The results of the initiative, which aimed to cut car use on the Black Isle by a million miles a year, were unveiled at a presentation and barbecue at Glachbeg Croft, near North Kessock. Figures based on a baseline survey and subsequent monitoring revealed that more than 1.35 million car miles per year were saved during the three years of the project, slashing carbon dioxide emissions by 718 tonnes annually.
Increases in cycling, use of public transport and lift sharing combined to achieve a reduction in car miles of 1.1% per year, exceeding the project target of 1%.
A comprehensive report revealed that a total of 5,369 people attended 471 events organised as part of the Million Miles project. Cycle skills training was mainly aimed at children and group social rides for all cyclists of all ages and abilities were held in villages throughout the area. A ‘slow cycle club’ in Cromarty, aimed at improving health and led by a retired GP, proved particularly popular.
The highland.liftshare.com website attracted and over 700 members and more than 8,000 maps showing local walking and cycling routes were distributed to households across the Black Isle.
Project officers Peter Elbourne and Marion McDonald were presented with joke bikes, made from scrap parts during the celebration.
“We are delighted with the results of the Million Miles campaign, which has seen the introduction of a whole raft of mile-saving projects on the Black Isle over the past three years,” said Transition Black Isle director Richard Robinson.
“We are extremely grateful to Marion and Peter for all their hard work, which really paid off. Community cycle trainers recruited in local villages also did a great job, helping boost cycling right across the Black Isle. Without the commitment and enthusiasm of all the staff and volunteers involved, the project would never have had such a great impact.”
The impact of the project will continue to be felt, with an active travel map and route guides still available, bike racks in villages, bike schemes at Cromarty and Fortrose, volunteer cycle trainers and the continuation of the highland.liftshare.com website.
Transition Black Isle has been working with other community groups to try to improve the infrastructure for cyclists in the area and it is hoped that cycle paths beside busy roads, such as Avoch to Munlochy, can be developed.
Original blog post here.