CycleDigest July 2013
From the Editor
It's been hard to settle on an accurate level of optimism for cycling lately.
We've just welcomed the fact that a date has been set for Westminster MPs to debate the findings of the 'Get Britain Cycling' report - an important development as not only had we been suffering from serious disappointment that the Treasury forgot about cycling in the Spending Review, but we'd also found that the risk of cycling appears to be going up.
It's good, then, that most Police and Crime Commissioners gave our first Road Justice report a positive reception; that the Department for Transport has said that the major road network is to be 'cycle-proofed' in future; and now we're eagerly anticipating an announcement about cycling from PM David Cameron in August.
Indeed, we like to think that happier times for funding are round the corner and that in next month's Digest, we'll be able to report that the outlook for cycling is brighter as a result. The ladies on the right are happy at the prospect, as well as enjoying a summer cycle ride.
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Apart from continually stressing that the health benefits of cycling far outweigh the disbenefits, CTC thinks that progress on cycling safety is best measured by how risky it is to cycle per trip or km, rather than simply by the number of casualties.
Using this measure, figures recently released by the DfT are a cause for concern. Although cycle use rose slightly in Great Britain in 2012, serious cycle injuries have gone up more steeply, meaning that the overall risk of cycling is higher.
Cycle fatalities rose from 107 in 2011 to 118, while serious injuries increased to 3,222 from 3,085. In total, road deaths have fallen to their lowest level ever at 1,754 – but it’s the occupants of motor vehicles who’ve largely benefited, not cyclists.
Reducing the risk of cycling is not an arcane science - putting money into cycling, improving infrastructure and tackling bad driving (not least by increasing rather than slashing the numbers of traffic police), are all part of the solution.
Proposals to change EU Directive on lorries alarm campaigners
CTC and other cycling organisations are not as happy as they might be about possible amendments to a European directive that covers the weights and dimensions of lorries, even though it's been claimed that it could mean cycle-friendlier lorries.
The proposals, which would give manufacturers more freedom over aerodynamic, more 'cycle-friendly' designs, are also closely tied to moves to allow longer lorries on Europe’s roads, which would put cyclists and pedestrians at greater risk.
While making cabs more aerodynamic might help drivers see cyclists at the front, it’s the visibility of cyclists to the side that needs particular attention because it is this ‘blind spot’ that leads to all too many collisions.
This, and other issues relating to lorries, are discussed in CTC’s campaigns briefing on goods vehicles.
Action on lorries is urgently needed: tragically, yet another cyclist died in London on 15 July as a result of a collision with a tipper truck, while a 20-year-old French student cycling in London, two cyclists on a charity ride in Cornwall and a pensioner in Scotland also died in incidents involving lorries, all in just the first half of July.
Lambeth solves home bike parking
Twenty seven ‘Bike Hangars,’ each holding six bikes, are now available to rent in the London Borough of Lambeth for less than a pound a week.
Not being able to store a bike securely at home, inside or outside, is sometimes an insurmountable problem for would-be cyclists, but the new, on-street hangars are a very neat solution.
Residential Cycle Parking Manager Eric Duval says: “This is a really momentous project and an exciting time for cycling in London. The whole programme concentrates not only on existing cyclists but on supporting people to make the choice to cycle every step of the journey if they so wish.”
Lambeth Council also installs cycle parking on estates by converting redundant space such as old boiler rooms or pram sheds. They are also looking at adapting the Lambeth Hangar to accommodate a tricycle and cargo bike.
Bike security - advice from the force
Over 300 pedal cycles were stolen last year in the City of London, and the police there are determined to reduce the chances of yet more going the same way. They’ve uploaded a range of advice on YouTube, which includes a talk on cycle security by PCSO Scott Green.
New York cycle hire scheme off to good start
It’s so far, so good for New York’s Citi Bike cycle hire scheme, launched at the end of May. This ‘bike share map', which never fails to entertain the CycleDigest editor, shows a constant stream of activity and also allows you to check up live on schemes elsewhere in the world, from London to Moscow.
Thinking of setting up a cycle maintenance workshop as a community project?
For anyone after the voice of experience, a case study from Angus Dawson at Headset in Dorset is well worth a read.