CycleDigest November 2013
From the Editor
The number of cyclists and pedestrians who have died in collisions with large vehicles in London over the past few weeks is shocking. And when the media publish the names and ages of the people involved, each death turns even more poignantly into the human tragedy that it is. It's got to stop.
If you'd like to write to the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, asking him to take urgent action, we've set up a letter-writing facility that we hope will help.
We want to see improvements in road infrastructure, cycle-friendly lorry design and restrictions on HGVs at the busiest times. CTC has also written to Transport Minister Robert Goodwill calling on him to hold hauliers to account whenever a lorry is involved in a cyclist's fatality.
Please join us in asking the Mayor to apply the most fundamental principle of safety management to this dreadful situation and tackle the danger at source.
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In the light of the recent cyclist fatalities in London, the House of Commons Transport Select Committee has announced a follow-up inquiry on cycling safety. The Committee, which last considered the subject in 2012 as part of its inquiry into road safety, is asking for views on:
- Whether cycling is safe, particularly in towns and cities;
- What central and local Government could do to improve cycling safety;
- Whether it would be desirable and feasible to segregate cyclists from other road users, including, for example, by prohibiting HGVs from entering city centres at peak hours.
Other ideas for improving cycling safety would also be welcomed.
Evidence has to be submitted in a hurry - by next Tuesday (26 November).
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin has said that his department will do all it can to let councils introduce Dutch-style segregated cycle provision. Further good news is the Highways Agency's undertaking to review the cycling sections of its design guidance.
This will necessitate revisions to the UK's traffic signing regulations so that segregated cycle tracks have the same priority at junctions as in continental countries like the Netherlands. With an update to the traffic regulations already scheduled for consultation in 2014, CTC is urging the DfT to move quickly to ensure that cycle priority measures are included.
At the end of October, the Scottish Parliament debated proposals for 'presumed liability'. Also known as ‘stricter liability’, this system would mean that motorists involved in collisions with cyclists or pedestrians would be presumed liable in a civil law claim for damages, unless they can prove otherwise.
Of the 14 MSPs who made speeches during the debate, four supported presumed liability (whilst recognising the need for further debate); six held no clear position and felt that more debate was needed; and four were against - including, unfortunately, Minister for Transport Keith Brown. However, the Minister did agree to keep the debate open.
- Chris Oliver's blog on presumed liability for Scotland and on Cycle Law Scotland's Road Share campaign
- CTC’s view on presumed liability
If you didn’t get to the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome in Glasgow to witness broadcaster and CTC President Jon Snow chairing the ninth Cycling Scotland Conference earlier this month, read Chris Oliver’s report of the day. Not only was the range of speakers impressive, but Jon Snow also unveiled Cycling Scotland’s 'National Assessment of Cycling Policy' (see 'New Publications'). Photo: Jon Snow with CTC's Chris Oliver in Glasgow.
'Cycle Yorkshire' is already thinking ahead to welcoming the Tour de France (TdF) Grand Départ next year. Not only that, but they're also looking beyond it to the legacy they want such a high profile race to leave long after the banners have been taken down.
Keen to ensure that TdF 2014 inspires more people to cycle, they have produced a resource pack for schools aimed at encouraging 7-14 year-olds to cycle more often. Teachers and pupils at Kettlethorpe High School were given the first look at the pack earlier this month, and also enjoyed a chat with professional riders, brothers Dean and Russell Downing.
CTC’s Development Officer Ginny Leonard is part of the Tour de France legacy team in Yorkshire.
Hazardous level crossing improved for cyclists
For any cyclist thinking of following the TdF route in Wensleydale next year, there is good news from our local campaigner Ron Healey.
Ron reports that work has recently begun to replace the decking at Aiskew railway level crossing, where many cyclists have come to grief over the past 20 years or so, with a fatality in 2007. CTC activists have been working since 1995 to persuade highway and rail authorities to do something about this hazard.
Various factors contributed to the crossing's poor safety record, but it was mainly due to the rubber deck transitions that led to loss of control, commonly with wheels being trapped in flange gaps. New rubber inserts, which train wheels will depress when passing, will eliminate the gaps.
The railway is currently leased from Network Rail to Wensleydale Railway who have been keen to improve their many crossings.
CTC launches iPhone app for recording cycling incidents
A new, free iPhone app from CTC is now available to help if you’re ever involved in or witness a crash whilst out riding. The app allows you to record all necessary information about witnesses, vehicles involved, the weather, injuries, equipment damage, time, date and location etc., with photos. You can then email the report directly to CTC’s solicitors Slater & Gordon Lawyers.
- Search the app store for ‘CTC’s Crash Kit’.
Want to know the legal ins and outs of those twinkly winky things that light up bike shop windows, catalogues and web pages at this time of year? CTC’s Technical Officer, Chris Juden explains bike lights, approved or otherwise.