Following this year's much talked about COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland is gearing up to put real money down for active travel.
Minister and Member of Scottish Parliament Patrick Harvie announced during his keynote speech at Cycling Scotland’s annual conference that the Scottish government will increase spending on active travel in 2024‑25 to at least £320m.
This is equivalent to 10 per cent of Scotland’s total transport budget.
Harvie, who currently serves as the Minister for Zero Carbon Buildings, Active Travel and Tenants’ Rights, addressed the Cycling Scotland conference by saying that riding a bike “should be the obvious safe and healthy travel option for people of all ages”.
Scotland’s active travel budget allocation is a step in the right direction. The United Nations recommends that 20 per cent of federal transport funding per annum should be allocated to non-motorised transport.
Many other countries and regions are stepping up to the plate. Ireland, for example, will allocate 20 per cent of its transport budget to active travel projects. Not only does this match the UN standard, it is almost three times the amount of money to be spent on other forms of urban transport in the budget.
Unfortunately, Australia does not have a good track record with budget allocation for active travel. In the 2015/16 fiscal year, around 1 per cent of the federal transport budget was spent on bikes.
A recent report by We Ride Australia and Ernst Young reveals that, if Australians increase their bike riding regularity, we can expect injections of $118 million per annum into the bike industry, an already $6.3 billion strong economy.
And so the question stands: how much will the Australian Government commit to shifting the gears?
You can read more about MSP Patrick Harvie's announcement, and what this means for Scotland, here.
This article was made possible by the support of Bicycle Network's members who enable us to make bike riding better in Australia.