Events to encourage people not to drive alone

A series of events is to be held in Aberdeen next month to encourage people to explore alternative modes of transport to driving alone in their cars.

They are being held as part of European Mobility Week, a European Union-backed campaign to promote sustainability. Cities are encouraged to take part by signing up to the campaign and pledging to raise awareness by holding events and implementing permanent measures. Aberdeen City Council Transport and Regeneration Spokesman Councillor Ross Grant has signed the agreement for Aberdeen's participation.

The campaign runs in Aberdeen from 12 September to 22 September and includes In Town Without My Car Day on Sunday 20 September. 2015 will be the sixth year in a row the city is hosting In Town Without My Car Day, and will again result in the closure to motorised traffic of Schoolhill between Blackfriars Street and Back Wynd, along with Belmont Street and Little Belmont Street.

The theme of the national campaign is 'Choose. Change. Combine.' to encourage people to use multiple modes of alternative transport to driving alone, for example taking a bus and then walking a short distance to their destination.

Cllr Grant said: "Many people want to not use their car quite as often as they do, so events such as these will help them see there are other options which are both practical and good for the environment.

"We want to gently encourage people to investigate alternatives and these events are a great opportunity to see what they are."

The City Council is holding a series of events to inspire people to try alternatives to using their cars, install a permanent measure to help them to opt for a sustainable mode of transport, and hold the In Town Without My Car Day so streets are open to the public to enjoy.

The events include the free Getabout Bicycle Roadshow in Duthie Park on Saturday 12 September, followed by The Wee Jaunt the following day (Sunday 13 September). Organised by Cycling Scotland and supported by the City Council, this is the third annual Pedal for Scotland cycle ride in Aberdeen, and is a six mile challenge ride, starting and finishing in Duthie Park and travelling alongside the River Dee and Girdleness. Registration is now open for this, and further information is available from http://pedalforscotland.org/rides/the-wee-jaunt-aberdeen/.

There will also be complimentary activities in Duthie Park throughout the day, including the bike roadshow again and Adventure Aberdeen climbing wall. There is a cost to taking part in the challenge ride but the Duthie Park activities will be free.

There will be further roadshows throughout the week with venues and times to be confirmed.

The streets closed to motor vehicles as part of In Town Without My Car Day will this year host a free family fun event, with the aim to allow people to experience the street as a place for fun and social interaction, rather than as a traffic thoroughfare.

The free family fun event will include: Adventure Aberdeen Bicycle Roadshow and Climbing Wall; City Moves on-street dance school; a bouncy castle and inflatable assault course; Aberdeen Play Forum; street entertainment via Graham Benson and Aberdeen University Circus Skills Society; and face painting and glitter tattoos.

Also due to attend are:
•First Aberdeen, with a hydrogen bus;
•CoWheels with a range of its vehicles including electric cars;
•Alpine Bikes;
•Aberdeen Cycle Forum;
•Home Energy Scotland with an eco-driving simulator or smoothie bike;
•Aberdeen City Council/Getabout – handing out bike bells, bike seat covers, reflective slap bands, and hi-vis vests.

Two of the streets where the event is taking place – Belmont Street and Little Belmont Street - are part-pedestrianised, and are currently taking part in a café culture trial, where they are closed to traffic from 11am to 6pm apart from access to two private car parks. This access will be prohibited during In Town Without My Car Day.

Another event taking place as part of the Mobility Week celebrations is a Cycle Challenge by Middleton Park School pupils on Tuesday 22 September. This is the first time that a school event of this nature has taken place in Aberdeen, where pupils are to cycle a short course near the school.