As Pedal on Parliament made clear in their campaign this year, if we’re serious about tackling climate change, we need to tackle emissions from transport and we can’t afford to wait until everyone’s got an electric car (which bring their own issues). Bikes, and other pedal powered machines, are already here (in fact they’ve been around since the 19th century) and are incredibly efficient for short journeys. The rapid take up of electric bikes in the area (we had seven out on our last two group rides) is helping to extend their useful range (just ask Viki) even for people who aren’t dedicated lycra-clad athletes.
But in order for bikes to be the preserve of more than a handful of brave souls, we need safe and pleasant routes to ride them on. That’s why, on Saturday night, as well as honouring Kirkpatrick McMillan’s invention, we also decided to showcase some of the local cycling network that makes it practical to use even now in the age of the car.
Taking our ‘This machine fights climate change’ sculpture on a wee tour (by bike, of course) we set it up in various spots around the town where investment in routes for cycling and walking was making a real difference. Such as the viaduct over the river that joins the Maxwelltown path to Nunholm.
The bridge by the rowing club is an incredibly useful connection for pedestrians and cyclists, joining College Road (and ultimately Lincluden and Lochside) with the centre of town. We really missed it when it was closed for refurbishment as it severed the Whitesands path from the Maxwelltown.
The Kirkpatrick McMillan bridge at the other end of town does a similar job – connecting Troqueer with the rest of the town and also the Crichton as well as Dock Park
Bridges are expensive investments, as are routes of the quality and length of the Maxwelltown Path, although they pale into insignificance compared to the cost of even a mile of major road. That’s why we’re joining Pedal on Parliament in asking for three key pledges from all our candidates standing in the coming Holyrood elections:
- Proper funding for active travel – starting at 10% of the transport budget and rising to 20% by the end of the parliamentary term.
- Design cycling for all ages and abilities into Scotland’s roads.
- Implement and enforce safer speeds where people live, work and play.
And this film from POP explains why it’s vital that we act now:
Thank you to those who’ve helped with the POP action this year – it was a shame we couldn’t do more of a group event but one way or another, people have put a fair bit of effort into it all the same.
The next step is to let your candidates know that you think climate change is important and you’d like them to support active travel as part of the solution. You can find all the candidates for Dumfries (and the South of Scotland list) via the Walk, Wheel, Cycle, Vote candidate finder, along with information about how to get in touch with them. So far not all of them have signed up in support, so please do ask them (politely!) to do so.