Cycle Campaign News March 2014

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The 33 junctions up for a redesign
33 London junctions are up for redesign
CTC's monthly digest of cycle campaigning news.
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From the Editor

There can't be many urban cyclists anywhere in the UK who enjoy the hostile environment of motor-centric,1960s-type gyratories and junctions. London is planning to make 33 of theirs more cycle-friendly, and we hope that the transformation is radical enough to make a real difference.

Campaigns to improve drivers' awareness of cyclists' needs can be a useful complement to better infrastructure, as long as their messages are simple, memorable, positive and truthful. They've been much in the cycling news lately - read on for more.

Cherry Allan

CTC Campaigns

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Mayor of London promises 33 cycle-friendlier junctions

Mayor Boris Johnson is spending £300m on redesigning 33 of the nastiest junctions in the capital. More than 150 cyclists and pedestrians, Transport for London says, have been killed or seriously injured at these locations, so this is good news.

CTC is concerned, though, that the promised transformation could be undermined by an unwillingness to reallocate roadspace to cycling because of a desire to maintain the junctions’ 'traffic function’. The plans are due shortly.

The Mayor is also investing £100m to help three London boroughs install Dutch-style infrastructure, thus transforming them into ‘mini-Hollands’. Amongst the plans are three cycle hubs for Enfield, a Thames Riverside Boardway for cycling in Kingston, and a semi-segregated Superhighway for Waltham Forest.

The Mayor said: “Areas once terra incognita for the bicycle will, over time, become every bit as cycle-friendly as their Dutch equivalents - places that suburbs and towns all over Britain will want to copy.”

'Think once, think twice, think bikes’, says AA

The AA has launched a ‘Think Bike’ awareness campaign urging drivers to look out for cyclists when manoeuvring.

A major feature of the campaigns are triangular warning stickers for wing mirrors - one for the near-side reminding them to check for cyclists, and one for the right-hand side to remind them to watch out for motorcyclists. The AA is also urging drivers to give cyclists enough space when overtaking and to check their mirrors when parking and opening a car door.

CTC Campaigns Director Roger Geffen said: “Whether or not these stickers work, what matters most is that the AA is pressing home the message to drivers to 'think bike'. This is extremely valuable coming from a motoring organisation.”

He added: "Let's not overstate the risks arising from bad cycling, however, but focus on the need for all road users to respect each other and follow the rules of the road. CTC absolutely agrees that this is the right approach, but this doesn’t mean cyclists should be doffing their caps to drivers when drivers behave responsibly - responsible behaviour should be the norm."

The stickers will be distributed by the AA to its members. They will also be handed out by the police and available free in Halfords stores. 

DfT evaluates their own THINK! poster campaign

The Department for Transport has just published an evaluation of their own Think! poster campaign to encourage drivers and cyclists to re-appraise their behaviours and increase their awareness of other road users.

The campaign, which ran from 21 October to 17 November last year, saw advertising posters in five cities - Cambridge, Bristol,Manchester, Birmingham and Leeds - each giving a specific tip (e.g. for drivers, looking out for cyclists at junctions; for cyclists, riding a door's width from parked cars). The findings suggest that:

  • Recognition of the campaign was good relative to spend
  • The campaign works well amongst cyclists, less so amongst drivers
  • The posters with specific tips work better than those with broader information
  • Following the campaign, there was increased reflection of behaviours

CTC agrees that simple, memorable awareness campaigns work best. We also think that they should convey positive and truthful messages, and avoid giving the misleading impression that problem behaviour from cyclists causes anything like as much harm as problem behaviour from drivers. For more on our views, see our newly published briefing. Amongst other things, it explains why we like some warning stickers for vehicles, but not others...

Watch this space, or fill it!

CTC’s Chief Executive Gordon Seabright will be leaving CTC at the end of May and heading off to the Eden Project in Cornwall as its new Director. Could you be his successor? There’s still time to apply - closing date 24/3/2014 at 10 am.


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