Cycle Campaign News August 2014
Table of Contents:
From the Editor
London was a good place to be for cycling last Saturday, with thousands and thousands of people enjoying a circuit of sunny roads clear of other traffic for Prudential RideLondon’s FreeCycle.
Soon, we hope, the capital will be offering exemplary day-to-day provision too for cyclists, judging by its revised Cycle Safety Action Plan and draft Cycling Design Standards (see ‘Headlines’).
Also, the Government’s forthcoming Cycling Delivery Plan is, potentially, an exciting opportunity to encourage more cycling all over the country. Can it actually deliver, though? See below for more on that too.
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Responding to Transport for London’s (TfL) consultations on its draft Cycle Safety Action Plan (CSAP2) and revised set of London Cycling Design Standards (LCDS), CTC has greeted both as significant improvements on any previous official UK cycle planning and safety guidelines.
Amongst its welcome highlights, LCDS:
- Starts with a concise statement of 20 guiding principles or ‘Requirements’ for every councillor, traffic planner and engineer in the country to read, the first headed, “Cycling is now mass transport and must be treated as such.”
- Condemns ‘Cyclists Dismount’ signs;
- Stresses the importance of physical protection for cyclists from other traffic on fast, busy roads whilst strenuously avoiding conflict between pedestrians and cyclists;
- Says that "All designers must experience the roads on a bicycle"
- Offers some careful thinking on junctions;
- Proposes a breakthough ‘Cycling Level of Service (CLoS) process to assess the cycle-friendliness of existing roads and/or proposed improvements.
LCDS does have its weaknesses, however. For example, it could be much more proactive on 20mph; and could recommend improving facilities for cyclists as part of planned maintenance.
The draft Cycle Safety Plan is much better than earlier versions, although CTC thinks that TfL’s laudably ambitious aim to reduce casualties by 40% could unintentionally undermine action massively to boost cycle use. To avoid such conflicts, it's better to measure cycle safety in terms of the casualty risk per mile or per trip, rather than in simple casualty numbers. We also think that the Plan should commit TfL to work with the Met Police to ensure that they take an evidence-led approach to improving cyclists' safety and, as a result, prioritise resources to tackle real sources of danger - e.g. irresponsible drivers and lorry operators.
- For in depth analysis, plus links to CTC's response and TfL's drafts, see Roger Geffen's blog.
Further hope for cycling on the horizon? Or not?
The Government’s long-awaited ‘Cycling and Walking Delivery Plan’ (England) is expected to appear within weeks, quite possibly by the end of August. From discussions with DfT officials, they seem to have taken on board a lot of CTC's points of detail.
However, despite all the backing we’ve had from The Times’s ‘Cities fit for Cycling’ campaign and the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group’s ‘Get Britain Cycling’ report, we’re still not optimistic about the Plan containing anything like the level of ambition, the commitment to cross-departmental action or the funding that we and other cycling groups have long been calling for. In other words, the things that really matter still seem to be missing.
In the meantime, the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group has called for a further debate on cycling when Parliament returns in September.
Then, during the party conference season, CTC President Jon Snow will be joining Chris Boardman, the Times and other cycling groups to enlist support from MPs and councillors who have backed the CTC-led national Space for Cycling campaign. We want to persuade the main parties' manifestos next spring to commit to implementing the ‘Get Britain Cycling’ report, particularly its call for at least £10 per person annually to be spent on cycling, rising to £20 as cycle use grows. Even if the Plan emerges without the funding we have long called for, it still won’t be too late for George Osborne to include this in his final Autumn Statement of this Parliament, expected in early December.
- Get ready to contact your MP as soon as the Delivery Plan is published. Please watch for details on our website – as we may need to act quickly!
Cycling has long needed all the help it can get from the Government, and now is no exception. According to the annual National Travel Survey (NTS), 2012 was a promising year for cycling in Great Britain, seeing the average number of miles cycled per person per year go up from 49 to 55.
The latest NTS (now only for England), however, shows that this figure went back down to 49 in 2013. Especially worrying is another decline in cycle use amongst children and the fact that the average number of cycling trips per person in 2013 was only 14, fewer than at any point over the last 20 years (this figure was 20 in 1995/7, and 17 in 2012). On a more positive note, the average length of a trip by cycle increased to 3.3 miles (3.1 in 2012).
- Read our full news story for an analysis of the latest results from the NTS, with a discussion of the possible causes, cures and implications.