Cycle Campaign News May 2014
From the Editor
The coming warmer, drier weather will undoubtedly inspire more people to cycle - it always does.
More space for cycling would be an even bigger boost and, judging by the popular and political support for the messages of both the London and national Space for Cycling campaigns, thousands agree.
If you haven't done so already, do get involved in spreading the word - see 'Headlines' below for more.
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Rides, guides and gatherings: Space for Cycling campaign takes off
There’s been no let-up in Space for Cycling activity since the launch of the London and national campaigns in April.
LCC (London Cycling Campaign) report that their Space for Cycling calls to make the capital’s streets safe and inviting for cycling have been backed by over a third of the candidates in the London Borough elections; and, pressing home the depth of popular support for the campaign’s messages, last Saturday’s Big Ride in central London attracted around 5,000 people.
The schedule for CTC’s national campaign has been equally eventful with a campaigners’ conference on 3 May, hosted by the Leeds Cycling Campaign. Coinciding with London’s Big Ride, hundreds of supporters also took to their cycles in other UK cities, including Bristol, Leeds, Newcastle, Manchester, Sheffield and Solihull.
With help from campaign group partners, CTC has also published a simple Space for Cycling guide for local decision makers. This highlights examples of good practice in design and planning from Bristol, Exeter, Brighton and other places, including the Netherlands. It also goes into the crucial subject of funding.
CTC is now cranking up the campaign throughout the UK, following local election day in England’s larger cities (May 22).
- CTC’s Space for Cycling campaign: if you haven’t done so already, please email your local councillors asking them to pledge their support for high standards of cycle-friendly planning and design, and the funding needed to deliver this.
- Space for Cycling guide for local decision makers
- Report from the campaigners’ conference in Leeds, with presentations including discussions of the pros and cons of the humble bollard, protected space on main roads, how to influence councils and on building stronger campaign groups. More training events are planned – you’ll get to hear about them automatically by signing up to the campaign, or see Diary Dates for our Birmingham event on Saturday 14 June.
- LCC’s Space for Cycling Campaign ... and their associated knitted bollards action
After years of pressure from CTC, the DfT’s major reform of 'The Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions' (TSRGD) 2002 should allow better quality cycle facilities to be built, and much greater flexibility for local authorities to adopt their own approaches.
The proposed revisions could mean, for example, that cycle priority crossings of main roads will be easier to introduce and that other recently tested measures will become more widespread, e.g. low level signal heads. Dutch-style ‘cycle streets’, pedestrian and cycle zones and a more sensible approach to Advanced Stop Lines (ASLs) are also amongst the proposals.
Announcing the TSRGD consultation at the Cycle City Leeds Conference on 1 May, Cycling Minister Robert Goodwill said: “We are cutting red tape that has been a brake on cycle infrastructure.”
The proposals are currently out for consultation - deadline 12 June 2014.
Back in January, we reported that CTC has been questioning the DfT's prediction that cycling levels will fall between 2015 and 2035. Essentially, we argued that this doesn't take account of the very recent changes in cycle use or the dramatic shifts in behaviour that can occur due to social and cultural factors. Encouragingly though, MPs have acknowledged CTC’s evidence to the Transport Select Committee and called on the DfT to open the National Transport Model (NTM) for wider scrutiny
CTC believes that predicting a decrease in cycle use could prove to be a self-fulfilling prophesy, encouraging decision-makers to downplay cycling and fail to provide for it. After all, The NTM has a powerful influence on policy - even though motor traffic levels have fallen recently, its prediction that traffic on main roads will increase by 43% has already stimulated road-building plans costing £billions.
The failure to commit consistent funding to cycling, we think, should already take some responsibility for the drop in the overall proportion of people cycling once a month or more from 15.3% to 14.7% in one year between 2011/2012 and 2012/2013 - a reduction of over a third of million people. To see what’s been happening to cycle levels in your area - it's not all bad news - see CTC’s data maps
“We want the decision to go by bike to be as simple for the 8 year old riding to school and the 80 year old riding to the local shops as it would be for Sir Bradley.
“And we want to see change happen because helping 8 year olds to 80 year olds back on to their bikes will make our streets safer, families fitter and cities much less congested.”
Robert Goodwill MP, Cycling Minister
Speech at Cycle City Leeds Conference, May 1 2014