Cycle Campaign News March 2014
Table of Contents:
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.
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Inspired by the London Cycling Campaign’s forthcoming Space for Cycling campaign around the London local elections, CTC and local cycle campaign groups across the country are rolling out the campaign nationally.
Together, our members and supporters will be challenging sitting councillors across the country to make space for cycling – creating the sort of conditions that mean that anyone can cycle anywhere.
MPs question minister over new drivers' Green Paper delay
Serious concerns from MPs about the Department for Transport’s (DfT) decision to postpone its planned Green Paper on the safety of young drivers prompted Stephen Phillips MP, (Sleaford and North Hykeham, Con) to secure a parliamentary debate on the subject at the end of February.
After pointing out the hazards faced and posed by young drivers, the MP advocated a Graduated Driver Licencing (GDL) system for the UK (i.e. imposing restrictions on young drivers and lifting them progressively, as adopted in some other countries). When questioned, however, Transport Minister Robert Goodwill said that the Government is still looking into the matter because it wants to make sure it gets the balance right between safety and freedom.
At the conclusion of the inquest into the death of cyclist Martyn Uzzell, the coroner Rob Turnbull said that he had no doubt whatsoever “…that the condition of the road on that occasion was the cause of the accident”.
Mr Uzzell hit a pothole in North Yorkshire whilst taking part in a charity Land’s End to John o’Groats ride. He was thrown into the path of an oncoming car. Although the local authority knew about the hazard, they had not fixed it, claiming that it wasn't deep enough.
Mr Uzzell's widow Kate criticised the council for failing to take action, and is appealing to them to maintain the roads properly in the run-up to the arrival of Le Tour de France, which starts in Leeds in July.
CTC believes that local authority maintenance regimes must take cyclists' needs into account, including the considerable risk posed by narrow trenches next to drains, as in this case. Often, such defects do not affect drivers, but they can be very serious hazards for cyclists.
Please log any road defects on our Fill that Hole reporting site, or use our iPhone app – reports go straight to local authority highway maintenance departments. An Android app is currently under development, thanks to funding from the Department for Transport.
National Policy Planning Framework (NPPF) expands on health
The NPPF for England now benefits from practice guidance explaining the role of health and wellbeing in planning and how to go about fulfilling it.
It stresses that the built and natural environments are ‘major determinants’ because they can facilitate physical activity and promote active travel. To make sure that this happens, the guidance asks local authorities to consult health bodies and their Directors of Public Health on the likely impact of proposed developments.
The guidance defines a ‘healthy community’ as:
“… a good place to grow up and grow old in. It is one which supports healthy behaviours and supports reductions in health inequalities. It should enhance the physical and mental health of the community and, where appropriate, encourage:
- Active healthy lifestyles that are made easy through the pattern of development, good urban design, good access to local services and facilities; green open space and safe places for active play and food growing, and is accessible by walking and cycling and public transport.
- The creation of healthy living environments for people of all ages which supports social interaction. It meets the needs of children and young people to grow and develop, as well as being adaptable to the needs of an increasingly elderly population and those with dementia and other sensory or mobility impairments.”
- CTC highlights the strong connections between planning and health, and explains why cycling is such an excellent physical activity in the first place in our briefings on:
Rail Business Awards recognises work on cycling
The Cycle Rail Working Group (CWRG) has won the integrated transport excellence category at the Rail Business Awards for work that led to the single largest increase in cycle-rail provision in Britain since 2009: doubling cycle-rail facilities at stations and increasing cycle-rail journeys by 14 million.
The judges said that the group is "…a great example of positive cross-industry working."
CRWG is chaired by Phillip Darnton (Bicycle Association), and the secretariat role is fulfilled by the Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC). Group members include: ATOC, Network Rail, TfL, DfT and the UK Cycling Alliance (of which CTC is a member).
20 mph victories for Brighton campaigners
20 mph speed limits for more streets in Brighton and Hove are on the way now that the council has approved a number of Traffic Regulation Orders (TRO) and published others. Bricycles, the local cycle campaign group, has been working hard to alert people to the proposals and explain the benefits of supporting them.
Bristol Enterprise Zone embraces cycling
Newly approved funding for Temple Quarter Enterprise Zone in Bristol, one of the UK’s largest urban regeneration projects, will help boost sustainable travel with improved walking and cycling infrastructure on key routes. The City Council wants to ensure that residents will be able to access the job opportunities created by the zone sustainably, and that the area will be attractive and welcoming.
A 700 metre long cycle track next to the River Avon is already underway in the city to provide a convenient, accessible, healthy and safe route from large residential areas to both the major transport interchanges and the developing Local Enterprise Zone (LEZ).
- As CTC explains in our briefing on Cycling and the Economy, businesses can benefit from good provision for walking and cycling, so encouraging sustainable travel to and within LEZs is highly recommended.
Bishop bikes it for the climate
The Right Revd Dr Edward Condry, the Bishop of Ramsbury, has given up his car for Lent.
The Bishop, who is a CTC member, mainly looks after churches in rural parts of Wiltshire and drives around 1,500 miles a month in pursuit of his duties. He is, however, committing himself to his bike and public transport for the six weeks of Lent.
“The disastrous storms and floods have put climate change in the forefront of our minds again," the Bishop says. "The Church of England in the South West has a regional commitment to cutting carbon emissions during Lent 2014. So giving up the car made sense.
Although clearly a challenge, an element of self-denial doesn't seem to feature: "...pedalling won’t be a chore," he adds. "There’s nothing like a good bike ride to get your thoughts straight."