Get on your bike: £4.5m to encourage young cyclists

Cycling Scotland has been awarded £4.5 million of Government cash to encourage more young people to get on their bike.

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The body responsible for promoting cycling has been granted the funds to get more children interested and to develop cycle-friendly college and university campuses across Scotland.

The Scottish Government wants to see 10% of all journeys made by bicycle by 2020.

Transport Minister Keith Brown said the two-year cash pot included contributions from the departments of education and climate change and is in addition to the £20 million announced in September towards cycling infrastructure.

Mr Brown said: "Reducing carbon emissions and teaching our young people to cycle safely are two areas where we need to focus effort on.

"The Scottish Government is committed to investing in cycling infrastructure, training and road safety projects through organisations such as Cycling Scotland and Sustrans to make Scotland a more active, healthy and low-carbon nation and increase the numbers of people choosing to cycle each day."

Cycling Scotland chief executive Ian Aitken said: "This funding allocation represents clear support for getting more young people on their bikes more often, supporting the delivery of the shared vision of the Cycling Action Plan for Scotland.

"With the addition of the Cycle Friendly Campus programme, young people will see a supportive environment for cycling continue beyond primary and secondary school all the way through their time at college and university.

"These education and training programmes are particularly effective when combined with the other improvements occurring across Scotland, such as investment in improved cycle networks through Sustrans' Community Links as well as local authorities' and regional transport partnerships' investment in improving cycling."

Green MSP Alison Johnstone, co-convenor of the parliament's cross-party group on cycling, said: "More funding for cycling training and promotion is very welcome, but we will only see this reap rewards if we also make our roads safer.

"If we are still expecting young cyclists to share the streets with lorries, vans, buses and cars, then we must be far more ambitious about upgrading road space.

"I'm especially pleased to see that departments other than transport are contributing to this funding. Increasing our cycling rates should be central to getting a healthier, more active population, as well as bringing environmental benefits."

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