Cycle campaign news July 2021
Cycle campaign news July 2021
With the school summer holidays well under way across the UK, July brings some significant updates to the world of cycle campaigning, following the launch of the Government’s 'Summer of Cycling and Walking' campaign last week. The announcements include key changes to the Highway Code – following last year’s review – and new guidance for local authorities to ensure proper assessment of cycle infrastructure.
There’s also news on Cycling UK’s proposals for changes to our road traffic offences, as well as commentary on the long-awaited Transport Decarbonisation Plan, and updates on the local authorities facing legal actions for their removal of cycle lanes without proper evaluation.
Campaign News editor
Our key asks, in response to the Highway Code Review, related to:
- The introduction of the 'Hierarchy of Users' or ‘Hierarchy of Responsibility’
- Simplification of the rules relating to non-signalised junctions, which will make junctions safer and address ‘left-hook’ collisions
- New rules to tackle dangerous overtaking and ‘close passes’, with a guideline minimum safe passing distance
- The inclusion of the Dutch Reach, to help prevent ‘car-dooring’.
The Department for Transport's announcement last week now confirms the first three of these will be included in the new Highway Code, while we understand that the fourth will also be added, representing a huge success for cycling, walking, and road safety - thank you to everyone who supported the campaign.
There’s still a long road ahead to ensure these changes are well communicated and understood by road users, so keep your eyes peeled for opportunities to get involved.
English councils face court action over cycle lane removal, while new guidance requires authorities to properly assess active travel schemes
Last year, many local authorities introduced measures to enable people to cycle more safely in response to the coronavirus lockdown. Many schemes were well used and remain in place today, while others were removed, altered or improved following evaluation. However, several authorities pulled out schemes before ever giving them a chance to flourish, with limited evaluation or consultation - and as a result are now facing litigation as Cycling UK’s head of campaigns, Duncan Dollimore, explains.
Meanwhile, as part of the DfT’s 'Summer of Cycling and Walking' announcement, a message was also sent to local authorities considering pulling out schemes, with new statutory guidance on the way which will require cycling and walking schemes to be left in place for long enough that their impacts be properly assessed.
Ben Bradshaw MP calls on Government to fix failing traffic laws
Ben Bradshaw MP put forward amendments to address two failing road traffic laws, relating to hit-and-run offences and the ‘exceptional hardship’ loophole. This followed the release of Cycling UK’s new report, 'Five Flaws: Failing Laws', which highlighted changes to road justice laws in England, Scotland and Wales which could be brought in via the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill.
Although the amendments were not put to a vote, they raised the issues up the Government agenda. With the Bill now moving to the House of Lords, we’ll be focusing on securing the support of Peers for amendments to close these and other loopholes.
Cycle Advocacy Network now has hundreds of campaigners
Since Cycling UK’s Cycle Advocacy Network (CAN) was launched in September last year, it’s been steadily growing, and now boasts over 200 members across the UK. And it’s not just membership which is growing – the resources for campaigners are too. Our latest guide, ‘How to set up and plan a new campaign’, is just one of a widening portfolio of toolkits to support local campaigners, whether they’re members of the CAN or otherwise. Find out more about CAN and get involved.
Is it a Transport Decarbonisation Plan or just a plan for electric traffic jams?
The Department for Transport’s long-awaited Transport Decarbonisation Plan has finally been published, eight months late. While some aspects of the plan are UK-wide, most cover only England, as much of transport is devolved to the respective national governments. The wide-reaching plan includes some key positives, such as the commitment to “deliver a world class cycling and walking network in England by 2040", but Cycling UK’s policy director, Roger Geffen, has suggested that the message from ministers for most people is still that they “carry on driving”. Roger's blog summarises the positives, and where more needs to be done.
Welsh Government to push ahead with 20mph plans for residential areas
Following support from the Senedd last year, the Welsh Government is pushing ahead with plans to make 20mph speed limits the default in residential areas within a year – with eight pilot schemes planned for this summer.
New cross-border greenway project from Derry to Buncrana thrown into doubt
The multi-million pound project has stalled after planners on the northern side of the border recommended refusing planning permission, with the impact on a new housing development the key stumbling block.
Climate crisis and cycling: it’s not too late for change
We’re now a few months on from the May local elections, and we’re starting to get a picture of how the results in Scotland, Wales, and England are impacting active travel at a national and local level, with the link between climate change and transport increasingly moving up the agenda.
With national elections on the horizon in Northern Ireland, and local elections in Scotland and Wales, not to mention the COP26 Climate Conference in Glasgow in November, there's plenty to be done to keep up the momentum.