Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Dutch experts offer Scots cycling safety advice

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Media captionMinisters have set a target of getting 10% of journeys made by bike by 2020

Transport experts from the Netherlands and Scotland are meeting in Edinburgh to discuss ways of improving cycling safety.

Dutch politicians and planners say traffic has to be slowed and cut in cities or separate lanes created to encourage more people onto bikes.

The Scottish government has set a target of getting 10% of journeys made by bike by 2020.

Transport Minister Keith Brown will give a speech on progress made.

The number of cyclists injured on Scotland's roads is rising.

Transport Scotland figures show that last year seven cyclists died and 824 suffered an injury, a rise of 6% on the previous year.

Among the issues being discussed at the Love Cycling, Go Dutch conference, which is taking place at the Cosla Conference Centre in Haymarket, are better town planning and road-user awareness.

The event is being hosted by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, in collaboration with Cycling Scotland, Royal HaskoningDHV, Cycle Nation, Sustrans and the Dutch Cycling Embassy.

Marjolein de Lange, an expert in planning and policy for cycling and road safety, leads the Thinkbike project for the Dutch Cycling Embassy.

She told BBC Radio Scotland's Good Morning Scotland programme: "The Netherlands have decided early on that we don't want our cities overrun by cars and that's what has been missing here in Scottish cities I think.

"It's the number of cars, but also the speed of cars, and cyclists are vulnerable - they don't have any protections zones around them. If you want to make good possibilities for cyclists you need to take that into account.

"That means either you need to slow down the traffic and reduce the number of cars in the street or you have to make separate facilities."

Ms Lange said the distances in Scottish cities were good for cycling and that if you reach a critical mass of about 10% of cycle traffic it starts changing the dynamic to make the roads safer for cyclists.

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