Cycle Campaign News November 2014
Table of Contents:
From the Editor
According to the Government’s draft Cycling Delivery Plan, partnership funding opportunities for local authorities are on the way (at least in theory!).
Given cycling and walking's very high value for money - now officially recognised (see New Publications) - this should be an exciting prospect for councils all over the country.
Working with the willing always makes financial sense, though, so we think now is a particularly good moment to note how many councillors in each of England’s Core Cities have pledged their support for Space for Cycling (see Headlines).
Well done Newcastle! [Photo right: Shannon Robalino]
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CTC and local campaign groups have published a league table ranking the support for cycling from English ‘Core Cities’, based on the number of councillors backing the Space for Cycling campaign outside London. Newcastle is top with an impressive 67%, while Liverpool and Sheffield still have quite a lot of catching up to do.
- Newcastle: 67%
- Manchester: 41%
- Nottingham: 31%
- Bristol: 26%
- Birmingham: 16%
- Leeds: 16%
- Liverpool: 12%
- Sheffield: 11%
Space for Cycling calls on councillors to make cycling a safe, convenient and enjoyable option for day-to-day journeys for people of all ages and abilities.
Last month, we reported that the Department for Transport (DfT) had published a consultation version of its draft Cycling Delivery Plan for England. We have now looked at the document in detail and responded to the consultation, emphasising our main call for a commitment from the Government to fund cycling to the tune of at least £10 per head per year – not just ‘explore’ the possibility.
We also feel that the Plan’s cycle use target isn’t ambitious enough: in fact, we calculate that its goal to ‘double’ cycling from its current level of 0.8bn trips to 1.6bn trips by 2025 isn’t a doubling at all, because it fails to account for population growth and the expected increase in cycle use in London. In reality, the target equates to a 74% increase in cycling trips per person outside the capital – and we’d probably only reach Dutch levels of cycle use just before the start of the 23rd century!
CTC has also delved into the draft’s minutiae, highlighting its good aspects, flaws and omissions, whilst presenting constructive suggestions to make it more robust and fit for purpose. Amongst them is a recommendation that the Active Travel Consortium (ATC), if properly supported and funded, could form a valuable mechanism for reporting, monitoring and facilitating progress.
Due to the large volume of responses it received, the DfT has now moved the consultation deadline forward to 27 November. You’re welcome to make use of CTC’s submission to inform your own response.
A recent Westminster Hall debate on the sentencing of dangerous driving offences seemed to be the perfect arena for an official announcement on a date for the promised dangerous driving sentencing review but, unfortunately, this didn’t happen.
A number of MPs took the chance to raise some important points, however: Ben Bradshaw (Exeter) reminded everyone that the legal system and drivers need to recognise that when they get behind the wheel of a car, they are “in charge of a lethal weapon”; while Greg Mulholland (Leeds North West) highlighted the Crown Prosecution Service’s propensity to dismiss a charge of dangerous driving in favour of the lesser charge of careless driving.
Speaking in response to the debate, Minister of State for Policing, Criminal Justice and Victims, Mike Penning MP, confirmed that there would be an extensive public consultation on sentencing. He also said: “I will not pre-empt the review but I agree that we need to look carefully at whether the punishment fits the crime.”
The debate was initiated by Reading West MP Alok Sharma, who is pressing for tougher sentences for dangerous driving following the deaths of two of his constituents, John Morland and Kris Jarvis, killed whilst cycling by driver Alexander Farrar Walters last February.
CTC believes that the courts need to be much more willing to use long driving bans as a sentencing option, with long custodial sentences being reserved for really serious cases. This approach helps protect the public and deters people from bad driving in the first place.
Lower blood alcohol limit for Scotland
In a welcome move, the Scottish Parliament has voted to lower the blood alcohol limit for drivers from 80mg per 100ml of blood to 50mg/100ml. The new rules should come into force on 5 December. Northern Ireland is expected to lower its limit shortly too. This will leave England & Wales and Malta as the only countries in the EU with the higher limit.
Scotland - where an average of 20 people die every year in collisions involving drivers over the limit - has also launched a high profile public information campaign about the change.
Scotland’s Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill MSPsaid: “The vote received all-party support, backing from experts and road safety campaigners and the vast majority of the public are behind it. All the evidence from across Europe where the lower limit is in force suggests we will see convictions go down, reductions in drink driving and blood alcohol counts.”