Cycle Campaign News October 2017
Cycle Campaign News October 2017
From the Editor
Welcome to our round-up of cycle campaigning news for October.
Amongst other things, we look at a possible shift towards banning bad drivers more often and for longer from the road; the forthcoming two-phase review of cycling offences and safety; and a scene-setting Space for Cycling campaign win in Portsmouth (Headlines).
Also, we weren't at all surprised to read that the Local Sustainable Transport Fund (England), which closed in 2015, was money well spent. Another such fund would be very welcome, we say. Plus, we've recognised West Midlands police officers with a special award for their Operation Close Pass (Other stories).
Finally, now’s the time to have your campaigning zeal reinforced and refreshed. Book your place at the Cycling UK/Cyclenation conference, hosted in Oxford by Cyclox, on 10 and 11 November (see Diary dates for more).
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Changing times for driving and cycling offences?
At the end of last year, the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) consulted on ‘Driving offences and penalties relating to causing death or serious injury’, and has now published its response to the feedback.
It’s good news that the MoJ wants to look seriously at disqualification, but we’d like to see this backed up with a clear commitment and timescale. Prison, we say, is not always the answer, whereas the greater use of longer and life driving bans gets bad drivers off the road and works as an effective deterrent.
We believe, however, that the scope of the MoJ’s consultation was too limited in the first place, and that we still need a much wider review of how the justice system deals with the mistakes, carelessness, recklessness and deliberately dangerous behaviour by road users. This needs to include reviewing the legal distinction between 'careless' and 'dangerous' driving.
We have also argued that it would be nonsensical for the Department for Transport (DfT) to carry out a rushed review of cycling offences in isolation from whatever the MoJ does on driving offences.
The review of cycling offences is, essentially, a reaction to the conviction and sentencing of cyclist Charlie Alliston for “wanton and furious driving”, following a fatal collision with pedestrian Kim Briggs in London last year. It forms phase one of a two-part exercise, with phase two focusing on the wider aspects of cycling safety.
According to the MoJ, the legislation they’re thinking of introducing following its consultation on driving offences and penalties “… will take account of, and incorporate, the review of cycle safety.” We're hoping this proves a good chance to call for measures that will result in more and safer cycling, again with the support of our allies amongst walking and cycling groups. We also want it to look at the overlaps between pedestrian and cycle safety.
In other words, it needs to focus on tackling dangerous roads, drivers and vehicles, not helmets and generally deterring people from cycling.
- Cycling UK news story
- The MoJ consultation and press release
- Sentencing for dangerous driving involving death was debated recently in the House of Commons. MPs cited cases of bereaved families who feel severely let down by the justice system, and looked at the courts’ reluctance to impose the maximum sentence currently available, even when most people would consider it to be justified. They didn't discuss disqualifications, however, and the need to take dangerous drivers off the road. Read the debate.
- Cycling offences and safety review announcement (further details are forthcoming)
Portsmouth Council backs Space for Cycling
On Tuesday 17 October 2017, Portsmouth Council passed a motion committing it to plan a comprehensive network of high quality cycleways and allocate a minimum of 10% of the local transport budget to ensure cycle routes are built.
The motion, based on a draft Cycling UK motion and taken to the council by the Portsmouth Cycle Forum, was tabled by Liberal Democrat Councillors Hugh Mason and Matthew Winnington. Encouragingly, both the Labour and Conservative groups tabled amendments to make it even stronger.
We hope the move will set a good example for other councils to follow.
- Read more on this story in Tom Guha’s latest Space for Cycling blog.
- The National Infrastructure Commission has called for further investment in high-quality cycle networks, and this is welcome news, but we still need the Government to shift its transport funding priorities towards local solutions that involve walking and cycling. Read our commentary.
Cycling UK celebrates West Midlands Police's close pass campaign
Cycling UK has presented a special award to West Midlands Police for Operation Close Pass, a campaign that targets drivers who don’t give cyclists enough room. Officers invented a mat to demonstrate safe overtaking distances, an idea that Cycling UK has since rolled out nationally.
The two officers involved, PC Mark Hodson and PC Steve Hudson, received their award from former cycling world champion Chris Boardman MBE, who's recently been appointed Greater Manchester Cycling and Walking Commissioner (see main photo above).
Thousands sign up to Trails for Wales
Our Trails for Wales campaign has gone from strength to strength, with over 8,000 supporters taking online action to urge the Welsh Government to open up more of the countryside for cycling. They were responding to an official consultation on the sustainable management of natural resources (now closed), and it looks as if they sent in around two thirds of the feedback. Our thanks if you were amongst them.
- Trails for Wales is a campaign from Cycling UK and OpenMTB. Both are members of Outdoor Access Wales, a multi-faceted alliance working on the case for more access to the Welsh outdoors for a wide range of activities, from cycling to caving.
- See our Trails for Wales webpage for updates on progress.
'Car dooring' conviction appeal fails
Farook Yusuf Bhikhu, the taxi driver convicted of permitting the ‘car dooring’ which led to the death of cyclist Sam Boulton, has had his appeal rejected by Leicester Crown Court.
Bhikhu was convicted of the offence of ‘car dooring’ in June, and fined £955. Now that he’s lost his appeal, a further cost of £300 has been awarded against him.
Both Cycling UK and Sam’s family want to see more public awareness on the dangers of car dooring, and the Government to introduce a new offence of ‘causing serious injury or death by car dooring’, with tougher penalties. Currently, we feel that it is trivialised as a minor offence.
Road casualty reports out for 2016
Two sets of reported road casualties for 2016 have just come out, one for Great Britain, the other covering Scotland alone.
For Great Britain:
- At 1,792, the road death toll was 4% up on 2015, higher than any other year since 2011. While this is 44% less than in 2006, road safety campaigners feel more needs to be done to keep fatality and injury figures on the decline, particularly as the main beneficiaries so far have been people in motor vehicles rather than vulnerable road users.
- 102 cyclists died, a very similar figure to each year since 2008. 3,397 were seriously injured, 5% up on 2015, and 10% above the 2010-2014 average (some of this could be due to a change in the systems some police forces use for recording serious injuries, however).
- Looking at rates rather than numbers, around 30 cyclists died per billion miles in 2015, as opposed to 31 in 2015. The rate of serious injury seems to have dropped very slightly too – 984 per billion miles in 2016; 997 in 2015. As cycle traffic grew by 6% between 2015 and 2016, at least this looks like positive news for the idea that 'more' and 'safer' cycling can, and should, go hand-in-hand, a key message of Cycling UK's 'Safety in Numbers' campaign (link below).
- In 2016, mile for mile (all areas), pedestrians were more likely to be killed than cyclists (35.4 deaths per billion miles, as opposed to 29.5). The record for pedestrians, in fact, is of increasing concern. In 2016, 448 pedestrians were killed, a 10% increase on 2015, and 6% up on the 2010-2014 average.
As the GB report above notes, about half the increase in overall fatalities happened in Scotland (162 in 2015). Serious injuries have gone up too.
The Transport Minister for Scotland called the total “disappointing”, but said: “Through continued education, enforcement and engineering, we are well placed to progress in the right direction towards our targets, making Scotland’s roads safer for everyone."
In 2016, eight cyclists were killed and 148 seriously injured (the average for 2012-16 was nine and 158 respectively; for 2004-08, nine and 134). In 2016, cycles were involved in 0.47 KSI incidents as opposed to 0.54 in 2015 (the 2012-16 average was 0.52 and, for 2004-08, 0.61). Since 2010, cycle traffic volume in Scotland has risen by c12%.
- GB road casualty report
- Scotland road casualty report
- Cycling UK article on the latest GB figures
- Cycling UK's Safety in Numbers campaign
- The Government's Programme for Scotland 2017-18, published in September, sets out a commitment to “… build an Active Nation, boosting investment in walking and cycling and putting active travel at the heart of our transport planning.”
Drink drive law turns 50
It’s now fifty years since the Government introduced the maximum legal drink drive limit.
Demonstrating how effective it is to back up legislation with strong enforcement and public awareness campaigns, drink driving deaths have fallen from 1,640 to 200 per year. Road safety campaigners, including Cycling UK, believe the Government should go further by reducing the limit from 80mg of alcohol per 100 ml of blood to 50mg (as in Scotland), and reversing the decline in roads policing.
- Government press release
- To mark 50 years of the breathalyser, PACTS (the Parliamentary Advisory Committee for Transport Safety), has released a report looking at the campaign's history. They note that, in fact, there's been little or no change in drink drive road deaths over the last few years, and declining enforcement is a growing problem. More roads policing, they say, is vital. Read PACTS report.
Local Sustainable Transport Fund was money well spent
In a report on the impact of the Local Sustainable Transport Fund (LSTF, England, 2011-2015), the Department for Transport says: “The programme was successful in achieving its objectives, particularly in relation to the local economy, carbon emissions, wider social and economic benefits, and physical activity. There was less direct evidence of its impacts on air quality or road safety, although both may have benefited to some degree.”
Also, in the LSTF's 'Large Project' areas, car use fell, and the proportion of adults who cycled increased by 6.6 percentage points relative to the comparator group.
So why not launch another fund, we say?
The LSTF was the biggest-ever competitive funding programme for sustainable transport initiatives in England, distributing £540 million in grants over 2011-15 to 12 ‘Large’ and 84 ‘Small’ projects, and boosted to c.£1 billion by Bikeability and local funding.
E-bike subsidy for Sweden
The Swedish Government’s 2018 budget includes a 25% subsidy for all e-bike sales until 2020, thanks to strong lobbying by the cyclists’ association Cykelfrämjandet. It would be good to see the British Government doing likewise. See Campaign for Better Transport's campaign.
- ECF news story
- Encouragingly, in a recent Guardian interview, DfT minister Jesse Norman MP was receptive to the idea of subsidising e-bikes in UK.
Sharing the Road report proves divisive
A report from Halfords, some of it based on a YouGov survey, caught the attention of both the pro- and anti-cycling media recently for mentioning that 59% of respondents ‘back the introduction of number plates for cyclists’. Unfortunately, the authors of 'Sharing the Road' didn’t point out the huge impracticalities and costs of such a scheme, and the extra barriers it would inevitably put in the way of the healthy activity of cycling.
Head of Campaigns and Advocacy at Cycling UK, Duncan Dollimore, said: “Given the uneven tone of the current debate on cycling, it was perhaps optimistic to expect this survey would be a constructive addition to the discussion.”
Air pollution latest:
- The Healthy Air Campaign has launched a new initiative called Help Britain Breathe. It focuses on raising awareness and driving action on air pollution across the UK, and will gather resources in one place and team up individuals with local groups in their communities. Cycling UK is a supporter.
- Core Cities UK, a band of cities promoting a stronger, fairer economy and society, have stated publicly that the Government’s latest Plan for Air Quality lacks resources, is too focused on a one-size-fits-all approach and has an overly optimistic view of current air quality data. The cities involved are: Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham and Sheffield.
- The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has released new research revealing that: every area of London exceeds recommended guidelines for PM2.5; and 7.9 million Londoners live in areas exceeding World Health Organisation’s air quality guidelines by at least 50%.
- Demonstrating how seriously the medical profession views the threat of pollution, a new Lancet Commission is dedicated to raising global awareness, end neglect of pollution-related disease, and mobilise the resources and the political will needed to effectively confront pollution. Amongst its recommendations are: supporting city-level initiatives to encourage active transport; rewarding walking and cycling; and minimising the use of motorised transport.
Public Bike Share Users Survey Results 2017 (Bikeplus)
The results of the second UK-wide survey of public bike share, conducted by Bikeplus. Shows how popular such schemes are with women, and that they are getting people out of their cars:
- Around two-fifths of people riding shared bikes are women;
- Almost a quarter of women using the scheme started or re-started cycling (after a gap of at least five years); and over two-fifths started riding more as a result;
- 40% of those using bike share combine it with the train for the same journey; and 25% combine it with the bus;
- 23% chose bike share instead of a car for their most frequent trip.
Understanding the Impact of Commuting on People’s Lives (UWE Bristol)
By Kiron Chatterjee et al
The findings of a study which assessed how commuting impacts on the lives of a 26,000-strong representative sample of workers in England. Suggest that:
- Cycling to work increases leisure time satisfaction and is associated with better self-reported health;
- Women suffer more than men from lack of leisure time, but an active commute (walking, cycling) is found to help with this;
- Working from home, walking to work and shorter commute times increase job satisfaction, and shorter commute times make it more likely that an employee will stay with their job.
For employers, the authors say, this means that job satisfaction can be improved if workers have opportunities to reduce their time spent commuting, to work from home, and/or to walk or cycle to work.
Summary and full report available.
30 - 31 October 2017, Glasgow
An event for professionals, campaigners, volunteers and national and local politicians to share experiences, learn from each other and network to help support cycling in Scotland and beyond.
Monday offers study tours in Glasgow and a civic reception, while the conference takes place on Tuesday, with plenaries and breakout sessions.
9 November, 7.30-9.30, Edinburgh
Autumn public meeting organised by Spokes, the Lothian Cycle Campaign.
Features top speakers from Edinburgh and the three Lothians Councils, to help explore:
- Policies and plans for cycling as a form of transport
- Working together on cross-boundary cycling issues
- Taking advantage of the doubling of active travel funding recently announced by the Scottish Government
- What all four councils together can learn from each other
A major exhibition of Spokes's 40-year history, with posters describing each decade – and looking into the future - will be on display at the meeting, from 6.45pm.
Shifting Gear: A radical change for cycling
Friday 10 November 2017: 10.00am – 5.00pm, a day tailored towards local authorities
Saturday 11 November 2017: 10.30am – 5.30pm, a day tailored towards local campaigners
Cyclenation-Cycling UK Autumn Conference, hosted by Cyclox, the Oxford Cycling Campaign.
The two-day event will feature a range of keynote speakers, including Cycling UK’s Policy Director, Roger Geffen; design and sustainable transport expert, Lynn Sloman; and cycling tsar and former cycling commissioner for London, Andrew Gilligan.
The emphasis, though, will be on discussion and debate across a wide range of workshops, including: inclusive cycling, funding, changing travel behaviour, workplace cycling initiatives, Bikeability, effective campaigning, social media, the application of cycling research, and the role of cargo bikes and e-bikes in urban environments.
Cycling + Walking Innovations 2017 (DfT / Landor LINKS)
21 November, London
A conference, exhibition and networking event for transport professionals, focusing on:
- Using innovation & technology to boost walking and cycling levels
- Showcasing how local authorities can best work with investors, the private sector and academia to harness innovation
- Case studies from innovation fund winners
Headlines: Changing times for driving and cycling offences?; Portsmouth Council backs Space for Cycling; Cycling UK celebrates police close pass campaign.
Other stories: Thousands sign up to Trails for Wales; 'Car dooring' conviction appeal fails; Road casualty reports out for 2016; Drink drive law turns 50; LSTF was money well spent; E-bike subsidy for Sweden; Sharing the Road proves divisive; Air pollution latest.
New publications: Public Bike Share Users Survey Results 2017 (Bikeplus); Understanding the Impact of Commuting on People's Lives (UWE Bristol).
Diary dates: Cycling Scotland Conference (30 - 31 October, Glasgow); Cycling Plans in the New Councils (Spokes's autumn public meeting, 9 November, Edinburgh); Shifting Gear - a radical change for cycling (10 & 11 November, Oxford); Cycling + Walking Innovations (21 November, London).