Cycle Campaign News April 2018

Cycle safety: make it simple
Making cycling safer: why wouldn't you?

Cycle Campaign News April 2018

Cycling UK's monthly round-up of campaign news:

From the Editor

This month, we have a major cycle campaign for you.

Cycle safety: make it simple is our response to the Department for Transport's call for evidence to inform its 'Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy (CWIS) safety review'. There's action you can take to support us too (see 'Headlines').

Any questions on the campaign? Ask away at our live Facebook Q&A tomorrow (Thursday 26 April from 1pm), or send your questions in advance to

Also, with local elections coming up shortly in key cities, campaign groups have been raising the profile of cycling with mass rides - some are still to come, and you're invited ('Headlines').

Along with these and lots of other matters, we've been working on two of the most vital aspects of 'utility' cycling, i.e. cycling to work or school. Anyone who does this, we firmly believe, deserves a cycle-friendly welcome when they get there (see 'Headlines' and 'Other stories').  

Cherry Allan
Campaign News

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Find out what else is in this issue.


Cycle safety: make it simple

The Department for Transport’s (DfT) recent call for evidence for its cycling and walking safety review is an unmissable opportunity for us and our supporters, so we’ve launched our new ‘Cycle Safety: make it simple’ campaign to explain what will make a real difference.

Central to our campaign are six questions: Why wouldn’t you ….

  • Produce a single source of cycle-friendly design guidance?
  • Strengthen roads policing?
  • Conduct a full review of all road traffic offences and penalties (not just those relating to cycling)?
  • Explain the ‘Dutch Reach’ in the Highway Code (a door opening technique that makes people inside cars more likely to see an approaching cyclist)?
  • Insist on ‘wrap-around’ glass for lorries in urban areas to give drivers a much better view of cyclists and pedestrians outside their cabs? and
  • Rebalance overall transport spending so that much more is invested in cycling and walking?

These are the questions posed by us, by many others who love cycling and want to make conditions safer for everyone, and especially by the victims of bad driving and collisions.

Take a look at our video below to find out why six people in particular, including TV presenter and cyclist Ned Boulting, are backing our ‘Why wouldn’t you’ asks. 


  • We’ve also put these six measures in the wider context of a ‘Safe Systems’ approach in our new, 24-page blueprint report ‘Cycle safety: make it simple’.
  • Read a blog from our Policy Director Roger Geffen outlining some of the key principles now lying at the heart of the DfT’s review, thanks to lobbying by Cycling UK and its allies. Roger's blog is the first in a series of forthcoming Cycling UK blogs, each focusing on a different theme relevant to the review.
  • Cycling UK is now working on a full response to the DfT’s call for evidence – the deadline is 1 June.
  • More on Cycle safety: make it simple

How can you help?

  • Back our campaign by sending an editable email to the Government supporting our recommendations (to date, over 3,000 of our supporters have taken action);
  • Once you've sent this email, you'll be given the option of sending a second editable email or tweet to your MP about changes to road safety laws and their enforcement;
  • Share our campaign action with your friends via Twitter and Facebook.

Note: although the delivery of some of our solutions would be matters for the devolved countries, most are relevant throughout much of the UK, so it’s vital that everyone who cares about active travel across the UK makes their voice heard.

Northern Ireland pilots new cycle-friendly employer accreditation scheme

Launch of Cycle-friendly Employer scheme, Belfast
Launch of Cycle-friendly Employer scheme, Belfast

Launched recently in Belfast, a new cycle-friendly accreditation scheme for employers is now being piloted in Northern Ireland. [Photo: scheme launch, Belfast. L to R: Paul Tuohy, CEO Cycling UK; Gordon Clarke, Sustrans NI Director; Victoria Willetts, Concentrix; and John Healy, MD Allstate NI].

The initiative, based on a European standard, is run by the European Cyclists' Federation (ECF), delivered by Cycling UK in the UK and supported by Sustrans.

It has already attracted a number of major employers in Belfast, all keen to capitalise on the productivity benefits of healthier staff and a cleaner environment. City-centre American insurance company Allstate is amongst them.

To become certified, companies must provide basic facilities (e.g. cycle parking) and information, plus a choice of other measures. Employers are then graded Gold, Silver or Bronze depending on their commitment. 

The scheme is timely: according to Northern Ireland’s Continuous Household Survey (CHS) in 2016/17, of the 1,625 respondents who travelled to work, only 2% said they normally commuted by cycle. This means no change since 2014/2015. (For more results from the CHS, see ‘other stories’).

Vote Bike!

 Vote Bike 2018
Leeds: Vote Bike 2018

As parts of the UK prepare to hit the ballot once again in May, Cycling UK’s Infrastructure Campaigner, Tom Guha, has been exploring key cities where all seats are going to the polls.

  • Tom's already written up his thoughts on Metro-Mayoral Birmingham and Leeds (see photo above). Look out for his instalment on Newcastle, coming soon.
  • Hundreds of people joined mass rides in several big cities to raise the profile of cycling on 21 April, including Cambridge, Huddersfield, Leeds and Portsmouth.
  • There are more rides to come on 27/29 April, in Aberdeen, Crewe, Edinburgh, Inverness, Liverpool, Sheffield, Thirsk and Warwick. The rides in Scotland are associated with the annual Pedal on Parliament.
  • Vote Bike

Other stories

‘Health and Harmony’ for off-road cycling

Get on my Land!

The Department for the Environment, Farming and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) is currently considering reforms to agricultural subsidies following the UK’s prospective withdrawal from the EU.

Cycling UK and our allies are working to maximise this opportunity, especially in response to DEFRA’s ‘Health and Harmony’ consultation (England), which asks for ideas on delivering a ‘Green Brexit’ to ensure ‘public subsidies deliver public goods’. 

These ‘public goods’ could include enhancements to landscapes, habitats and biodiversity, but also public access so that people can engage with nature and value it. Hence our ‘Get on my Land!’ campaign (see link below).

Meanwhile, the Commons Environment Committee has been scrutinising DEFRA’s proposals, so we’ve been highlighting the problems faced by off-road cycle users, and calling for any new funding to be prioritised for:

  • Plugging gaps and inconsistencies in the rights of way network;
  • National Trails, disused railway lines and other promoted routes;
  • The ‘urban fringe’ (where there is a huge need for better links between urban cycle networks and the rural rights of way network, both for day-to-day travel and leisure); and
  • Maintaining all of the above.
  • Please take part in our ‘Get on my Land’ campaign! and send an editable email to the Government in response to their consultation.
  • DEFRA’s Health and Harmony consultation (deadline 8 May)
  • Commons Environment Committee’s Health and Harmony inquiry  
  • Cycling UK’s Rides of Way survey report, documenting many of the problems faced by off-road cyclists

Cycling to school: a 'right' of passage

Cycling to school
Cycling to school

The British Journal of Sports Medicine has recently issued a 'call to action' urging a radical rethink of car-focused transport investment, and suggests that active travel to school is a solution to the childhood obesity crisis.

Keir Gallagher, Cycling UK's new Campaigns Officer and enthusiastic cyclist from school onwards, backs their call, while responding to a worrying flurry of school ‘cycle bans’.

Those early commutes set me up for life: my bike remains my go-to transport for almost every journey I make.
Keir Gallagher, Campaigns Officer, Cycling UK

Propensity to Cycle Tool now online for Wales

By asking the question: 'Where is cycling currently common and where does cycling have the greatest potential to grow?', the Propensity to Cycle Tool (PCT) can help transport planners and policy makers prioritise investments and interventions.

The tool for England has been available for some time, but there's now a new one for Wales.

Northern Ireland releases travel habit stats

The latest cycling-relating findings from Northern Ireland, extracted from the Continuous Household Survey, show that in 2016/17:

  • 32% of respondents had access to a bicycle and, of these, just under a third had cycled in the last four weeks;
  • male respondents (36%) were more likely than female respondents (22%) to have cycled in the last four weeks; and
  • the most popular reasons for cycling were exercise (80%) and enjoyment (80%).

When asked to choose which of four statements best described their attitude to cycling:

  • almost two thirds (64%) of all respondents were in the ‘No Way No How’ group;
  • just under a fifth (19%) were in ‘The Interested but Concerned’ group, 14% in ‘The Enthused and the Confident’ group and 3% in ‘The Strong and the Fearless’ group.
  • Cycling in Northern Ireland 2016/17

Cycling UK says once again: road victims are real victims!

Last year, 6,000 Cycling UK members and supporters supported our objections to Ministry of Justice (MoJ) plans to raise the small claims limit for road traffic-related personal injury claims from £1,000 to £5,000. This would deprive victims of their entitlement to reclaim legal costs for claims below the new limit. 

The plans are supposedly aimed at cracking down on fraudulent whiplash and ‘cash for crash’ claims, but would also catch around 70% of cyclists’ claims – with pedestrians, motorists and horse-riders being similarly affected. This is despite the fact that these vulnerable road user (VRUs) hardly ever suffer whiplash claims, and there is no evidence that they make fraudulent claims anyway.

If the measure goes ahead, injured VRUs would either have to face the huge challenge of representing themselves, or give up.

The threat has now returned, with the Civil Liability Bill being introduced into the Lords. Cycling UK’s message remains loud and clear: Road Victims are Real Victims!

We want to thank Lord Sharkey and Lord Marks for raising our concerns, set out in a briefing, during the Bill’s 2nd Reading debate. We are equally grateful to Catherine West MP for tabling an Early Day Motion (EDM 1140) in the Commons, asking the Government to exclude cyclists, horse riders and pedestrians from the changes. 

EU Commission says road safety targets will be a challenge to meet

Provisional estimates from the European Commission suggest that around 25,300 people died on EU roads in 2017, 300 fewer than in 2016 (-2%) and 6,200 fewer than in 2010 (-20%).

Nevertheless, the Commission says that reaching the EU objective of halving road fatalities between 2010 and 2020 will now be very challenging.

It also estimates that 135,000 people were seriously injured last year, including a large proportion of vulnerable users: pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists.

Stonehenge tunnel plans: Cycling UK's local campaigners stand up for cycling

Local Cycling UK campaigners in Hampshire, Sue Coles and Roger Upfold, and Gill Anlezark of affiliated campaign Cycling Opportunities Group Salisbury (COGS), have responded to Highways England’s latest public consultation on the A303 tunnelling scheme through the Stonehenge World Heritage Site (WHS).

The main issues are the not yet specified surface of a new byway for cyclists and walkers across the WHS on the route of the existing road, and getting better connectivity for sustainable modes between communities on the eastern side of the scheme.

The next stage will be an application for a Development Consent Order and examination by the Planning Inspectorate in 2019.

The latest consultation ended on 23 April.

Campaigners unveil new transport vision for Sussex coast

A new transport vision for the Sussex coast is being unveiled to local communities in a series of events run by the South Coast Alliance for Transport and the Environment (SCATE). 

Set out in a new report, SCATE’s vision centres on positive solutions to improve people’s transport choices that already exist both in the UK and abroad. It also highlights what’s at stake if the focus along the south coast remains on bigger and new roads, e.g. the threat that the A27 poses to the South Downs National Park.

The report, commissioned from Integrated Transport Planning (ITP) in association with the University of the West of England (UWE), was launched recently in Lewes, where it received a very positive reception. Similar events are planned for Chichester (4 May), and Arundel (17 May).

  • SCATE is a network of over 30+ organisations and business, including: Brighton and Hove’s local campaign group, Bricycles; West Sussex Cycle Forum; ChiCycle (promoting cycling in Chichester); and Cycling UK.

Leeds advances on 20 mph

Leeds City Council’s Executive Board has voted to complete its long-standing 20 mph programme, with £500,000 allocated for around 90 further speed limit schemes in residential areas.

The council reports that, over time, implementing 20 mph zones has become more flexible and quicker. In Leeds, it focuses on schools, residential and community areas as well as locations where pedestrian and cyclist movements are high away from major through routes.

The campaign group 20’s Plenty for Leeds is emphasising the importance of engaging and educating drivers.

For a quick update on speed and crash risk, see the latest Essential Evidence from Dr Adrian Davis (TravelWest) on a recent report from the OECD which concludes that, through a ‘Safe Systems’ approach to road safety, lower speeds reduce deaths and injuries, not least because there is more time to react. They also enhance the quality of life.

Act now

Cycle safety: make it simple – back Cycling UK’s calls for a range of measures to improve walking and cycling safety.

Get on my Land! Call on the Government to subsidise farmers for improving public access to the countryside.

Road victims are real victims! Ask your MP to urge the Ministry of Justice to re-think its small claim limit proposals for the sake of injured cyclists.

New publications

Cycling and walking: the economic case for action (DfT)

Toolkit and report on the evidence base to quantify the highly cost-effective impact of investing in cycling and walking.

It highlights relevant studies, covers the main issues for practitioners, and briefly explains how to demonstrate the economic case for a new cycling and walking proposal.

Association between active commuting and incident cardiovascular disease, cancer, and mortality: prospective cohort study

By Carlos A Celis-Morales et al

Having studied the health and commuting habits of over 260,000 people aged 40-69 (GB), the authors of this study concluded that:

“Commuting undertaken totally or partially by bicycle was associated with a lower risk of a range of adverse health outcomes. Commuting by walking was associated with a lower risk of adverse CVD outcomes. The findings, if causal, suggest population health may be improved by policies that increase active commuting, particularly cycling, such as the creation of cycle lanes, cycle hire or purchase schemes, and better provision for cycles on public transport.”

Published in BMJ.

Changes in participation, demographics and hazard associated with mandatory bicycle helmets in New South Wales, Australia

By Jim Lemon

Paper looking at the impact of making cycle helmets compulsory in New South Wales (NSW) Australia in 1991. Finds that the move coincided with a gradual rather than abrupt decline in fatalities, but that the reduction is more convincingly explained by factors not related to the change in the law – e.g. improved road safety generally and fewer people cycling.

The effect of an Italian nationwide mandatory visibility aids law for cyclists

By Gabriele Prati

Paper concluding that the data examined showed that hi-viz legislation for cyclists in Italy "... did not have either immediate or long-term effects on the number of bicycles involved in road crashes as well as on its proportion in the total vehicles involved in road crashes."

The author notes that it is difficult to work out why the law had no effect given lack of information about the degree of enforcement by the police and behavioural change. 

Published in The Journal of Transport & Health.

Physical activity and the environment (NICE)

Guideline covering how to improve the physical environment to encourage and support physical activity, including cycling.

With recommendations on strategies, policies and plans to increase physical activity in the local environment; active travel; public open spaces; buildings; and schools.

Actively improving air quality: Making it easier for cycling and walking to play a key role in reducing air pollution (Sustrans)

To help solve the UK’s air pollution crisis, this report sets out ten recommendations mainly for national and local government, but also for stakeholders working in the field.

Concludes that cycling and walking programmes that shift people away from car journeys have a key role, but identifies a number of barriers that prevent councils from effectively implementing them.

Produced as a result of a round table Sustrans held with local authority, public health and academic representatives.

Number crunch: Transport trends in the city regions (Urban Transport Group)

Report looking at the most defining patterns in transport use over the past decade, along with future trends.

Includes a section on active travel, which says: “Although the Government has said it wants to see a doubling of cycling trips and to halt the decline in walking trips between 2017 and 2025, the national statistics make for grim reading with walking in decline and levels of cycle use consistently low.

"Having said that, local counts suggest that where there is investment in cycling infrastructure, it is well used and, as London shows, over time can deliver increases. The question is whether the current levels of investment in active travel will be sufficient to turn the national statistics around.”

Roads and the environment: Putting an innovative approach at the heart of RIS2 (Campaign for Better Transport)

Based on world-wide best practice, this report sets out practical ways that highways managers can use to make roads better for the environment and all road users.

Calls for a ‘green retrofit’ of the Strategic Road Network, as the Government prepares its second Road Investment Strategy (RIS2). Cycling UK’s Policy Director Roger Geffen was amongst the contributors to the report.

Diary dates

The Big Pedal (Sustrans)

23 April - 4 May

The Big Pedal is the UK’s largest inter-school cycling and scooting challenge. It inspires pupils, staff and parents to choose two wheels for their journey to school.

Vote Bike! Rides

27 - 29 April

Various mass rides to raise the profile of cycling. Supported by Cycling UK.

Pedal on Parliament

28 April (Edinburgh)

Meet at The Meadows 12 noon to cycle, scoot and march on closed roads down to the Scottish Parliament.

Now an annual event, the idea is to ask all of Scotland’s politicians, from all parties, to sign up to PoP’s manifesto to make Scotland a cycle-friendly country for people of all ages and abilities.

Pedal on Parliament is a grassroots group of people who want to see Scotland become a place where active travel is safe and enjoyable for everyone, whether they cycle or not.


PoPs will be popping up in Inverness on 28 April, and other cities across Scotland too (including Aberdeen on 29 April).

Active Travel Challenge

7 May - 3 June

A free online challenge inviting employees to register their active and sustainable transport journeys. Delivered by Sustrans and supported by the Public Health Agency.

Register a company, or an individual.  

Bike Week 2018

9 -17 June

Bike Week logo
Bike Week logo

Delivered by Cycling UK and, in partnership in Scotland, by Cycling Scotland, Bike Week this year will encourage everyone to experience ‘everyday’ cycling – whether that’s cycling to work, to school, to the shops or just for leisure – to show how it can easily become part of the routine.

Celebrate by holding an event for friends, colleagues or your local club, and join hundreds of other registered activities up and down the UK. Either that, or choose an event to enjoy near you. 

Velo-city 2018

12-15 June, Rio de Janeiro

Registrations are now open for this year’s global cycling summit. The theme for 2018 is ‘Access to Life’, via cycling.

City Centre Transformation

13 June, Edinburgh

Public meeting of Spokes, the Lothian Cycle Campaign. Various expert speakers will look at Edinburgh’s City Centre Transformation project, which aims to: “Prioritise access for pedestrians, cyclists and public transport users”.

The public meeting is part of Edinburgh Festival of Cycling 2018, to which Spokes is contributing four events

6th Annual Cycle City Active City

28-29 June (Manchester)

A two-day exhibition of the product and service suppliers to the sector, with plenary presentations by high-profile individuals with expertise and influence in cycling and walking policy, promotion and infrastructure, active place-making, public health, and positive urban design and development.

In this issue:

Headlines: Cycle safety: make it simple – Cycling UK’s latest major campaign; Northern Ireland pilots new cycle-friendly employer accreditation scheme; Vote Bike! Mass rides raise cycling’s profile.

Other stories: ‘Health and Harmony’ for off-road cycling; Cycling to school - a 'right' of passage; Propensity to Cycle Tool now online for Wales; Northern Ireland releases travel habit stats; Cycling UK says once again: road victims are real victims! EU Commission says road safety targets will be a challenge to meet; Stonehenge tunnel plans: Cycling UK's local campaigners stand up for cycling; Campaigners unveil new transport vision for Sussex coast; Leeds advances on 20 mph.

Act now: Cycle safety: make it simple; Get on my Land! Road victims are real victims!

New publications: Cycling and walking - the economic case for action (DfT); Association between active commuting and incident cardiovascular disease, cancer, and mortality (academic paper); Changes in participation, demographics and hazard associated with mandatory bicycle helmets in New South Wales, Australia (academic paper); The effect of an Italian nationwide mandatory visibility aids law for cyclists (academic paper); Physical activity and the environment (NICE); Actively improving air quality - making it easier for cycling and walking to play a key role in reducing air pollution (Sustrans); Number crunch: Transport trends in the city regions (Urban Transport Group); Roads and the environment: Putting an innovative approach at the heart of RIS2 (Campaign for Better Transport).

Diary dates: The Big Pedal - 23 April - 4 May; Pedal on Parliament - 28 April (Edinburgh & Inverness); Active Travel Challenge - 7 May to 3 June; Bike Week 2018 - 9 to 17 June; Velo-city 2018 - 12 to 15 June (Rio de Janeiro); City Centre Transformation - 13 June (Edinburgh); 6th Annual Cycle City Active City, 28-29 June (Manchester).

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