Shocking I know but, over the last few years I've seen wrongs that I just want to right. However, I'm a minnow. A virtual campaigner. I just don't have the time to devote to getting out there and actually doing stuff. Maybe as my kids get older I'll get more involved.
There are plenty of real campaigners out there who I greatly respect and I got chatting to one of them yesterday, Mark Kiehlmann from East Dunbartonshire's Cycle Co-operative. He and his fellow ED Cycle Co-op members are real campaigners.
For anyone who hasn't heard of ED Cycle Co-op:
East Dunbartonshire's Cycle Co-operative is a not for profit community based social enterprise that aims to support children and adults get on their bikes. We have been pretty successful in this aim with an increase in cycling to primary schools in the local area from 3% (the current national average) to over 7% across 7 primary schools, with one, as high at 19%. We have also been successful in gaining significant political interest from parliaments in Edinburgh, London and Brussels. Our co-operative ethos is based in a holistic approach working with families and the community.
ED's Cycle Co-op have a range of programmes. Here are some to give you a flavour of their work:
- nursery interventions from 3 to 5years
- primary school projects from 5 to 7 years in conjunction with their parents/carers;
- after school clubs;
- secondary school projects;
- youth BMX Club;
- women only group rides;
- mechanic sessions for all;
- community events that have won UK Bike Week 2010 and 2011.
|One of the Projects Run by ED's Cycle Co-op|
I'm considering going along for the mechanic sessions myself!
Now anyone who knows me, knows that I am not averse to using the media to highlight the odd issue. Mark and his team recognise the usefulness of using the media to win hearts and minds. Here is what they have been up to.
- Nov The Herald Scottish town in the grip of cycling revolution
- May STV 6pm news
- Jun The Independant UK Bike Week Launch
- Aug BBC 6pm news
What really sparked my interest during our conversation though, was the fabulous work he and East Dunbartonshire Council have been doing to make Bishopbriggs (a town near me) one of the first areas to have blanket 20mph speed restrictions within the towns built up areas. (This might be a first. Does anyone know of a town that has done this before?)
Mark describes it in his own words:
With some of the highest levels of children cycling to primary schools in Scotland, based on the latest Sustrans, Hands up Survey data (2010), Bishopbriggs is soon to be Scotland’s first wholly 20mph town. East Dunbartonshire Council has been supporting the cycle revolution in Bishopbriggs through their Healthy Habits programme, delivered by community based social enterprise, ED’s Cycle Co-op.
Rhondda Geekie, Council Leader said:
East Dunbartonshire is working closely with the Cycle Co-op to consider how to best bring forward a 20MPH restriction which would give confidence to cyclists.
This fantastic news is directly in line with The Times campaign for Cities fit for Cycling and the Cycling Action Plan for Scotland, produced by Transport Scotland, which aims to see 10% of journeys by bike by 2020. With an average of nearly 8% of primary children cycling to school, where all seven primaries have achieved the Cycling Scotland Cycle Friendly School Award, the only town in Scotland to do so, it has nearly reached the government target, 10 years ahead of schedule.
The 20sPlentyForUs campaign in Bishopbriggs is supported by a wide range of community leaders including:
· All seven primary school parent councils;
· All nine church leaders from Bishopbriggs Churches Together;
· Local business leaders from Huntershill Village
· Bishopbriggs Community Council and residents groups.
I claim to be a cycle campaigner, but this is cycle campaigning at its finest. East Dunbartonshire Council and ED Co-op are on the brink of something big. Something that if it can be made to work could be repeated the country over.
I wish Mark, the ED Cycle Co-op, East Dunbartonshire Council and all the supporting groups all the best in this new endeavour. I might even bring my three kids into Bishopbriggs to experience safe, on road cycling, once it's up and running.
Actually, there's a thought...
Mark!? Are there any plans to extend this scheme into Torrance......?