Wednesday 19 June 2013

Utter, utter CAPS

There are two documents that are worth at least glancing at before reading this blog. The first is the Pedal on Parliament manifesto. You'll find it here. In summary it asks for:
1)    Proper funding for cycling.
2)    Design cycling into Scotland’s roads.
3)    Safer speeds where people live, work and play
4)    Integrate cycling into local transport strategies
5)    Sensible road traffic law and enforcement
6)    Reduce the risk of HGVs to cyclists and pedestrians
7)    A strategic and joined-up programme of road user training
8)    Solid research on cycling to support policy-making

The second document is the government's new Cycling Action Plan for Scotland (CAPS 2013). It can be found here. If we compare this latest 'vision' document from the Scottish government, the document that sets out the governments ACTION PLAN for Scotland here is how it compares to our manifesto:

1) Absolutely no commitment whatsoever to any funding at all. The councils can do it.
2)Design cycling?! Not our job. The councils can do it.
3) Safer speeds?! Not our job. The councils can do it.
4) Ah now this is one the councils can do.
5) Strict liability? Not our job, not the councils job....Westminster's job!
6) HGV's drive in council areas don't they...?
7) Mmm. Maybe we can do this one. Tell people that it's safe, as the councils are sorting it.
8) Hmmm..suppose the transport minister can chat to the councils once in a while. That's research isn't it?

The above might be funny if in fact, it wasn't entirely true. CAPS 2013 is in no way whatsoever a step forward from the original CAPS. In fact it is a step back. Not only is it further suggesting that the original CAPS target wasn't in fact a target after all, it's a vision, but it is also changing the wording surrounding that target.....sorry vision... in such a way to provide wriggle room.

'10% of all trips to be made by bike by 2020' has been changed to '10% of everyday journeys taken in Scotland will be by bike'

What does that actually mean? What is the definition of an everyday journey? I suspect that there isn't one, and that is exactly what the government is depending on. They now have a wishy-washy vision to reach a wishy-washy type of a wishy-washy amount of bike trips. 

You'd almost be forgiven for thinking that the government has given up on it's commitments (assuming they ever cared in the first place) and are now planning ways to avoid an embarrassing face plant. t would appear that they are in the process of building a nice wishy-washy temperature controlled swimming pool to fall into and they are already wearing their Speedo trunks.

The government have absolutely no intention of modernising Scotland.

But wait! The government are doing something aren't they? Lest we forget the £54m figure that they continually like to mention. The £54 that is spread over several years, does not all go on cycling and of that that does, some of it is squandered on advertising campaigns telling us:

No! You're wrong! Cycling is great on Scotland's roads. We just need to ask Mr Driver to be a wee bit nicer to us and we will hit 40% modal cycling in no time! Oh and don't forget to cycle with your arms outstretched at all times so drivers can aim for your finger-tips.

It gets worse though. I can reveal that the government are in fact annoyed at us for not being more appreciative. Seriously! At the recent POP meeting with Keith Brown (Transport Minister), Mr Brown started the meeting off quite aggressively. He was annoyed with us for not congratulating him on the good work that he is doing to make Scotland a cycle friendly nation.Yes that's right. He's doing good work. Apparently.

I suppose we have to be fair though, and my blog does need some balance. Surely something good has come of all this, In fact as part of the launch for CAPS there was also a press release, and  the government and Keith have in fact made an announcement of more money for cycling. Brilliant! Well done Keith! Well....not quite. In fact, not at all. Mr Brown and his colleagues have seen fit to find an extra £79,000. Yes that's right a whopping £79k. Now remember that we are asking for a minimum of £100m to be spent on cycling per annum if we are to have any chance of reaching 10% by 2020. Being generous, the current funding is sitting at £20m per annum, so this extra takes us 0.079% closer to the absolute minimum required.

That isn't funding, it's a slap in the face.

As pointed out in this thread, that represents 0.000013% of the cost of dualling the A9. There can be absolutely no doubt whatsoever what the current governments vision of a modern Scotland is. More roads to help more people drive more cars to more places, faster.

So in effect, we have a cycling action plan that has no plan and no interim targets, and therefore will result in no significant action.

So it's goodbye 'cycle friendly nation'.

Scotland, the cyclists dismount nation.


  1. Keith is typical of the brainless oafs, so common in this country, whose sole perspective on the world is through the windscreen of a car. I am not at all surprised to hear that he was aggressive - all committed Motorists are. The best that can be said about him is that he'll be gone soon because transport is a revolving door.

    I'm beginning to form the opinion that there is no hope of mass cycling under an SNP administration. Nor is there a hope of it under any of the other mainstream parties: Labour, Tory, and Lib Dem councils and governments past and present could have done something but chose not to because they are all stuffed full of fossil fuel addicts.

    I'm not sure what campaigning avenues are left open to us. I wonder what property prices in Amsterdam are like.

  2. Well to draw from Ghandhi perhaps we are past the phase of being ignored and these sops are an indicatio anywhere with n of them fighting us, before we eventually win.

    i don't think we will get anywhere with official grand schemes, but the velorution will be as silent as the cycling it will deliver. 4000+ for POP2 well just let that grow insidiously through people discovering and doing because it works better, faster & cheaper. Some of the best deliveries have caught the 'them brigade' completely by surprise, and provided the embarrassment of a wee, event that was just a bit bigger than expected.

    We just need to keep the fresh and fired up with inspiration and optimism (and Pandas)

  3. Oh and i realise there might have been a typo perhaps it is a Cycling Regulation Action Plan for Scotland

  4. You ask what the change from '10% of all trips to be made by bike by 2020' to '10% of everyday journeys taken in Scotland will be by bike' means.

    I thought the change was explained on page 8 of the CAPS review, where it explains that CAPS is primarily about functional cycling - cycling for everyday travel (utiltiy cycling - ride to work, to school,to run your messages...) rather than about sport cycling.

    Restricting the 10% target vision to functional journies rather than including all the charity bike rides, sportiefs and Bike Club weekend rides and chaingangs will make it a harder target to reach as all those leasure/sporting journies will not count. It is thus more about making Scotland a place where the bike is a tool to get about rather than a toy to go out and play. They cant achieve thair target by giving Sport Scotland a pile of cash and getting them to organise loads of sportief ride. (speaking as one who enjoys both functional/utility cycling and playing/leasure/sport).

    However as you say without the budget to achieve 10% of "functional journies" will they achieve it ?