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Cycle Campaign News August 2017

Let's open Trails for Wales for everyone!
Cycling UK's monthly round-up of cycle campaign news:
Contents Summary: 

From the Editor

Wherever you live and/or cycle, it's time to get stuck into off-road campaigning and help persuade the Welsh Government to open up more of the countryside for cycling.

Potentially, a move in a positive direction for Wales could make a difference over the border in England, and drive the growing interest in cycling in green places to heights the National Travel Survey has been heralding for years (see headlines).

In other news: Greater Manchester now has a cycling and walking commissioner in the person of Olympian Chris Boardman; safer lorries and buses are on the way for London; and Scotland is backing an excellent scheme that takes older people out for cycle rides; and much more. 

Finally, we're looking out for a record cycle-commuting peak on 13 September - find out why in diary dates. 

Cherry Allan

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Headlines

Let's open Trails for Wales for everyone!

In 2015, Cycling UK convinced the Welsh Government that responsible off-road cycling is possible and should be encouraged. The Government listened to over 4,000 cyclists and is now consulting on how to make this a reality.

Cycling UK and Open MTB think this is the perfect opportunity to open up Wales for more people to enjoy cycling while benefiting the rural economy, and we need your support to make it happen. 

This isn’t just about cycling. We’ve been working with the wider alliance of Outdoor Access Wales, which includes groups like the Ramblers and the British Horse Society, to make sure everyone can share the joys of the great outdoors.

You don’t have to live in Wales to take part – you just have to agree that you should be able to cycle legally on more than 21% of the Rights of Way network. This principle works in Scotland, and if we’re successful there’s no reason it can’t work in other parts of the UK. 

England's travel habits 2016: any surprises?

According to the latest National Travel Survey (NTS, England), there’s little overall change to report for cycling in 2016, although it does look as if the number of miles people cycle on average per year each is creeping up: 53 miles last year and the year before, a whole 37% more than in 2002.

It’s hard to say exactly why this might be. The survey’s data on cycle trip purpose shows little movement, although a table on where people said they usually cycled over the last 12 months shows that riding 'mainly off the road in parks, open country or private land' continues to grow in popularity, now up by a huge 72% since 2002.

Another possible bright spot is the rise in the percentage of children aged 5-16 who usually cycle to school. The figures are small to start off with, and it’s a small increase - 2.9% in 2016 from 2.2% in 2015 - but we haven’t been able to round the figure up from 2% to 3% since 2009. More children cycling to secondary school seems to account for this (2.1% in 2015 in contrast to 3.9% in 2016).

A wide range of factors influence levels of cycle use from year to year, of course: the weather, fuel prices, population mix, the economy, to name but a few. Nevertheless, as Cycling UK has been saying for years now, the big boosts that cycling needs are higher levels of sustained funding and more Space for Cycling, so that people of all ages, gender and ability feel that cycling is for them too.

  • For more on what the NTS is telling us about purpose, terrain, gender and age, see our full article.

Other stories

'Wanton and furious' conviction for cyclist involved in fatal collision with London pedestrian

The verdict in the case of Charlie Alliston, the cyclist who collided in London with a pedestrian who died of her injuries, has just been announced. This is the statement we have issued on his conviction for 'wanton and furious driving':

"Riding a fixed wheel bicycle on the road without a front brake is illegal, stupid, and endangers other road users especially pedestrians. Charlie Alliston's actions had tragic consequences for Kim Briggs' family, and it was entirely right that this led to his prosecution.

"The fact that he has been convicted of an offence dating back to legislation from 1861, drafted in archaic language, will doubtless lead some to argue that the laws on irresponsible cycling should be aligned with the laws on irresponsible driving. The reality is that the way in which the justice system deals with mistakes, carelessness, recklessness and deliberately dangerous behaviour by all road users has long been in need of review. 

"In 2014, the Government acknowledged this when announcing a full review of all motoring offences and penalties, but then waited three years to launch a limited consultation last year which closed six months ago, with silence ever since.

"To ensure that there is consistency with charging decisions, and with how dangerous behaviour on or roads is dealt with, it is vital that the Government ends the delay, and gets on with the wide scale review that politicians from all sides, victims' families and various roads safety organisations have tirelessly demanded."

Alliston will be sentenced in September.

Driving 'green' but heavier vans: will relaxing licence rules be safe?

Cycling UK is concerned by government plans to allow drivers to operate heavier vans as long as they are ‘alternatively fuelled’. The idea is motivated by the urgent need to improve air quality in urban areas, and the fact that batteries tend to make some less immediately polluting vans heavier.

However, allowing motorists with an ordinary category B licence to drive vans up to 4,250kg without applying for a new licence may not be in the best interests of road safety. We will look into the matter carefully and respond to the DfT’s consultation.

Protecting road users in collisions: EU consults on vehicle design 

The EU is consulting on revisions to vehicle safety regulations designed to protect drivers, passengers, pedestrians and cyclists in collisions. Nineteen areas are up for amendment, although the EU may not deal with all of them and is asking respondents to prioritise the 10 most important.

Cycling UK’s response is likely to focus on: front-end design and direct vision; pedestrian and cyclist forward detection (important both now and in the future with the development of autonomous vehicles); truck lateral protection (side guards); head impact on a-pillars and front windscreen; Intelligent Speed Assistance (ISA) and Event Data Recorders, both of which we support.

Compliance success for safer lorry scheme

We understand from the London Freight Enforcement Partnership (LFEP) that compliance with the London Safer Lorry Scheme (SLS) has stayed consistently high since it started in autumn 2015. 

The SLS expects all vehicles of 3.5 tonnes+ to be fitted with side guards and close-proximity mirrors to improve cyclist and pedestrian safety. The scheme is enforced by the police, DVSA and LFEP through intelligence-led, predominantly targeted checks.

  • Freight in the City, a dedicated resource for enabling urban deliveries to be as clean, safe and quiet as possible, reports that from September 2015 to March 2017, out of 25,325 HGVs stopped, only 2.1% (531) were found to be in breach of the SLS requirements.  
  • The Mayor of London has committed to seeing the most dangerous lorries off the capital’s roads by 2020, via Transport for London’s (TfL) Direct Vision Standard. This standard, a world first, will use a ‘star rating’ system from 0 to 5 to rate construction and other HGVs based on the level of vision the driver has directly from the cab.

TfL plans trials to transform bus safety in London

Transport for London (TfL) plans to test new safety technology on buses, such as automatic braking, audible warning systems, re-designed bus fronts, and new mirrors to improve the driver’s vision.

The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan’s draft transport strategy set out a ‘Vision Zero’ approach to road danger, aiming for no fatalities in or by a London bus by 2030, and for deaths and serious injuries from road collisions to be eliminated from London’s streets by 2041.

The return of the 'bendy' bus? 

The London Assembly Transport Committee has produced a report suggesting that articulated or 'bendy' buses may be the best option for express routes, because their capacity is higher and loading/unloading is faster than standard double-deckers.

The buses appeared on London's roads in 2001, but proved controversial and were withdrawn in 2011 thanks to a manifesto pledge by former Mayor Boris Johnson. From a cycling point of view, the presence of this type of bus on routes where there is no segregated infrastructure risks adding to the sense of intimidation, so we'll be keeping close tabs on any developments. 

Greater Manchester gets moving with Boardman

The first Metro Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, is seeing through his election pledge to boost walking and cycling by appointing Olympic gold medallist Chris Boardman as ‘Cycling and Walking Commissioner’ for the area.

The role involves acting as an advocate for cycling, and working with the Mayor, Transport for Greater Manchester and others to realise the ambitions set out in a new four-year plan to get  ‘Greater Manchester Moving’.

With my background in sport, I’m a big fan of setting targets, being measured and being held accountable for results. I’m going to spend several weeks talking to people to understand the landscape for cycling in Greater Manchester before setting a number of goals we want to achieve and timescales – and you can rest assured that they’ll be ambitious.”

Chris Boardman, Cycling and Walking Commissioner, Greater Manchester

Scotland backs ‘Cycling Without Age’

The Scottish Government is backing the roll-out of a scheme that helps older people benefit from cycling.

The ‘Cycling Without Age’ movement began in Denmark and encourages volunteers to take older people out for cycle rides, using comfortable and safe trishaws. A pilot project is already running in Falkirk, and featured in the BBC's 'Amazing Humans’ series – well worth a watch

TfL offers cycling grants to communities

Transport for London (TfL) is offering 30 community and not-for-profit groups the chance to bid for a share of £300,000 to fund new cycling initiatives.  

Grants of up £10,000 will go towards cycle training, loan bikes, guided rides and basic cycle maintenance courses, for instance. The aim is to build up the confidence of infrequent or new cyclists from all backgrounds, especially women, children and young people.

This year, an additional £3,000 grant is available for new and existing projects to buy electric bikes.

Application deadline: 18 September

WHO wants world to exercise more

The World Health Organisations (WHO) is consulting on its first ‘Draft Global Action Plan for promotion of Physical Activity’ (GAPPA). Increasing levels of cycling and walking is one of its top recommendations.

This Hill is Dangerous! 

Cycling UK may have updated its name, but in our 139 years we've always looked out for cyclists' safety.

Long before the state took responsibility for traffic signs, cycling clubs posted warnings near steep hills and other hazards. CTC danger boards kept riders safe on the road and served as a reminder of the club’s pledge to protect cyclists even in the most remote corners of the countryside.”

Sheila Hanlon, Cycling UK's historian

Act now

  • Support our Trails for Wales campaign so that more of the beautiful Welsh countryside is opened up for cycling. 
     
  • Help recognise the people and projects who are easing the experience of cycle-rail travellers. Nominations are now open for the Rail Delivery Group’s Cycle Rail Awards 2017. Check out the categories and criteria. Deadline 11 September. 
     
  • The Campaign for Better Transport is calling on the Government to support the uptake of e-bikes and e-cargo bikes by extending the grant system that already supports the purchase of electric and hybrid cars, motorbikes, mopeds and vans. You can help by writing to your MP

New publications

Walking, Cycling & Horse-Riding Assessment and Review (Highways England)

Replacing its earlier guidance on ‘non-motorised user audit’, this update to the 'Design Manual for Roads and Bridges' sets out the procedures required to implement 'Walking, Cycling & Horse-Riding Assessment and Review' for highway schemes on motorways and trunk roads.

The purpose is “… to facilitate the inclusion of all walking, cycling & horse-riding modes in the highway scheme design process from the earliest stage, enabling the design team to identify opportunities for improved facilities and integration with the local and national network(s) throughout the design process.”

It also says that it is “intended to provide increased interaction and engagement with key stakeholders to maximise opportunities for walking, cycling & horse-riding.”

  • See also Cyclists, pedestrians and equestrians: a summary of priorities for Highways England’s Network, from Transport Focus (the independent watchdog representing the users of HE’s roads), published earlier this year in January. 

Our strategy to improve air quality (Highways England) 

Document setting out how Highways England (HE) aims to contribute to the Government’s work on improving air quality in the UK in the shortest time possible. Covers a range of measures, mostly relying on new technology (e.g. Ultra Low Emission Vehicles), innovative solutions (e.g. ‘air quality barriers’) and scheme design. HE also commits to further research, monitoring and partnership working with local authorities.

“Doing this” HE asserts, “is important given we are expanding our network with over 1,300 additional lane miles between 2015 and 2020 to support the economic growth and predictions by DfT that the volume of traffic is expected to rise by up to 55% between 2010 and 2040.”

Arguably, not expanding the network in the first place and funding non-polluting, active transport instead is a better idea, but at least HE notes its £100 million cycling fund and the intention to use it to “make our network less of a barrier to cycling.”

A country in a jam: tackling congestion in our towns and cities (Local Government Association)

A report identifying congestion as a serious problem for economic development, quality of life and public health. It highlights nine different congestion-busting actions taken by innovative councils, including Bristol’s investment in cycling and Nottingham’s workplace parking levy. 

Spatial planning for health: an evidence resource for planning and designing healthier places (Public Health England)

An evidence review of the impacts of the built environment on health, with the findings presented in the form of ‘practical diagrams’. Covers neighbourhood design, housing, healthier food, natural and sustainable environment, and transport. It comes out strongly in favour of active travel infrastructure.

Getting girls active: Reducing gender inequality in physical activity (University of Bristol)

A four-page look at research into narrowing the gap between the levels of physical activity amongst most girls and that of boys, who tend to be more active. Suggests recognising the importance of peer-influence to girls, involving parents, endorsing active travel (e.g. by schools improving their walking and cycling environment), and after-school clubs. 

GPs’ knowledge, use, and confidence in national physical activity and health guidelines and tools: a questionnaire-based survey of general practice in England

By Robin Chatterjee, Tim Chapman, Mike GT Brannan and Justin Varney

The results of an online survey to assess how much GPs in England know about official physical activity guidelines and their levels of confidence in them. 

From the 1,013 responses analysed, the findings show that:

  • Four-fifths are unfamiliar with the national PA guidelines;
  • While 70% are aware of the General Practice Physical Activity Questionnaire, over a quarter were not familiar with any assessment tools;
  • 55% had not undertaken any training with respect to encouraging physical activity.

The authors conclude that: “Although brief advice in isolation by GPs on PA will only be a part of the behaviour change journey, it is an important prompt, especially if repeated as part of routine practice. This study highlights the need for significant improvement in knowledge, skills, and confidence to maximise the potential for PA advice in GP consultations.”

Published in the British Journal of General Practice

  • Cycling on prescription is a particular effective way of encouraging people to take more exercise, and various referral schemes are around to help. Cycling UK, for instance, supports West Yorkshire-wide Cycle 4 Health projects (email Tom Murray, our Development Officer there); while the Alton Cardiac Rehab group, set up originally by a GP, is another good example

What's Special To You: Landscape Issues In Your Neighbourhood Plan (CPRE)

Guidance giving advice to help local community groups develop strong landscape policies in their Neighbourhood Plans (England). If you’re interested in protecting what’s special about the landscape near where you live, this is a useful resource.

Diary dates

Cities to Share: Cycling and Society symposium 2017

7 & 8 September, London

This year’s Cycling and Society Symposium will focus on Cities To Share – how cycling and society interact.

The event is part of a series of symposia linked to the Cycling and Society Research Group whose members span many disciplines and approaches to the study of cycling.

#CitiesToShare

Cycle to Work Day

13 September

A nationwide event promoted by Cyclescheme UK and Halfords. Cycling UK is amongst the partners.

UK Bike Share Conference

27 & 28 September 2017, Manchester

Bikeplus conference for those involved in planning and delivering public bike share schemes, including representatives from: local authority planning and transport teams, Local Enterprise Partnerships, private sector investors and developers, technology suppliers, operators, and transport consultancies. Supported by Transport for Greater Manchester, which is in the process of trialling bike share solutions.

Healthy Streets 2017

28 September, Waltham Forest, London

One-day conference offering keynotes and thought leadership from internationally renowned experts in the fields of Healthy Streets. An essential mix of workshops and seminars will cover issues of street design, air quality, civilised streets and active travel. 

Big Bike Celebration

7 October, Birmingham

Cycling UK’s third members’ conference showcasing our own members and volunteers’ achievements and celebrating and learning from other grassroots projects across the UK. 

Smarter Travel LIVE

19 & 20 October, Milton Keynes

The annual meeting place for the Sustainable Transport and Intelligent Mobility sector, showcasing practical applications of Intelligent Mobility for Sustainable Towns & Cities, with delegates from across public and private sectors, academia, central and regional government, government agencies, research institutions, charities and lobby groups, think-tanks, Institutions and third-sector organisations. 

Cycling UK/Cyclenation Campaigns Conference 2017

11 November, Oxford

Details TBC, but put this date in your diary. 

National Air Quality Conference

23 November, London

Event discussing practical steps to tackle air pollution, the future role of road transport and how car-makers are looking to tackle emissions, and the latest innovations.

In this issue

Headlines: Let's open Trails for Wales for everyone; England's travel habits - any surprises?

Other stories: 'Wanton and furious' conviction for cyclist involved in fatal collision with London pedestrian; Greater Manchester gets moving with Boardman; compliance success for safer lorry scheme; driving 'green' but heavier vans - will relaxing licence rules be safe? Protecting road users in collisions - EU consults on vehicle design; TfL plans to transform bus safety in London; the return of the 'bendy' bus? Scotland backs 'Cycling Without Age'; TfL offers cycling grants to communities; WHO wants world to exercise more; this hill is dangerous!

Act now: support our Trails for Wales campaign; nominate now for the Cycle Rail Awards 2017; call on Government to support e-bike purchase.

New publications: Walking, cycling & horse-riding assessment and review (Highways England); Highways England air quality strategy; A country in a jam - tackling congestion (Local Government Association); Spatial planning for health (Public Health England); Getting girls active (Bristol University); GPs' knowledge, use and confidence in national physical activity and health guidelines; What's special to you - landscape issues in your Neighbourhood Plan (CPRE).

Diary dates: Cities to share - Cycling and Society Symposium (7-8 September, London); Cycle to Work Day (13 September); UK Bike Share Conference (27-28 September, Manchester); Healthy Streets 2017 (28 September, Waltham Forest); Big Bike Celebration (7 October); Smarter Travel LIVE (19-20 October, Milton Keynes); Cycling UK/Cyclenation campaigns conference (11 November, Oxford); National air quality conference (23 November, London). 

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