THOUSANDS of Scots cycled and marched to the Holyrood parliament on Saturday in a call for bike-friendly country ahead of the local elections.

The annual Pedal on Parliament event saw 2000 people of all ages head to the Scottish Parliament from as far away as Dumfries, Glasgow, Perth and even Birmingham. Roads had been closed to motor vehicles to allow the group to travel safely through the capital city.

In its 10th year, Pedal on Parliament is asking politicians to sign up to its manifesto calling for increased active travel funding (20% by the end of the parliamentary term), road designs suitable for cyclists of all abilities, and safer speed limits where people live, work and play.

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Founding member Sally Hinchcliffe, who cycled 90 miles from Dumfries to Holyrood, said since the Pedal on Parliament events began there has been great progress on active travel – but more is needed to be done.

“The reality is that there are far too many roads and junctions that the average person just wouldn’t dream of cycling on – and that needs to be changed,” she said.

“Compared to other countries, we have a long way to go. It isn’t only the Netherlands that is cycle-friendly, particularly since the start of the pandemic; we are seeing countries across the world investing in greater cycle infrastructure, in both urban and rural areas.”

Meanwhile, main organiser Alex Robertson said he got involved to send a message to politicians on behalf of his family.

“I ride with my kids and I want to feel safe with them cycling with me and for them to have the freedom to access our wonderful city when they're able to cycle independently,” he explained.

A number of politicians spoke at the event, including Active Travel Minister Patrick Harvie and Edinburgh City Council transport convener Lesley Macinnes, as well as Tory transport spokesperson Graham Simpson and Labour candidate Mhairi Munro-Brian.

You can read the full Pedal on Parliament manifesto here.