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Do you wish for a world in which your children can cycle safely? Ever wondered how you can help make that a reality? If you live in Scotland, then Pedal on Parliament 2016 can help!
For the fifth year in a row cyclists of all ages will have the chance to pedal on the Scottish Parliament to call for safer cycling for everyone.
This year POP is joining forces with We Walk, We Cycle We Vote and many other active travel organisations to present a united front to politicians in advance of the Holyrood elections, and to put active travel on the agenda for the next five years in Scotland.
The aim is to make Scotland a place where everyone – young or old, male or female, able-bodied or not – has the freedom to get about by bike if they want to. This great animation called "Katie Cycles To School" sums up why PoP is so important (note it was made for last year's event so the date is wrong).
The manifesto for POP consists of 8 points that would make cycling a realistic transport choice for all - especially families.
Pedal on Parliament will be assembling at the Meadows in Edinburgh at 11.30am on Saturday 23rd April 2016, for a 12 noon start. The route to the Scottish Parliament is short (1.5 miles) and slow, so perfect for even the smallest of pedallers or balance bikers. Once there, a brief rally will take place (including short speeches and handing over letters to MSPs.) There are a number of feeder rides that will converge on the Meadows - several of which are designed to be family friendly.
Absolutely! Each year there are loads of families (as someone said, 'I think that must be every child seat, tagalong, cargo bike and trailer in Edinburgh').
As mentioned above, people are organising feeder rides from the outskirts of Edinburgh (Portobello, South Edinburgh etc.) which will be aimed at families who aren't confident having their kids ride in the city, so parents could drive in from elsewhere and join one of those. If you'd prefer, why not join POP on foot - bikes are not compulsory!
The pace will be extremely slow - last year people were still leaving the Meadows 40 minutes after the first riders had set off. You don't need tocome on a bike to keep up!
The roads on the Pedal on Parliament route will be closed of traffic, with full permission from police and the council. Although PoP 2016 is classed as a "demonstration", the atmosphere will be celebratory rather than confrontational and it's absolutely not party political.
The police have told organisers that they'll be policing it purely as a safety issue, so there's no risk anyone's going to be caught up in anything unpleasant with their kids. The previous four PoP's have been great family day out, as you can see from the photos.
"My opinion changed dramatically when my first child startedto cycle. As I watched him wobbling around the road in our cul-de-sac I started to think about how much fun it would be to go on proper cycling rides with him. Then it struck me.
Where could I take him cycling?
The cul-de-sac was fine, some of the very quiet country roads near by weren't too bad, but everywhere else was a no-go-zone. There were small pockets where my son could ride safely with me, but he was excluded from everywhere else. "
Sally Hinchcliffe, another of the organisers of Pedal on Parliament, sums up why it's so important cyclists of all ages and abilities get involved.
"If we exclude our children from riding bikes, because it's just too dangerous, we're not only adding to the traffic on the road and adding to the problems of obesity - but we're cutting them off from the joy and freedom that bikes bring.
If serious, committed cyclists feel they can't let their children ride, or have to go through great lengths to make it possible, then what hope have other families got of enabling their kids to get out on two wheels? As a kid, I can remember tooling about on my bike, lost in a world of my own. I have a really hard time imagining my nieces having that freedom today. I think that's incredibly sad."
Visit the Pedal on Parliament website at pedalonparliament.org where they have loads more information, including videos of the route and posters for you to print out.
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