Cycle Campaign News January 2018

Cycling UK revives bikes in Harrogate, 2017
Big Bike Revival, Harrogate, 2017

Cycle Campaign News January 2018

Cycling UK's monthly round-up of cycle campaigning news:

We've never had to scrape around for cycling-related enterprises to cover in Campaign News, and this month there's a variety.

To take just a few examples, we have: 2017's Big Bike Revival; London's Direct Vision Standard for HGVs; the Active Travel (Wales) Act; and the opening of Little Lane in Dorset, formerly a ‘muddy plod’ but now a viable cycling link (Headlines/Other stories).

Boosts like these are crucial, and we certainly need to improve on 2016's cycle use figures for England. While they offer some bright spots, overall they show negligible change in the proportion of trips carried out by cycle, and not much diversity amongst cyclists (Headlines). There's a lot resting on 2018, in other words.

Cherry Allan
Campaign News

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Find out what else is in this issue.


Cycle mileage up, but where’s diversity and a boom in trips?

The Department for Transport (DfT) has just published its round-up of walking and cycling statistics for 2016, England. Some of the data are new, others not.

To pick out a few main findings:

  • Only 2% of all trips were cycled in 2016, the same proportion as it’s been for years;
  • However, the average person said they clocked up more cycle miles over the year, and rode further per trip compared to a decade ago (53 miles (+26%) / 3.5 miles (+50%) respectively);
  • According to GB traffic counts, total miles cycled in GB has gone up by 23% since 2006 (although 2016’s 3.5 billion miles pales beside 1949’s 15 billion);
  • Men cycle three times as many trips and four times further than women;
  • White and Mixed adults cycle the most; Asian adults cycle the least;
  • The most common purpose for cycling trips was commuting, followed by leisure cycling;
  • 12% of adults cycled at least once a week, most likely those: with no disability; living in the least deprived quartile; and/or in the East of England; 
  • The prevalence of cycling at least once a week is: highest in Cambridge (57%), followed by Oxford (39%); over 20% in only 18 of the 350+ other authorities; and less than 6% in nine (Barnsley is lowest at 4%).

Cycling UK puts both the ongoing flatlining in cycle trips, and poor diversity amongst cyclists, down to a long-term failure by successive governments to invest in cycling.


The DfT’s analysis is based on a range of sources, but largely reflects the findings of two annual surveys. One looks broadly at national travel habits (National Travel Survey/NTS), and the other drills down to local authority level (Active Lives Survey/ALS).

Although the NTS came out last July, the DfT’s write-up is new. The ALS findings, however, haven’t been published before.

The ALS has superseded the earlier Active People Survey (APS), which has reported on local cycling and walking levels since 2010/11. The ALS is differently designed to the APS, though, so the figures for 2016 can’t be compared against results from earlier years.

Thousands back on bikes thanks to Big Bike Revival

More than 21,000 people are exercising more, and an extra 6,000+ are cycling regularly thanks to Cycling UK’s 2017 Big Bike Revival. Not only that, but 13,684 preloved bikes, destined for the scrapheap or left idle, were brought back to life.

Altogether, the 1,500 free events across England attracted 52,000+ people over six weeks in May and June.

The award-winning project, funded by DfT, has been running since 2015.

Boardman presents 'Made to Move' to All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group

Last month, we reported on ‘Made to Move’, a document setting out Greater Manchester’s ambitious plans for turning the city region into a world-class walking and cycling area. Chris Boardman, Manchester’s Walking and Cycling Commissioner, has now taken the report down to London to recommend it to the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group (APPCG) as an example for the rest of the UK to follow.

Cycling minister Jesse Norman MP was there, and responded positively to what he’d heard.

Yet, active and sustainable ways to get about locally are hardly mentioned in the newly-released draft Strategic Transport Plan for the North of England, now out for public consultation. With cycling and walking overshadowed by roads and rail in what will become a statutory document, it’ll be all the more important for Greater Manchester to find the £1.5 billion it calculates it needs to turn its ‘Made to Move’ plans into reality.

Other stories

Cycling UK responds to London’s consultation on Direct Vision Standard for HGVs

Cycling UK has submitted a response to Transport for London’s (TfL) consultation on a new Safety Standard Permit Scheme for HGVs.

The scheme will be part of TfL’s Direct Vision Standard (DVS), a system to star-rate HGVs depending on how much a driver can see directly from the cab, rather than via cameras and mirrors. Permission to enter or operate in London will be regulated accordingly, with only ‘three-star’ rated vehicles qualifying automatically for a permit by 2024.

As a strong supporter of DVS, Cycling UK wants to see full-proof monitoring and enforcement, and clear, high threshold criteria for obtaining a permit. Lorries pose a disproportionate risk to cyclists and pedestrians, and often a driver’s ‘blind spots’ are implicated in fatal and serious injury collisions.

  • TfL's consultation (now closed).
  • Businesses in the Smithfield and Farringdon areas of London can now call up a new electric-assist cargo bike or trike service to make deliveries for them anywhere within the Congestion Charge zone. The scheme is part of the City of London’s plans for a Low Emission Neighbourhood. Read more.
  • Research for the Campaign for Better Transport found that removing just 2,000 lorries a day from four specific roads would result in a 10% reduction in NOx and a 7% reduction in particulates from all road traffic in each of the four routes studied (M6, M62, A14 and the A34). Cycling supports moves to promote water and rail freight. Read more

Road Justice?

The case of Ian Winterburn

In the final House of Commons debate of 2017, Fabian Hamilton MP (Leeds North East), drew MPs’ attention to the failings of the justice system in the case of Ian Winterburn, a cyclist killed as a result of being hit by a car turning across his path in December 2016. 

Mr Hamilton highlighted a string of deficiencies by the police, coroner and courts, all of which illustrate the need for Government action to stop them happening again.

​The case of Filippo Corsini

In October 2016, keen and experienced cyclist Filippo Corsini died after being run over in London by a left-hand drive German lorry delivering materials to Winter Wonderland.

The recent inquest into his death is yet another example of a coroner failing to ask relevant questions about the vision the driver had from his cab, on-board sensors and cameras, the layout of the junction, and other relevant factors.

Instead, the focus was on Filippo's fixie bike. Moreover, we were disappointed to note that the coroner Dr Fiona Wilcox pronounced it an ‘Accident’, despite a request from the family asking for a ‘Road Traffic Collision’ conclusion. 

Parliamentary Committee looks into small claims limit

Earlier this month, The House of Commons Justice Committee held a one-day inquiry into upping the small claims limit for personal injury. 

Cycling UK submitted written evidence because, if the limit goes up as proposed from £1,000 to £5,000, it would adversely affect injured cyclists.

This is because we estimate that around three-quarters of cyclists’ claims fall within this bracket, and legal costs aren’t recoverable in small claims cases. Currently, claims above £1,000 are not classified as ‘small’, thus allowing victims to recover their costs rather than pay them out of their damages.

  • Cycling UK campaigned against the moves to increase the limit at the beginning of last year. Read more
  • You can listen to the Committee's session here.

Young drivers need better hazard perception training, says research

New research suggests that young/novice drivers are quick to pick up the skills needed to avoid single-vehicle crashes, but take longer to learn how to avoid vulnerable road users.

The authors say advanced hazard perception training would probably help, as young drivers seem to lag behind in this area in particular.

  • Read the report from IAM RoadSmart and TRL, who analysed collision data involving recently qualified drivers.

Get your council to scrutinise the case for 20mph, with 'oven-ready' template

Twenty’s Plenty for Us has published an ‘oven-ready’ template for anyone wanting their backbench local councillors to mount an official scrutiny into the case for 20 mph speed limits.

Attitude problems

As Cycling UK couldn’t help pointing out, a FairFuel UK/Daily Mail survey of motorists’ attitudes to cyclists contrasts markedly with the results of the recently released Bike Life poll from Sustrans.

One implies that the vast majority of motorists take a dim view of cyclists, while the other shows that UK city dwellers are extremely keen to see far more money spent on cycling infrastructure.

MP speaks up for pedicab regulation

Paul Scully MP has introduced a Ten Minute Rule Bill to Parliament on regulating pedicabs, mainly because he's concerned about drivers' behaviour, road safety and extortionate charges. Fortunately, he seems to be after the kind of arrangement that we are likely to support.  

Mr Scully doesn’t want to have pedicabs banned entirely, but hopes “we can help reputable pedicab drivers to develop a good, popular and sustainable business through sensible regulation.”

… looking around London in the open air on a rickshaw gives people a chance to see the city in a way that few other modes of transport allow …
Paul Scully MP (Con., Sutton & Cheam)

Cycling UK wrote to the MP beforehand saying we’d welcome the chance to contribute to developing proportionate regulation for pedicabs, along with their operators and riders.

We stressed that we are keen to see responsible enterprises flourish, without being financially undermined by irresponsible operators, or suffering reputational damage because of them. This means safe vehicles, safe and effective management of fleets and riders, and financial good repute.

Mr Scully’s bill will now be read a second time in March.

  • Pedicab debate
  • Ten Minute Rule Bills are a way for backbench MPs to make the case for  cause of theirs. If successful, the bill is taken to have had its first reading. Such bills, though, are more likely to highlight a subject, than end up as law.

Progress on Active Travel Act up for scrutiny by Welsh Assembly committee

A Welsh Assembly committee is asking for thoughts on the Active Travel (Wales) Act 2013.

The Act obliged authorities to produce two maps with input from local residents, one of existing walking and cycling routes, the other setting out plans for integrated networks in future.

Now that both sets of maps are in, an assessment of the Act and how much change it’s making, or likely to make, is timely. We’ve been pointing out, however, that without adequate financial backing, there’s a big risk that much of the dream cycling and walking network will just fade away on drawing boards.

Outlook for cycling in 2018 Edinburgh

Spokes, the Lothian Cycle Campaign, has been considering the prospects for cycling in Edinburgh this year.

They fear that: "Cycle infrastructure progress in 2018 Edinburgh looks set to be somewhat frustrating, with an ambitious bike share scheme and several modest cycle schemes, but no physical work yet on the ‘big 3’ flagship infrastructure projects." 

Thirty-six councils win tech support to develop cycling & walking infrastructure

A list of the 36 local authorities in England who won their bids for technical support from the Government to develop cycling and walking infrastructure is now online.

Sport England pilots twelve active communities

Sport England’s project to build healthier, more active communities in twelve 4-year pilot areas will look at several options, and transport links are amongst them. With £100 million National Lottery funding to spend, the solutions will be tailored to each of the chosen pilots. Read more

Chester campaign group welcomes new cycleway through busy junction

Highways England has just finished a £1.1 million, 320 metre cycleway through Two Mills junction, an extremely busy spot where the A550 meets the A540 in Cheshire, near Ellesmere Port. Members of the Chester Cycling Campaign were amongst the first to ride along it.

Peter Williams, a member of the campaign group said:

"The new cycle lane and other improvements at Two Mills make it much safer and easier to cross the junction and a lot of the cyclists I’ve been speaking to think they’re wonderful.

“There have been several accidents involving cyclists at the junction over the years and the new layout means you’re now much more protected.

“We’re all aware of the health benefits of cycling and improvements like these help to create safe cycling routes as well. I’d definitely encourage anyone interested in taking up cycling in 2018 to join their local Cycling UK group and to explore their local cycle routes.”

Highways England's roads not up to scratch for non-motorised users

Although there are examples of Highways England schemes that local cyclists welcome (see story above), overall, non-motorised users are not entirely satisfied with the Strategic Road Network (SRN).

According to a new satisfaction survey, these groups share “a degree of scepticism that Highways England adequately considers their needs during road design,” while the lack of routes even leads to “situations where a strategic road limited people’s mobility instead of facilitating it.” Huge difficulties crossing major roads and driver behaviour are also mentioned.

The report's authors, who want HE to take more account of the views of cyclists, pedestrians and horse riders, highlight case studies from Dover, Manchester, Newcastle, Worthing/Shoreham and York. Further satisfaction surveys are on the way.

  • Read the eight-page report from Transport Focus.
  • Transport Focus is the independent consumer organisation representing the interests of all SRN users, GB rail passengers, and bus, coach and tram users across England outside London.

E-bikes are good exercise, research finds

If you’ve been thinking that riding an e-bike isn’t nearly as good for you as a conventional bike, you’ll be interested to learn that the difference is by no means huge.

Having studied six men and two women on representative commuting trips using the two types of machine, researchers in Norway found that:

Every participant was engaged in well over moderate activity most of the time;

  • On average, the e-bike riders were 8.5 times and the conventional riders 10.9 times as active as they were when at rest;
  • On average, the e-bike riders utilised 51% of their lung capacity, and the conventional bike riders 58% on average.
  • Read more about the research

Gove likes idea of public visiting countryside

It’s good to know that the Environment Secretary Michael Gove likes the idea of the public visiting the countryside.

Speaking at a farming conference, he said it would help people appreciate, support and champion farmers. What’s missing at the moment, though, is a clear plan and timetable for improving public access and, from our point of view, helping more people to enjoy the countryside by cycle.

This is particularly pressing given that the Government’s 25-year Environment Plan, published a few days after Mr Gove’s speech, recognises the health and wellbeing value of the natural environment and green spaces, but doesn’t go into access issues in any detail.

Last year, Cycling UK’s Rides of Way report documented the problems people face in trying to create fully legal off-road cycling routes. Happily, the Welsh Government already plans to simplify and improve cycling access, a move strongly backed by our Trails for Wales campaign. 

Link for walkers and cyclists opens anew in North Dorset

Little Lane, a route for walkers, cyclists and horse riders in North Dorset, officially opened in early January. Largely inaccessible for the past 30 years, the path will now improve the safety of those wishing to ride or walk between three villages and beyond. Without Okeford Fitzpaine’s Dilys and Jeremy Gartside, it would still be a “muddy plod”.

The story’s a good example for anyone who has a muddy plod near them and is thinking of doing something about it. Cycling UK’s Sam Jones explains.

Open Space Society tackles 'secret path' problems

Cycling UK welcomes calls from the Open Spaces Society for local authorities to make sure there are signposts pointing to any public path where it leaves a road. If they're absent, the Society says, “a path can be a well-kept secret”. Read more.  

Nottingham school's cycling 'ban' outrage

News reports that a secondary school in Nottingham had banned cycling because of poor behaviour didn’t go down well with many cyclists, let alone Cycling UK’s Head of Campaigns Duncan Dollimore, Olympian Chris Boardman MBE and Paralympian Dame Sarah Storey. All were quoted by the BBC. See what they said, and why.

Sadly, this is not the first time recently (nor indeed ever) that Cycling UK has had to call on schools to stop putting barriers in the way of cycling

  • A good number of parents in Scotland have reservations about allowing their children to cycle, walk or scoot to school. Over two-fifths are put off by unsafe walking and cycling routes, a lack of or inadequate pavements, ineffective or lack of crossings, unsafe school entrances and dangerous driving. The findings come from the School Travel Survey for Parents from Sustrans Scotland and the Scottish Parent Teacher Council.

Check out road maintenance near you

For anyone who wants to check up on the proportion of the A, B and C roads that ‘should have been considered for maintenance in 2017’ by their local highway authority, a new interactive map from the DfT is the place to go. The data were collected using automated road condition survey machines, and cover England. Check out the map.  

New publications

Train2Ride: A review of demand and solutions for cycle carriage on trains in the West Highlands (HITRANS) 

Although based on West Highland Line train services, this study of cycle carriage is a useful insight for anyone interested in bike-rail, wherever they are.

It looks not only at bookings, but the level of informal carriage – which suggests booking data is understating demand; capacity, seasonality, typical passengers (cycle tourists) and the type of cycles they take with them (expensive); and the likely effects of reducing capacity on ScotRail services.

Finds that: “There seems to be a reasonable appetite to pay for cycle carriage by rail passengers. This appears to be in proportion to the fare they have paid for their ticket, but some have made the point they would expect good quality in return and a guaranteed space.”

Suggests exploring a number of options for coping with excess demand, including: redesigning rolling stock, dedicated cycle carriages, ‘bike buses’, partnerships with bike hire operators, reviewing the cycle reservation system; and staff training.

A chapter on approaches to cycle carriage elsewhere in the UK, Europe and internationally, and the appendices of cycle capacity graphs and results of a bike-rail passenger survey also make interesting reading. 

Policy Making and Evidence Selection (Essential Evidence on a page, No.165)

A one-page briefing on policy-based evidence-making. Political pressures, the author says, “may encourage a selective use of evidence as a rhetorical device to support pre-determined policy choices or ideological positions.” It’s crises, though, that seem to put a stop this sort of messing around – air quality being a case in point.

Healthy High Streets: Good Place-Making in an Urban Setting (Public Health England)

Recognising that high streets “occupy a distinctive position within communities and play an important role in influencing the health of local communities”, this guide explains how to transform them into accessible and safe communal spaces that foster social interaction and strong local economies.

One of the several essential factors needed for a high street to promote optimum health, it says, is being walkable and providing options for cycling.

Diary date

Transport + Health Summit (Landor Links)

1 & 2 March, Portsmouth Historic Dockyard

A conference to help local authorities deliver, as they urgently need to do, transport measures to improve public health.

Cycling UK's Duncan Dollimore and Laura Hales will be presenting on active travel - the miracle pill. 

In this issue:

Headlines: Cycle mileage up, but where’s diversity and a boom in trips? Thousands back on bikes thanks to Big Bike Revival; Boardman presents 'Made to Move' to Westminster

Other stories: Cycling UK responds to London consultation on Direct Vision Standard for HGVs; Road Justice? - the cases of Ian Winterburn and Filippo Corsini; Parliamentary Committee looks into small claims limit; Young drivers need better hazard perception training, says research; Get your council to scrutinise the case for 20mph; Attitude problems (FairFuel UK/Daily Mail survey of motorists’ attitudes to cyclists); MP speaks up for pedicab regulation; Progress on Active Travel Act up for scrutiny by Welsh Assembly committee; Outlook for cycling in Edinburgh 2018; Thirty-six councils win tech support to develop cycling & walking infrastructure; Sport England pilots twelve active communities; Chester campaign group welcomes new cycleway through busy junction; Highways England's roads not up to scratch for non-motorised users; E-bikes are good exercise, study finds; Gove likes idea of public visiting countryside; Link for walkers and cyclists opens anew in North Dorset; Open Space Society tackles 'secret path' problems; Nottingham school's cycling 'ban' outrage; Check out road maintenance near you

New publications: Train2Ride: A review of demand and solutions for cycle carriage on trains in the West Highlands (HITRANS); Policy Making and Evidence Selection (Essential Evidence on a page); Healthy High Streets - Good Place-Making in an Urban Setting (Public Health England)

Diary date: Transport + Health Summit (1 & 2 March, Portsmouth Historic Dockyard)        


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