CycleDigest April 2013
From the Editor
Cycle-friendliness is one of our themes this month, not least because of the improvements due to junctions and routes at 78 locations in England thanks to the Government's Cycle Safety fund, while London Cycling Campaign's 'Safer Urban Lorry' is a step forward in the HGV battle.
As far as local cycling levels are concerned, some places certainly have a lot to be proud of, but in others cycle-friendliness still needs a serious boost. The latest figures from the DfT and the returns from the 2011 Census show a very patchy picture indeed.
The All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group's report on their 'Get Britain Cycling' inquiry will be out next week, so watch out for that - and if you haven't got in touch with your MP urging them to sign the Get Britain Cycling EDM 679, now's a good time.
Finally, the publications we've highlighted this month span a wide range of subjects, from an excellent guide to recording Rights of Way before we lose a lot of them, to a report on London's transport system. And there's much more as usual, so do read on.
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Safer Urban Lorry design published
London Cycling Campaign has published designs for a new Safer Urban Lorry and is calling on construction companies to adopt them. The lorry features a lower seating position and a larger window so that the driver can see the area both at the front and at the sides of the cab.
Each year, half the cyclist fatalities in London typically involve lorries, about three-quarters of which are vehicles from the construction industry.
Also, London Cycling Campaign protested outside a number of borough town halls last month, putting pressure on councils who have not yet committed to LCC’s Safer Lorries pledge.
Cycle law firm launches 'Road Share' compensation campaign
Cycle Law Scotland, a new legal service for cyclists, has launched a campaign to change civil law in Scotland that, if successful, would mean that cyclists and pedestrians would receive compensation automatically and promptly for injuries/damage sustained in a crash with a motor vehicle. CTC Scotland is supporting the campaign.
Money down holes
The Asphalt Industry Alliance’s latest Local Authority Road Maintenance (ALARM) Survey 2013 discovered that:
- There’s a £829m annual funding shortfall for road maintenance (England and London); and a £6.2m annual budget shortfall (per English authority)
- 1 in 5 roads have a residual life of less than 5 years
- It will take 12 years to clear the backlog in England
- Road user compensation claims cost councils £32m in the last year
- 2.2m potholes were filled across England & Wales, at a total spend of £113m.
Road defects are a serious hazard for cyclists in particular, and bad winters make the situation worse. Remember to report the potholes you come across at CTC’s Fill That Hole.
Special treatment for busy London cycle lanes
Good news for cyclists surfaced in an answer given by the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, to a question about cycle lanes and potholes. He said that from now on “TfL’s maintenance arrangements will include bespoke inspection regimes and defect categorisation requirements for the designated cycle routes on the TfL Road Network, so that future maintenance activity will closely reflect the intensity of cycle activity upon them.” (Question posed by London Assembly member Darren Johnson (Green), Written Answers, number 0817/2013, 20/3/2013).
Cycle to Work for Tesco staff
Supermarket chain Tesco is now offering the Cycle to Work scheme to its 300,000 staff, giving them all the opportunity to hire and, if they want, eventually buy a cycle tax efficiently. Tesco estimates that if just 1% of staff takes up the scheme, it could mean as many as 12,888 car journeys being replaced by cycle journeys each month.
Come Cycling Ledbury!
A group of cyclists in Ledbury, including CTC members, has boosted the market town’s well deserved position on the cycle tourism map by linking up to the national Come Cycling website.
The scheme promotes the area’s cycle maps, bike hire and shops, accommodation providers, tourist attractions, and public transport links.
See our case study for more on Ledbury’s experience, with advice on how to set up an initiative in your own locality.
Longest cycling tunnel in Britain opens
Forming part of the Two Tunnels Greenway, the longest cycling tunnel in Britain has just been opened to the public by Sustrans. The Combe Down tunnel is a section of a four-mile stretch of disused railway line between Bath and Midford.
The Two Tunnels project has been funded by a Big Lottery ‘Living Landmarks’ award won in a public vote in 2007; Bath & North East Somerset Council contributed £400,000; and community fundraising in Bath brought in an additional £200,000.
Cycle to the sea
A new long distance route for cyclists and walkers that runs through the heart of East Hampshire was officially opened in March. The Shipwrights Way runs across the South Downs National Park and finishes at Portsmouth's Historic Dockyard, which houses Nelson's ship HMS Victory.
There are seven rail stations along the way, making it easy for people who’d like to experience the trail in sections. Oak grown at Alice Holt Forest was used for medieval shipbuilding in Portsmouth’s dockyards – hence the route’s name.
The Shipwrights Way is the work of a partnership between East Hampshire District Council, Hampshire County Council, the Forestry Commission and the South Downs National Park Authority.