"[walking & cycling] are not activities that need a great deal of infrastructure, they just need encouragement" - Patricia Fergusson MSP
— Alex Ingram (@nuttyxander) August 7, 2014
Umm, err, what?!
Ok. I've followed Alex for quite a while now, and I trust what he posts, but this particular statement was so far from what I perceive to be true that I just had to background check this. Did the MSP for Maryhill and Springburn really say this?
A quick search through Alex's tweets found a link to the source. The source is an official report of proceedings of the parliament, so you have to reckon on this being pretty accurate. It has to be. It is however, quite long, but let me extract the text of interest that was associated with Patricia Ferguson.
A recent survey carried out for Glasgow City Council revealed that some two thirds of the people in the sample cohort in the east end who were out of work reported that they had a long-standing illness, disability or infirmity. How do we improve the health record of Glasgow and Scotland? Can that, too, be a legacy of the games? In my view, encouraging young people to walk or cycle to school, and giving more encouragement to people who walk or cycle regularly, would be a start. We have to start somewhere, so we could start there. Walking and cycling are not activities that require a great deal of infrastructure. People just need encouragement and the get-go.
So there you have it.
Effectively Patricia's solution for Glasgow's ills can be summarised by the following statement:
For goodness sake people of Glasgow, get off your lazy backsides and get cycling! The paint on the roads will keep you safe!
Feel free to bang your head off your nearest desk.
Ok, then Patricia, let's see if this works.
Patricia!! Yes you!! Stop driving your damn car or taking the damn bus. Dust off your bike and get your lazy, sorry arse (sorry if this seems a bit rude, but I'm taking a sort of Sergeant Major type approach to giving Patricia a wee bit of get-go) out of your comfortable air-conditioned, Radio 2 engulfed car seat and get on your damn bike!!
Right, hopefully you'll at least have the get-go now.
Now for a bit of encouragement.
Patricia I am more than happy to take you on a wee bike ride through Glasgow. Would you like to join me? Contrary to what it might seem in this blog, I'm actually quite a nice guy, and to prove that, if you do come for a wee bike ride with me, I'll buy you a wee bun and a coffee at the end. How's that?
As we cycle along the obviously 'cycle friendly' streets of Glasgow, I'll let you point out all the places where you think a wee bit of encouragement will convince me to take my children cycling along the roads of this fair city. You might be right, and I might just be imagining all the issues and difficulties that I face on a nearly daily basis on my commute to and from work.
Seriously, this is an offer. Will you come and ride with me?