£5m to encourage Scots to cycle

Aim is to get 10% of population onto bikes

More than £5 million is to be spent in Scotland over the next three years to get people cycling. The aim is to get 10 percent of the population out of cars, buses and trains, and onto bikes.


The money, supplied through the Smarter Choices, Smarter Places (SCSP) programme, will be used to deliver cycling initiatives and improve infrastructure in seven local authorities.

Stewart Stevenson, Scotland’s minister for transport, infrastructure and climate change, said: “If we are to emulate the success of our European neighbours, such as the Netherlands and Denmark who enjoy a 27 percent and 18 percent share for cycle journeys respectively, then we must do all we can to encourage Scotland to get on its bike.

“The cycling initiatives being taken forward in the seven SCSP project regions give us a fantastic opportunity to do just that. We need the rest of Scotland to follow suit if our vision of getting 10 percent of our population out of cars, buses and trains and onto bikes is to become a reality. We know it’s ambitious but it’s achievable.

“Cycling is cheap, healthy and quick for short journeys and has almost zero impact on the environment. If we achieve our overall aim of 10 percent then we will be saving over half a million tonnes of harmful carbon emissions each year and moving towards delivering at least 42 percent emissions cuts by 2020, as outlined in our Climate Change Act.”

Launched last year in partnership with the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA), SCSP is a £15m scheme targeted at reducing car use in favour of more active and sustainable forms of travel, such as cycling, walking and public transport. It is hoped it will act as a catalyst for change across Scotland.

A study by the Scottish Government for its draft Cycling Action Plan for Scotland showed that 88 percent of respondents would like to cycle more often, yet just two percent of Scots cycle to work and only one percent of children cycle to school.

Area by area

Plans for encouraging cycling uptake in Dumfries – the hometown of bicycle inventor Kirkpatrik MacMillan – include the provision of self-service cycle hire schemes, similar to those run in London, Paris and Barcelona, and ‘cycle to work’ initiatives in conjunction with local employers.

Dundee is looking into a bike loan scheme and is also rolling out a series of Get Cycling roadshows in schools. It has produced a city cycling map offering a detailed selection of road and traffic-free routes.

In Glasgow, large-scale infrastructure improvements will see the upgrading of three key cycling and walking corridors linking the city centre with future Commonwealth Games venues, including the velodrome in the East End. Several major cycling events are planned.

In East Dunbartonshire a travel information shop has opened that provides details of easy cycle links and a guide has been published outlining the health benefits of travelling by bike.  

In Falkirk, the aim is to increase levels of cycling to primary school by 15 percent. Other projects include improving public cycle storage facilities, cycle training for all junior school children and the creation of a ‘cycling buddy’ scheme where experienced cycle commuters help newcomers.

Meanwhile, in Orkney, where cycling levels are significantly higher (four percent) than the Scottish average, money will be spent on schemes like bike racks on buses and sheltered cycle parking.

The scottish government hopes cycling events will encourage people to get on their bikes:

Events like this one with trials rider Danny MacAskill could help get Scots on their bikes