Cycle Campaign News June 2018
Cycle Campaign News June 2018
From the Editor
Last month, Cycle Campaign News focused almost exclusively on the Government’s Cycle Safety Review and our response to its call for evidence, now submitted. Our thanks to everyone who supported us – over 10,000 of you had emailed the DfT’s consultation team by the time our ‘Cycle Safety: make it simple’ action closed.
This month, it’s back to business as usual, so we’ve rounded up news on numerous things: small claims limits, national road safety targets, the Active Travel (Wales) Act, HS2, cycle-unfriendly action from councils, lorries and more.
One somewhat striking feature of this month’s collection (or, more accurately, two months’) is how many of the themes bubbling away in the wider world have filtered through to our response to the Cycle Safety Review, or vice versa. In fact, we were so struck by this, that we’ve cross-referenced them for you – look out for ‘CSR XXX’ referring you to the relevant section of our response.
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Find out what else is in this issue.
Cycling UK responds to DfT's call for evidence on cycle safety
June 1 brought the DfT’s call for evidence on cycle safety to a close, and we’re now looking forward to the response to our 80+ recommendations. Inevitably, some of the moves Cycling UK wants to see will be quicker wins for cycling than others, but if they’re all implemented in due course, we’re confident that we’ll see cycle safety and, along with that, cycle use, boom.
In our submission, we covered ‘safe roads and junctions’; ‘safe road users’; ‘safe speeds’; ‘safe vehicles’; and ‘safe systems management’. We followed this structure because, collectively, these themes all make up the ‘Safe Systems’ approach, the idea being to tackle all possible sources of danger and eliminate road casualties altogether.
- Read our final response.
- Also responding to the Government’s review, West Midlands Mayor Andy Street has asked the DfT to support the combined authority’s plan to increase its spend on cycling to £10 per head by 2023. The idea is to focus on new and upgraded cycling infrastructure. Read more.
Small claims: no small matter for cyclists
Since the end of 2016, Cycling UK has been urging the Government not to include vulnerable road users in plans to raise the small claims limit from £1,000 to £5,000.
As you can’t recover legal costs for small claims, the change would mean that cyclists - whose personal injury claims are more than likely to come in at over £1,000 but under £5,000 - would have to fund the process themselves, even if the other party is to blame.
Happily, there are signs that our message is getting through: Baroness Vere, the Whip in the Lords, said in a debate on the Civil Liability Bill that the Government was ‘sympathetic to the arguments’ and would continue to consider the matter; and, last month, the House of Commons Justice Select Committee accepted Cycling UK’s evidence that vulnerable road users should be excluded from the plans.
Cycling UK is now appealing to MPs to press the Government to commit to this exclusion. (CSR 5.4.1).
Why no road safety targets, MPs ask?
Queries about the lack of a GB road safety target cropped up several times in a recent parliamentary debate on global road deaths.
In response, roads (and cycling) minister, Jesse Norman MP, said: “It is important to say that local authorities, the police and other bodies remain free to set their own targets, if they find that useful. It is also worth saying that the over-emphasis on targets can itself be counterproductive, because it can cause people to chase the target, rather than the problem.”
Conversely, Cycling UK very much supports targets as an effective way to galvanise the political will and resources needed, nationally and locally, to reduce the burden of road traffic injuries.
Targets need to be ‘rate-based’ for cycling, though - i.e. casualties per mile or trip. This is because trying to reduce injuries in absolute numbers gives road safety professionals a perverse incentive to dampen cycle use, rather than improve conditions. (CSR 5.1).
Scotland, in fact, has five national targets for casualty reductions by 2020, although they’re not broken down by mode or rate-based. Provisional figures just released for 2017 suggest that they’ve already been met.
- The Westminster Hall debate, secured by Barry Sheerman MP (chair of PACTS, the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety) is also an interesting insight into road safety round the world.
- The International Transport Forum (ITF) has just issued a report discussing how to measure and improve the safety of cyclists, given that several countries have reported an increase in cyclist fatalities in recent years. Among other things, ITF recommends rate-based performance metrics, along with ambitious targets for reducing KSIs. It also advocates a continuous protected network with particular attention to junctions, and light segregation as a flexible option for extending protected cycling lanes (CSR 1.1).
- The ITF's data show that there are fewer deaths per billion miles cycled in the Netherlands, Norway and Denmark than in any of the sixteen countries listed (8, 8 & 9 per bn km, respectively). The UK comes 9th (21), the USA 15th, (49) and Italy 16th (51).
EU road safety target in jeopardy
The findings of the European Transport Safety Council’s (ETSC) latest road safety report are so disappointing that they’ve led its Executive Director, Antonio Avenoso, to say: “If two passenger planes fell out of the sky every week in Europe, the public and political response would be transformational. And improvements in aviation safety in Europe over the last fifty years have been just that. We now need a matching system-wide approach to road safety.”
The report says that 25,250 people died on EU roads in 2017, representing a drop of only 3% in four years. This puts the EU’s target to halve road fatalities by 2020 in jeopardy - a fall of 6.7% annually is what’s needed to achieve this.
The authors also state that: “The UK, Sweden and the Netherlands have achieved the slowest progress in further reducing road deaths since 2010.”
- ETSC has also recently published a report on improving road death data collection in the EU. One of its recommendations is particularly welcome, i.e. “Improve data linkages between police, health and justice institutions concerning collisions involving injured road users.”
- We too want to see more links between different sets of data in the UK, principally between road casualty statistics and figures from the Ministry of Justice on prosecutions, convictions and sentencing etc. Without this, it is impossible to tell whether the legal system responds differently to different road user groups, either as the accused party or as victims. Attaching a trackable code to each incident recorded by the police is all that’s needed (CSR 5.4).
Global cycling summit closes in Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janeiro has just bid farewell to the European Cycling Federation's (ECF) latest global cycling summit, Velo-city 2018.
The theme this year was 'Access to Life', and attracted presentations on cycle tourism, 'Smart Cities', behaviour change, integrating cycling with public transport, bike sharing, congestion and cargo bikes, to mention only a few.
- You can read up on what happened day-by-day by visiting ECF's website.
Seven schemes share Cycle Ambition fund
The DfT has published details of the seven winning bids to its £6.5 million Cycle Ambition Cities fund.
Selected roundabouts and/or junctions in Bristol, Cambridge, Manchester, Norwich and Birmingham should all become more cycle-friendly as a result, while cyclists will also benefit from a new 6km cycle route along the Calder Valley Corridor, and a ‘green pedalway’ in Norwich.
- Government announcement
- Greenpeace has launched a snappy, simple video showing what five European cities are doing to promote clean transport. This, naturally, includes cycling. Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Oslo, Zürich and Vienna all feature.
£27 million up for grabs for cycling and walking schemes in Scotland
Sustrans Scotland’s Community Links programme, funded by the Scottish Government, has £27 million to award to projects that will make it easier for people to walk and cycle for everyday journeys.
The programme has already supported new segregated cycleways, town-wide active travel strategies and 20 mph schemes. The application portal for this phase (2018/19) closes in March 2019, and is open to organisations including local authorities, housing associations, universities and colleges, national parks and community trusts.
More action needed on Active Travel (Wales) Act, says Committee
The Welsh Assembly's Economy, Infrastructure and Skills Committee has made 24 recommendations on how the Active Travel Act 2013 could bring the walking and cycling revolution in Wales that hasn't happened so far.
"If Wales is to deliver on the promises made in the Act," the Committee's Chair Russell George AM says, "we need to see long established behaviours start to change. It’s time now for the Government to change its own behaviour, show some real leadership and get the Act’s ambitions on its feet and moving."
As the Committee points out, insufficient funding has proved to be one of the most serious obstacles, but the Welsh Government's recent announcement that it's investing £60 million over the next three years to create new active travel routes (amounting to £6.45 per head) is a step in the right direction.
Cycling UK, though, would like to see more emphasis on achieving a healthy balance between capital and revenue funding. We recommend a ratio of 70:30, rising to 80:20 as funding increases (CSR 5.2.3). One of the best ways of reaching this level of revenue funding would be through joint working with other government departments, principally health. Linking up with the Well-being of Future Generations Act (Wales) 2015 would improve the prospects for active travel in Wales too.
Cycling UK to present HS2 petition in July
Cycling UK will be presenting a petition in Parliament against the HS2 rail scheme on 17 July.
Although not opposing the scheme per se, we want high quality conditions for cycling designed into any permanent or temporary changes to highways and rights of way. We also want it to guarantee that all decisions on lorry operators, drivers, vehicle design, routing and lorry cabs will ensure high standards of cycle safety.
In the meantime, we will seek to address our concerns in our ongoing dialogue with both HS2 and DfT.
- More about our views on HS2, with link to our petition.
Bike Week clocks up 95th year
A couple of weeks ago, cycling minister Jesse Norman MP joined Cycling UK to celebrate the launch of Bike Week 2018 at the Dutch Embassy in London. BBC presenter Jeremy Vine was also there, along with a host of other MPs and supporters, senior leaders, and representatives of Raleigh and Halfords. [Photo: MPs Ruth Cadbury & Jesse Norman, with Jeremy Vine and Cycling UK's CEO, Paul Tuohy].
Each year, Bike Week encourages everyday cycling for everyone with hundreds of events across the country, such as family-friendly rides, training, cycle maintenance and bike breakfasts.
Westminster Council scraps Oxford Street plans (and isn't keen on CS11 either)
Westminster Council has dismayed many cyclists by blocking plans to pedestrianise Oxford Street, and it seems that they may be mounting a legal challenge to Cycle Superhighway 11 (CS11) too.
Transport for London is planning to start construction on the section of the latter scheme at the Swiss Cottage gyratory in July, making it much better for cyclists.
Westminster needs to cooperate with the Mayor over pedestrianising Oxford Street, while maintaining through-routes for cyclists on parallel streets and access to the street itself, particularly for cyclists with disabilities.
Policy Director, Cycling UK
- London Cycling Campaign on Oxford Street, and on CS11
- Westminster Council statement on Oxford Street
- Guardian story on CS11
- TfL's CS11 plans
Sunday cycling ban makes no sense to Chichester cyclists
ChiCycle, the local campaign group in Chichester, is finding it hard to believe that the council has decided to extend a ban on cycling in Chichester’s City Pedestrian Precinct.
Originally operating between 09.30 and 17.30 from Monday to Saturday, the prohibition is now set to cover Sundays. The council says the level of trading and number of events have increased “considerably” on Sundays since the original traffic regulation order was made in 1997, and that “… the potential for conflict between cyclists and pedestrians has increased significantly.”
There were more objections (51) than letters of support (17), and ChiCycle says there is no evidence to suggest that the move was in the least necessary. Cycling UK agrees. Indeed, the council says there have been no recorded incidents in the last five years. What bothers them, it appears, is nothing more than “a perceived danger”.
- ChiCycle on the council’s decision
- South Chichester County Local Committee agenda 12 June 2018 (minutes are yet to be published).
City leaders call on Government to tackle pollution
Gathering at a summit on 20 June, city leaders have underlined their own commitment to reducing emissions, and urged the Government to adopt a modern and tougher Clean Air Act.
The summit of city leaders is a huge call for Ministers to act on air pollution. Up till now they have procrastinated and repeatedly ended up in court, when this could so easily have been averted by investing properly in cycling, walking and other healthy and clean transport options.
Policy Director, Cycling UK
The summit was arranged by the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, the think-tank IPPR and the low-emissions local authority group UK 100. The date coincided with the publication of the Government's response to the recent parliamentary inquiry on air quality, conducted jointly by the select committees for health, transport, environment and environmental audit. Unfortunately, the response says little that is new.
E-cargo bikes charge ahead
It seems that the Government is listening more and more attentively to arguments that financial incentives for e-cargo bikes would help reduce emissions for last-mile deliveries.
During a parliamentary debate on 9 May, Jesse Norman said that e-cargo bikes “… have a very important potential public purpose in substituting for diesel-using small vans, especially in urban contexts. We will be looking very closely at that particular issue as part of the wider picture.”
Later in the month, a DfT news story announcing a zero emission vehicle summit in Birmingham in September made mention of “providing grants and/or other financial incentives to support the use of e-cargo bikes.”
Such a move is only fair, given that grants are available for electric vans. Cycling UK also sees delivering goods by bike as a feasible alternative to carrying them into towns and cities by HGV. This would help eliminate one of the most serious risks cyclists and pedestrians face in urban areas (CSR 4.1.3).
For Cycling UK, though, e-bikes are not just about carrying deliveries. They can also help people with health problems or disabilities benefit from cycling, which is why we would like to see the Government support "try before you buy" schemes to offer e-bikes on prescription, or through community initiatives.
- Government announcement
- Parliamentary debate
- Sainsbury’s has been trialling five e-cargo bikes to deliver orders to online customers in South London. Operating out of the Streatham Common store, the bikes should be able to deliver around 100 orders a day, avoid congestion during peak hours by using cycle lanes, and park closer to customers’ homes.
Play Together on Pedals
A unique programme helping pre-school children and their families enjoy the fun and freedom of cycling together has just been launched for Edinburgh.
Funded by Transport Scotland, Play Together on Pedals is a collaborative initiative designed by Cycling Scotland, Cycling UK and Play Scotland to engage children and their families in cycling activities.
- Play Together on Pedals.
- Impressive results of a pilot project, also in Edinburgh, that allows streets to be closed to motor traffic so that children can play outside have persuaded the council to adopt it as policy. According to a local paper, cycling is certainly part of the fun.
Cycling Without Age
A cycling project to help elderly people stay active and keep socialising is being rolled out across Scotland following a pilot scheme in Falkirk.
With £300,000 from the Scottish Government, Cycling Without Age will be encouraging volunteers to take older people out for bike rides, using specially designed ‘trishaws’.
Short film shows construction companies how to reduce lorry danger
CEMEX UK and the road crash victims’ charity, RoadPeace, have released a short film encouraging construction companies to reduce the risk that lorries pose to vulnerable road users.
It advocates the Cycle Logistics and Community Safety standard (CLOCS), an industry-led project designed to protect vulnerable road users who share the roads with construction vehicles. (CSR 4.1.5).
The EU paves way for safer vehicles
On 17 May, the European Commission (EC) published proposals to update the General Safety and Pedestrian Safety Regulations to ensure that modern safety features on vehicles are fitted as standard, rather than as options.
The proposals include, inter alia:
- Intelligent speed assistance (ISA) to help drivers keep to speed limits;
- Autonomous emergency braking systems that detect pedestrians and cyclists as well as other motor vehicles;
- Event (accident) data recorders (‘black boxes’) to record collision details;
- Better direct vision for large vehicles.
Given that these are all measures that Cycling UK called for when responding to the EC’s consultation on the revision of the regulations in 2017, we are urging the Government to get behind them. (CSR 4.3).
MPs call on Government to fill road maintenance funding hole
Earlier this year, we revealed that 156 local highway authorities between them spent at least £43.3 million dealing with compensation claims and legal costs due to potholes (2013-2017).
These figures, which we uncovered from Freedom of Information (FOI) requests, were recently cited in a parliamentary debate on road maintenance by Ruth Cadbury MP, who also pointed out that while potholes may spell cost, inconvenience and sometimes a delay to motorists, they are “a severe risk to life and limb for people riding bikes”.
MPs present also mentioned: the need to avoid ‘short-termism’ on maintenance (patching, rather than repairing a whole road); shoddy repair by utility companies; and the dire need for more central funding for councils. (CSR 1.1.7).
The Government repeatedly argue that this is a local council issue and that it is down to local councils to allocate more money. How are they to allocate money they do not have?
Yasmin Qureshi, MP, who secured the debate.
- Parliamentary debate
- Cycling UK FOI results
- On 19 June, the Lords also debated road maintenance, raising similar questions about inadequate funding and quoting Cycling UK's finding that over half of people say that they would cycle more if they were not so worried about the state of our roads.
How not to frighten the horses
Cycling UK has been working closely with the British Horse Society on an education campaign to improve interaction between cyclists and horse riders.
This is especially timely following the far too close and fast overtakes that a horse rider recorded during the Windsor Triathlon, and then posted on Facebook.
Given all of Cycling UK’s efforts to increase awareness of the dangers of overtaking cyclists too closely, it’s frustrating that these people did not pause to think about the consequences of their own actions on other vulnerable road users.
Head of Campaigns, Cycling UK
We’re looking to launch our joint advice in the summer months.
Major review for NCN
Sustrans has announced a major review of the National Cycle Network (NCN) to help identify new routes and missing links, and propose a long-term strategy for governance, funding, maintenance, promotion and mapping.
Road injuries in the National Travel Survey: under-reporting and inequalities in injury risk
By Rachel Aldred
Report showing that official road casualty statistics pick up on only a fifth of injuries sustained on Britain’s roads because so many are not reported to the police. The greatest disparity between self-reported and police data, though, shows up among cyclists, whose injuries mostly result from collisions involving motor vehicles, and are slight.
The authors suggest that: “This high toll of unreported injuries involving motor vehicles can help explain why people think that cycling is particularly risky in Britain.”
The results of the research were based on an analysis of National Travel Survey (NTS) data – which asks respondents to tell them about road traffic incidents – and casualty statistics drawn from police collision records (STATS 19). Most incidents appearing in NTS data were never reported to the police, with the majority treated (if at all) outside a hospital.
Cycling injury risk in London: A case-control study exploring the impact of cycle volumes, motor vehicle volumes, and road characteristics including speed limits
By Rachel Aldred, Anna Goodman, John Gulliver and James Woodcock
An analysis of a case-control study of cycling injuries in London in 2013–2014, using modelled cyclist flow data alongside datasets covering some characteristics of the London route network.
- suggest that higher volumes of motor traffic are associated with the higher odds of injury;
- 20 mph speed limits are associated with lower injury odds than 30 mph;
- residential streets are associated with reduced injury odds, and junctions with substantially higher injury odds;
- bus lanes do not affect injury odds once other factors are controlled for.
Cycling – What works? (Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe))
By Alan Rehfisch
A briefing identifying which public sector policy and infrastructure interventions are most effective at getting commuters to cycle.
Recommends nine measures, including:
- strong pro-cycling political and official leadership;
- seeing cycling as a legitimate transport choice;
- comprehensive networks, clear design standards and reallocation of road and parking space;
- discouraging driving in city and town centres;
- land use planning policies encouraging compact development; and
- sustained cycle promotion targeting people from all parts of society.
The Value of the Cycling Sector to the British Economy: A Scoping Study
Carey Newson and Lynn Sloman (Transport Quality for Life)
Commissioned by the Bicycle Association, this report is the first in a series aiming to develop the evidence base on the bicycle industry's contribution to Britain’s industrial strategy.
Drawing on existing data, and making some broad provisional calculations, it estimates that cycling currently contributes a minimum of £5.4 billion a year, with the larger share coming from wider impacts (particularly loss of life, reduced pollution and congestion). Products bring in £0.76bn, and tourism a further £0.5 billion). Also, around 64,000 jobs in the UK are cycle-related.
In sum, the cycling sector is more than three times larger than that of the steel industry and employs approximately twice as many people; and every time a new bike is sold in the UK (every ten seconds or so), it averages a value of £1,800 to the economy.
As the authors point out, if we meet the Government’s target to double cycling by 2025, we’d see even greater returns.
Integrating Urban Public Transport Systems and Cycling (International Transport Forum)
A report examining the benefits and challenges of integrating cycling and walking with bus, bus rapid transit, light rail, metro and rail. It recommends better design for interchange stations, adequate bike parking, and improving the integration of ticketing and information systems.
Women: reducing the gender gap (Sustrans)
Report detailing women’s travel habits, views and attitudes towards cycling in seven major ‘Bike Life’ cities in the UK.
Highlights women’s positive attitude towards cycling - over two-thirds say their city would be a better place to live and work if more people cycled - but that almost three quarters never ride a bike for local journeys, and twice as many men as women (24% and 12% respectively) currently ride a bike at least once a week.
By Prashant Kumar (et al)
Having monitored exposure to particular matter (PM) along commuting routes in Guildford, Surrey, the authors of this paper found that the mean concentrations of coarse particles (PM2.5-10) followed the trend: bus > walk > cycle > car. In contrast, mean concentrations of submicron (PM1) and fine particles (PM2.5) were usually high in the car while lowest for cyclists.
However, levels of physical activity influence breathing rates, meaning that the ‘respiratory deposition doses’ of coarse particles were largest for pedestrians, followed by bus users and cyclists, and then car users. For fine particles, walking and cycling were about the same, and more than buses and cars.
The authors conclude that increasing the distance between pedestrians/cyclists and heavily trafficked roads could be the solution. Cycling UK, of course, would like to see as many motor vehicles replaced by walking and cycling as possible, thus reducing the source of the particles in the first place. Also, studies have shown that the health benefits of cycling still outweigh the risks, even when air pollution is factored in.
Published in Climate and Atmospheric Science.
Cycling safety focus groups: call for participants
Steven Cammiss, a lecturer in law at the University of Leicester, is currently conducting research on vulnerable road users and the enforcement of road traffic offences.
As part of this, he is holding focus groups with cyclists to discuss attitudes to cycling, road safety, and the adequacy of the police's response.
He is seeking participants for focus groups in Leicester (25 June & 2 July) and Durham (10 August).
Ethical approval has been granted for the research. Funding has also been secured, so a small incentive will be offered to anyone who participates (the amount and form has yet to be decided). You do not need to have been involved in an incident; the researchers are seeking views on perceptions of road safety, not necessarily on actual incidents/prosecutions. Finally, when the research is published, participants will not be named; anonymity is guaranteed.
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.
Month of July, plus celebration on 30 June (Manchester)
Cycling UK's second month-long festival celebrating the cycling that women already do, and encouraging more of it. With rides and events all over the country.
Also honours the contributions that another hundred women have made to promoting the activity to others.
A few places are still available for our celebration in Manchester (Saturday 30 June). The theme of the day is ‘Cycle Liberation’ #cyclelib, the perfect opportunity for inspirational women from across the UK, including entrepreneurs, campaigners, mechanics, volunteer ride leaders, instructors, adventurers and cycling enthusiasts to come together to network with and learn from each other. There will also be fascinating workshops and an led optional ride. Book here.
Headlines: Cycling UK responds to DfT's call for evidence on cycle safety; Small claims - no small matter for cyclists.
Other stories: Why no road safety targets, MPs ask? EU road safety target in jeopardy; Global cycling summit closes in Rio de Janeiro; Seven schemes share Cycle Ambition fund; £27 million up for grabs for cycling and walking schemes in Scotland; More action needed on Active Travel (Wales) Act, says Committee; Cycling UK to present HS2 petition in July; Bike Week clocks up 95th year; Westminster Council scraps Oxford Street plans (and isn't keen on CS11 either); Sunday cycling ban makes no sense to Chichester cyclists; City leaders call on Government to tackle pollution; E-cargo bikes charge ahead; Play Together on Pedals; Cycling Without Age; Short film shows construction companies how to reduce lorry danger; The EU paves way for safer vehicles; MPs call on Government to fill road maintenance funding hole; How not to frighten the horses; Major review for NCN.
New publications: Road injuries in the National Travel Survey - under-reporting and inequalities in injury risk (Dr Rachel Aldred, University of Westminster); Cycling injury risk in London - A case-control study exploring the impact of cycle volumes, motor vehicle volumes, and road characteristics including speed limits (academic paper); Cycling – What works? (Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe)); The Value of the Cycling Sector to the British Economy - A Scoping Study; Integrating Urban Public Transport Systems and Cycling (International Transport Forum); Women - reducing the gender gap (Sustrans); Dynamics of coarse and fine particle exposure in transport microenvironments (academic paper).
Diary dates: Cycling safety focus groups, call for participants - 25 June & 2 July (Leicester), 10 August (Durham); 6th Annual Cycle City Active City - 28-29 June (Manchester); Women's Festival of Cycling - month of July.