Cycle Campaign News July 2015
From the Editor
Amongst the good news this month, Cycling Minister Robert Goodwill MP isn't going to let the Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy (England) languish for want of 'commencement'.
The minister has instructed the Department for Transport to do the necessary, thus obliging the Government to invest in active travel (see 'Headlines'). How much and when is the question, though.
Apart from the best conditions money can buy (we hope), maybe the finding that cyclists in the Netherlands live six months longer on average than non-cyclists will also help entice more people out on their bikes (see 'New publications').
The thought of cycling in the Welsh countryside is tempting too, and the Welsh Government's current consultation on 'Improving opportunities to access the outdoors for responsible recreation' could make it even better if as many cycling advocates as possible send in their views (see 'Other stories').
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Let the Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy commence!
To the delight of campaigners, Transport Minister Robert Goodwill has dispelled fears that the Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy (CWIS) might never see the light of day.
In his speech at the Cycle City Active City conference in Newcastle, the Minister said that he has now instructed the Department for Transport (DfT) to prepare the necessary legislative order to ensure that the provisions for CWIS in the Infrastructure Act do come into effect. The Minister has now officially announced this in Parliament too.
CWIS was a key campaigning achievement for CTC and allies in the last Parliament. It guarantees investment in walking and cycling, which in turn will allow local authorities to plan comprehensive networks for their areas.
It’s reassuring to know that CWIS is most unlikely to go the same way as a law to tackle pavement parking outside London, and another to enable local authorities to take enforcement action against drivers who park in mandatory cycle lanes. Parliament voted for both these welcome pieces of legislation years ago, but as they weren’t ‘commenced’, nothing came of them.
CTC is now pressing both the DfT and the Treasury to commit to significant investment for cycling in the Chancellor's spending review, now under way. The outcome is expected in November or December.
- Robert Goodwill’s speech at Cycle City Active City
- If you weren’t at the Cycle City Active City conference in Newcastle and want to browse the vast array of excellent presentations given over the two days, you can catch up with them online. As a resource, they are invaluable to anyone who’s involved in providing for cycling. The speakers were all experts and there was no shortage of solid case studies, best practice ideas and considered analysis.
- Landor LINKS, the conference organisers, are now calling for nominations for their Cycle Planning Awards 2015. So, if you know of an initiative that fits the criteria (see their website), nominate it quickly as the deadline is tomorrow (24th July)!
MPs talk cycle safety with PM
Representatives of the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group (APPCG) have met with the Prime Minister to discuss cycle safety.
Armed with briefings from both CTC and the London Cycling Campaign, newly appointed APPCG co-chairs MPs Ruth Cadbury and Alex Chalk, along with Dr. Sarah Wollaston MP and Ben Bradshaw MP, spent most of their 20 minutes with David Cameron discussing the disproportionate risk that HGVs pose to cyclists and solutions to ‘blind spots’ in lorry cabs.
Following the exchange, Ruth Cadbury reported: “The Prime Minister shared our concerns over the number of cyclists that have been killed and seriously injured by HGVs mainly from the construction industry and I feel that he will now encourage ministers to seriously explore measures to reduce these incidents.”
The meeting was triggered by a question in Parliament from Ben Bradshaw, after the death of yet another cyclist involving a construction vehicle in central London. To date, eight cyclists have died on London's roads this year, seven of them in incidents involving a lorry.
- Full story
- Please sign the London Cycling Campaign's petition to get lethal lorries off London's roads
Up, down or the same? Local cycling levels in England published
New figures for England show that some local authorities - 35 of them, in fact - are witnessing significant increases in cycling rates. The South West and East Midlands regions are doing well too.
Not quite such good news is the fact that some local authorities are still lagging behind. Also, 2013/14 hasn’t seen much change over 2012/13 in the overall proportion of people aged 16+ who cycle at least once a month. It’s stuck at 15%.
- Find out which are the top twenty local authorities with the highest percentage of adult residents cycling at least once a month in 2013/14.
- The original tables, published on the DfT's website, allow you to compare data for local authorities in England for 2013/14 with the year before.
Campaigners welcome chance to improve opportunities for recreational cycling in Wales
Cycle campaigners in Wales have welcomed the Welsh Government’s current consultation on its Green Paper 'Improving opportunities to access the outdoors for responsible recreation'. CTC and the MTB Advocacy Group (a recently formed consortium of representatives from the mountain bike community) see it as a good opportunity to call for a refresh to the existing legislative framework for access, which predates mountain biking and doesn’t do it justice.
The consultation’s focus on creating "easy affordable access" could also help address social deprivation in Wales and the lack of access to green spaces, and boost physical activity.
Moreover, a successful outcome for off-road cycling in Wales could have a positive impact on the debate over future access issues across the UK.
CTC and the MTB Advocacy Group will be responding to the consultation in due course, but are encouraging all cyclists who enjoy outdoor access to submit their views too. Deadline: 2 October 2015.
Chancellor's Budget disappoints CTC
George Osborne has today reversed Winston Churchill's most sensible transport decision.
This is a doubly regressive policy, raising more tax from cleaner cars to build more roads, when councils are struggling to maintain the ones we’ve got.
And we still want to know how much the Government will allocate to the promised Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy, and when they will confirm this.”
Roger Geffen MBE, Policy and Campaigns Director at CTC
Reacting to the Chancellor's recent Budget Statement, CTC said that it wants to see less emphasis on national road building and more on local road maintenance. George Osborne’s announcements also raised questions about the Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy (CWIS).
The Chancellor has decided to end tax concessions for low emissions cars to raise funds for road spending, claiming that the current system “isn’t sustainable and it isn’t fair”.
CTC is concerned that this could effectively create a 'road fund', leading to calls for a similar tax on cyclists to pay for CWIS. The original 'Road Fund' was abolished in 1937, thanks to opposition from Chancellor Winston Churchill, who argued that spending motor taxes only on roads would lead to motorists assuming a 'moral ownership' of them.
Worrying trends shown by reported road casualty figures
The latest reported road casualty figures for Great Britain show that vulnerable road users, including cyclists, account for 'disproportionately more casualties than would be expected', in spite of 45% fewer fatalities in 2014 than a decade earlier.
While the overall picture does appear relatively positive for cycling, the 2014 figures also indicate a slight rise of 4% in fatalities and an 8% increase in serious injuries compared with 2013 figures. See full news story by CTC's Campaigns Director Roger Geffen.
The Welsh Government has also recently published figures showing that the number of killed or seriously injured (KSI) cyclists in Wales in 2014 (138) very nearly doubled in comparison with the baseline average from 2004-2008 (70). The year before (2013) saw 100 cyclist KSI. This is a huge increase, not matched by the 9% rise in pedal cycle traffic between 2007 and 2013.
Gwenda Owen, CTC Councillor for Wales, says:
'The increase in cycling casualties is alarming and highlights the need to ensure that all opportunities to make Wales a safer country for cycling are fully exploited.
“The Welsh Government has stated that it is committed to increasing the number of people cycling. We have the opportunity to deliver a first class network of safe urban routes through the Active Travel Act Wales, and the potential to increase safe rural routes through the process begun by the Access and Recreation Green Paper [see above]. We need to invest to ensure that these ambitions can be realised and the rise in casualties halted.”
- CTC’s Rhia Favero appeared on ITV4’s Cycle Show recently in a short film on cyclists’ safety. Rhia took the chance to mention two of CTC’s crucial campaigns: Road Justice and Space for Cycling. See ITV’s The Cycle Show (at 25 mins).
Transport managers lose operating licence following cyclist's death
Following the sentencing of Barry Meyer, the tipper truck driver who admitted causing the death of cyclist Alan Neve in London (2013), the Traffic Commissioner for London and the South East investigated the haulage company that had employed him. As a result, the Commissioner found that two transport managers at the company had failed to check whether Meyer was legally permitted to drive their vehicles (which he wasn’t), and revoked their operating licences.
CTC wants to see the Traffic Commissioner for the West of England investigating another transport manager’s operations after a fatal incident involving one of their drivers on the A30 in Cornwall in July 2013.
CTC is concerned that such investigations seem to rely heavily on prompting from external bodies. We are therefore calling for a formal reporting mechanism involving the police and DVSA that would alert Traffic Commissioners to incidents where it looks as if an operator may have failed in some way, so that they can investigate them as soon as possible. For this, Commissioners need to be better resourced than they are at present.
Cycle parking is a good investment, and we need more of it, says report
A new demand model has predicted that around 80,000 extra cycle parking spaces overall will be needed at railway stations in Britain so that all of the 110 million people who are likely to cycle to them in 20 years’ time will have somewhere secure to leave their bikes. Based on current schemes, this will cost approximately £81.1m to £90.9m, but the 3.6:1 benefit to cost ratio (BCR) in terms of health benefits, increase in quality and reduction in car use would make it worthwhile.
- ‘Understanding the business case for investment in cycle-rail demand modelling and cost benefit analysis’ was commissioned from TRL by RSSB (Rail Safety and Standards Board) and ATOC (Association of Train Operating Companies), and was published in July. The report is available by subscription.
School cycling on rise in London
Results of a survey in 126 London primary and secondary schools suggest that the numbers of children who regularly cycle there and back have doubled over the past year – leaping from 6% (1,883) to 12.5% (4,097). All the schools have been actively engaged in Sustrans’s Bike It Plus programme, funded by Transport for London and local authorities.
Watch those paths!
Thanks to the new 'Pathwatch' app from Ramblers, you can now do something more constructive than moan and turn back if your walk or ride on a right of way becomes problematic for some reason. The app allows you to report the issue (e.g. locked gate, flooded path or fallen tree) so that it can be fixed. It’s not all about problems though – it’s also there for celebrating the good things too, such as beautiful views and amazing wildlife.
Also, for anyone who’s fond of a particular route on the rights of way network in Somerset, they can now adopt it, keep an eye on it and even help maintain it (secateurs and gloves are on offer!). The scheme isn’t intended to replace any commitment the council has to maintain the paths, however.
Scotland gets tougher on climate change
Stepping up its actions to make sure that it meets its climate change targets, the Scottish Government has announced a new package of measures covering transport, environment and energy. Amongst them are a “multi-annual commitment to sustainable and active travel”, and the re-launch of a policy to tackle the school run.
Scottish Parliament Climate Change Minister Aileen McLeod said: “I will continue to press the international community to look to Scotland and follow our example in striving for the highest global ambition to tackle climate change.”
Kingston announces 'mini-Holland' plans
Aiming to offer Dutch-like cycling conditions in its borough, Kingston Council in London is using its funding from the Mayor of London’s mini-Holland programme to remove conflict between cyclists and cars on one of its busiest roads, whilst improving access to The Queen’s Promenade, a popular riverside walk.
The £3.26 million scheme will include 600 metres of ‘fully-segregated’ two-way cycle track; 700 metres of ‘lightly-segregated’ cycle track; shared cyclist and pedestrian crossing points; and ‘floating’ bus stops.
Right on red for Paris cyclists
Paris is to roll out a scheme that allows cyclists to turn right or go straight ‘on red’, whilst giving way to other road users. A trial in 2012 showed that this makes cycling journeys smoother, avoids conflict between cyclists and vehicles stopped at red (especially in the ‘blind spot’) and doesn’t cause crashes. Cyclists can only take advantage of this new rule if the crossing is marked by a sign; if not, they have to respect the traffic lights or risk a fine.
Boardman inspects Utrecht and likes what he sees
Inspired by the fact that Utrecht in the Netherlands was the scene of this year’s Grand Départ for the Tour de France, Chris Boardman MBE took time out from ITV4’s coverage of the race, and cycled into the city to report, very eloquently, on the history and experience of everyday cycling there. Naturally, what he found impressed him.
Inclusive cycling in action
Watch our new video showing the inspiring work of two Inclusive Cycling Centres, both part of a network providing thousands of people with the opportunity to experience cycling, whatever their ability.
Would you like to work at CTC’s offices in Guildford?
We currently have three vacancies on offer:
- Communications and Media Officer
- Grants and Trusts Fundraising Officer
- Road Safety and Legal Campaigns Officer
Closing date 11 August 2015; interviews in Guildford during the week commencing 24 August 2015.
LCC is calling for a rush hour lorry ban; improved 'driver vision'; and stronger enforcement. To date, eight cyclists have been killed on London’s roads this year. Seven of the fatalities have involved a lorry.
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
Following off-street trials of a variety of cycling infrastructure carried out for TfL in 2013, TRL has just released its report on ‘Dutch-style’ roundabouts. Such roundabouts offer short turning radii to reduce speeds and a single circulating vehicle lane, plus an orbiting kerb-segregated cycle track at carriageway level. Cyclists enjoy priority across the entry and exit lanes (several different entry/exit arm treatments were tested).
The report concludes that: “In general, perceptions of the roundabout design were positive. Cyclists and drivers especially suggested that segregation was a good thing for safety. Some concerns were raised by some users that high kerbs and tight turns for cyclists on some arms could be an issue. Information and education campaigns were noted as being necessary should on-road implementation proceed.
“Cyclists generally expressed an intention to use the roundabout as intended, although some cyclists (particularly those who are more confident) suggested that they might use the main road lane for carrying straight on and turning right.”
The findings are intended to inform future on-road trials.
TRL have also tested: segregated cycle lanes; low and high level cycle signals; ways of turning right for cyclists; cycle detection using intelligent transport systems; and bus stop bypasses. Reports on all of these are also available.
In this one-pager, one of the latest in his Essential Evidence series, Dr Adrian Davis looks at the latest research into near misses and other non-injury incidents experienced by cyclists. Referring mainly to recently published findings from the Near Miss project, he concludes that “…near misses seem to be ‘everyday’ occurrences, with the vast majority of the sample experiencing at least one on their diary day. One in four experienced an incident that they rated as being ‘very scary’. Despite government aims to promote cycling, attitudes of other road users towards cyclists remain negative and it is possible that this contributes to a startlingly high perceived risk of near miss incidents.”
Engineering Safer Roads: Star Rating roads for in-built safety (Road Safety Foundation)
Based on the ‘star rating’ awarded to British motorways and ‘A’ roads under the EuroRap protocol, this reports looks at what appears to works best in terms of safe road design, how much each measure costs and the impact it has on casualty reduction. It includes a table assessing ten interventions to reduce crashes with pedestrians and cyclists, suggesting that grade separated crossings are the most beneficial, but also the most costly.
Town Centre Toolkit (Scottish Government)
Aiming to be "a source of inspiration rather than a set of recommendations", this toolkit offers ideas and examples of how people and organisations can make their town centre more attractive, more active, and more accessible. With case studies, photographs, diagrams and a section on catering well for cycling, which, it says, “can play an important role in supporting the vitality and economic success of our town centres.”
By Elliot Fishman, PhD, Paul Schepers, PhD, and Carlijn Barbara Maria Kamphuis, PhD (University of Utrecht)
Academic paper concluding that Dutch people who cycle live six months longer on average than those who don’t, and that cycling prevents about 6,500 premature deaths each year in Holland. In their research, the authors used the Health Economic Assessment Tool (HEAT) and found that the health benefits correspond to more than 3% of the Dutch gross domestic product. Published in the American Journal of Public Health.
Change4Life Evidence Review (Public Health England)
The focus of the NHS Change4Life campaign this summer is to promote physical activity to children aged 5-11 years, so this evidence review examines the sort of difference that exercise makes to them in physiological, psychological, social, and behavioural terms. Cycling gets a special mention under cardiorespiratory fitness.
Generation Inactive (UKactive)
Report that has led UKactive, a not-for-profit health body, to call for schools to be as rigorous about children's fitness as they are about maths and English.
Highlighting findings from a series of Freedom of Information (FOI) requests, the report reveals that less than half of schools record the length of time children actually spend being physically active in PE lessons. Amongst its recommendations for solving the “physical inactivity pandemic" is the need to recognise that there are plenty of “fun and efficient ways that children can be active throughout the school day that lie outside of PE lessons and organised sport, and can ensure they get the recommended 60 minutes of daily activity.” CTC says that Bikeability training, and encouraging pupils to cycle to and from school fits this bill very well.
The class of 2035: Promoting a brighter and more active future for the youth of tomorrow Future Foundation (commissioned by Youth Sport Trust)
This report explores not just the current PE and sport scene at school, but uses wider societal and social trends to suggest what it could look like in 2035. Includes a very encouraging 2035 ‘pen portrait’ of 10-year-old Priyansh, who cycles sociably to school with all of his friends, and arrives feeling ‘energetic and enthused’, more than ready for his stimulating and well-resourced PE lessons.
Impact of safe routes to school programs on walking and biking (Active Living Research)
A review of the impact of the Safe Routes to School (SRTS) initiative in the U.S., which began in 2005. After looking at studies from several states, the authors conclude that SRTS has “ … increased rates of walking and biking and improved safety. Studies also show the program is an economically sound investment that can decrease health costs and school transport costs.” It also provides a useful summary of research from elsewhere.
Report looking at what stops some women from participating in sport and exercise and how to encourage them to take it up. Many women - 13 million in England, according to a survey - say they would like to do more, but 6 million of them aren’t currently active. To tackle this, the authors have come up with seven key principles:
- Change the offer to suit the women you are targeting - don’t expect women to change to fit sport and exercise.
- Don’t just talk about ‘sport’ - for many women, sport has baggage.
- Differentiate sport and exercise from other interests by promoting (not preaching) the additional benefits - sell what your audience is asking for (e.g. socialising, developing skills and spending time with the family).
- Seeing is believing. Making sport the ‘norm’ for women relies on local women of all ages, sizes and faiths not only becoming active but celebrating it and encouraging others to join in.
- Use positivity and encouragement to drive action - stimulating action through fear of consequences will have little traction.
- Make it easy for women to act: right time, right place, right welcome, right company, right gear.
- People make or break the experience - ensure your audience are appropriately supported along the way.
According to this report: inactivity costs the European economy over €80 billion per year; 1 in 4 adults across Europe is insufficiently physically active, as are 4 out of 5 adolescents; and physical inactivity could become a bigger risk to public health than smoking.
Puts the focus on six European countries, including the UK, and sets out ‘clear and tangible actions’ identified during the research, such as: share and celebrate success; ensure physical activity is a positive experience (especially for children) and easy to do; and seed positive messages about physical activity through all walks of life.
Report estimating that the National Cycle Network (NCN) saves the UK economy over £160 million each year by reducing the impact of obesity and overweight, including a saving of £22 million for the NHS.
Cycling Policy Paper (RoSPA)
A 40-page policy paper recommending “a comprehensive range of measures to reduce cyclist casualties and help people who want to cycle, but are deterred from doing so because they think it is not safe enough.” Includes a supportive section on the ‘safety in numbers’ argument, i.e. that more people cycling, accompanied by measures to improve conditions, leads to fewer casualties.
Although not always in line with CTC’s thinking (e.g. on cycle helmets), RoSPA’s strong support for cycling and its health and environmental benefits is welcome.
A revised information sheet explaining updates to the regulations and law on electrically assisted pedal cycles (EAPCs) when used on public roads, offering a useful definition of what an EAPC actually is.
A new website published by Darren Johnson, a Green Party member of the London Assembly, offering an interactive map based on Transport for London’s projections for traffic increases across the capital in the years to come. Suggests an alternative scenario based around cycling, walking and public transport schemes “instead of damaging road-building plans”.
1 – 2 August
A weekend festival of cycling offering five events on traffic-free roads in London.
The rides include the FreeCycle (Saturday 1 August) for families to enjoy a circuit on closed roads through central London passing some of the capital's most iconic landmarks. CTC will be delivering Dr Bike services at Tower Hill, Green Park, St Paul's and elsewhere. If you’re mechanically-minded, please volunteer to help - we’re going to attempt a world record!
2 August (Fairburn, N Yorks)
CTC Councillor John Radford tragically lost his life last November from injuries sustained after being knocked off his bike in July 2013. He was an enthusiastic rider and a passionate advocate for cycling.
This ride to remember him is free, but donations will be sought for CTC's Road Justice campaign, which John actively supported.
National event, supported by CTC, to encourage everyone who can to cycle to work for just one day (at least). Prizes on offer, plus lots of cycle-commuting advice on the website.