Highlights of 2019 Cycling Scotland conference

8 November 2019    

Over 230 delegates joined us for our annual conference, held this year in the Scottish capital. 

With national and international speakers, workshop sessions, study tours and an evening awards ceremony, the conference brought together professionals from the active travel, health and third sectors, campaigners, local authorities, civil servants, politicians, volunteers and consultants to discuss how we can make cycling in Scotland easier, safer and more accessible.

The conference kicked off with three study tours exploring what Scotland’s capital is doing to encourage walking and cycling. Edinburgh City Council hosted a workshop discussing the Street Design Guidance while a walking tour visited the Innocent Railway Tunnel, the Meadows, public bike share stands and the University of Edinburgh which is involved in our Cycling Friendly Campus programme. At the same time, hardy souls braving the Scottish elements enjoyed a visit to The Bike Station where – with a warming cup of tea – they learnt about the services provided including teaching bike maintenance courses, adult cycle training, and upcycled sustainable products.

That evening, we celebrated the winners of the 2019 Bikeability Scotland and Cycle Champion of the Year awards, hosted by Edinburgh City Council at the City Chambers.

The second day promised a packed agenda of speakers, with a welcome to the city from Councillor Adam McVey who outlined Edinburgh’s vision for active travel and underlined the importance of courage and leadership to make change. Continuing this theme, Sue Flack, former Director of Planning and Transport at Nottingham City Council, outlined the bold steps Nottingham took to become the first city in the UK to implement the workplace parking levy.

Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity, Michael Matheson, thanked the active travel sector for its work, and highlighted how cycling, walking and public transport services are central in making the transformative change needed as we face one of the biggest challenges for our society: climate change.

Delegates were then welcomed to the Slovenian city of Ljubljana by Tjaša Ficko, Deputy Mayor responsible for implementing the European Green Capital project and putting Ljubljana on the map as a city committed to the green vision. She shared their interventions, electric tourist trains, dedicated lanes and city ambassadors, that have helped change citizens’ travel behaviours.

In the afternoon, delegates chose from breakout sessions discussing how cycling impacts on a range of policy areas, hearing presentations on how cycling can tackle inequalities, and exploring how Edinburgh is encouraging active travel.

Lastly, Bill Scott from the Poverty and Inequality Commission was our afternoon speaker, sharing his insight on the links between poverty, climate change and transport, with conference chair Pat Armstrong, CEO of ACOSVO, closing the event with a summary of key themes.