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Cycle Campaign News April 2014

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Contents Summary: 

From the Editor

Political leadership is of prime importance for improving conditions for cycling in the UK. This was something that MPs recognised in the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group's 'Get Britain Cycling' report but, of course, we need the support of local political leaders too.

Hence CTC's Space for Cycling campaign. It's a good way of impressing local councillors with the strength of feeling that their constituents have about better provision for cycling - so, if you're not yet amongst the thousands of people who have already emailed their local politicians, please take action now.

Cherry Allan
CTC Campaigns

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Other stories

Sentencing system fails road users, says CTC

Ensuring that bad drivers are removed from the roads is a crucial role for the justice system, but the recent case of John Muir, a driver who broke a driving ban for the 45th time, has shown that sentencing practice is failing to take it seriously. For his most recent breach, Muir – who served half an 18-month prison sentence after a hit and run incident in 2010 – only received a 16-week suspended prison sentence and was ordered to do 240 hours of unpaid work.

Rhia Weston, CTC’s Road Safety Campaigner, said: “This case demonstrates just how farcical current sentencing practice is. Driving bans are not only far too short but the penalties for flouting them are so lenient that there's little incentive to abide by them.” 

Watch out for CTC's forthcoming Road Justice reports on prosecuting bad driving, and on courts and sentencing - out soon. They will explain why CTC advocates driving bans rather than imprisonment for many driving offences, while arguing for longer custodial sentences for the worst offenders, including those who commit reckless or intentionally dangerous acts, who have multiple driving convictions, an/or who repeatedly flout driving bans.

Via our Road Justice campaign, CTC is campaigning for sentences that actually discourage bad driving and keep dangerous drivers off the roads. We will also be responding to the Sentencing Council's promised review of its guidelines.

New Justice on the Roads group for Parliament

A new all-party parliamentary group, Justice on our Roads, is being set up to improve the justice system’s response to road crashes. It will be led by Baroness Moulsecoomb, Jenny Jones, and supported by RoadPeace, who are asking supporters to write to their MPs and ask them to back the group.

Drug-drive limit on the way

The Government has moved a step closer to creating a new drug-drive limit by approving limits for eight ‘medical’ and eight illicit drugs. These limits will be taken to Parliament and, in autumn 2014, it will become an offence to be over the generally prescribed limits for each drug and drive a vehicle, as with drink-driving. CTC welcomes this advance, especially as it covers drugs that are likely to impair driving, irrespective of the legality of their use.  

Roads and maintenance budget still full of holes

Over £100m went on filling over two million potholes in England and Wales last year, but £16.6m was paid out in compensation for injuries and vehicle damage caused by road defects, according to the 19th Annual Local Authority Road Maintenance (ALARM) survey.

ALARM also found that, thanks to more local authorities investing more cash in long term maintenance, the budget shortfall required to repair the roads properly has dropped for the first time in years. However, the amount required as a one-off investment to bring roads up to standard has risen to £12bn. Despite additional funds from the Government, last winter’s record rainfall took its toll.

Poor road surfaces make cycling less comfortable, and can cause serious injuries and even deaths, so CTC’s Fill That Hole website and iPhone app enables people to file pothole reports – these are then sent directly to local councils for repair. Funding from the Department for Transport will mean an Android app and updated iPhone app will be launched in the next few weeks.

What are CTC's solutions for better maintenance? Read Chris Peck's news story to find out.

Most people support 20 mph, says Brake survey

A survey from the road safety charity Brake and Allianz Insurance has found that 20 mph speed limits attract the support of around eight out of ten people. The survey also found that:

  • Seven in 10 (72%) say roads in their town or village need to be made safer for walking and cycling;
  • Eight in 10 (81%) say traffic travels too fast on some (51%) or most (30%) of their local roads;
  • Eight in 10 (79%) think it would encourage more people to walk or cycle if roads and routes in their town or village were made safer.

The findings come as Brake takes its GO 20 campaign for safe, active, happy communities to Parliament, calling on politicians to support the introduction of 20 mph as the default urban speed limit. CTC is a member of the GO 20 coalition.

Extra £2m for sustainable travel schemes

Under the Local Sustainable Transport Fund (LSTF), the Department for Transport is giving an extra £2 million to nine English local authorities to help them encourage more sustainable travel choices. The projects, many of which are designed to promote cycling, include a scheme to encourage more residents and tourists in Stratford-upon-Avon to make use of bikes and the town’s cycle facilities (Happy Birthday, Shakespeare!).

  • Bristol cyclists who don’t carry the wherewithal to top up the air in their tyres when they’re out and about, can stop worrying thanks to free on-street bike pumps at six locations in the city. The pumps, which are permanent fixtures to be maintained by local businesses, are the result of a  £8,560 scheme funded by the Local Sustainable Transport Fund.

Cargo bikes mean business in Europe

Cargo bikes have been making their mark in Europe, first at a round-table meeting held at the European Parliament in Brussels, and shortly afterwards at the 2nd European CycleLogistics Conference in Nijmegen, Netherlands.

The Brussels meeting, hosted by Green MEP Michael Kramer and organised by the ECF, discussed realistic ways to integrate cycle transport into promising business models. It also stressed the point that, potentially, 50% of motor vehicle trips moving goods about in our cities could be switched to cycles and that over 90% of trips to the supermarket could be similarly accomplished.

Given this, it is hardly surprising that the subsequent conference in the Netherlands attracted over 200 people from 25 countries, proving how much interest there is in celebrating and developing cycle delivery. One in ten delegates were from a start-up cycle delivery service; and three out of ten were already successful cycle logistics operators – e.g. DHL. Other stakeholders were from the cycling industry, municipalities and urban planning. The event also saw the founding of The European Cycle Logistics Federation, set up to represent and support the needs of cycle logistics companies all over Europe - it already has 140 members.

CTC has been happy to be part of the CycleLogistics project, supporting growth of delivery by bike in the UK and reminding individuals how easy it is to do their own shopping by bike.

Grant activates cycle campaigning in Ukraine

While serious unrest in Ukraine has been making the headlines, a member organisation of the European Cyclists’ Federation (ECF) in Kiev has nevertheless been working hard to champion cycling locally and nationally thanks to an EU grant, and as part of the ECF’s Leadership Programme. Kyiv Cyclists' Association (AVK) now has paid staff working on road safety, infrastructure and advocacy, a new website and bike mentoring programmes.  

Cycling on footpaths - is it really trespass?

Conventional wisdom has it that riding a cycle on most footpaths is not an offence, but trespass against the landowner. There may, however, be another way of looking at the matter in the light of a 15-year-old legal judgement that could mean that ‘reasonable’ cycling is permitted on any footpath, unless it has been specifically excluded. This is the argument put forward by John Sugden, who has worked as a senior official in local authorities and as an independent consultant for many years. Read his article for more - what do you think?

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