Cycle Campaign News August 2015
From the Editor
In last month's Campaign News, we were celebrating the fact that minister for cycling, Robert Goodwill MP, had ordered officials to commence the legislation necessary to activate the Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy (CWIS, England).
This month, we’re happy to report that CWIS came into force on 31 July, so the Government is now committed to it in law.
This doesn't mean we can stop campaigning, though. We need CWIS to happen soon because we don't want it compromised by funding shortfalls for cycling that are otherwise looming with Cycle City Ambition and LSTF money running out in April next year.
And it's not as if we haven't made the optimal investment absolutely clear, i.e. £10 per head per year, aiming for £20 as cycle use increases.
One way of increasing cycle use rather dramatically, we think, is to encourage more people to cycle to work. That’s why we’ve teamed up with CycleScheme and Bike Week to promote Cycle to Work Day on 3 September – pledge to get involved and be in with a chance of a prize!
Cherry Allan, CTC Campaigns
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Campaigners call for equal rights for road crime victims
CTC has backed proposals to revise the Victims' Code (England & Wales) so that it covers all road crime victims. At the moment, only victims of dangerous driving are covered, meaning that people injured as a result of careless driving, drink-driving and speeding are left out, even if they have been maimed for life.
The proposed changes wouldn't stop these injuries happening, of course, but at least they would entitle victims to information about the police investigation into their case, and mean that they would also benefit from victims’ support services.
We also want the new Code to treat all road crime victims in the same way as it does victims of other crimes. For instance, we believe that they should be treated as victims of crime until proven otherwise (i.e. not only once a charge has been made); and be entitled to review police decisions.
In just one weekend, 1,800 people supported our calls by emailing the Ministry of Justice using our online action tool (deadline was 16 August). Thanks if you were one of them.
Trails for Wales!
CTC together with OpenMTB, the English and Welsh National Trail Organisation, will shortly be submitting a response to the Welsh Government’s consultation into 'Improving opportunities to access the outdoors for responsible recreation’.
We’re keen to see Wales enjoy the same level of access as Scotland, and will be inviting campaigners to get involved in our “#TrailsForWales” action in the very near future. Watch this space!
Are all HGV drivers getting enough sleep?
‘The Night Shift’, a BBC Radio 4 programme that looked at the illnesses caused by night working, inspired CTC’s Rhia Favero to investigate the threat that sleep-deprived drivers, particularly those at the wheel of an HGV, pose to cyclists and other road users.
The importance of enforcing drivers’ hours and tachographs - and ensuring that operators don’t hire employees who work the rest of their time on another job - cannot be underestimated, says Rhia.
EU votes for cycling 'roadmap'
Cycling will soon be enjoying a well-deserved boost on a European scale. Following successful lobbying by ECF (European Cyclists' Federation), the EU Parliament has passed a majority vote in favour of an ‘EU Roadmap for Cycling’ - a strategy, in other words, that will cover:
- jobs and growth (e.g. through cycle manufacturing and tourism);
- decarbonising transport (i.e. shifting short and medium motor trips to cycling);
- health and environment;
- a ‘level playing field’ (e.g. through transparency on the real external costs of cars vs cycling, and the ‘polluter pays’ taxation principle);
- accurate and harmonised data collection in all member states;
- road safety & education (e.g. through HGV safety systems, and safe and convenient cycling infrastructure).
The Roadmap will be included in thr European Commission's work programme for the coming year.
DfT publishes quarterly stats on traffic and road casualties
- The latest provisional quarterly estimates (April - June 2015) suggest that motor traffic on all roads in GB has increased for the ninth quarter in succession. In the year ending June 2015, it went up by 2.3% on the previous year. According to officials, the rise is likely to reflect economic growth and lower fuel prices. (N.B. These quarterly estimates do not include pedal cycle traffic).
- Also recently published are provisional quarterly statistics for road casualties in Great Britain (January - March 2015). These indicate that in the year ending March 2015, the number of cyclists killed or seriously injured (KSI) rose by 1% to 3,410. In contrast, KSI pedestrians fell by 7% and KSI car users by 4%. Without yet knowing how much cycling there was in this period, it is impossible to say whether the risk of cycling has actually gone up, or whether the rise in casualties simply reflects an increase in cycle use.
THINK! Cycling 'safety tips' evaluated
The DfT has just published an evaluation of its THINK! Cycling campaign, which involved placing educational posters in twelve English cities. The campaign's main aims were to make drivers and cyclists more aware of each other, and improve behaviour (e.g. advising drivers to look out for cyclists at junctions and reminding cyclists to stop at red lights etc.).
Apparently, drivers 'claimed behaviour' hasn't changed much in response, and cyclists are still displaying 'knowledge gaps'.
While CTC advocates responsible cycling, we believe that the DfT should invest its main THINK! energies into tackling the persistent failure of some people to drive considerately in the presence of cyclists. After all, police data on collisions between a driver and at least one cyclist, published by the Department itself, indicates that drivers are significantly more likely to be at fault.
Near Miss project to run for second year
Close shaves may seriously affect people’s cycling trips and even put them off, so it’s good to know that researchers studying the subject in depth will be able to run the Near Miss project for a second year, thanks to support from Creative Exchange and Blaze.
This means that cyclists will have the chance to fill in a ‘One Day Diary’ again later this year to help the project team expand the existing dataset and check for any changes since last year. The initiative is headed by Dr Rachel Aldred, Senior Lecturer in Transport at Westminster University.
Boardman teaches overtaking
While a good number of drivers are considerate when overtaking cyclists, there are still far too many who are not. Either they don’t care, simply don’t know how or have no idea how intimidating a close shave is. Olympian cyclist Chris Boardman – advocate of better conditions for ordinary cycling too – has now taken the matter in hand and explains all in a new video by Carlton Reid.
Cycle helmet laws questioned in Australia
The terms of reference of an Australian parliamentary committee’s inquiry into “measures introduced to restrict personal choice 'for the individual's own good'” has included bicycle helmet laws in its terms of reference.
In response, a number of people have written to the Committee voicing their strong opposition to Australia’s decision to make cycle helmet-wearing compulsory in the 1990s, saying that the move has been ineffective and detrimental to public health - and ought to be revoked.
Red tape cut for road racing
To boost tourism and the economy, and to give more people the chance to see elite cycling events in their area, the DfT is relaxing antiquated regulations which restricted road racing. Does this have the potential to increase everyday cycling, though? CTC’s Sam Jones gives this issue some thought in his blog.
Is awarding eight English cities a share of £20m for plug-in taxi schemes a truly ‘green’ transport option? Or would it be greener to spend it on the healthy activity of transport cycling? CTC’s Sam Jones considers the DfT’s recent announcement.
Boris and the 'backie'
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, was seen giving his wife a ‘backie’ home on his bike recently. This is illegal in the UK unless the machine is adapted to carry passengers – but it’s a common sight in the Netherlands, where bikes are typically more suited to the practice. How heinous was Boris’s crime? CTC’s David Murray ponders the question.
Fifth birthday for London's cycle hire scheme
London's cycle hire scheme has been going for five years now and, to celebrate its anniversary, there'll be free access this weekend (22 - 23 August) as part of Santander Cycles' Summer of Cycling.
Around 43 million journeys have been made on the bikes to date - the busiest day saw 73,000 hires, while the hardest working machine has been undocked almost 4,300 times.
Help open up Eastbourne prom for cycling
Proposals to allow cyclists to use the entire length of Eastbourne promenade have now arrived on the desks of officials at the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG). Bespoke, the local cycling group, has been campaigning for years for the byelaws to be revoked, and would like as many people as possible to support it by writing in to the DCLG (deadline 28 August).
- For CTC's views on revoking cycling bans on promenades, see our campaigns briefing
Bridge link under threat
News of plans to close off Barmouth Bridge in Gwynedd to pedestrians and cyclists to save the council money has met with public outcry.
The route is part of the National Cycle Network from Cardiff to Holyhead and crosses alongside rail tracks. It offers a convenient and popular alternative to an 18-mile trip on some busy roads, and campaigners say that tourism will suffer if it’s shut down. The prospect of losing such a link also defeats the point of the Active Travel (Wales) Act, which looks to create networks that encourage cycling and walking – not eliminate them.
- A petition has been launched to save it. Read more.
Bristol's good transport vision
A new ‘Plan for Good Transport in Bristol’ is inviting citizens to imagine a city where “… it’s normal for everyone to travel more sustainably every day, and the culture of sustainable travel is celebrated.” They can go further than imagine it, the Plan says - the promise and potential is already there, so turning the vision into reality is entirely possible.
The document has been produced by Sustrans on behalf of the Bristol Green Capital Partnership with funding from Bristol 2015 Strategic Grants, supported by the Department of Energy and Climate Change.
TABS (The Association of Bikeability Schemes) has overhauled its website (there’s now a new section dedicated to resources, for instance), and also updated its useful infographic presenting a selection of facts and figures about Bikeability.
Support moves to allow cycling along Eastbourne prom!
Deadline: 28 August
Why? You’ll not only be doing your bit to reward the rail industry and associated organisations for progress on cycle-rail integration, but also helping ATOC (the Association of Train Operating Companies), its partners and stakeholders improve communication and develop best practice.
The awards are supported by the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group, CTC, Sustrans, British Cycling and the Bicycle Association.
This year’s categories include:
- Best Customer Service
- Partnership Working and Local Government Schemes
- Cycle Champion
- Door to Door Journeys including Station Travel Plans
- London Cycle Parking
- Cycle Security Award
- Station of the Year
- Operator of the Year
- Cycle-Rail Photograph Competition
- Staff Member of the Year (nominations from non-rail organisations and public only)
Deadline: 4 September 2015
By John Whitelegg
Arguing that sustainable transport has no hope in a world that remains biased towards increasing mobility - i.e. more distance, more capacity, more speed etc. - and yet ignores the harm it does, this book calls for three zeros instead:
- Zero death and injury in the road traffic environment
- Zero air pollution from traffic sources
- Zero carbon transport
Kindle edition c £6.99 (publishing date 1st September). Published by the Stockholm Environment Institute.
How can transport provision and associated built environment infrastructure be enhanced and developed to support the mobility needs of individuals as they age? (Government Office for Science)
An evidence review that looks at how to improve transport for older people in the UK. Mentions cycling a few times, but says: “We know very little about older people and cycling, and what we do know is largely (but not exclusively) gathered from National Travel Data, so in particular it is largely quantitative rather than giving us the rich picture that can be provided through collecting qualitative data."
This picture, however, is currently being filled out by the Cycle BOOM project, led by Oxford Brookes University and the University of Western England, with CTC on the steering group.
Commissioned as part of the UK Government’s Foresight Future of an Ageing Population project.
Inspired by 2012: The legacy from the Olympic and Paralympic Games (HM Government/Mayor of London)
Third annual report on the ongoing positive impacts of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, including its effects on sport and healthy living. Various national and local initiatives to support and promote cycling are mentioned.
Green Bridges: A literature review NECR181 (Natural England)
Review to inform a project to promote bridges that are designed to “address landscape, access and ecological severance, connectivity and integration issues on the road and rail transport network, and to maximise the delivery of landscape benefits and ecosystem services.” The report says that, amongst their other benefits, green bridges can: “Mitigate the severance impacts of road and rail networks on walkers, cyclists and horse riders and enhance the user experience by make crossings more attractive.”
A Short Guide to the NAO’s work on local authorities (National Audit Office)
A useful overview explaining how local government is funded, the pressures local authorities face, staffing, major recent developments and what to look out for in the main local authority services. Includes a section on their transport responsibilities.
Impact of physical activity and diet on health, Sixth Report of Session 2014 - 15 (Department of Health)
The DoH’s response to the Health Select Committee report on its inquiry into the impact of physical activity and diet on health. The importance of encouraging active travel is fully recognised throughout.
By Heather Walton et al (King’s College London)
A report for TfL and GLA estimating the mortality burden of concentrations of anthropogenic particles (PM2.5) in London in 2010. Concludes that this amounted to 52,630 life-years lost, equivalent to 3,537 deaths at typical ages. Also found that PM2.5 and NO2 were associated with approximately 1,990 and 420 respiratory hospital admissions respectively, with an additional 740 cardiovascular hospital admissions associated with PM2.5
Method of Travel to/from School by Pupils in NI, 2013/2014 (Department for Regional Development Northern Ireland)
Finds that: “Among primary school pupils, almost three fifths (59%) were driven to/from school by car and a further 31% walked to/from school. One in ten (10%) pupils travelled to/from school by bus, while 1% usually cycled.” Also, that: "Less than 0.5% of post primary school children cycled to school during the same school year.”
Physical Activity Slide Sets (Public Health England)
Using charts and graphics, these slides set out levels of physical activity in children and adults – a very effective method of stressing some disturbing facts, not least that only “Around two in ten children aged 5-15 years meet the government recommendations* for physical activity (boys 21%, girls 16%)”.
Cycle to Work Day is a national event, supported by CTC, to encourage everyone who can to cycle to work for just one day (at least).
14 September (Walthamstow, London)
Landor LINKS, the conference organisers, have now shortlisted the finalists for Cycle Planning Awards 2015, ready for the ceremony in September. See the Awards website for further details.
24-27 September (Birmingham)
CTC will once again be joining a vast number of other exhibitors at the UK's longest running cycle show. Come along to meet us and have a good browse!
10 October (University of Warwick)
More and more people are enjoying cycling as a spectator sport and want to experience the activity for themselves. How can CTC harness this growing popular interest? Can we use the boom to turn would-be-cyclists into always-cyclists?
If you’re a CTC member, come along to Warwick to help answer these questions; hear about successes and challenges; and go home inspired with new ways to support CTC’s work at a local level.
24 October (Liverpool)
Book now for CTC and Cyclenation's annual cycle campaigners' conference 2015, hosted in Liverpool by Merseyside Cycle Campaign.
Key speakers and workshop sessions will provide a forum to discuss recent developments and new opportunities for local cycle campaigning.
Topics on the agenda include:
- Political leadership
- The role of public health
- Cycle-friendly planning and design
- Inclusive cycling
- Effective local campaigning
- Business engagement and funding