Cycle campaign news November 2021
Cycle campaign news November 2021
We’re entering the season of calendars and chocolate (or pork scratchings).
In some traditions, Advent is a time to reflect on difficult journeys and hopeful waiting. Not ‘naively optimistic’ hope; more the gritty, jaw-setting, ‘a change is gonna come’ sort.
In November, we’ve seen some inklings that the difficult journey might just be worthwhile – all three headline stories below offer glimmers of hope - but there’s also a sense that we’ll be waiting a little longer yet for the changes we want to see.
This little donkey is made of steel, so saddle up for a summary of November’s news.
Plus breaking news, head of campaigns Duncan Dollimore explains what’s good and what could have been better in the new Highway Code rules laid before Parliament on Wednesday, 1 December.
Campaign News editor
Don’t stop post-COP
November started with COP26 in Glasgow. Before the conference began, Cycling UK highlighted that cycling had been excluded from the agenda in favour of discussion on electric vehicles and charging points.
Ahead of Transport Day, Cycling UK joined with hundreds of other organisations in signing an open letter to government leaders at COP26 calling for cycling to be recognised. Finally, a last-minute intervention by a delegate from the EU saw recognition of the role of active travel included in the text.
Jim Densham, Cycling UK’s campaigns and policy manager for Scotland has written up his thoughts about what COP26 achieved for cycling .
Now that COP26 is over, Cycling UK is shifting campaigning focus from global to local. Join us and use our online tool to send a letter to your council’s transport lead (or MLA in Northern Ireland) and ask them what they're doing to enable more people to cycle and reduce transport emissions.
Government finally thinking about tackling road injustice
Seven years after promising to review road traffic offences and penalties, the government says it's finally considering a 'call for evidence'.
A debate in the House of Commons on Monday 15 November was held in response to two parliamentary petitions; 'Tougher sentences for hit and run drivers who cause death' and; 'Ryan's Law: Widen definition of 'death by dangerous driving' - both of which had been launched by the bereaved families of young men who had been killed by 'hit-and-run' drivers.
At the end of debate, transport minister Andrew Stephenson MP said that the Department for Transport is considering conducting a call for evidence on parts of the Road Traffic Act.
In his report of the debate, Cycling UK’s policy director, Roger Geffen concludes “The government may only have moved a few millimetres, but the door is definitely now ajar.”
Cycling UK takes council to court over decision to remove cycle lane
A court date is now set for Cycling UK’s judicial review of West Sussex County Council’s decision to remove a popular cycle lane in Shoreham, West Sussex.
On 25 and 26 January 2022, the High Court will have the opportunity to rule whether the council’s decision to remove the cycle lane on the Upper Shoreham Road was unlawful.
That decision was made on 3 November 2020, even though the cycle lane was only installed at the end of September 2020 through government funding to enable more people to walk and cycle.
During its short lifetime ,the lane was used for over 30,000 cycle trips, serving five schools along its length. It also featured in a government publicity video highlighting the community benefits of the new cycle lanes introduced during lockdown in 2020.
Cycling UK is relying on crowdsourced funding through its Cyclist Defence Fund (CDF) for its legal challenge and is asking for donations to cover the costs for the trial and to support CDF’s wider work.
Trails for Wales: Access reform recommendations “disappointing”
Natural Resources Wales has just published its report outlining options for improving access in Wales, which the Welsh Government committed to do in 2019 following Cycling UK and OpenMTB’s long-running Trails for Wales campaign.
Cycling UK’s off-road campaigns officer, Sophie Gordon explains why the recommendations are disappointing .
Mallon launches public consultation on Road Safety Strategy for Northern Ireland to 2030
On 15 November, Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon launched a public consultation on a new proposed Road Safety Strategy for Northern Ireland.
The consultation invites views on the proposed approach to road safety until 2030 and the issues and priorities that need to be addressed. Responses can be made online, and the consultation closes on 10 January 2022.
Any use of hand-held mobile phones while driving to become illegal
The Department for Transport has announced a clamp down on motorists who use hand-held phones whilst at the wheel. It will be illegal to use a hand-held mobile phone while driving under virtually any circumstance.
It is already illegal to text or make a phone call (other than in an emergency) using a hand-held device while driving. Next year, laws will go further to ban drivers from using their phones to take photos or videos, scroll through playlists or play games. This will mean anyone caught using their hand-held device while driving will face a £200 fixed penalty notice and 6 points on their licence. These laws will be for England, Wales and Scotland.
Local Campaigners win: Judicial review supports Poole’s Keyhole Bridge group
The Keyhole Bridge Group successfully campaigned for a judicial review after council reopened a bridge in Poole to rat running motor vehicle traffic, making it more dangerous for people cycling and walking.
On 18 November, a court decision was made in the group’s favour. Cycling UK has welcomed the outcome of the judicial review into the decision by Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole (BCP). The bridge was previously closed to motor traffic making it safer for people cycling, walking and using the park during the pandemic.
Lockdowns improved air quality in polluted parts of Cardiff
On 20 November the South Wales Argus reported that new data has revealed exactly how much lockdowns improved air quality in some of the most polluted parts of Cardiff.
Last year saw traffic across Cardiff drop by 28 per cent compared to 2019, and by 38 per cent in the city centre.
Fewer people driving due to lockdowns, working from home and the shops being shut, meant much less harmful air pollutants being emitted. While traffic levels are now increasing again, Cardiff council has major plans to keep air pollution levels falling, and is investing in a huge upgrade of 50 new air quality monitors.
COP26: write to your council’s cabinet member for transport
Ask them what they’re doing to enable more people to cycle, and that they grasp this opportunity to help tackle climate change.
International decisions have been taken in Glasgow, but they aren’t the decisions which are going to make cycling safer and more accessible where you live – only local politicians have that power.
That’s why we must now maintain this momentum and shift our focus to the local levers of change.
Consultation on Road Safety Strategy for Northern Ireland to 2030
The Department for Infrastructure has launched a public consultation on a new proposed Road Safety Strategy for Northern Ireland.
The consultation - ending 10 January 2022 - invites views on the proposed approach to road safety until 2030 and the issues and priorities that need to be addressed.
Help fix our failing road traffic laws
Cycling UK is calling on the Government to fix our failing traffic laws by amending the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, which is currently passing through Parliament. You can help, by asking your MP to write to the Minister.
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.
If you’ve ever spoken up for cycling, tried to influence your local council, or cycled your child to school, you're already a cycling champion.
Add your name to our growing community and receive information about upcoming events in the Cycle Advocacy Network (CAN); including webinars and workshops, surgery advice sessions, and campaign action suggestions that will help you build momentum locally.
Making friends and influencing people - Active Travel and Local Access Forums
We are speaking up for cycling, and other people often understandably want to use the same routes as cyclists. This session looks at how to forge constructive links with walkers, horse riders, disabled ramblers and landowners.
Working lunches: local campaigning for 2022
We're making plans for local campaigns in preparation for next May's local elections. In these online meetings we'll outline our initial thoughts and invite your feedback and suggestions.
Wales: Tues 7 December, 1-2pm
Scotland: Weds 8 December, 1-2pm
England: Thur 9 December, 1-2pm
Surgery session - December - Cycle Advocacy Network
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.
All our forthcoming events can be found on the Cycle Advocacy Network page.