When is a Target not a Target?

OK, I apologise in advance to all of you who are here for the vegetable growing and squashed wildlife and weather reports – I do try and keep the cycling politics stuff to a minimum cos I know it’s boring but sometimes it just has to be done…

It seems that when the Scottish Government announced in 2010 that ‘10% of journeys should be by bike by 2020’ it had its fingers crossed behind its back. And also that when the Transport minister told 3000 voters who’d pedalled on Parliament that we were ‘pushing on an open door’ he forgot to add that the door was marked ‘pull’. Because, according to the Transport minister what his real priority at the moment is modernising Scotland’s transport infrastructure and by ‘modern’ he means motorways and other things they used to get really excited about way back in the sixties.


And on closer inspection the much vaunted cycling action plan that’s supposed to magically deliver this vision of 10% of journeys by bike consists of the following steps:

  1. Train some volunteers to train school children to ride bikes, if they want to and the school doesn’t really object.
  2. If your employer has showers at work and a bike shed, it can apply to be a cycle-friendly employer!
  3. Did you know that Dumfries and Galloway has a bike bus? We think. Anyway, here’s a picture of it. We didn’t pay for it but it’s the sort of thing that local authorities could do if they wanted to. No pressure, though. Totally up to them.
  4. We ARE paying Sustrans to find some roads we haven’t made into dual carriageways yet and put some signs up calling them the National Cycle Network. Also there may be some closed down railways and things that the cyclists could use if they wanted to.
  5. Umm
  6. Oh yes, and look, there’s a recession and petrol’s going up so lots of people will cycle anyway because they haven’t any alternative.
  7. Also we have just built this shiny new motorway right into the middle of Glasgow and on the day before it opens, everyone can pay money to go and ride their bikes on it for charity.
  8. And on the other days, they can put their bikes on the back of their cars and drive down the motorway to Ae and go mountain biking because that totally counts as a cycling trip.
  9. Plus if everyone shuts their eyes and wishes REALLY HARD it might happen
  10. Oh and did we mention it wasn’t a target, it was a shared vision?

That sound you can hear in the background is the sound of a politician backpedalling furiously.

That sound you can hear in the foreground is me grinding my teeth.

Oh never mind, here’s a nice wee song and a video instead

11 Responses to When is a Target not a Target?

  1. Flighty says:

    Typical obfuscating bureaucracy! xx

  2. disgruntled says:

    hmm, I’d have said ‘weaselling politicians’ myself but I know what you mean

  3. George T. says:

    Somehow, I’m sort of reminded of the tin-pot grandiose schemes you hear about in so-called banana republics. Is this a case of ‘let’s make Scotland great by having motorways and airports and … and .. They’ll want an army and an airforce next.

  4. John Gibson says:

    Well, thats politicians for you. Mind you I like the Proclaimers.

  5. […] into dangerous speed maniacs; bike writer Carlton Reid says not so fast. That sound you hear is a Scottish politician backpedalling furiously when it comes to cycling targets. Israel lacks sufficient infrastructure to keep cyclists safe on […]

  6. disgruntled says:

    @George – presumably if we vote for independence we’ll need those as well…
    @John – yeah, hadn’t really come across them till I moved up here (Proclaimers, that is, not politicians)

  7. Charles says:

    Have you met a politician, such as your local MP. Most score highly on self importance, pomposity and self regard. Most have never delivered anything to anyone on time and are unemployable. The problem is that they are the best we have because know wants to do the job. I think things would be improved if people in charge had to the jobs they were elected to do. The minister for transport should only be allowed to use public transport. The minister for health should spend one day a week on a ward, killing (sorry caring) for patients, the home secretary should live on a run down estate dependant on the local police station for protection etc. This would focus the mind wonderfully.

  8. disgruntled says:

    Interestingly our local MSP just lost her licence … she may be tasting the delights of rural bus services first hand.

  9. welshcyclist says:

    When it’s a Taggart? Sorry!

  10. disgruntled says:

    There’ll be a murrrrdurr done if they don’t look out…

  11. […] on an open door’ in asking for safer cycling, they have neglected to mention that the door is in fact marked ‘pull’ and they’re actually going to do the square root of bugger all to achieve their own target […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: