My kids addressed the city council petitions committee

It has been an eventful day. Sometimes I wish my life was dull and uneventful because right now I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed. Today, Daniel, Elizabeth, and I presented a petition to the petitions committee at the city council. The petition is asking for cycle paths that children can use to cycle to and from school in safety. We were given 10 minutes during which we could argue our case and then answer questions. Both the kids spoke and they delivered their messages beautifully. The only blunder was my own when I accidentally turned off Daniel’s microphone. The microphones were such that when you turned yours on it disabled everyone else’s. Coming from a family where everyone talks over one another I think these microphones are a wonderful idea.



What did we talk about in 10 minutes? We gave an example of what we want using this photo of Dutch children cycling to school in the city of Groningen.


I also made the point that the Netherlands has not always been this way. In the 1970s it was just like most British cities are today with cars ruling the roads. I shared some then and now photos which I got from the blog, A View From the Cycle Path. Here is a then and now photo from Assen in the Netherlands. It’s exactly the same street in both photos.


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I wanted to make the point that the Netherlands was at the same point back then that we are now. This means it’s something we can do here too; all that’s required is the political will to do it.

Elizabeth spoke about the cost benefit ratio of spending on cycling infrastructure. For every £1 we spend on cycling infrastructure we get £5.50 back in benefits. This is according to data from the UK government.

Ben took this photo of the three of us outside. I deliberately wore this old-fashioned dress because I wanted to make the statement that I’m not a cyclist. I’m just a mum who uses a bicycle to get around and I frequently ride my bike in dresses and long skirts. I’m not an athlete or a superwoman, I just want to make the world a better place for my children.


12 thoughts on “My kids addressed the city council petitions committee”

    1. Thanks. I hope so too. I forgot to say the outcome is that they’re going to refer this issue on for further investigation so that’s promising. They could have rejected it outright but they did not.

    1. I can’t access the link? Can you paste it in a comment again?

      I ran two petitions in the end because after the first one the city council gave me some advice and so I did it again. The first one got around 100 signatures but then they told me that if I make it a young person’s petition and get five children to sign it as well as a teacher then the petitions committee have to discuss it. So it was only signed by five students at the school and a teacher but that’s because that’s all I was told was needed and not because there aren’t others who would also like to see bike paths.

      1. Trying again. An important related aspect is where schools are; e,g, if they’re next to busy motorways kids will be getting a snootful of fine PMs every day. At this point there’s a huge literature on related topics. Is there perhaps a suitable expert at a local university, and/or in the local public health agency, who could back you up on these points?

        Re the petition, I would strongly suggest recruiting some others for a serious city-wide effort to get a bunch of signatures. The small amount you’ve gotten so far is too easily dismissed by politicians.

      2. ah yes, I saw that article. It’s a city centre school and pollution is a problem in Aberdeen, though not as bad as London.

        Cycling rates in Aberdeen are falling. Most other places in Scotland they’re going up but in Aberdeen they’re going down. I don’t think politicians can ignore this given the cross-party support for active travel. However this won’t be my last attempt to try to bring about change – it’s just the first.

  1. Brilliant, bring on tomorrow’s generation!! Today we had a couple of dogs run out across the road and in front of our group. When Ali suggested to the owner she needed to control her animals, he was met with abuse and she shouted that us cyclists should not be on the road. I stopped, went back for a photo of her car, was met with more abuse so this is going to the police and local dog warden for action – she needs re-educating as well!

    1. If cyclists should not be on the road then where can they go? There are no cycle paths. I would have replied to her with, “I agree! That’s why we need cycle paths so cyclists don’t have to ride on the road”.

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