The Aberdeen Cycle Forum is organising a car-free event in the centre of Aberdeen on 3rd May 2020 from 11am – 1pm. We are planning to close a circuit in the centre of Aberdeen covering Union Street, Broad Street, Upperkirkgate, Schoolhill, Back Wynd, Little Belmont, Belmont. See the map below:
There will also be adult cycling lessons and a Dr Bike. The adult cycling lessons will be split into two groups: absolute beginners and people who can already ride a bike but who want to develop confidence cycling on the roads.
Here’s what we hope to achieve with this event:
We want to show people what Aberdeen could be like without cars and how pleasant it is to walk and visit shops and cafés in the city centre without the noise and air pollution that accompanies motor vehicles.
Encourage people to take up cycling by providing cycling lessons and a Dr Bike which is where you can take your bike for a health check.
Apply political pressure for cycling infrastructure in Aberdeen. One of the biggest barriers to cycling is the perception that it’s unsafe. People are afraid to cycle alongside cars, trucks, and buses and the only way to see real increases in the number of people choosing bikes over cars is to build the infrastructure.
Make transport inclusive. Women and children are underrepresented as cyclists because of the perceptions of safety. By providing a safe space in the centre of Aberdeen we want to encourage cycling for everyone – women, children, men, the elderly, and people with disabilities.
Air pollution in the city centre will be lower during the event due to the absence of polluting motor vehicles. This will promote health and wellbeing as well as improving the ambience in the city centre for shoppers.
To run this event we need your help. The city council charges £850 for a temporary traffic restriction order and £1,471.10 for traffic management making a total of £2,321.10. We have asked the council in previous years to waive this fee when we’ve run Pedal on Parliament but they will not. We’ve also asked them to run their own car-free day regularly. Although they organise In Town Without My Car Day once a year, cyclists are not allowed to cycle on the car-free streets and all the diesel generators at their event make it unclear whether there are any air quality benefits. We think car-free days should encourage cyclists, not discourage them.
Please help us by donating to our JustGiving page – Reclaim the Streets. If 500 people donate £5 then we’d have more than enough.
We’re looking for nominations for the Best in Cycling Awards for Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire. You can make your nomination here – Best in Cycling Awards. We know that Aberdeen has a long way to go before we can truly claim to be a cycling city but that doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate and recognise the people, businesses, employers, and schools that are trying now to improve conditions for cyclists. It could be great cycle parking or showers for employees or something else. We also have a cycle raspberry category for the worst infrastructure. Make your nominations here. Entries close on the 13th December.
We’ve also still got postcards left for the King Street cycle path campaign. These are all addressed to the Aberdeen City Council and we want as many as possible to reach the council this month because councillors will be voting on the SUMP (sustainable urban mobility plan) in November. If you haven’t posted one to the council yet then please do so. The postcards are available at Foodstory Café and Newton Dee. If you can distribute some postcards then please contact us and we can give you a larger batch.
Last Saturday we had the very great pleasure of organising cycling lessons for adults using funding from Cycling UK’s Big Bike Revival. It was a wonderful success! Watching people who have never ridden a bike before getting a taste of the thrill that comes with cycling was very rewarding.
As you can see from the photos, Aberdeen put on some fine weather for us 🙂
We had two groups of lessons running concurrently: one for absolute beginners and another for adults who have not ridden for a while and who want to get back into cycling.
We’ve had some wonderful feedback from participants.
Big thanks especially to our own member, Nathan Gore, who ran the cycling refresher sessions. And thanks also to Emma Roberts from Cycling UK for helping to make this possible, Sally Duthie from Adventure Aberdeen for running the beginner sessions, and our member Tally Yahya for instigating the process.
The Aberdeen Cycle Forum is launching a new awards program to recognise the best in cycling in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire. Enter your nomination now for the Best in Cycling Awards.
We are looking for nominations for the best piece of cycling infrastructure or the best business, school, employer, or someone who has made an outstanding contribution to promoting active travel. There’s also a category for Cycle Raspberry which is for the worst example of cycling infrastructure. We’ll share pics at the end of the competition and have a public vote!
We’re very pleased to announce that the Aberdeen Cycle Forum has received funding from Cycling UK to run some cycling lessons for adults. These will be held in the morning on Saturday 28th September from 9am – 12pm.
We’ll run two sessions in parallel – one for absolute beginners who have never ridden a bike before and another for people who know how to ride but haven’t ridden for a long time and want to brush up on their skills. A bikeability instructor from Adventure Aberdeen will be taking the lessons along with one of our own members, Nathan Gore, who is a bikeability volunteer.
Get your tickets online but hurry because places are limited. It’s completely free thanks to Cycling UK’s Big Bike Revival!
An annual roadside count of commuting cyclists has been carried out by Aberdeen Cycle Forum volunteers for more than 10 years. The count takes place during morning commuting time at 16 locations across the city.
Almost 1,000 cyclists were counted but numbers are fairly static in comparison with previous years and there is no sign of the significant upward trend that campaigners would like to see and which is now happening in many other cities. Indeed numbers are 20% lower this year when compared with a peak in 2016. Two of the three top results are for Aberdeen’s traffic-free routes on the Deeside Way and the ‘Shell’ path near Abbotswell Road.
Also, as in previous years, the proportion of female cyclists is only one fifth of the total which is significant because female riders are thought to be more risk-averse. This reinforces the idea that many people feel the city’s streets are currently too dangerous to cycle on because of the volume and speed of traffic.
There is a strong case for investing in high-quality segregated routes for cyclists and experience elsewhere has shown that the return in public benefits is at least £5 for every £1 invested. However routes need to be properly designed and route priorities carefully selected. The count data shows that some of Aberdeen’s recent investment in segregated routes such as on the Riverside, Ellon Road, and the Jubilee Bridge are not yet being well used.
There is much more we can do like, for example, campaigning for regular car-free Sundays and school traffic-free zones. We discussed both things in the meeting and you’ll see in the notes there are currently no plans for either (with the exception of the annual “In Town without my Car” day).
Right now the focus is on King Street and we now have 500 postcards addressed to Councillor Jenny Laing to distribute for people to post.
If you are able to help with the distribution of these then please contact Rachel at email@example.com. This is just the first batch of what we hope will be many.
The Aberdeen Cycle Forum is excited to release this visualisation for a bike path on King Street, Aberdeen. This follows on from our design competition for King Street which generated some very high quality, professional submissions. We took those designs, and with funding from LUSH, transformed them into a 3D visualisation.
Visualisations excite and inspire us to see what could be possible in our city. Aberdeen has enormous potential for cycling with its wide streetscapes and beautiful, grand granite buildings. It’s reasonably flat and has a climate that’s cycle-friendly all year round. All that’s needed is the right infrastructure.
This visualisation is just one possible design for a bike path on King Street. It doesn’t have to look exactly like this but what’s important is that all modes of transport have their own space – cars have their own space, bicycles have their own space, and pedestrians have their own space.
Through this visualisation we want to convey that cycling infrastructure is for everyone. It’s for men and women cycling to work, it’s for children cycling to school, it’s for people with disabilities on disability scooters, it’s for people who want to roller-blade to the shops or beach. With the right infrastructure we’ll see groups of people from our community we wouldn’t have otherwise seen, using active travel as their mode of transport.
What next? We have submitted the designs from the competition to the council along with this visualisation which was favourably received. King Street extends the Union Street bike path petition which is still before the council and which will be included in the SUMP (sustainable urban mobility plan) report the council hope to have out for public consultation next month. We’ll keep you posted!
Next we plan to print some postcards of the King Street visualisations which people can post to the council. We’ll let you know when these are available and where you can get one.
If you want to donate to our campaign then please click the donate button on our website.
I’m a bit late getting this recap post up but that shouldn’t be interpreted as an unsuccessful event. This year’s Pedal on Parliament was the best I’ve been to and this was largely due to the different route we did. Instead of cycling in one direction from A to B we cycled a circuit around the centre of town.
We all met outside Marischal College at 11am on Sunday and cycled first down Upper Kirkgate, then left onto Union Terrace, left onto Union Street, left onto Broad Street and back to Marischal College. We cycled this circuit over and over for one hour. I think I cycled 6 or 7 laps. I lost count at about 5. Others probably cycled more because I do remember being overtaken a few times.
There were just over 100 of us – people from Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire, of all ages, shapes, and sizes and riding all kinds of bikes. There were cargo bikes, electric bikes, tandem bikes, and even a couple of cool-looking Eliptigos. There were children with the youngest being 6 years old.
Was it a success? In terms of enjoyment value, definitely! Will we see positive action from the local authority? If I didn’t think it would help then I wouldn’t bother and I would give up all hope. I do think these events are important and collectively, with other campaigns, they will help to steer direction towards an Aberdeen that is a safe place to cycle for everyone, adults and children alike.
What’s next for Aberdeen Cycle Forum? We’ve had a great year so far with the King Street Design Competition and Pedal on Parliament. Later this month we’ll be meeting with the Aberdeen City Council to hand over the winning designs from the King Street Design Competition and get an update on the Union Street bike path petition. We also received some funding from LUSH for an exciting new project! Make sure you subscribe to our blog to hear updates about this.
On May 14-16th we’ll be carrying out our annual cycle count, something we’ve done since 2008. The data is really useful and does show that cycling in Aberdeen has increased over the last 10 years – but not by nearly enough! We rely on volunteers to undertake the count and need 16 people in total. If you can spare a couple of hours early-morning (07:00-09:00) on either 14, 15 or 16thMay, please get in touch firstname.lastname@example.org
The count locations are listed below and if you let us know your preference, we’ll do our best to work with that and get back to you with a recording form and other details. The 2 hours can also be split up between any of the 3 days if that makes it more attractive.
Auchmill Rd (nr Chalmers bakery in Bucksburn)
Deeside Line (nr Holburn St turn off)
George St (junc with Hutcheon St)
Grammar School (junc Carden Place/Esslemont Ave)
Kings St (junc with Mounthooly Way)
Great Western Rd (Mannofield; junc with Countesswells Rd)