NHS workers have taken to the streets of Aberdeen in a race to show how easy it is to travel in a major city without a petrol car.
Four staff members from the Health and Social Care Partnership made their way from Summerfield House to the Health Village on Frederick Street, in an electric car, electric bike, NHS shuttle bus and a public transport bus.
The race, part of Clean Air Day, aimed to raise awareness of the different ways that people can travel across the city.
Linda Smith, the lead for public health and wellbeing at the Health and Social Care Partnership, crossed the line first on the electric bike in 21 minutes – just 30 seconds ahead of her nearest rival.
Estelle Muller-Girod, a public health practitioner, took second place in the electric car, completing the three-and-a-half mile route in 21 minutes and 30 seconds, including parking and paying at the Frederick Street multi-storey car park.
The two were quickly followed by Emma Williams, on the number 13 bus, and Hillary Bell on the NHS shuttle, which had to make a connection at Woodend Hospital, taking 38 and 41 minutes respectively.
Keen cyclist Linda said: “The aim was to show the different modes of transport, and the ease at which people can travel with different modes of transport.
“There’s quite a dependence on the car, both across Aberdeen and across the country, and of course fumes contribute to higher emissions, and poorer air quality.
“We’re trying to promote different ways to get about, like walking and cycling, and encouraging people to use the car as a last resort, or thinking about greener types of fuel.
“The event aimed to inspire everyone – our staff and the general public – to be more physically active. It can be fun, save you money and lead to a longer life free of chronic disease.
“We support all our partner organisations in their efforts to promote active travel and improve air quality in all sorts of ways, like walking, car-sharing, using public transport or through greater uptake of electric vehicles.”
Emma said: “When you’re working in public health we need to promote clean air, and it feels really good to be doing that. Off the back of today, I’m considering getting an electric bike.”
Hillary said: “I think it’s really important to promote the use of buses, rather than putting an extra car on the road.
“It’s been very exciting to be part of the race, I was quite chuffed to get involved.
“It’s a really good thing to do and it’s certainly captured the imagination, so I’m really quite proud to have had the opportunity to take part.”
Estelle, who originally thought that she might have won the race, before realising that she had forgotten to pay for parking, said: “It was a very fun thing to do, I had a smooth ride, and after I got over the initial mind blank of which road to take, I was fine.”
Clean Air Day is a national event, co-ordinated by Environmental Protection Scotland (EPS), with the aim of raising awareness of the effects of pollution, as well as promoting ways to reduce emissions.
John Bynorth, the policy and communications officer at EPS said: “I am delighted that Linda took first place on the e-bike, but everyone was a winner as it has shown how quick and easy it is to travel across major cities by bike and public transport.
“This great initiative has helped raise the profile of Clean Air Day in Aberdeen and will encourage more people to take part in active travel.”