CycleDigest January 2014
From the Editor
I'm not exaggerating (honestly), but this winter I've seen smallish potholes grow into huge chasms in the hours between my cycle to work in the morning and my ride back in the evening.
I'm pleased to say, however, that reporting them to CTC's Fill That Hole has alerted the council and they've patched a lot of the worst ones on my list.
Patching helps, but long-term road maintenance, including high quality resurfacing is preferable. It would be even better to use any resurfacing opportunity to make the road network more cycle-friendly as well. This has been CTC's message for some time and, happily, it seems to be getting through - see this Digest's headlines below for more!
P.S. From the next issue, we'll be retitling CycleDigest as 'CTC Campaign News' - it'll still be a digest and all about cycling, so don't be alarmed!
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Last November, CTC questioned the DfT's prediction that cycling levels would fall between 2015 and 2035. We have now met with DfT officials to discuss our concerns about the National Transport Model (NTM) on which the forecast was based. Essentially, we argue that it 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.
Good progress was made at the meeting, and we agreed to look at evidence of where cycle use has changed, what might be driving it, and how that could affect the model's parameters.
CTC's Chris Peck goes into more detail in his blog.
CTC has reservations about new powers for PCSOs
If PCSOs (Police Community Support Officers) are to be given significant new powers under The Antisocial Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill, CTC wants them to receive cycle training and proper instruction in road traffic law; to be able to enforce Advance Stop Lines; and not to be expected to uphold archaic rules on pedal reflectors.
These issues were highlighted in amendments to the bill tabled by CTC's Vice-President Lord Berkeley but, after they were debated in the Lords, their future seems to lie not with the Bill, but in action from the DfT (i.e. on updating lighting regs), the police and the roads minister.
Responding to Lord Berkeley, minister Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon said: “We recognise that, as a result of these changes, additional training will be required to ensure PCSOs have the right knowledge, skills and expertise to exercise these powers.” He then added: "I am aware that there is some concern that our proposals will result in cyclists being picked on by PCSOs. Let me assure the noble Lord that that is clearly not our intention." He also promised to consider adding ASLs to the traffic laws that PCSOs could enforce.
Met Police publish fine data
CTC has broadly welcomed 'Operation Safeway', the Metropolitan Police’s response to the deaths of six cyclists in two weeks in November, resulted in the issuing of around 14,000 fixed penalty notices (FPNs) or reports for summons - 9,733 to motorists and 4,085 to cyclists. CTC supports more traffic policing and all effective law enforcement, but feels that limited resources should be targeted at the real sources of danger - e.g. bad and inconsiderate driving and, particularly in the capital, lorries.
Are road conditions for cyclists in London getting worse?
Statisticians have concluded that the deaths of six cyclists on London’s roads in the space of two weeks in November was ‘remarkable’. They worked out that over eight years, the chance of seeing six deaths in a 14-day period is around 2.5% and suggest that perhaps this reflects “a change in the risk to cyclists, which may be due in turn to a change in traffic, a change in cyclist behaviour, or a change in infrastructure. Whatever the explanation, these data should give cause for concern to the transport authorities and prompt further examination of cycling safety in London.”
Charity reveals scale of micro-sleeping at the wheel
Research by Brake, the road safety charity, and Direct Line has found that 45% of men and 22% of women admit to ‘head-nodding’ at the wheel - i.e. falling asleep briefly, or ‘micro-sleeps’. Overall, one in 14 drivers admits actually ‘falling asleep’ at the wheel - 14% of male drivers and 2% of female drivers.
DfT invites LSTF bids (England)
The Department for Transport has invited local authorities in England (outside London) to apply for revenue funding up to a maximum of £1 million to support the cost of a range of sustainable travel measures, including Bikeability training. Bids to the Local Sustainable Transport Fund (LSTF) need to be submitted by the end of March. Altogether, £78.5 million is on offer.
- Do you want to boost your cycling programme with more participants?
- Would you like to target new audiences and include more hard-to-reach groups?
- Are you considering community engagement and capacity building as an integral part of your Local Transport Plan, LSTF Programme or Cycling Strategy?
CTC has specialised in community engagement for over five years and can support your existing programmes through a tailored package of CTC Community Cycle Clubs.
Working with community groups and training local leaders to support a broad range of cycling activities is a proven way to engage more than just regular cycle commuters. CTC Community Cycle Clubs will deliver social, economic and health outcomes across a local authority region, town or city in a sustainable way!
Community Links funding in Scotland - bid deadline looming
CTC is urging cycle campaigners in Scotland to check that their local authorities are bidding for some of the £14m Community Links funding set aside to improve cycle infrastructure and networks in Scotland. The closing date for bids is 14 February.
Government publishes 'Door to Door Action Plan'
The Government’s 'Door to Door Strategy' (England), which set out its vision for sustainable integrated journeys last March, now benefits from an accompanying Action Plan.
The Plan identifies progress so far by pointing, for example, to the £14.5 million investment in cycle facilities at railway stations. The funding, it says, has doubled the amount of cycle parking at stations in the lifetime of the current Parliament and helped increase cycle-rail journeys from 14 million in 2009 to 39 million in 2012.
National Obesity Forum recalculates obesity forecast
The National Obesity Forum has estimated that half of the UK population will be obese by 2040, rather than by 2050 as predicted by the Foresight Report (2007). The Forum supports the introduction of compulsory physical education in schools, but says “…greater promotion of physical activity outside of educational settings is also key to ensure any participation amongst pupils is not limited to school. Similarly, caution is needed to ensure that the promotion of competitive sport does not put off children less disposed to that sport.”
CTC believes that encouraging children to cycle to and from school is a good way for them to keep fit and develop a lifetime habit of regular physical activity. See our briefing on cycle-friendly schools.
Not so much of the Lycra lout!
A psychological study examining people’s subconscious attitudes towards different sports, reveals that people think that cyclists have a unique blend of intelligence (more than one in four said they’d want a cyclist on their pub quiz team), generosity and the ‘cool factor’. The British Heart Foundation, who commissioned the research, revealed the result as it prepared to open registration for the London to Brighton Bike Ride 2014.
Lincolnshire cyclists object to bypass
CTC Lincolnshire has lodged an objection to a second Lincolnshire bypass on the grounds that it will sever existing local roads and fail to provide adequate crossings. The campaigners say that, unless the plans are revised, the new road could form a huge barrier for people on bikes, completely contradicting the Prime Minister’s commitment to ‘cycle proof’ all roads and make them fit for cycling from the outset.