Cycle Campaign News February 2014
From the Editor
Handing in its first petition to the police was an important moment for CTC's ongoing Road Justice Campaign (see 'Headlines' below).
Prosecutors, the courts and sentencing are also in sight this year - poor collision investigation, inexplicable charging and prosecution decisions, and lenient sentencing must become a thing of the past.
Keep yourself updated and add your voice to the campaign by signing up as a Road Justice supporter.
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CTC’s Road Justice petition calling on the police to treat bad driving with the severity it deserves not only reached over 12,000 signatures, but has now also received a positive response from the Association of Chief Police Officers' national lead on cycling. Mark Milsom, from West Yorkshire police, has given his support in principle for CTC's calls for better-resourced roads policing, as has West Yorkshire's Police and Crime Commission (PCC), Mark Burns-Williamson. Both said that they are keen to work with CTC.
The petition, which was recently handed in to ACPO by Road Justice campaigners and road crash victims, urges the police to:
- Thoroughly investigate all road collisions that result in injury and death;
- Be adequately resourced and trained to enforce road traffic law and investigate collisions well;
- Effectively support road crash victims and bereaved families.
Road Justice - sponsored by Slater & Gordon Lawyers - aims to get the criminal justice system to take a tougher approach to bad driving in order to make road conditions safer for cyclists and pedestrians. The current focus is on the police, but this year the campaign will also be targeting the courts, prosecutors and sentencing.
Giving evidence recently to the Commons Transport Select Committee’s inquiry into cycle safety, CTC has urged MPs to demand leadership, commitment to high quality cycling conditions, and funding of at least £10 per person annually.
CTC also called for: targets that encourage more as well as safer cycling; lower speed limits; cycle-friendly design standards; training and awareness campaigns; strengthened road traffic law and enforcement; and improved lorry safety.
Also giving evidence was British Cycling's (BC) representative Chris Boardman, who went through the 10 points of BC's 'Time to Choose Cycling' manifesto, which correspond closely to CTC’s check-list - both organisations worked to support the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group's Get Britain Cycling inquiry in 2013. Photo: CTC's Gordon Seabright and Roger Geffen, with Chris Boardman (middle).
The Mayor of London and London Councils (the representative body for the 32 London Boroughs and the City of London) have jointly agreed to ban vehicles over 3.5 tonnes from the capital’s roads if they fail to meet high standards for cycle safety equipment.
Currently, most freight vehicles must be fitted with side-guards and mirrors, but many construction vehicles are exempt. The new restrictions, however, would include the construction industry, whose vehicles were involved in 7 of the 9 cyclists' deaths in collisions with large vehicles in London in 2011.
The ban involves making Traffic Regulation Orders (TROs) and, if all goes well, it should be operational by the end of the year and enforced by CCTV and on-street checks.
As lorries are involved in a disproportionate number of cyclist and pedestrian deaths, CTC has welcomed the move, but says that there are better longer-term solutions for cycle safety that should be investigated too, e.g. removing these vehicles altogether from busy urban streets, with loads shifted onto smaller, electric vehicles with lower cabs to eliminate lorry drivers' so-called 'blind-spots'.
However, CTC has also joined the London Cycle Campaign (LCC) and other organisations in objecting to the proliferation of 'Cyclists stay back' stickers on small vans and other vehicles.
CTC has secured funding from the cycle industry’s ‘Bike Hub’ fund, to co-ordinate a national ‘Space for Cycling’ campaign in partnership with the London Cycling Campaign (LCC) and local Cyclenation campaign groups around the UK.
The national campaign builds on the ‘Space for Cycling’ campaign devised by LCC, which they are running ahead of the London borough elections in May. The national campaign will adapt the ‘Space for Cycling’ slogan to the very different political situation for cycle campaigning outside the capital.
The campaign seeks to create the conditions where anyone, of any age or ability, feels able to cycle safely, conveniently and enjoyably for any local journey, as part of a wider vision for healthy and liveable streets and communities. Working in conjunction with local campaign groups, CTC will engage individual supporters in seeking commitments from both local and national politicians to consistently high standards of cycle-friendly planning and design, and the funding needed to deliver them.
As well as pressing for local action to deliver ‘Space for Cycling’, CTC will also enlist supportive MPs and councillors to help us secure commitments to the campaign’s aims in their respective party manifestos, ahead of the 2015 general election.
Following protests from cyclists and cycling organisations, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) is reviewing a ruling that, if not withdrawn altogether, could mean that from now on adverts always have to show helmeted cyclists hugging the kerb - a portrayal of cycling that could damage its future popularity as an everyday activity and promote unsafe riding practice.
The ASA made its original decision in response to complaints about a Cycling Scotland TV advert that featured a helmet-less cyclist who was cycling towards the middle of her lane whilst being overtaken considerately by a car.
As CTC points out, helmets are not compulsory and promoting them makes cycling look more dangerous than it really is. As for the cyclist's road-positioning, this complies with advice in the national standard for cycle training. In any case, the scene’s purpose was to demonstrate the kind of safe berth drivers should give to cyclists.
CTC is supporting Cycling Scotland in its appeal against the ruling. The UK's All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group has also voiced its concerns in a letter to the ASA, as has the Transport and Health Study Group.
DLR welcomes cycles on off-peak services
Following a successful trial, cycles are now permitted on off-peak Docklands Light Railway (DLR) services in London.
CTC and other cycling groups hope that this will prompt light rail systems elsewhere in the UK to follow suit. Indeed, a 2007 report commissioned by Transport for London (TfL) recommended a similar trial of cycle carriage on the Croydon Tramlink, while other reports have highlighted the disparity between UK and other European systems. To its credit, Sheffield's Supertram has at least got as far as a trial of bikes on trams for one day, and collaborated with campaign group Cycle Sheffield in chartering trams to take people out on Sunday bike rides.
Dave Holladay, CTC’s public transport campaigner, said: “From observation and reports, it is apparent that allowing cycle carriage on trams and on the DLR itself means there's less need for policing, less confrontation and fewer avoidable delays on services which are often barely half-filled with passengers. Also, surveys of cyclists and would-be cyclists have revealed a substantial number of people, especially women, who are deterred from making a journey which involves a return trip as a lone rider late at night.
“Cyclists report that cycles are already being carried on other buses and trams, occasionally with a formal arrangement, but often informally - and I'm always getting news of local initiatives. Please send me your photos and notes of passenger numbers!" Photo: taking a bike on a tram in Bergen
Lighten up on 20 mph signage, says 20's Plenty
The campaigning organisation 20’s Plenty is calling on the DfT to update its stringent 1990s’ regulations on repeater signage for 20 mph limits which, it says, is a barrier to the smooth transition to slower speeds. 20’s Plenty is proposing an alternative ‘Flexi-20’ system that would allow local authorities to choose whether to put repeater signs on their 30 mph or 20 mph streets.
Tax incentive boosts cycle commuting take-up
The Cycle to Work Alliance (Cyclescheme, Cycle Solutions, Evans Cycles and Halfords), has seen a 16.4% increase in the uptake of the tax-efficient bike loan scheme compared to 2012. In the last year alone, 164,317 people were encouraged to cycle commute as a result.
Weather to commute?
Research from Australia has highlighted how important it is for employers to provide secure, undercover cycle parking, showers, lockers and changing rooms because they make people more willing to commute by bike in inclement weather. More than 50% of respondents to the researchers' survey said that the availability of ‘end-of-trip facilities' influenced their decision. The survey also discovered that committed riders were more likely to take public transport than go by private cars on adverse weather days.
Dream Fund grants cycling to all Glasgow's four-year-olds
Thanks to £230,000 from The People's Postcode Lottery Dream Fund, a new CTC-led project is to give every four-year-old child in Glasgow the opportunity to learn to ride a bike. The funding awarded to Play on Wheels, a collaborative project between CTC, Play Scotland, Glasgow Bike Station and Cycling Scotland, is the largest single amount ever awarded to a Dream Fund project.
Planned to run from this year until January 2016 to coincide with the Commonwealth Games, the project aims to help children and their families incorporate cycling into their lives.
Peak District saves two green lanes from 4x4 damage
The Peak District National Park Authority has approved permanent Traffic Regulation Orders (TROs) to exclude 4x4s and trail-bikes from stretches of two of its green lanes, The Roych (part of the Pennine Bridleway) and Chapel Gate. The routes, which are popular with cyclists, have suffered significant wear from motorised use and the TROs are intended to “safeguard the natural beauty and special characteristics of these landscapes and the amenity for other users.” Photo: Chapel Gate in winter.
For off-road updates, see CTC's MTB Facebook page
1984: cycling in London captured on film
What was it like to cycle in the capital thirty years ago? Has much changed since then? Why did the Greater London Council make a film of it? What did CTC and LCC have to say on camera?
See for yourself and read commentary from CTC's campaigning blogger Chris Peck.
The news that Tom McClelland, CTC’s Right to Ride Representative in Northern Ireland, passed away on 13 February was immensely saddening. He was one of the most positive and charming cycle campaigners ever, with a uniquely warm kind of gravitas.
Everything he did for cycling in Northern Ireland and beyond was so inspiring and energetic that everyone who worked with him and shared his vision will want it to enjoy enduring momentum. One of Tom's last achievements was persuading the Northern Ireland Assembly's Regional Development Committee to hold an inquiry on cycling, similar to 'Get Britain Cycling' in the Westminster Parliament. CTC will work to ensure that the outcome is a fitting epitaph.
Tell the Government that resurfacing works are a highly cost-effective opportunity to improve provision for cycling.
Improving the health of Londoners: transport action plan (Transport for London)
Action plan outlining why TfL believes that it must more explicitly recognise and demonstrate its role in helping make Londoners keep fit through its transport policies and programmes.
Sets out 10 ‘new ways of working’ so that TfL can make a difference by 2017. Encouraging and promoting walking and cycling is central.
Cycling, Health and Safety (OECD International Transport Forum)
Substantial new report on cycling, reiterating the message that the health benefits to society of cycling outweigh the negative impacts by up to a factor of 20. Says that creating a safe system through government policy and city action is key to reaping the greatest advantages through increased physical activity.
With sensible recommendations (e.g. on lower speeds), useful ‘health v safety’ chapter and comparisons of other countries’ policies and/or historic trends in cycling/cycle safety.
Free online version available, or around £70 for printed copy (248 pages)
Modelling the Health Impact of a 10% cycling mode share (Dr James Woodcock for British Cycling)
Briefing to explain the calculations behind the welcome claim that a 10% cycling mode share could reduce the total burden of disease by just over 1% each year (equivalent to 92 thousand extra years of healthy life gained over the life-course from the reduction in new cases of disease in one year).
The author says: “This includes a reduction of nearly 5% in the burden of heart disease, diabetes and stroke and 4% in the burden from dementia. Road traffic injuries increase by just under 10%. Total benefits from increased physical activity are around 97 thousand years of healthy life gained whilst around 5 thousand years of healthy life are lost due to the increase in injuries. Using a slightly different method the total number of premature deaths in one year could fall by just over 2%."
The healthy commute: What impact does cycling to work have on employee health? (Cycle to Work Alliance/Sustrans)
Report showing that the tax-efficient Cycle to Work scheme is currently helping to prevent over 500 deaths each year, while saving the Government £5.1 billion over the decade.
The research was carried out using the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Health Economic Assessment Tool (HEAT).
Briefing arguing that consultation on 20 mph is valuable if it's difficult to predict the outcome, but given that most people support 20 mph in any case, sounding out opinion can waste time and money. Says that it's better to sell the benefits of lower speeds through effective engagement and get on with the improvements.
Delivering change: How cities go low carbon while supporting economic growth (Centre for Cities)
Ed Clarke, Zach Wilcox & Nada Nohrová
Report, with case studies, setting out a framework for understanding the roles that cities can play in reducing carbon dioxide emissions. Takes a comprehensive look at a number of factors (e.g. green manufacturing, renewable energy etc.) and stresses the importance of leadership, knowledge and networks. Cycling gets a brief mention, and one of the places highlighted is ‘Cycling City’ Bristol.
Diary dates (2014)
Road Safety and the Cycling Revolution, 25 February (Birmingham)
RoSPA’s 2014 road safety conference, looking at how to make roads, behaviours and environments safer for the increasing numbers of cyclists.
Delegates will have an opportunity to learn about a range of different approaches and consider:
- Can cycling be increased without increasing cycling casualties?
- What should we be tracking, measuring, and evaluating?
- How can environments, education and policy help prevent injuries?
- How can we encourage safer road use by cyclists and motorists?
Speakers include CTC's Campaigns and Policy Director Roger Geffen, on protecting vulnerable road users.
South West cycling advocates’ network-building workshop, 15 March (Plymouth)
Are you cycle campaigning in the South West? Join us for a day of workshops to help advocates see their cycling policy, promotion and infrastructure dreams come true. With a focus on the South West, the event features a range of local authority figures and cycle experts, case studies, workshops and panel discussions. Organised by CTC and hosted by Plymouth City Council.
Book your place now or call 01483 238 323 to get your £5 early bird tickets at a 50% discounted rate BEFORE the 8 March (£10 thereafter).
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 2-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.
Free places for the first 50 local authority delegates to book. Otherwise rates range from £146-£395.
... followed by
‘Space for cycling’ campaigners’ conference, 3 May (also Leeds)
Details in next issue of Cycle Campaign News.