Now in its 30th year Spokes (the Lothian Cycle Campaign) continues to do what it does best – putting pressure on councils and governments to take cycling (as a means of transport) SERIOUSLY.
Spokes can genuinely take the credit for a lot of policy changes and infrastructure improvements over the years. Its earliest campaign was for a cycle route through the Meadows.
In May 1978 Spokes organised a cycle count on two days. “The weather conditions on the two counting days differed; the first was warm and sunny; the second windy with occasional drizzle. There was only a drop of about 15% in the figures, rejecting the suggestion that cycling is a ‘fine weather only’ form of transport.”
A typical Edinburgh spring then!
“Preliminary analysis of the cycle count suggests that a large proportion of the bike users who enter the ‘University area’ do not terminate their journeys there. The University does play a major part in generating cycle traffic, but is not a disproportionately large one, whatever the conservative councillor for Marchmont might think.”
Both quotes are from the news/what’s on magazine of the time (City Lynx, 8.6.78). The reference is to Conservative councillor (at that time), Ralph Brereton, who claimed that a cycle route along Middle Meadow Walk would be “over my dead body”. He later apologised and it was created while he was still on Edinburgh Corporation.
The latest issue of the Spokes Bulletin has probably already been delivered (if you are a member) and contains news of a more recent cycle count with impressive figures. Copies available in bike shops, libraries etc. or online PDF (sadly not text searchable).
If you’re not a member, you should consider it (more info), it’s actually FREE – though donations welcome… Spokes is wholly voluntary, with no staff and is not out to get as many members as possible. For instance it doesn’t go to Freshers’ Fairs to sign up students, even though many are (or will become) cyclists. It’s particularly keen on people “who will write letters/emails!”
There is a fairly small number of people who are responsible for most of Spokes’ work, but without all the members who point out problems and issues AND write to councillors, MPs MSPs etc. it would have been much less effective over the years.