How cyclists are winning on the wheel of fortune
More public cash is spent promoting bikes but walking is more popular, claim experts
Experts have urged the Government to spend as much cash on walkers and pedestrians as cyclists.
Research suggests more public cash is being spent on “fashionable” cycling routes at the expense of walking.
The findings have emerged as we reveal one council spent £325,000 on a cycle lane only a few hundred metres long.
The Medical Research Council report reveals just one in four daily journeys in Scotland are active with the vast majority involving walking.
But Glasgow University’s Dr Jonathan Olsen, who led the study, said politicians have neglected the benefits of walking in favour of cycling.
He said: “While much attention has focused on promoting cycling, it accounted for only 4% of all active journeys, compared to walking which accounted for the remaining 96%.
“Walking is a familiar, convenient and free mode of transport and exercise, for which infrastructure is well established in most urban and some rural areas.
“Since it remains by far the most likely mode of active travel, it should be promoted as much as cycling.”
The Scottish Government is increasing the cash spent on “active travel” every year from £40 million to £ 80 million but declined to give a breakdown of its spending on walking and cycling initiatives.
Among the publicised schemes are an £18 million commitment last year towards a National Cycle Network, while the charity Paths For All received £ 5 million from the Scottish Government in 2016.
Tam Fry, 80, chairman of the National Obesity Forum – who walks three miles a day before breakfast – said: “Transport Minister Humza Yousaf should get off his bike or his bus and put his weight behind walking. He should then practise what he’s preaching: he’ll feel healthier for it.
“Bikes have their place but can cost a lot of money which many people may not have. Everyone has feet, however, and they don’t need storing – or oiling!”
The MRC report shows almost two-thirds of Scots still take a car to work – up 2% in 2016 – and fewer than 10% use a bus.
Cycling only amounts to around 1% of all journeys, although it showed a slight increase
Minister for Public Health and Sport Aileen Campbell said: “We have put in place record investment in walking and cycling, and will continue to do so for the life of this parliament.
“From next year we will double our active travel budget from £40 million to £80 million.
“This involves making our towns and cities safer and more pleasant spaces for cyclists and pedestrians and appointing an Active Nation Commissioner to ensure delivery of world class active travel infrastructure.
The controversial cycle lane in Cambuslang’s Main Street which cost the local authority almost £325,000