Cycle Campaign News March 2014
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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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.”
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...
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.
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."
Help Sustrans raise £120k by 25 April to repair flood damage to the National Cycle Network – the wettest winter on record has left its mark on several NCN routes.
Now online, this leaflet summarises the cycling policy of all train operating companies, restrictions, reservations etc. Also available at national rail stations.
Protected Bike Lanes Mean Business (People for Bikes/Alliance for Biking and Walking)
A report from the USA setting out evidence to prove that high-quality cycle networks boost house prices and retail vitality; improve employees’ health and productivity; and attract talent to a city.
For instance: for every quarter mile nearer to an off-street bicycle trail, the median home value in Minneapolis-St. Paul increases by $510; homes within a half-mile of Indiana's Monon Trail sell for an average of 11% more than similar homes farther away; and when San Francisco reduced car lanes and installed bike lanes and wider sidewalks on Valencia Street, two-thirds of merchants said the increased levels of bicycling and walking improved business. Only 4% said the changes hurt sales.
New CTC campaigns briefings
Why is cycle training such a good thing? What is CTC's ideal cycle awareness campaign for drivers? Find out from two new additions to our growing series of campaigns briefings covering a huge range of subjects:
Each briefing sets out CTC's views and key facts and arguments to support them. They're designed to steer anyone interested in providing for or promoting cycling through the subject.
Browse the full series - more are on the way.
Cycling for Transport, 1 April - 24 June (London, 6pm-7.30pm)
A 12-week evening lecture series for voluntary campaigners and transport professionals giving an excellent basis in cycling policy, infrastructure, health, facts and figures. Previously described as "a fantastic series" and " very good lectures delivered by specialists."
Each lecture will cover a specific topic and be given by an expert in their field.
£160 - £195 + VAT for 18 hours of CPD.
National and local leads in active travel, April 24 (Manchester)
North West Active Travel Network seminar, with keynote speaker Professor John Ashton, President of the Faculty of Public Health. Other presentations from local authorities and stakeholders in active travel. More details expected on NWATN's website.
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)
Encouraging Cycling in the UK, 13 May (Central Manchester)
Government Knowledge Policy briefing offering a forum for discussion and debate on the key issues affecting cyclists in the UK, and what more must be done to persuade people to cycle as their main mode of transportation. Speakers include Prof Phil Goodwin, Caroline Pidgeon AM and CTC’s Campaigns Director, Roger Geffen.
£345 - £495.