Cycle Campaign News August 2018

Duncan Dollimore, Head of Campaigns at Cycling UK, calls for a full review of road safety laws. Take action now!
Duncan Dollimore, Cycling UK

Cycle Campaign News August 2018

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

From the Editor

When you've witnessed so much injustice to road crash victims time and time again; when you've been waiting over four years for the Government to carry out its promised full review of road traffic laws; and when all you end up with is a limited consultation on cycling offences, it's time to get serious. 

Please take action with us, and add your voice to our calls for a wider review of road traffic offences ('Headlines'). 

We are pleased, though, that the Government says it's planning to revise the Highway Code to make its advice on overtaking cyclists clearer. We've been campaigning for this for years too, so this is a major win.

In other safe passing news, we've collaborated with The British Horse Society on two videos showing the best way to avoid frightening horses when you encounter horse riders either on or off the road - if you weren't sure how, then this is unmissable viewing (see 'Other stories').

Also in 'Other stories', we welcome the news that the Government is taking on board the fact that some people use cycles as mobility aids. And check out Wheels for Wellbeing's new survey if you, or someone you know, cycles with disabilities. The responses will help the charity shed light on little known areas of cycling and disability policy.

Read on for more on this, and lots of other news.

Cherry Allan
Campaign News

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Find out what else is in this issue.


Add your voice to Cycling UK’s calls for traffic law overhaul!

With the current legal framework perennially failing to protect crash victims against injustice, Cycling UK is calling for an urgent and comprehensive review of road traffic laws.

In particular, we want the Government to:

  • Simplify and improve the legal definitions of unsafe driving behaviour;
  • Increase the use of driving disqualifications and close the ‘exceptional hardship’ loophole; and
  • Increase the current six month maximum prison sentence for drivers who fail to stop.

Earlier this month the Department for Transport (DfT) started consulting on new cycling offences.

We don't object to cycling offences being included within the promised wider review of traffic offences, but focusing purely on cycling offences is nothing short of tinkering around the edges of road safety.

Thus, we're calling on the Government to fulfil its commitment to the wider review it promised well over four years ago.


  • And please take action to email your MP and the DfT - it'll only take a couple of minutes. 

Our campaign is supported by Brake, the road safety charity, and RoadPeace, the national charity for road crash victims.

​Highway Code to tackle close passing

Cyclist being overtaken by car at speed
Cyclist being overtaken by a car at speed

At the same time as it launched its cycling offences consultation, the DfT also announced plans to revise the Highway Code so that it gives clearer advice to drivers on how to overtake cyclists safely.

This was one of our core recommendations in response to the Government’s recent Cycling and Walking Safety Review

The DfT has also promised new design guidance for local authorities on planning cycling infrastructure. This is an equally vital move: at present, the confusing plethora of often-contradictory design guidance is clearly failing to ensure safe and sensible designs.

Ever think crimes against cyclists are not taken seriously?

Have you ever reported a dangerous driving incident to the police? If so, and the response disappointed you, please let us know.

We’re gathering examples for a TV documentary, so you’ll need to be willing to share your experiences on camera.

Other stories

"Be nice, say hi": how to cycle past horse riders safely

Be nice, say hi; horse riders and cyclists

Ever wondered what’s the safest way to approach and pass horse riders when you’re out cycling?

If you have, or want to make sure you’re doing it right, watch two new videos we’ve produced together with The British Horse Society (BHS). There’s a downloadable leaflet available too.

Making the horse aware of your presence is vital, as it gives them more time to react, and then passing widely and slowly.

Watch the videos:

Government considers recognising cycles as mobility aids

The Government’s new ‘Inclusive Transport Strategy: Achieving Equal Access for Disabled People’ (England) includes a welcome commitment to “explore the feasibility of amending legislation to recognise the use of cycles as a mobility aid in order to increase the number of disabled people cycling” by 2020.

This is important because some people find cycling easier than walking and need both physical infrastructure and public transport services to accommodate their cycles far better than they do at present.

The DfT, however, notes concerns about shared space schemes, especially for visually impaired people. It has therefore asked local authorities to pause the introduction of those that incorporate a level surface and are still at the design stage. This will allow for further research and updates to the relevant guidance.

  • Inclusive Transport Strategy
  • DfT letter to local authorities
  • The DfT has also published a scoping study on whether to revise guidance on inclusive mobility, and on the use of tactile paving. Again, shared space is marked for further research, while tactile paving - a concern for cyclists of all abilities - was often found to fail to comply with recommended practice. This is now up for further research too.

Help Wheels for Wellbeing shed light on cycling and disability policy

 Wheels for Wellbeing

Wheels for Wellbeing is inviting disabled cyclists to tell them about their needs, demographic profile, key challenges, and their experiences of using cycles as mobility aids and with the benefits system. [Photo courtesy of Wheels for Wellbeing].

The charity, which works to enhance disabled people’s lives through cycling, hopes the results of the survey will shed light on little known areas of cycling and disability policy.

Any sign of the cycling revolution?

The latest National Travel Survey (England) suggests that, on average, people are clocking up more cycle mileage and that leisure riding is attracting more interest.

Conversely, the number of cycle trips/stages, and their share of journeys by all modes, isn’t showing much improvement.

What’s more, there’s nothing to suggest that more children are cycling to school, or that girls and women are embracing cycling on anything like the scale that males do (which isn't up to much in the first place anyway).

In short, we’re miles off cycling becoming, to quote the Government’s Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy (CWIS, England) , “… a normal part of everyday life, and the natural choice for shorter journeys”.

New book out on designing for cycle traffic

Excellent guidance that reflects the latest developments in designing for cycle traffic is now on the market, thanks to a new book from John Parkin, Professor of Transport Planning at The University of the West of England.

Drawing mainly on UK, Dutch, Danish and North American principles, this 228-page book offers chapters on reducing motor dominance, provision for cycling on the carriageway and adjacent to it, cycleways, priority junctions, signal control, roundabouts, crossings, cycle parking, modelling, auditing and innovation.  

Accessible, authoritative and extensively illustrated, it's essential reading for students, designers and planners.

  • Designing for Cycle Traffic costs £45 and is published by ICE (Institution of Civil Engineers). 
  • The International Transport Forum has just published a review of ‘light protection’ of cycle lanes – e.g. posts, wands or planters etc. A fairly recent newcomer to the cycle infrastructure scene, the approach is much less costly than kerb segregation and more adaptable. The review includes a case study from the UK’s longest (6km) continuous stretch of light segregation in Enfield.
  • The European Cyclists’ Federation (ECF), reports that Beuningen, a town in the Netherlands, is proving to be a model of ‘filtered permeability’. A cycle highway offering priority crossings is a key element of it success.

London's Cycle Superhighways prove their worth

According to a recent study of 52km of London’s Cycle Superhighways (CS), over a five-year period:

  • Cycle hire usage went up by 27.1% in the area 300m either side (the ‘effect area’);
  • For trips with both the origin and destination in the effect area, cycle hire usage went up by 73.2%;
  • People travelling on hired bikes within the effect area (but not to destinations out of it) also enjoyed a 1.16 km/h increase in their speed; and
  • The CS significantly reduced travel time by 11%.

If anyone's looking for evidence to show that investing in good quality cycle infrastructure brings substantial returns, this study is certainly one to go on the list. 

Manchester mapped in minutes

Here's an interesting take on urban cycling guides: a map, from Bikesy, of Manchester Metrolink showing the time it takes to cycle between tram stops. 

Commons Committee inquires into poor state of local roads

The Commons Transport Committee is calling for written evidence for an inquiry into the funding and governance of local roads in England.  

Cycling UK has been campaigning for action on potholes for years, so it’s good to see the Committee including a link to one of our news stories in its announcement.

Lack of revenue funding hits sustainable travel

Eight out of ten councils surveyed recently by the Local Government Association report that a lack of revenue funding is stopping them from investing in sustainable travel.

Cllr Judith Blake, LGA transport spokesperson, said: "Uncertainty and a lack of revenue funding are highlighted as clear barriers to investment.

"The LGA has been calling on the Government to provide long term funding certainty as well as to reinvest 2 pence per litre of existing fuel duty into local road maintenance which would generate £1 billion a year for councils to spend on promoting sustainable travel, reducing congestion and improving roads."

  • Read more from the LGA
  • Cycling UK will be shortly launching a funding for walking and cycling infrastructure campaign - so watch this space.

NPPF now refs LCWIPs

The newly revised National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) for England refers to cycling more often than its predecessor and goes so far as to mention Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plans (LCWIPs).

Planning policies, it says, should “provide for high quality walking and cycling networks and supporting facilities such as cycle parking (drawing on Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plans)”.

LCWIPS, which came in under the Government’s Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy (CWIS), are defined as a “new, strategic approach to identifying cycling and walking improvements required at the local level”.

What does HS2 mean for you?

Cycling UK's Roger Geffen, recently flame-grilled by the Commons Committee scrutinising a Bill to enable the construction of part of the High Speed 2 rail link, says all is not lost for cycling.

Cycling UK urges Welsh Government not to lose momentum over better countryside access

Enjoying an early morning on one of the bridleways on Snowdon. Photo - Tom Hutton
Early morning on a Snowdon bridleway. Photo - Tom Hutton

On 3 August, we celebrated the 50th anniversary of cyclists being legally allowed to ride on bridleways in England and Wales.

It also seemed like a pertinent moment to urge the Welsh Government not to go cold on its proposals to make substantive reforms to countryside access.

Through Trails for Wales, Cycling UK, together with Open MTB, drummed up a lot of support for the plans, but the government has since announced that “now is not the right time", citing “strong but differing views”.

Cycling UK has since written to Minister for the Environment, Hannah Blythyn AM, explaining our dismay and requesting an urgent meeting.

Funding tots up for Play on Pedals 

The Scottish Government has pledged £81k to expand Play on Pedals, a scheme giving pre-school children the chance to learn about cycling while they're still at nursery.   

More than 16,000 children have already benefited from the initiative since its launch in Glasgow in 2014, and the idea is to roll it out to local authorities across Scotland.

Play on Pedals is facilitated through Cycling Scotland, Cycling UK, Play Scotland, Bike for Good and supportive local organisations. 

Drivers gently nudged to test their eyesight

A new campaign from the DVLA is encouraging drivers to take the ‘number plate test’ to make sure they meet the minimum eyesight requirements for driving, and visit their optician or optometrist with any concerns.

This is a welcome step, but Cycling UK believes voluntary self-regulation is not enough.

Instead, we think drivers should have their vision checked professionally before their driving test, and not by the driving examiner. After that, eye tests should be compulsory every ten years up to the age of 50; every five years after 50; and every three years after 70.

Exercise is good for mental health, but don't take it to extremes, says study

A recent study of over a million people aged 18+ in the USA suggests that individuals who exercised had around 43.2% fewer days of poor mental health in the past month than similar individuals who didn't exercise.

All types of exercise were associated with a “lower mental health burden”, but popular team sports, cycling and aerobic and gym activities are mentioned in despatches.

While 45-minute bouts of exercise three to five times per week seem beneficial, though, the authors conclude that overdoing it is likely to be detrimental.

Older cyclists report more falls in the Netherlands

A new study from the Netherlands, based on self-reported incidents, found that on average cyclists aged 65+:

  • Were three times more likely to suffer an injury every km than middle-aged people.
  • Reported that they'd fallen off more and more often as they aged - the chance increased by 7.3% each year.

Age, physical and mental impairments, bicycle model, living environment, feelings of uncertainty and changed cycling behaviour (e.g. more patience, lower speed) are all implicated.  

The authors suggest that this needs to be taken into account when implementing new cycling related safety measures.

But, as Cycling UK is always keen to point out, cycling is not an especially hazardous activity, and the health benefits far outweigh the risks.

Sustainable transport and sustainable development are linked, says WHO

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has published analysis showing how healthy and sustainable transport policies will help achieve the UN’s goals on sustainable development.

TfL invites bids for cycling grants

Transport for London (TfL) is inviting community and not-for-profit groups to apply for funding to make cycling more accessible to all Londoners.

Projects are expected to help build the confidence of infrequent or new cyclists from all backgrounds and increase cycling by women, children and young people.

Now in its fourth year, the annual programme has so far helped 90 projects encourage over 14,000 people to cycle. This year, £240,000 in total is available for up to 30 groups. Deadline: 17 September.

Catch up with Velo-city sessions

If you want to catch up on the ‘Scientists for Cycling’ (S4C) sessions at this June's Velo-City in Rio de Janeiro, they’ve all been gathered in one online spot for you.

The S4C network brings together a large number of experts worldwide, hailing from many different academic disciplines.

You can also find out what delegates heard and discussed about bike sharing schemes.

Birthday wishes to ...

... Cycle Training UK, who celebrated ‘Gloria Day’ on 1 August: ‘Gloria’ because she was founder Sim Bamford’s very first trainee; and a day to celebrate because Gloria undertook her training a whole 20 years ago in 1998. 

...Transport for London's (TfL's) Santander Cycles on celebrating its 8th year with a record 1.1 million hires in July.

Diary date

Better Town Centres, by bike or foot

10 October, Manchester Cathedral Visitor Centre  

A seminar organised by the North West Active Travel Network focusing on access to and within our typical towns as opposed to major cities.

The perfect opportunity to discuss inner ring roads, one-way streets, pavement parking and all the other barriers that can make accessing town centres so intimidating and frustrating by cycle or foot.

Cost, including lunch and refreshments: £50 for professionals; £30 concessions.

In this issue:

Headlines: Add your voice to Cycling UK’s calls for traffic law overhaul! Highway Code to tackle close passing; Ever think crimes against cyclists are not taken seriously - tell us what’s happened to you!

Other stories: "Be nice, say hi": how to cycle past horse riders safely; Government considers recognising cycles as mobility aids; Help Wheels for Wellbeing shed light on cycling and disability policy; The latest National Travel Survey results (England) - any sign of the cycling revolution? New book out on designing for cycle traffic; London's Cycle Superhighways prove their worth; Manchester mapped in minutes; Commons Committee inquires into local roads; Lack of revenue funding hits sustainable travel; NPPF now refs LCWIPs​; What does HS2 mean for you?; Cycling UK urges Welsh Government not to lose momentum over better countryside access; Funding tots up for Play on Pedals ; Drivers gently nudged to test their eyesight; Exercise is good for mental health, but don't take it to extremes, says study; Older cyclists report more falls in the Netherlands; Sustainable transport and sustainable development are linked, says WHO; TfL invites bids for cycling grants; Catch up with Velo-city sessions.

Diary date: Better Town Centres, by bike or foot, 10 October (Manchester Cathedral Visitor Centre).  

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