Nicola Sturgeon is promising to do more to encourage Scots to get on their bike if the SNP wins next month’s Holyrood elections.
The SNP leader wants the country to capitalise on the “huge increases” in the number of people cycling and walking during the coronavirus pandemic.
As part of that, she is promising the SNP will ensure that 10% of the transport capital budget goes on active travel by the end of the next Holyrood term in 2026.
To encourage more youngsters to cycle, her party has also committed to provide free bikes to school children who cannot afford them.
Every child leaving school in Scotland should be able to ride a bike, the SNP has said.
The party is also pledging a scheme of loans and grants to help adults meet the costs of buying or repairing a bike.
Campaigning in Glasgow on Earth Day, Sturgeon will say: “The last few months have given all of us pause for thought about how we get around – and we must capitalise on the huge increases in people trying cleaner, greener and healthier modes of transport and lock in good habits for the future.
“In Government, the SNP has significantly increased funding for active travel in recent years, and by the end of the parliament we’ll ensure that 10% of the transport capital budget is spent on walking, cycling and wheeling.”
The SNP leader will add: “We want to encourage good habits from the youngest age – so if re-elected we’ll provide free bikes for all children of school age who cannot afford them.
“We’ll also ensure every child in Scotland leaves school with the ability to cycle safely.
“Owning a bicycle should be a possibility open to everyone – so we’ll make loans and grants available for the purchase of pedal cycles and for their repair.”
An SNP government will seek to ensure every town in Scotland has a “high quality and separated walking and cycling network,” she will pledge.
This will allow people to commute by bike more safely, helping meet the target of cutting car use by 20% by the end of the decade.
Sturgeon will say: “Active travel has so many benefits for our health, for the environment and for our communities – by giving both votes to the SNP on May 6, people in Scotland can elect a government which is determined to make lasting, positive change, for this and for future generations.”