City aims for cycling gold – but keep up the pressure!

I am delighted that Edinburgh City Council has accepted my recommendation to establish a ‘Sir Chris Hoy cycle network’ in the city as a lasting legacy and a fitting tribute to our country’s most successful Olympian. The Green motion was passed unanimously at full Council today, with the detail on how it will be rolled out passed to the Council’s Transport committee (on which I sit), working closely with cycling groups.  That means some of the specific points that I raised in my original motion have been passed over to be debated later but I felt that it was wise to accept that for the sake of keeping all-party support for what should really be a consensus issue.  All of these detailed points and more can now be raised at Transport Committee.

Sir Chris Hoy’s Olympic success has been an inspiration to us all, and Greens support granting him the Freedom of the City, but I argued that we should also build a lasting legacy to his achievements. A truly gold-standard network of safe cycle routes around the city would help to do that: it would encourage more physical activity; help to tackle rising rates of obesity, reduce traffic congestion and cut air pollution – and, who knows, might even foster future Olympians? A cycle super ‘Hoy’-way will let the whole city strike cycling gold.

Today’s decision could mean a big step forward for cycling provision in Edinburgh, but it could not have happened without the good ideas and ceaseless energy of groups such as Pedal on Parliament, Spokes, CTC and Greener Leith. All councillors have been receiving lots of emails from members of those groups, relating personal experiences and with thought-provoking comments.  It works! These groups, and others, have worked hard to encourage politicians across the city and beyond to share their vision of a cycle-friendly city.

Together we need to keep up that pressure as we move from principle to design.

The amended motion agreed by the Council is below:

Council:  

1) Congratulates Sir Chris Hoy on becoming Britain’s most successful Olympic athlete with six gold medals in addition to his eleven World Championship titles;  

2) Believes that his success will act as an inspiration to would-be Olympians throughout Scotland and the world; 
 
3) Notes the calls from Spokes, Pedal on Parliament, the Cyclists’ Touring Club and others to honour Sir Chris’ success and build a lasting legacy for cycling.
 
4) Agrees in principle that the creation of a city-wide network of safe cycling routes would boost physical activity; help to tackle rising rates of obesity; reduce traffic congestion and cut air pollution and would be a positive lasting legacy for the city.
 
5) Notes however that the creation of such a network would need to overcome considerable technical and logistical challenges.
 
6) Therefore agrees to remit the proposal for a Sir Chris Hoy cycle network to Transport, Infrastructure and Environment Committee who are asked to bring forward a report, prepared in close consultation with Spokes, Pedal on Parliament, Greener Leith and any other relevant stakeholders, within one cycle to examine the feasibility of a lasting legacy for cycling in Edinburgh.