Skateboarding, skating and push scooting should sit alongside cycling, BMX and mountain biking as wheeled sports that encourage greater levels of physical activity and help create a lasting shift to more sustainable forms of transport.
That's the view of the new Cycling and Urban Sports Strategy, which aims to boost participation in all forms of urban wheeled sports in Glasgow as a way to improve health outcomes while also tackling the transport-related carbon emissions that fuel climate change.
Devised by Glasgow City Council and Glasgow Life, the new strategy forms part of the city's wider transport plans and seeks to build upon growing interest in urban wheeled sports such as skateboarding and BMX, which have both been included at recent international sporting events such as the Olympics and European Championships. BMX and mountain biking will also feature heavily in the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships to be held in Glasgow and elsewhere in Scotland in August.
The strategy considers how to support the coaches, mentors and other volunteers who sustain urban wheeled sports while examining what steps are required to generate new facilities and spaces that foster involvement in wheeled sports. Delivering programmes that provide opportunities for participation is also a major theme of the strategy.
Immediate actions identified in the strategy include developing an urban sports map of Glasgow, supporting the growth of community sports hubs and investigating the possibility of Glasgow hosting an international skating and BMX street event. The public point of view is also seen as essential to the success of the strategy and residents are being urged to share their opinions through an on-line survey that is open for the next six weeks.
Councillor Angus Millar, City Convener for Transport, sees the growth in urban wheeled sports as the latest instalment in Glasgow's sporting traditions, but also as a mechanism for greater change.
Councillor Millar said: "Glasgow has a long and proud history of sport and culture and urban wheeled sports are rapidly taking their place in the sporting fabric of the city. It's vital we harness the enthusiasm that exists for wheeled sports and ensure all those who want to take part can participate.
"We want to create the right environment for cycling and wheeled sports in Glasgow as so many benefits can flow from this kind of physical activity. Cycling, skating or scooting for sport and enjoyment is good for health and well-being but can also help to make active travel an easier choice for everyday journeys across the city.
"We need to reduce our reliance on cars and other vehicles if we are achieve our targets to reduce carbon emissions in Glasgow. Involvement in wheeled sports can play its part in securing a just transition to a net zero city but can also help to tackle Glasgow's longstanding health inequalities at the same time. "
Andrew Olney, Director of Libraries, Sport and Communities at Glasgow Life said: "As hosts of the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships, and as European Capital of Sport, we have a unique opportunity to inspire people in Glasgow to get on bikes, scooters and skateboards for travelling, fitness and fun.
"The Cycling and Urban Sports Strategy sets out how Glasgow will encourage participation, what's needed to help more people get involved and crucially, how the views of people who live here are taken into account. The world's greatest cyclists will be in Glasgow next month, competing across 13 different disciplines in front of tens of thousands of spectators and we can use this showpiece event to create more opportunities for Cycling and Urban Sports."
Picture shows (l-r) Andy Waddell, Director, Glasgow City Council, Councillor Angus Millar, City Convener for Transport and Andrew Olney, Director of Libraries, Sport and Communities at Glasgow Life with staff , skaters and cyclists at The Loading Bay Skatepark, Glasgow.