Ahead of the local authority elections in just under two weeks, thousands are expected to take part in mass cycle rides in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Inverness this weekend. The sixth annual ‘Pedal on Parliament’ will see people taking to the streets to call for greater funding and support for cycling, and to make Scotland a cycle-friendly country.

Friends of the Earth Scotland air pollution campaigner Emilia Hanna commented,
“Huge credit must go to the Pedal on Parliament volunteers across the country who have worked tirelessly to organise and promote these events. Pedal on Parliament has become a fixture in the calendar and a positive, family friendly event that plenty of Scots are backing.

“Our roads are currently clogged with cars, whose fumes create air pollution and climate change emissions, cause devastating and irreparable damage to our health and environment, and discourage people from spending time outdoors. Cycling is a win win solution to air pollution and inactivity in Scotland, but it needs proper support to flourish even more.

“Local councils and the Scottish Government must create safe space for cyclists so that people of all ages and abilities feel comfortable getting on a bike. New councillors should commit to spending at least 10% of their transport budgets on walking and cycling to invest in a healthier future.

“Edinburgh Council has made real progress in recent years by investing in cycling infrastructure and the city is reaping the rewards of more people travelling in this way. Segregated cycle lanes are starting to pop up across the country but politicians must do more in their own areas to remove barriers to cycling, be they physical or cultural.

“Getting more people walking and on their bikes is vital to tackling Scotland’s toxic air pollution problems. Our cities and towns are choked with fumes from the traffic on our streets, and it is the most vulnerable of our fellow citizens who pay the highest price. Young children whose lungs are still developing, the elderly and those with existing illnesses are particularly endangered by the stew of air pollution that clogs our streets.”

Clara Govier, Head of Charities at People’s Postcode Lottery commented:
“Players of People’s Postcode Lottery are delighted to support work that will clean up our air by encouraging more Scots to begin cycling and walking. Pedal on Parliament will help spread the word about the environmental, health and social benefits of travelling by two wheels and we wish it every success. Tackling pollution from transport will help make our cities more pleasant places to live and work, in addition to cutting our climate emissions.”

ENDS

Notes to Editors

1. Pedal on Parliament is organised by a group of volunteers. For more information and their manifesto: http://pedalonparliament.org

Rides take place in Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Inverness on Sat 22nd April and in Glasgow on Sun 23rd April.

2. Health impacts of air pollution:
– Friends of the Earth Scotland estimate that 2500 people die early each year from air pollution in Scotland: http://www.foe-scotland.org.uk/RCP-Report
– Air pollution, at levels seen on Scottish streets, has been linked with :
– Respiratory illness including asthma and COPD
– Heart attacks and strokes
– Low birthweight and delayed development in babies whose mothers have been exposed
– Poor lung development in children
– Dementia
– Children, the elderly, people with pre-existing health conditions, and sick are disproportionately affected by air pollution.
– (for more, see the Royal College of Physicians’ 2016 report, “Every Breath we Take: The lifelong impact of air pollution”: https://www.rcplondon.ac.uk/projects/outputs/every-breath-we-take-lifelo…)

3. Friends of the Earth Scotland is
* Scotland's leading environmental campaigning organisation
* An independent Scottish charity with a network of thousands of supporters and active local groups across Scotland
* Part of the largest grassroots environmental network in the world, uniting over 2 million supporters, 75 national member groups, and some 5,000 local activist groups.
www.foe-scotland.org.uk

4. Friends of the Earth’s work to clean up Scotland’s air by encouraging increased cycling and walking is supported by the players of the Postcode Lottery.

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