Cycle Campaign News April 2014
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.
Our monthly email bulletin will let you know when the latest Campaign News is online - and what's in it - subscribe here.
Space for Cycling inspires cyclists and local councillors alike
The launch of the CTC-led national Space for Cycling campaign just before Easter has already inspired thousands of people to email their local councillors, urging them to make sure that anyone can cycle anywhere, and to seek the funding needed for it.
Councillors from a variety of political parties have responded to say that they’re happy to back the campaign’s goals, and more support is coming in all the time.
Providing ‘Space for Cycling’ benefits everybody in our society, whether or not they choose to cycle themselves. I would urge cross-party support from councillors throughout the country for this campaign.
Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson,
Leader of Portsmouth Council and Vice-Chair of the LGA
Broadcaster and CTC President Jon Snow, who fronted a video for the campaign, says:
“Space for Cycling means creating safe conditions on major roads and junctions, lowering speed limits and reducing through motor traffic on residential streets. Some councils are now showing real enthusiasm for action to make cycling a safe and normal activity which everyone can benefit from. We now need a really strong show of public support for the long-term planning and funding that this will require.”
Support the campaign!
Apart from emailing local politicians asking them to support Space for Cycling, you can help explain to councils what cyclists actually mean by better conditions by contributing to a directory of both good and infrastructure. It’s easy – just upload your favourite (or otherwise) examples onto our map.
Watch out too for our councillors' guide to 'Space for Cycling' - this will be published shortly.
The national Space for Cycling campaign is co-ordinated by CTC, in conjunction with the federation of local cycling groups, Cyclenation. It builds on London Cycling Campaign’s Space for Cycling campaign, which is focusing on securing commitments from local candidates in the run-up to the capital’s borough elections in May.
The UK-wide campaign is funded by a generous grant from the cycle industry's Bike Hub fund, run by the Bicycle Association, and by individual donations. You too can donate to support the campaign.
‘Space for Cycling’ messages boosted by national and global reports
2011 Census Analysis - Cycling to Work from the Office for National Statistics has highlighted which authorities are getting it right for cycle commuting - and which ones aren't. London, Brighton, Bristol, Manchester, Newcastle and Sheffield saw substantial increases, while Cambridge deserved a mention with 29% of its working residents cycle-commuting, a higher rate than any other local authority (next on the list is Oxford at 17%).
This is exciting news for these cities, but there are still many places that aren’t doing nearly so well – in 29 local authority areas, less than 1% of working residents cycled to work. Equally, while it’s also good to know that, overall, 90,000 more people in England and Wales were commuting by cycle in 2011 than in 2001, the proportion of working residents who do so seems to be struggling to rise above 2.8%.
- The World Health Organisation (WHO)’s new report, 'Unlocking new opportunities' estimates that cycling has the potential to create at least 76,000 jobs and save 10,000 lives in the pan-European region. All that needs to happen is for major European cities to up their game and follow the example of Copenhagen, where 26% of all city trips are already cycled.
CTC's campaigns briefing on cycling and the economy looks at the subject in more detail.
- In her annual report on the state of the nation’s health, the Chief Medical Officer Dame Sally Davies says: “I believe that encouraging more people to engage in active travel, such as walking and cycling, is crucial to improving the health of the nation and reducing the prevalence of obesity.”
On April 15, The European Parliament voted to change the regulations for the design of lorry cabs to make lorries safer and more fuel efficient, a move which could potentially save hundreds of lives a year.
In the EU, 4,250 people die a year in lorry-related incidents, while in the UK, lorries account for only about 5% of the traffic yet are involved in a fifth of cyclists’ fatalities, and over 50% of cyclists deaths in London.
Although not the only cause of collisions, the typical brick-shaped design of lorry cabs creates ‘blind spots’, particularly dangerous when drivers make manoeuvres. CTC believes that direct vision between drivers and people outside their vehicles is vital, so welcomes the prospect of bigger windscreens. Another feature of the new design is a rounded shape with a 'crumple zone' to prevent cyclists and pedestrians from being knocked under the wheels in the event of a collision.
The EU vote follows lobbying by the European Cyclists' Federation (of which CTC is proud to be a member), as well as Transport for London, the campaign group See Me Save Me, and British Cycling's Chris Boardman.
The decision will need to be approved by the 28 EU member states before it can become law, with the UK government already voicing reservations. CTC is therefore asking supporters to email the Secretary of State for Transport, Patrick McLoughlin, urging him to back the changes.
- CTC advocates a range of other measures to reduce the hazards that lorries present to cyclists and pedestrians. These include keeping the vehicles off the busiest roads at the busiest times; distribution strategies that minimise conflict; and maintaining and enforcing safe driving and vehicle standards. These are covered in our campaigns briefing of goods vehicles.
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?
Support CTC’s UK-wide Space for Cycling Campaign!
Email your local councillors asking them to commit to ensuring that anyone can cycle anywhere, and to seeking the funding to make it possible.
Also, upload your own photos to help us explain what cyclists mean by good or bad infrastructure.
Back calls for the UK to support a change in EU regulations that will make lorry design more cycle and pedestrian-friendly.
Please Email the Secretary of State for Transport, Patrick McLoughlin.
Produced to help inform road safety policy, targets and strategy, this report forecasts casualty numbers for 2020, 2025 and 2030. It calculates that a third of a million people will be killed or seriously injured on the roads in Great Britain over the two decades ending 2030 unless the Government acts. At 2012 prices this would represent a loss to society valued at about £110 billion.
Deaths and serious casualties amongst all road users will continue to fall, though – deaths from 1,754 in 2012 to about 1,000 in 2030; and serious casualties from 23,039 to about 11,000.
For pedal cyclists, the report reckons that 2030 is most likely to see 57 deaths (118 in 2012) and 2,500 seriously injured casualties (3,222 in 2012). The report, however, comments: “Forecasts of [pedal cycle] deaths bunch fairly closely, and continue to decrease despite the assumed increase in cycling based on the extrapolation of cycle traffic since 2000. However, the forecast of serious casualties differ widely depending on their derivation. This reflects the increase in serious casualty rate per head of population since 2004, after a relatively steady reduction since 1990.”
Report looking at recent calls for greater alignment of policy and practice across the road safety, sustainable transport and public health sectors in order to provide more effective delivery and improved outcomes.
Draws on the views of a cross-section of experts and offers case studies, including the adoption of 20 mph limits in Portsmouth, the Sustainable Travel Towns Project and Barclays Super Highways in London.
Tackling Physical Inactivity - A Coordinated Approach (All-Party Commission on Physical Activity)
Report estimating that diseases of idleness cost the UK £20 billion a year and calls for dedicated funding to make walking and cycling “regular daily transport.”
Its recommendations include: the reallocation of transport investment, providing long-term continuity of dedicated funding for walking and cycling as regular daily transport; ‘health-checking’ existing and planned new developments and infrastructure to ensure that walking, cycling, active recreation and other forms of physical activity are prioritised; and encouraging employers to support their staff, suppliers and visitors to be active while at work, or travelling to or from it.
Focus on Cycling: Copenhagen guidelines for the design of road projects (City of Copenhagen)
Guidance on how to factor cycling consistently into all the road projects undertaken in Copenhagen, i.e. regardless of whether the work in hand is a cycling project or a more general traffic scheme.
Although specific to Copenhagen and intended to correspond to its political aspirations, the guidelines make interesting reading for elsewhere, especially as it comes from a city where cycling levels - 26% of all trips - are considered to be exemplary by the World Health Organisation.
Covers: intersections (cycle-friendly crossing solutions), sections (e.g. cycle tracks and lanes - one of Copenhagen’s ‘problems’ is finding room for all the cycle traffic they’ve encouraged over the last few years…); other cycle infrastructure (e.g. parking, shared space etc.); factoring in maintenance; facilities and equipment (e.g. signage, lighting etc.); and the planning process. Well-illustrated with photos and diagrams.
Estimating local mortality burdens associated with particulate air pollution (Public Health England)
A report giving figures for the deaths attributable to air pollution, broken down by UK local authority area. It discusses the concepts and assumptions behind these calculations and explains how such estimates can be made. Intended to inform public health professionals and air quality specialists, particularly those within local authorities, and help them raise awareness of the mortality burden of air pollution within their local area and take action.
Says that: "Central estimates of the fraction of mortality attributable to long-term exposure to current levels of anthropogenic particulate air pollution range from around 2.5% in some local authorities in rural areas of Scotland and Northern Ireland with low levels of air pollution, and between 3% and 5% in Wales, to over 8% in some of the most polluted London boroughs.”
Costs and benefits of a bicycle helmet law for Germany (Institute of Transport Economics Munster working paper No. 21)
By Gernot Sieg
Study looking at the costs and benefits of introducing a cycle helmet law in Germany. Concludes that it would be a waste of the country’s resources because analysis shows that the benefits of such a law would be about 0.714 of the costs. The author takes into account: the benefit of increased security when cyclists wear a helmet or use a transport mode that is less risky than cycling; the cost of purchasing helmets; reduced fitness when cycling is replaced by a motorised transport mode; the discomfort of wearing helmets; and environmental externalities.
Feet First – Improving Pedestrian Safety in London (GLA Transport Committee)
London Assembly report looking at the worrying rise in the danger to pedestrians on the capital’s streets - in 2012, 69 pedestrians were killed and another 1,054 seriously injured (there were 14 cycling fatalities).
Its eight recommendations include: a ‘Vision Zero’ approach to eliminating road death and injury; appointing a ‘walking champion’; re-calculating ‘Green Man’ timings to make crossings safer; developing plans to improve 24 pedestrian collision hotspots; and a timescale for implementing 20 mph limits.
Older People Deserve 20 mph limits (20’s Plenty)
One page briefing explaining the importance of 20 mph for older adults. 60+ year olds hit at 30mph, for example, face a 47% fatality risk compared to 7% for others. It also takes older people on average 20% longer to cross a road and they are likely to be more unstable and at risk of falls.
Pedal on Parliament, 26 April (Edinburgh)
Join the 2014 PoP, and add your voice in support of a manifesto for a cycle-friendly Scotland.
Gather at the Meadows in Edinburgh for a 12 noon start.
Cycle City Expo, 1-2 May (Leeds)
Landor conference and exhibition for all those working to encourage Dutch levels of utility cycling in Britain. Includes: a two-day exhibition of the product and service suppliers to the sector; and plenary presentations from high-profile individuals throughout the UK and beyond with expertise and influence in cycle policy, promotion and infrastructure.
A limited number of places are available for volunteer campaigners who also register for the Space for Cycling conference on the following day (see below).
Space for Cycling Campaigners’ Conference, 3 May (Leeds)
Hosted by CTC, this conference is for everyone looking to get involved in the Space for Cycling campaign and use it to galvanise local cycle campaigning in their area. New and experienced campaigners are all welcome.
The event will be a good opportunity to learn about design specifics (e.g. of protected space and liveable town centres), as well as useful skills like press and social media work. You can also pick up a Space for Cycling Activist Pack along with publicity materials so that you can go back home and campaign in style.
To cover venue hire and conference costs, we are asking for a donation at the door of between £5 - £10, based on ability to pay. This cost does not cover lunch, but it will be available from the venue café.
Bike Week, 14 -22 June
Celebrate bikes and the difference they make to people’s everyday live with Bike Week 2014! You can register all your events - from family rides through to activities that celebrate cycling for leisure and pleasure - and be covered by Bike Week insurance. There is also a wealth of advice, resources and information available.