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Last Updated: Monday, 4 April, 2005, 06:22 GMT 07:22 UK
Cycling report 'a wake-up call'
Eight in 10 Scottish households own a bike
Scottish councils should do more to encourage people to get on their bikes, according to a year-long study.

Cycling Scotland, the independent organisation which promotes cycling's role in transport, carried out a national assessment of provision.

It found some innovative and successful schemes but said clusters of councils were not delivering for cyclists.

Olympic gold medallist Chris Hoy said the report was "a wake-up call" but local authorities said they were using

limited funding in imaginative ways.

It is estimated that eight out of 10 Scottish households own at least one bicycle.

In the first study of its kind, the performance of all 32 Scottish councils was assessed.

Pedal power

They were scored against a number of criteria, including cycling strategy and training, infrastructure and promotion of the sport.

Cycling Scotland's chief executive Erl Wilkie said it created a benchmark which could allow councils to better serve cyclists and encourage others to adopt pedal power.

Chris Hoy
We need to do more to convince everyone to get on their bikes and local authorities are key to that
Chris Hoy
Olympic gold medallist

Mr Wilkie said: "Our assessment shows that there is often a lack of joined-up thinking within local government when it comes to delivering for Scotland's cyclists.

"Many authorities still regard cycling as being just about cycle paths and other engineering projects.

"However, the promotion of sustainable transport is about behaviour change. The proven benefits in terms of health, leisure, education and social inclusion clearly show that cycling policy and strategy must be spread across council departments."

Mr Hoy said: "There is still a long way to go if we want cycling take-up anywhere near as high as our European neighbours.

"We need to do more to convince everyone to get on their bikes and local authorities are key to that."

The report recommends that national targets for cycling growth should be replaced by more meaningful local targets.

It also says that councils should appoint lead officers for cycling and develop broader cycling strategies.

We hope that Cycling Scotland will join us in arguing that walking and cycling must be key elements of the Scottish Executive's new national transport strategy
Cosla spokesman

The councils' umbrella body Cosla said that local government was committed to developing both cycling and walking.

A spokesman said: "It is easy to be critical, but the report being concentrated on cycling allows an oversimplification of the tough decisions facing councils in terms of spending priorities and use of limited human resources.

"Much is happening in local authorities across the country.

"Councils are using the limited funding available in a variety of imaginative ways, which encourage cycle use, allowing cyclists to get around more easily and safely."

The spokesman said many local authorities also encouraged staff to travel to work by bike.

He added: "We hope that Cycling Scotland will join us in arguing, as we have done consistently for years, that walking and cycling must be key elements of the Scottish Executive's new national transport strategy, to be developed through this year."

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