Cycling Scotland Conference 2022 highlights
19 October 2022
Over 200 delegates and speakers joined us in person for the first time since 2019 for the Cycling Scotland Conference, held this year in the Albert Halls in Stirling.
Exploring the theme of ‘Accelerating the move to safer cycling for everyone’, the conference this year brought together professionals from the active travel sector, campaigners, local authorities, civil servants, Police Scotland, politicians, and volunteers across Scotland.
The Cycling Scotland Conference 2022 was chaired by Catriona Stewart from The Herald, who discussed why improving safety for everyone on our roads is so crucial. We were welcomed to the city by Baillie Alasdair Tollemach, Councillor for Dunblane and Bridge of Allan, who talked about his own experience of learning to ride a bike at 39 and the need for inclusion in cycling.
The keynote speakers of the day were Professor Sally Kyd, Professor of Law and current Head of Leicester Law School. Sally shared her research on driver offences and answered questions on monitoring, legal challenges and how we can make our roads safer alongside Teresa Ciano, Partnership Manager for GoSafe in Wales. Teresa discussed Operation Snap and how third-party reporting has been instrumental in Wales for the prosecution of dangerous driving and improved road safety. Teresa highlighted lessons learned in implementing Operation Snap and how it may support police and people cycling.
The ministerial recorded address was delivered by Scottish Government Minister for Zero Carbon Buildings, Active Travel and Tenant’s Rights, Patrick Harvie MSP. The Minister called on the need to work with communities to improve access to cycling, storage, and infrastructure and at all levels, from local authorities to national government, in prioritising active travel, matching policy ambition with delivery.
In the afternoon the conference broke into three sessions – global, national, and local. The global session focussed on building resilience through cycling in the face of global challenges. Delegates had the chance to join tables of speakers with:
- Jess Pepper (Founder and Director: Climate Cafés)
- Steven McClusky (Founder: Bikes for Refugees)
- Phil Jones (Development Manager: Recyke-a-Bike)
- Hugh Macgregor (Cycling Scotland)
The national session explored how we can make Scotland’s roads safer and had a panel comprising:
- Michelle Burns and David Waddell (Inspector and PC: Police Scotland)
- Brwa Mohamed (Head of Design, Engineering and Assurance: Sustrans Scotland)
- Keith Irving (Chief Executive: Cycling Scotland)
The local session was a cycle tour ride of Stirling’s cycle infrastructure which was led by Forth Environment Link and joined by Stirling Council and Lee Cragie, Scotland’s Active Travel Ambassador.
An inspiring close
Our final keynote speech was delivered by Kirsty Lewin, road safety campaigner and founding member of InfraSisters. Kirsty talked about her personal experience of being hit by someone driving a lorry when cycling and the impact this has had on her life and campaigning. Kirsty called for inclusive cycling infrastructure and the need for active travel partners and governments to listen to grassroots campaigners. An inspiring quote from the speech that stuck with delegates and staff was ‘ask yourselves what you will do to push out beyond the waves, what leadership in your role looks like, to accelerate the essential improvements to help people cycle safely and comfortably'.
Cycling Scotland Chief Executive Keith Irving took the opportunity on the day to pay tributes to Sandy Scotland, one of our founding trustees and long-standing Board member and Brian Curtis MBE, our founding Chair. Keith recognised the significant contribution both have made to the active travel sector and cycling, and announced that Cycling Scotland plan to sponsor academic dissertations in cycling-related research in Sandy’s memory.
Cycling Champion of the Year awards
The day also saw the announcement of the winners of the Cycling Champion of the Year awards 2022, presented jointly by Cycling Scotland, Cycling UK, Scottish Cycling, and Sustrans Scotland.
The conference was wrapped up with a summary and thanks to all contributors and attendees from the chair Catriona Stewart.
We look forward to welcoming delegates to future conferences.