Cycle Campaign News May 2014
From the Editor
The coming warmer, drier weather will undoubtedly inspire more people to cycle - it always does.
More space for cycling would be an even bigger boost and, judging by the popular and political support for the messages of both the London and national Space for Cycling campaigns, thousands agree.
If you haven't done so already, do get involved in spreading the word - see 'Headlines' below for more.
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Rides, guides and gatherings: Space for Cycling campaign takes off
There’s been no let-up in Space for Cycling activity since the launch of the London and national campaigns in April.
LCC (London Cycling Campaign) report that their Space for Cycling calls to make the capital’s streets safe and inviting for cycling have been backed by over a third of the candidates in the London Borough elections; and, pressing home the depth of popular support for the campaign’s messages, last Saturday’s Big Ride in central London attracted around 5,000 people.
The schedule for CTC’s national campaign has been equally eventful with a campaigners’ conference on 3 May, hosted by the Leeds Cycling Campaign. Coinciding with London’s Big Ride, hundreds of supporters also took to their cycles in other UK cities, including Bristol, Leeds, Newcastle, Manchester, Sheffield and Solihull.
With help from campaign group partners, CTC has also published a simple Space for Cycling guide for local decision makers. This highlights examples of good practice in design and planning from Bristol, Exeter, Brighton and other places, including the Netherlands. It also goes into the crucial subject of funding.
CTC is now cranking up the campaign throughout the UK, following local election day in England’s larger cities (May 22).
- CTC’s Space for Cycling campaign: if you haven’t done so already, please email your local councillors asking them to pledge their support for high standards of cycle-friendly planning and design, and the funding needed to deliver this.
- Space for Cycling guide for local decision makers
- Report from the campaigners’ conference in Leeds, with presentations including discussions of the pros and cons of the humble bollard, protected space on main roads, how to influence councils and on building stronger campaign groups. More training events are planned – you’ll get to hear about them automatically by signing up to the campaign, or see Diary Dates for our Birmingham event on Saturday 14 June.
- LCC’s Space for Cycling Campaign ... and their associated knitted bollards action
After years of pressure from CTC, the DfT’s major reform of 'The Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions' (TSRGD) 2002 should allow better quality cycle facilities to be built, and much greater flexibility for local authorities to adopt their own approaches.
The proposed revisions could mean, for example, that cycle priority crossings of main roads will be easier to introduce and that other recently tested measures will become more widespread, e.g. low level signal heads. Dutch-style ‘cycle streets’, pedestrian and cycle zones and a more sensible approach to Advanced Stop Lines (ASLs) are also amongst the proposals.
Announcing the TSRGD consultation at the Cycle City Leeds Conference on 1 May, Cycling Minister Robert Goodwill said: “We are cutting red tape that has been a brake on cycle infrastructure.”
The proposals are currently out for consultation - deadline 12 June 2014.
Back in January, we reported that CTC has been questioning the DfT's prediction that cycling levels will fall between 2015 and 2035. Essentially, we argued that this doesn't take account of the very recent changes in cycle use or the dramatic shifts in behaviour that can occur due to social and cultural factors. Encouragingly though, MPs have acknowledged CTC’s evidence to the Transport Select Committee and called on the DfT to open the National Transport Model (NTM) for wider scrutiny
CTC believes that predicting a decrease in cycle use could prove to be a self-fulfilling prophesy, encouraging decision-makers to downplay cycling and fail to provide for it. After all, The NTM has a powerful influence on policy - even though motor traffic levels have fallen recently, its prediction that traffic on main roads will increase by 43% has already stimulated road-building plans costing £billions.
The failure to commit consistent funding to cycling, we think, should already take some responsibility for the drop in the overall proportion of people cycling once a month or more from 15.3% to 14.7% in one year between 2011/2012 and 2012/2013 - a reduction of over a third of million people. To see what’s been happening to cycle levels in your area - it's not all bad news - see CTC’s data maps
“We want the decision to go by bike to be as simple for the 8 year old riding to school and the 80 year old riding to the local shops as it would be for Sir Bradley.
“And we want to see change happen because helping 8 year olds to 80 year olds back on to their bikes will make our streets safer, families fitter and cities much less congested.”
Robert Goodwill MP, Cycling Minister
Speech at Cycle City Leeds Conference, May 1 2014
Bad driving offences: review and reform
CTC’s Road Justice campaign has welcomed the Government’s plans to review driving offences over the next few months and its proposals to toughen up on disqualified drivers who kill or cause serious injury. The latter changes would increase the maximum sentence for disqualified drivers who kill from two to ten years, and bring in a separate offence of 'causing serious injury whilst disqualified' with a maximum sentence of four years.
These proposals were the subject of a recent Parliamentary debate, in which CTC’s Road Justice campaign was given strong backing.
CTC has long campaigned for tougher sentences for those who flout driving bans, but also wants to see much greater use of the penalty in the first place. Analysis of recent Ministry of Justice figures shows just how reluctant the courts still are to impose bans and, when they do, how short they tend to be. For example, the number of lifetime bans given for dangerous driving convictions has gone down for a third consecutive year, from nine in 2011 to two in 2013.
EU safer lorry amendment needs UK backing
CTC and other active travel organisations have jointly written to the Secretary of State for Transport, Patrick McLoughlin, calling on him to support a proposed amendment to EU rules on safer lorry designs and to back the European Parliament’s decision not to permit further international use of ‘mega-trucks’ until a full European Commission report is carried out in 2016.
The amendment on design, which was approved by the EU Parliament in April, would lead to rounded rather than ‘brick-shaped’ cabs, and allow for bigger windscreens. This would help lorry drivers see other road users directly, instead of relying on mirrors, sensors and cameras.
However, the Financial Times (FT) has reported that two member states - France and Sweden - want to delay these potentially life-saving provisions until 2025, with some manufacturers (from France and Sweden, it would seem) arguing that this is necessary to maintain "competitive neutrality". CTC and its partners responded with a letter in the FT itself, urging McLoughlin to act.
Stop Press! We understand that the UK did oppose the delays, but the EU has granted a moratorium nonetheless.
Back in February, CTC, LCC and other cycling and road safety groups, wrote to Transport for London (TfL) calling on them to instruct van, taxi and bus operators to stop using warning stickers on their vehicles telling cyclists to 'Stay Back'.
The letter was prompted by serious concerns that the stickers could adversely affect driver behaviour by putting the apparent onus on cyclists to stay behind all vehicles in all circumstances, not just to avoid undertaking lorries on the left side (where ‘Watch Out’ stickers are more appropriate). Not only is this 'warning' misleading and impractical to follow, but the drivers of small vans, buses and taxis have adequate vision from their vehicles and should have no difficulty interacting with cyclists safely and considerately.
All this could have legal implications too: there’s already been an inquest where lawyers acting for the driver pointed out that the vehicle involved had a ‘Stay Back’ sign on it, implying that the deceased cyclist was therefore in some way at fault.
In response to the co-signed letter, Leon Daniels, TfL's managing director of surface transport, agreed to consider a new sticker design and asking members of TfL's Fleet Operator Recognition Scheme (FORS) to remove them. However, he rejected calls for their removal from buses, taxis and vans.
CTC and its allies have therefore sent a further joint letter to TfL, clarifying our concerns and reiterating a request for a dialogue.
School survey reveals parents' fears about road safety
41% of the parents who responded to a YouGov survey for Sustrans said that their child has been involved in some sort of ‘near miss’ while walking or cycling to or from school. The survey also revealed that road safety is a bigger concern for parents than 'stranger danger': 44% are most concerned about their child crossing the road safely, and 28% about stranger danger. To make them more willing to allow their children to walk or cycle to school, parents say they want slower speeds, more dedicated walking and cycling routes and safer crossings.
Welsh Active Travel Act design guidance out for consultation
The Active Travel (Wales) Act requires Welsh local authorities to follow design guidance setting out the minimum standards that new or upgraded routes must meet in order to be considered as adequate routes under the Act. The draft of that guidance, to which CTC contributed, is now out for consultation, deadline 4 August.
Pedal on Parliament: report from the ride
On 26 April, thousands of people from across Scotland pedalled on the Scottish Parliament to show politicians that more investment is needed for cycling and active travel. Claire from CTC Scotland was there - read her blog.
EU elections and cycling
In the run-up to the European Parliamentary elections this May, the European Cycling Federation (ECF) organised a survey of candidates’ opinions on EU cycling policy.
364 candidates from 23 countries across all main political groups responded, with 96% agreeing that motorised vehicles should be safer for pedestrians and cyclists, and 93% supporting the ECF’s demand that the European Commission develops and adopts a 'European Master Plan on Cycling' by 2019.
15% of the candidates said they cycled at least once a day, 30% a few times a week, 40% a few times a month or less, 12% never – an impressive figure given that half the European population doesn’t cycle either. 3% didn’t seem to know if they cycled or not (!?)
ECF is planning to launch a Brussels-based ‘Cycling Mobility Forum’ in the autumn so that it can meet and discuss cycling-related policy issues with all relevant stakeholders
UK cities take up European cycling challenge
The European Cycling Challenge 2014 is now under way with over 30 towns and cities challenging each other to see who can ride the longest total distance in May. Good luck to Bristol, Reading and Inverness who are all competing with such places as Oslo, Barcelona, Rimini, Groningen and Odense.
Essex city tackles barriers
Sometimes it seems that it’s only very fortunate and/or savvy cyclists - or those with lots of time for detours - who can ride from A to B without having to negotiate some sort of physical barrier(s) at some point in their journey. Thanks to Essex County Council, however, such impediments are now a thing of the past at a number of sites in the city of Chelmsford - even barriers at various underpasses have gone. CTC’s Richard Monk was involved in the transformation and explains more. (Photo: bollards replace barriers in Chelmsford)
Building bikes and changing lives
CTC’s Suzanne Forup recently visited ‘Build Your Own Bike’, a project at HM Young Offenders' Institution Polmont that brings together disadvantaged youngsters from both sides of the law. Inmates are taught how to make their own bikes by other young people, building confidence and skills in both parties. Read more.
If you have emailed (or were planning to email) Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin urging him to stand up to industry delaying tactics and support EU moves to get safer, greener lorries on our roads as soon as possible, thank you. We have just heard (23 May), that the UK did oppose the delays, but that the EU has granted a moratorium nonetheless.
Support CTC’s UK-wide Space for Cycling Campaign
Email your local councillors asking them to commit to ensuring that anyone can cycle anywhere, and to seeking the funding to make it possible.
Also, upload your own photos to help us explain what cyclists mean by good or bad infrastructure
Succinct, 7-page guide for councillors to accompany CTC’s Space for Cycling campaign. Explains the case for cycling and the principles of planning for cycling, looking at protected space on main roads, at junctions and crossings, lower speeds, reducing through traffic, routes in green space, positive promotion – and, importantly, how to find the funding.
Published by Cyclenation with funding from Bike Hub & written by Cambridge Cycling Campaign
Endorsed by CTC and other partners, this complements CTC’s own Space for Cycling guide (see above). It demonstrates the kind of high quality infrastructure needed to generate high levels of cycling. It also shows how different this approach is to the current outdated practice that is too prevalent in the UK. Illustrated mostly by photographs, it looks at design principles, permeability, design solutions, local streets, primary and secondary streets, major roads between urban areas, short cuts and pleasant off-road leisure routes, cycle parking and a walking-friendly environment.
Handbook for cycle-friendly design (Sustrans)
35-page manual providing detailed technical advice on key issues relating to on and off highway cycle infrastructure. Part of a suite of largely web-based technical guidance currently under development.
Offers a concise, illustrated compendium intended to stand alone as a ‘tool box’ of ideas, whilst also linking to relevant on-line resources. Encourages planners to develop designs that reflect how people are taught to cycle through National Standards Training, and features ‘Top Ten Tips’ for user-focused design (Tip No. 1 = ‘Cyclists are important’). Includes innovative cycling facilities rarely used in the UK but which are established practice in other countries (e.g. two-stage right turns at traffic signals and hybrid cycle lanes).
Endorsed by the Institution of Civil Engineers, the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport, and the Transport Planning Society.
Summary of TfL’s understanding of the level of risk experienced by road users in London, with a detailed analysis of how pedestrians, cyclists and motorcycle riders come to be injured on the capital’s streets. Finds that cyclists are most commonly injured as a result of other vehicles turning across their path and from collisions with vehicles they are travelling alongside. In 2011, HGVs turning left across the path of a cyclist was the most common type of conflict where a cyclist was killed or seriously injured by a large goods vehicle (3.5+ tonnes).
Walking and Cycling (SPICe, the Scottish Parliament Information Centre)
Summarises Scottish walking and cycling statistics, policy and funding plus other related topical issues. It also includes short case studies of successful plans and projects that are increasing the number of people walking and cycling.
Bicycles UK 2014 (Mintel)
Market information report with in-depth analysis. Says: “The UK bicycles market has continued to grow in the past year, despite the tough economic conditions and the squeeze on household incomes. Most of this growth has come from consumers trading up to slightly more expensive models of bicycle”. The research also reveals “substantial misgivings about the safety of cycling on the UK’s roads and it is this which is the biggest barrier to increasing participation levels at the moment.”
The report also considers a number of questions, including: the implications for the bicycles market of concerns about safety; what might encourage lapsed riders back to, or new riders into, cycling; and how to expand the base of people who commute by cycle. However, the report does cost £1,750!
Review finding that very few London coroners took action and issued ‘Preventing Further Death’ (formerly ‘Rule 43’) reports to the responsible authorities calling for action to reduce the risk of road deaths. It finds that only 4% of road death inquests led to a report. Includes a list of a number of reports that were produced and sent to various bodies, including Transport for London and the DfT.
(Edited by Lotte Bech, Juan Carlos Dextre & Mike Hughes)
Book offering 25 articles by different authors from a range of countries all on the subject of good practice in cycling provision, but covering a wide variety of topics from teaching the very young to ride, to cyclists’ grass-roots democracy in Chile.
Bicycling and Walking in the United States: 2014 Benchmarking Report (Alliance for Biking and Walking)
A massive compendium of data and research on walking and bicycling in all 50 US states, 52 of the most populous cities, and 17 mid-sized cities. Also offers a wealth of relevant data on active transportation throughout the United States.
CTC Sentencing Debate, 13 June (09:00-11:00)
Road Justice campaign's expert panel debate on sentencing for driving offences, chaired by broadcaster and CTC president Jon Snow. Seats at the debate itself are by invitation only, but there will be live tweeting via @CTC_cyclists and you are welcome to submit questions using #CTCdebate. Alternatively, email firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve a place to watch the debate online as it happens.
Campaigners' training day, 14 June, Birmingham
Day of training from CTC to cover general campaigns skills and offering workshops on our Space for Cycling and Road Justice campaigns. Eight other training days will be held around the country in the autumn.
Bike Week, 14 -22 June
Celebrate bikes and the difference they make to people’s everyday live with Bike Week 2014! You can register all your events - from family rides through to activities that celebrate cycling for leisure and pleasure - and be covered by Bike Week insurance. There is also a wealth of advice, resources and information available.