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Cycling Infrastructure (Road Safety)

– in the Scottish Parliament on 23rd May 2017.

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Photo of Alexander Stewart Alexander Stewart Conservative

2. To ask the Scottish Government what action it is taking to improve cycling infrastructure, in light of recent research by Sustrans Scotland, which highlighted that T-junctions and roundabouts possess the highest number of collisions. (S5T-00560)

Photo of Humza Yousaf Humza Yousaf Scottish National Party

Transport Scotland welcomes the report, which helps to inform our partnership work with local authorities and Sustrans to make our roads and cycle network safer by tackling dangerous roundabouts and junctions. Local authorities are funded through the cycling, walking and safer streets fund, and they are encouraged to apply to Sustrans Scotland for further Scottish Government funding through the community links and street design projects for exactly those types of junctions and roundabouts.

Our “Scotland’s Road Safety Framework to 2020” mid-term review identified cyclists as a key priority area. Through our programme for government, we are committed to maintaining the record levels of funding in active travel, which includes capital funding for improving infrastructure.

Photo of Alexander Stewart Alexander Stewart Conservative

The minister will be aware that in my region of Mid Scotland and Fife, Dunfermline and Perth have been named as two of the top 20 cycling collision hotspots in Scotland. Why is the Scottish Government overseeing cuts to cycling infrastructure?

Photo of Humza Yousaf Humza Yousaf Scottish National Party

I must clarify that that is misinformation from Alexander Stewart; I am sure that it was unintentional. As I said in my previous answer, we are making available record levels of funding to active travel: £39.2 million per year to 2021. There is a record level of investment.

Other members will no doubt want us to go further than that sometimes, and where additional money can be spent on active travel, I will certainly do that.

It is worth highlighting some of the successful projects in the region that Alexander Stewart represents that have been funded, many of them through Sustrans, which we help to fund. In Cowdenbeath there is the placemaking scheme, through which redesigned town centre junctions will improve access. Rothes Road has been improved with a toucan crossing, which got money from Sustrans and community links funding of £870,000. There is the Carnegie Avenue shared-use path—1.2km of new 2.5m-to-3m shared-use path—and further extension of the cycle Dunfermline network.

A lot of funding is going into Mid Scotland and Fife. I would encourage local authorities—many of which have new administrations, although of course many have existing administrations—to work with Sustrans where, on the basis of the Sustrans report, there needs to be an improvement, and to bid for the community links funding that is available.

Photo of Alexander Stewart Alexander Stewart Conservative

I thank the minister for identifying areas around my region that are being tackled, but there are still some areas that require to be tackled. Additional support such as traffic lights and other quality infrastructure around roundabouts and T-junctions have been proven to reduce accidents and fatalities. Many cyclists have endured serious injury or even death as a result of the infrastructure. Will the minister clarify what the Scottish Government is attempting to bring forward? As he said, it seems to be working in some parts but not in others.

Photo of Humza Yousaf Humza Yousaf Scottish National Party

The report was commissioned because, although we had good analysis and good data on where the cycling injury hot spots were on our trunk road network, we did not have such data for local roads. Sustrans thought that it was eminently sensible to gather that data. That was the whole purpose of conducting the exercise.

Now that we have the evidence, we are in discussions with Sustrans about schemes other than the community link scheme that I talked about and, for example, about whether there would be merit in having a community links junction improvement scheme, which might be of interest to local authorities.

My strongest advice to the member is to continue to engage with the local authority that he knows well, to look at the evidence base that Sustrans has provided, and to continue to apply to the current programme of funding that exists for such infrastructure. If there are other funds available, I will make sure that the member is made fully aware of them. However, there is a pot of funding available to help and, with the evidence base that the report helpfully gives us, that will make cases very strong.

Photo of Kenneth Macintosh Kenneth Macintosh Labour

I apologise: there is not enough time for additional supplementary questions.