Up to 13,000 people braved poor weather last Saturday to descend onto the streets of London and Edinburgh in a call for a ‘Dutch-style cycling revolution’.
London’s Big Ride, organised by the London Cycling Campaign (LCC) with the aim of encouraging its mayoral candidates to improve cycle safety during their term, attracted an estimated 10,000, while up to 3,000 turned out for Pedal on Parliament north of the border.
Children and adults of all ages boarded their bikes in what the LCC called the largest event of its kind seen on British roads, with its Chief Executive, Ashok Sinha, hailing it a ‘spectacular success’ that showed politicians the passion people have for safer cycling.
“The five main mayoral candidates have all put their names to our Love London, Go Dutch campaign, so now it’s time to see action and funding that match the aspirations of London’s voters,” he said.
Participants arrived at the start of the ride in Park Lane from throughout the city, with hundreds arriving on 40 guided rides and groups from afar afield as Bristol. Held on traffic-free roads, they proceeded through Piccadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square and Parliament Square, before finishing on the Embankment.
Big ride: big ride Getty Images
Smaller numbers had been expected for Edinburgh’s Pedal on Parliament, but with approximately 3,000 people riding in sunny but cold conditions from the city centre to the Scottish Parliament at Holyrood, it wildly exceeded organisers’ expectations.
“Originally we’d hoped that 300 cyclists might show up – in the end, ten times that number cared enough to come out on the day,” said Dave Brennan. “We’re overwhelmed by the response and it just shows the depth of feeling there is in this country, especially among families. There is clearly still a long way to go but today has shown our politicians that Scots want Scotland to be a cycle-friendly nation”.
Unlike the Big Ride, roads remained open to traffic in Edinburgh with police closing junctions temporarily to keep the ride in a bunch. Once at Holyrood, the campaign’s petition which, amongst other things, is calling for better funding and an integration of cycling into local transport strategies, was presented to members of parliament.