CycleDigest May 2013
From the Editor
Welcome to the May issue of CycleDigest. No apologies for mentioning the 'Get Britain Cycling' e-petition four times (this is the first mention) - it's doing very well, but still needs more people to sign it. Our headline below explains why and how.
Improved infrastructure, justice for victims of collisions and lorries are never far from our minds, and the stories we've covered this month reflect this. So does our 'Get Britain Cycling' campaign - I hope you've signed the e-petition as a result of my first mention, but if not, please do so now and encourage your friends to do the same!
The CycleDigest is a free resource for anyone with a voluntary or professional interest in cycling. New subscribers are always welcome at www.ctc.org.uk/cycledigest - if you sign up to that, you'll receive a bulletin letting you know when the latest issue is online.
With best wishes
Cycle-friendly roundabouts with a much tighter geometry – usually with only one entry and exit lane and a narrower circulating lane – have been on trial at TRL’s vast test track in Berkshire. Such roundabouts with cycle priority over the arms are standard in the Netherlands, but rare and radical in the UK.
TRL is also investigating ‘low level’ traffic lights - small, cycle-specific traffic signals that don’t confuse other road users. Also common in Europe, they save space and reduce clutter.
Motor traffic drops off
Figures released by the Department for Transport show that, compared to Quarter 1 (Jan - March) 2012, all motor traffic in Great Britain decreased by 2.3% in Q1 of 2013. Car and light goods vehicle traffic both went down by 1.9%, and HGVs by 3.8%.
The DfT notes that traffic volume doesn’t appear to have been influenced by a slight increase in GDP over the same quarter, and suggests that heavy snow and ice may have contributed to the decline. However, other experts, notably 'Get Britain Cycling' report author Prof Phil Goodwin, are questioning whether car use may, in fact, have peaked.
Walking and cycling to school in road safety spotlight
GO 20, a coalition of 11 charities calling for 20 mph to be the norm in communities, focused on cycling and walking to school during Global Road Safety Week (6-11 May). A survey published by GO 20 member Brake revealed that 77% of 500 UK primary schools are so concerned about road safety that they feel compelled to campaign actively on the subject. CTC is a member of GO 20.
Collisions in Westminster – who’s to blame?
According to the City of Westminster’s draft cycling plan (2013-26), analysis of collisions between drivers and cyclists in the last 12 months shows that the most common contributory factors were attributable to the driver (68% of cases) and 20% to cyclists. In the 133 crashes between pedestrians and cyclists in the last 36 months, 60% were attributable to the pedestrian, and 40% to the cyclist.
How is your local council performing on road safety?
A new website from DfT presents visitors with collision and casualty figures set against population, traffic levels, road length and authority spending for the last 7 years. It includes a mapping facility.
The DfT has also launched a new research portal giving road safety professionals access to research on a variety of relevant topics.
Bigger = better for HGVs - or not?
The European Cyclists’ Federation (ECF) wants to make sure that changes to the permitted size and dimensions of lorries that cross the borders in Europe will be cycle-friendly. It believes that updating cab design, for example, is a good opportunity to ensure that drivers can see cyclists more clearly. ECF, however, is still concerned that the legislation will allow trucks with larger trailers to travel beyond their national borders – a move that would put more cyclists at greater risk.
- Research from Canada published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) has concluded that making helmets compulsory in certain provinces has had minimal impact on reducing the rate of admissions to hospital for cycling-related head injuries. Injury rates, the authors say, were already going down in the provinces that had introduced compulsion.
- A study that looked at the serious injuries and deaths of cyclists under 16 in the US (1999-2009) has concluded that requiring children to wear cycle helmets by law saves lives. However, CTC’s Roger Geffen, who appeared on BBC Radio 4 along with the lead author of the US report, Dr William Meehan, pointed out that making helmets compulsory puts people off cycling and means that they lose out on the health benefits that far outweigh the risks.
Bad news for cycling Channel-hoppers
Eurostar has revised its cycle policy for the worse – the service used to allow people to travel with their packaged bikes, but in future only folding bikes will be allowed as carry-on luggage. A bike that is longer than 85cm will have to be carried as freight, not necessarily on the same train. CTC’s public transport adviser Dave Holladay explains all in the Guardian Bike blog.
The London Evening Standard has pointed out that Mayor Boris Johnson's plans to spend £913m on cycling in the capital over the next 10 years are dependent on securing Treasury funds.
Meanwhile, we await the announcement of the winners of the £30m Cycle City Challenge and the £12m National Parks funds announced by Norman Baker in January. Bids were submitted in late April and the results should be out soon.
Rich world of cycling on stage at LCC's 2013 awards
The array of winners at the London Cycling Campaign’s (LCC) 2013 Awards goes to show how exciting and diverse the cycling world is.
Prizes went to TfL’s 'Safer Lorries' procurement programme; London Borough of Camden/City Of London's two-way cycling on one-way streets; London Bike Kitchen (a community cycle repair workshop); Hackney Bike Around The Borough (schools initiative); Heathrow Cycle Hub; Sir Bradley Wiggins; Rapha; Brompton folding bicycle; road.cc’s website; and retail chain Cycle Surgery.