Cyclists of all ages get on their bikes in Dalkeith to call for safer cycling in county

The Midlothian Pedal on Parliament which 70 local people enjoyed, sending a strong message about the local appetite for safe cycling.
The Midlothian Pedal on Parliament which 70 local people enjoyed, sending a strong message about the local appetite for safe cycling.

Cyclists young and old took to the streets of Dalkeith on Saturday to remind Midlothian Council that you shouldn’t need superpowers to cycle.

Around 75 people joined the Pedal on Parliament event, which sought to highlight that many people want to cycle to school and to work in Midlothian, and would if it were safer and easier.

Lots of the youngest cyclists were excited to be allowed to ride on the road and their mums and dads happy that they could do so in safety.

Speaking at the event, ride leader, Alan Brown, said: “Today it was great to see cyclists of all ages enjoying a ride on local roads. But at the moment that can only happen at an organised event like this.”

Organiser Laura Cockram, a local resident, added: “We want to be able to cycle safely in Midlothian every day. To school, to work, to the shops and between our villages. For our environment and for our health and communities.”

Michaela Jackson of Gorebridge Development Trust said that We need the council to take active travel seriously.

“We are asking Midlothian Council to spend 10 per cent of the transport budget on active travel and to play their part designing cycling for all ages and abilities into Scotland’s roads.”

This event was part of a full weekend of cycling action co-ordinated by Pedal on Parliament (PoP), who are campaigning to make Scotland a cycle-friendly country. ‘Pop-up PoPs’ happened all over Scotland last weekend, with dozens of protests highlighting the barriers to safe cycling that people find in their own area.

Pedal on Parliament, who traditionally hold an annual mass ride to protest the need for better cycling provision, are focusing on local protests this year, aimed at improvements that could be made by local councils.

A spokesman for Midlothian Council said: “The council has recently approved our Active Travel Strategy and Green Networks Supplementary planning guidance. Via these strategies we are actively seeking developer conditions to planning (infrastructure built by the developer) and contributions (financial contributions to infrastructure built by the council), through the planning system, to improve the active travel network.

“We’ve also made successful bids to Smarter Choices Smarter Places, SEStran, Scotrail, Sustrans and Cycling Scotland to improve our walking and cycling network and promote the new routes.

“This is in addition to all the new routes we have secured when building our new schools. Indeed the most recent ‘hands up’ survey (published in 2018) identified Midlothian as having the 2nd lowest ‘driven to school’ figure in Scotland.

“The council is committed to continue bidding for grant and match-funding in order to improve infrastructure and promote the benefits of active travel.

“The Midlothian walking and cycling network is growing and improving year on year and we hope to continue and improve this with our new strategies.”