Cycle Campaign News February 2022
Cycle Campaign News February 2022
Winter is over, Spring is here, green shoots are starting to appear. But we’re entering the ‘hungry gap’, the winter cropping has ended and there’s no fresh produce about. We don’t have the big campaign breakthroughs on the scale we reported in January’s campaigns news. So, we’re preparing the ground and making plans for the next harvest. Read on to find out who is planting what, where.
Campaign News editor
Getting there with cycling - make it happen
On 5 May, there will be elections for the local authorities of Scotland, Wales and 146 English local authorities and mayors. Northern Ireland will elect the National Assembly on the same day.
Cycling UK is campaigning in all four nations, with a separate manifesto for each. Head of campaigns Duncan Dollimore said:
“Across our election campaigns, we are setting out a vision for cycling, with safe urban spaces, connected communities, and accessible countryside. A vision where every day journeys are active travel journeys, our air is cleaner, and our health and wellbeing prioritised.
“Our reality is one where congested streets, designed for cars and not people, deter most people from cycling and under two per cent of all trips are made by bike. It is time for politicians to step up, be bold, carefully plan and speedily deliver the cycle lanes and safe cycling infrastructure we all need.”
Cycling UK has produced a question and answer document explaining the thinking behind our campaigns.
Cycling matters in Wales
Wales already has an Active Travel Act which requires local authorities to enhance provision for cycling and walking. However, local election candidates may place a higher priority on other matters, so they need to hear that cycling matters to their community. Read the Wales manifesto.
Revolutions in Scotland
Scotland has seen a record budget for active travel from Holyrood, so the key message is ‘delivery now’ – and asking councils to spend these funds on high-quality cycle routes and related revolutionary projects to make neighbourhoods better for people. Read the Scotland manifesto.
Making it happen in Northern Ireland
There’s a backdrop of a political crisis in Northern Ireland alongside the climate and cost-of-living crises. Stormont is lagging behind the other governments of the UK in its active travel commitments, so we need to show cycling is a positive step towards solutions for many of the issues being faced, and has the potential to unite people across the political spectrum. Read the Northern Ireland manifesto.
Getting there in England
Not every local council or district in England has an election this May, but we’re asking candidates in those that do to ensure that networks of safe and direct cycling routes are at the heart of Local Transport and Development Plans, and that they are in line with the new national design standards – so safe and accessible for people of all ages and abilities. Read the England manifesto.
Cycling UK is additionally supporting local campaigners and campaign groups to make their own local asks, through the Cycle Advocacy Network (CAN). Election-related 'How to' guides will be added to the CAN Resources toolkit in the coming weeks, including 'How to take your candidate on a bike ride' and 'How to organise a Hustings event'.
The numbers are in from Cycling UK
Each year, Cycling UK rounds up numerous statistics on cycling, mainly using government sources. Cherry Allan, who authors the report using data gathered from the previous full year, said “obviously, 2020 was unusual, with more people cycling for exercise and social distancing purposes, but the pandemic did more than affect our travel and transport habits. It also upset the way some of our sources collected their data, so comparing figures directly with previous years isn't advisable. That said, although only relatively few journeys are cycled, we can still celebrate the relative promise of these latest statistics.”
The report goes into considerable more depth, and includes charts and tables. It also looks in closer detail at each individual nation, where possible.
Wales reaffirms commitment to creating alternatives to driving
The Welsh government has reaffirmed its commitment to creating sustainable transport solutions as it faces up to the Climate Emergency, saying: “We have to be willing to do things differently, and critically to give people across north Wales genuine alternatives to using their cars for most journeys.”
On the 10 February, the Welsh Government’s Roads Review Panel published its initial report outlining how new roads should be assessed to ensure they align strategically with the Wales Transport Strategy, Active Travel Act and Future Generations Act, all of which prioritise more cycling and walking.
Through this Roads Review Panel, made up of independent transport policy experts, the Government has set criteria for when building new roads is the correct solution to address transport problems.
Former Transport Ministers call on Grant Shapps to act on vehicle safety
Former transport ministers have written to the UK's Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, calling on him to swiftly adopt new vehicle safety measures that have been described by the UK’s Transport Research Lab as the biggest advance in vehicle safety since the seat belt.
A package of 15 integrated measures, including better direct vision in HGVs, automated emergency braking that detects pedestrians and cyclists, and intelligent speed adaptation, comes into effect for vehicles made in the EU and in Northern Ireland from July. The UK actively supported these measures right up to the moment that it left the EU – two years ago this week. The letter signatories urge the UK Government to adopt its own regulations, or put the safety of UK road users at risk.
Cycle sharing schemes are getting people back on bikes
The most recent report from CoMoUK about users of Bike Share schemes has found that that over half of users said that a bike share was the catalyst for them to start cycling again. The Annual Bike Share Report for 2021 also uncovered that e-bikes reduce car use even more than conventional bike shares: 34% of respondents using e-bikes reported they were replacing car or taxi trips of more than 5 miles, compared with 24% of non e-bike users. CoMoUK estimate there may be a reduction of about 3.7 car miles per user, per week.
More cycling and less traffic in England’s National Parks?
More than two years after the National Landscapes review, the government has finally published its proposals for how to transform England’s National Parks and AONBs. While Cycling UK welcomes some of these proposals, they don’t add up to the kind of transformational change we had hoped for: to recapture the original vision from when National Parks were first created - that they should be for everyone.
However, there is still a chance to influence the changes, with a consultation taking place until the beginning of April.
Crunch time for bridge decision at Downs Link crossing
The long journey to building a bridge at the lethal A281 Downs Link crossing in West Sussex is at a critical juncture.
The death in July 2020 of Pathushan Sutharsan as he attempted to cross the road on his bike during a charity ride galvanised people into action, and was the catalyst for forming the Bridge the Downs Link campaign. After years of campaigning by local councillors, user groups and residents for a safe crossing and warnings about the dangerous crossing which came tragically true there was a sense that this must never happen again.
The initial feasibility study for improving the crossing is now with a select group of West Sussex County Councillors, but they are not sharing this with the wider council or the public. Local campaigners are concerned that the report is being held back for no good reason.
Want to get involved with local campaigning in your area and connect with others across the country?
How to organise a hustings - Thursday 3 March, 7-8.30pm
As we prepare for May's elections, we may be interested to gather local candidates together for a question-and-answer session. This event will look at the whys and wherefores of organising a hustings, and how to make yours a success.
What could an Active Travel Act look like in Northern Ireland? - Tuesday 8 March, 7-8pm
An evening with Chris Roberts, a key architect of the Welsh Active Travel Act, to listen and discuss opportunities for Northern Ireland.
Surgery session - March - Cycle Advocacy Network - Monday 14 March, 4.30-5.30pm
Are you a local cycle campaigner looking for some expert guidance? This is an opportunity for you to have a one-to-one consultation online with Cycling UK campaigns team staff. If you have a) a specific question you’d like to discuss, or b) a more general area you’d like guidance on how to proceed with then this could be for you. This is one of an ongoing series of surgery sessions.
Planning in five minutes (or maybe a bit more): things I have learned - Monday 21 March, 7.30-8.30pm
Local Campaigner Claire Connachan will share her personal story about getting to grips with the local authority planning system to introduce a wider discussion on planning matters.
All our forthcoming events can be found on the Cycle Advocacy Network page.
Elections 2022 - support our petitions
In the run up to the elections on May 5, Cycling UK will be asking candidates to pledge to champion active travel.
Sign Cycling UK's petition to support our 'Manifesto for Cycling'.
Research and recover lost rights of way
There are thousands of historical rights of way were recorded incorrectly when councils were compiling their official maps in the 1950s. However, the public’s right to ride on them still exists. It hasn’t just disappeared because they’ve been marked incorrectly on a map. Discover and recover lost rights of way near you.
Have your say on road traffic reduction
In response to the global climate emergency, Scotland’s Climate Change Plan update in 2020 set out a world-leading commitment to reduce car kilometres by 20% by 2030. The route map, co-developed by Transport Scotland and the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA), sets out the suite of transport and non-transport policies that will be implemented to support car-use reduction in order to deliver a healthier, fairer and more prosperous Scotland for communities, businesses and visitors.
Consultation - Improving active travel between Cardiff and Newport
The Welsh Government wants your views on options to improve active travel and bus routes on the A48 and NCN88.
Join the Cycle Advocacy Network in Northern Ireland
Less than 3% of trips in Northern Ireland are taken by bike, and this figure is not rising. Cycling UK is challenging this by building a Cycle Advocacy Network across the nation with you championing local change.