend it in context with the number of users, the demand and the benefit that will accrue.
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