Tomorrow Aberdeen will be having a mass bike ride in protest of the lack of cycling infrastructure in the city. This is part of a nation-wide group of protests under the umbrella of Pedal on Parliament 2019.
Several weeks ago I notified the police of the event, out of courtesy. In the past they’ve usually replied to say thanks and wished me luck. This time I got a PDF letter advising me against having such an event:
In recent years there has been an explosive growth in sponsored, fun and athletic events on public roads and I have to inform that, following several fatal and serious collisions involving participants and other road users, it is the policy of the Association of Chief Police Officers in England and Wales and the Executive of Police Scotland to discourage the staging of such events on a road.
Pedal on Parliament is not a fun, sponsored, and athletic event. It’s a protest about unsafe conditions for cycling on our roads. The next bit of the letter is the most astounding:
Most roads are carrying increasing numbers of motor traffic and few are suitable for slow moving groups or individuals.
This is exactly why we’re protesting. My children would like to ride their bikes to school but they are slow individuals and could never keep up with fast-moving motor traffic. It sounds like Police Scotland agree with this and are thereby discouraging children from cycling to school in which case I hope they join us at the protest tomorrow.
I asked whether I could share the letter publicly and they said yes. So here it is.