Scottish Government issues new guidance for cycling infrastructure

The Scottish Government has published new guidance to support more consistent design of permanent cycling infrastructure.

The guidance, titled ‘Cycling by Design’, will offer roads authorities advice on how best to build cycling routes and paths so that there is greater consistency, inclusivity and high standards applied to designs. Developed with extensive input from stakeholders, including Sustrans and Society of Chief Officers of Transportation in Scotland, the aim is to make cycling an easier and better choice for everyday journeys whilst supporting better placemaking in local communities.

The new guidance has been published during Scotland’s Climate Week, which is promoting a national conversation about what everyone can do across Scotland, in response to the global climate emergency, as we head towards COP26 in Glasgow.

The publication of new design guidance is a key output from the Scottish Government’s Active Travel Taskforce and supports the active travel framework to 2030, in addition to supporting Scotland’s world leading net zero targets.

Minister for Active Travel Patrick Harvie said: “I am pleased that we are now publishing this updated ‘Cycling By Design’ guidance. We have a lot of work to do, if we’re going to build Scotland’s cycling infrastructure in a consistent, high quality and inclusive way that reflects the needs of all road users.

“I am grateful to our delivery partners, in particular Sustrans and SCOTS, for their contributions to the development of this new approach. Their insight, knowledge and input has been invaluable.

“This is an exciting time for active travel in Scotland, with new commitments to a big increase on investment, and as we work towards our 2030 vision for walking, wheeling and cycling to be the most popular choices for shorter everyday journeys.

“As outlined in the Scottish Government’s National Transport Strategy and in the updated Climate Change Plan, we need to reduce single-occupancy car use and encourage sustainable transport. High quality and accessible cycling infrastructure will be essential for encouraging the switch to active travel and helping Scotland end our contribution to climate change.”

Interim Director at Sustrans Scotland Stewart Carruth said:

“Sustrans Scotland welcomes the publication of the updated Cycling by Design in Scotland Climate Week.  

Sustrans Scotland’s design and engineering team have worked hard to contribute to this excellent source of best practice in cycling. It brings into one easy place learning from projects delivered in Scotland, the UK, and further afield. 

“Just under a third of Scotland’s carbon emissions come from transport. Cycling has been highlighted as key to enabling more people to have an alternative to the car for shorter everyday journeys. To do this we need world class cycling infrastructure that makes it easy and safe for  people of all ages and abilities to cycle, while still protecting our most vulnerable in our towns and cities. Cycling by Design will help make this a reality.”

Chair of SCOTS (the Society of Chief Officers of Transportation in Scotland) Ewan Wallace said: “It is great news to see the publication of the eagerly awaited Cycle By Design guidance, given the key role of SCOTS members in the planning, delivery and maintenance of local transportation systems. SCOTS has been delighted to have contributed to the development of the guidance, and our road authority members will play a crucial role in the use of this guidance to improve our existing cycling infrastructure as well as new infrastructure that we implement in the coming years.

“The guidance will make our roads safer and more accessible for all our road users, and particularly to cyclists and riders of bikes past, present and many more in the future.”

Cycling By Design can be accessed on the Transport Scotland website

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