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CycleDigest January 2014

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Pothole quilt
CTC's Fill that Hole site is a good way of reporting road defects like these
CTC's monthly round-up of cycle campaigning news
Contents Summary: 

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!

Cherry Allan

CTC Campaigns

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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Headlines

Road maintenance looks up for cyclists

CTC is revamping Fill That Hole, the pothole reporting website, thanks to £30,000 from the Department for Transport (DfT). The money will also enable CTC to develop a new app compatible with smartphones running Android software.

Announcing the funding, Cycling and Roads Minister Robert Goodwill MP said: “At best potholes are an irritation but at worst they can damage vehicles and pose a serious danger to cyclists. That is why we want people to tell councils where to find them so they can fill them in. This app means more people are going to be able to report potholes more easily."

Since its launch in 2007, Fill That Hole has processed over  91 thousand reports filed by cyclists and other road users. The FTH app was even nominated recently as one of the top ten sport and fitness apps by the Sport and Recreation Alliance.

Look out for updates to the site and app over the first half of 2014!

CTC has welcomed Government proposals to earmark £50m per year for maintaining walking and cycling facilities, out of the £976m distributed annually to councils for local road maintenance.

We believe, though, that it would be even better if councils considered new or improved cycle provision whenever planning to resurface a road. This highly cost-effective approach has been very successfully deployed in New York and, in the UK, Plymouth City Council is among those who have adopted the idea.  CTC now hopes the Government will issue new guidelines encouraging others to follow suit.

CTC tells officials that sentencing must deter bad driving

Along with British Cycling and RoadPeace, representatives from CTC's Road Justice campaign met with the head of the Sentencing Council for England and Wales to discuss the forthcoming review of sentencing guidelines for driving offences. They used the opportunity to suggest how sentencing could deter bad driving and take bad drivers who maim or kill off the roads.

The leniency typically shown to drivers involved in cyclists’ deaths has been only too clearly demonstrated by analysis recently carried out by the London Evening Standard. The newspaper’s findings suggest that only 1 in 10 such drivers are jailed, and many more are not prosecuted. 

Unfortunately, this bears out Road Justice's experience, and it is why the campaign wants a review of the justice system to ensure that offending drivers are not just charged, but charged appropriately.

Road Justice is supported by Slater & Gordon Lawyers.

Police reminded to use their discretion over pavement cycling fines

Cycling minister Robert Goodwill MP has said that he supports the principle that the police should use their discretion over fining cyclists who ride on the pavement through a fear of traffic. This reflects the original advice given to the police by the then Home Office minister Paul Boeteng in 1999 when fixed penalty notices for the offence were first introduced.

The guidance, which has now been re-circulated to all police forces, says:

“The introduction of the fixed penalty is not aimed at responsible cyclists who sometimes feel obliged to use the pavement out of fear of the traffic, and who show consideration to other pavement users.

"Chief police officers, who are responsible for enforcement, acknowledge that many cyclists, particularly children and young people, are afraid to cycle on the road, [so] sensitivity and careful use of police discretion is required."

CTC feels that, in the short term, the best way of tackling footway cycling is for police to have the option of offering cycle training to offenders instead of a fine when they appear to be avoiding danger rather than causing it. However, the real solutions lie in improving cycling conditions, so cyclists are no longer forced to choose between what is safe and what is legal.

Local authorities!

  • 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?

Find out how CTC can help!

Other stories

Why models matter

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.

*CTC offers inclusive and sustainable outcomes to Local Authorities*

  • 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!

To find out more, see the detailed brochure, or contact CTC's Ian Richardson directly on 07771 603826 or by email.

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.

Act now!

Last chance to sign Road Justice petition!

The Road Justice petition, which is demanding better roads policing, is going to be handed over to the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) on 12 February.

Please sign now and share with friends and family before it closes!

New publications

"If you could do one thing..." Nine local actions to reduce health inequalities (The British Academy)

A collection of opinion pieces on health inequalities from leading social scientists, including Professor Danny Dorling on the case for 20 mph speed limits for cars in residential areas, by shops and schools. 

Prof Dorling says in the summary: “In many urban areas in mainland Europe, 18.6 mph (30 km per hour) is now normal in residential areas. 20 mph will become normal in most residential areas in Britain also. All that is in question is how many people will have to suffer before that occurs.”

 

Cycling on Towpaths (Inland Waterways Association (IWA))

New advice on towpath cycling in response to the increase in demand for new or continuing use of canal and river towpaths as cycle routes.

IWA acknowledges the wider benefits of encouraging the population to cycle for recreational and transport purposes, but highlights a need to positively manage cycling on towpaths and make sure that cyclists are aware of potential hazards. IWA also believes that not all towpaths or sections of towpath are suitable for cycling, however.

See also CTC's campaigns briefing on towpath cycling

 

School Cycling Handbook (Danish Cyclists’ Federation)

A book for parents, schools and municipalities alike, giving advice based on scientific results and experiences from schools all over Denmark.

 

Access for Blind People in Towns (The National Federation of the Blind of the UK, circulated by DfT)

Additional guidance note to local authorities, circulated by DfT, to assist the creation of streetscapes that are fully accessible to blind people as required by the Public Sector Equality Duty.

Diary dates

Inclusive Cycling Policy Workshop, 6.30pm, 12 February (London)

An introduction to the work of London's Inclusive Cycling Forum, with talks from disabled cyclists about their experiences, the barriers they face. Will look at the key principles of inclusive cycling, and how to ensure excellent provision both for people on bikes and for disabled pedestrians.

 

London Bike Show, 13-16 February (ExCel)

The UK’s largest cycling exhibition, which last year attracted over 38,000 visitors. CTC members are eligible for a 30% discount on adult tickets by quoting ‘LBCTC’. Under 16s are free.

 

Time for 20, 18 February 2014 (Camden, London)

20’s Plenty for Us national conference, focusing on how to roll out 20 mph limits. 

Includes presentations, expert case studies and workshops. Book your place and learn how to get it right from leading authorities.

 

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