Cycle campaign news September 2020
Cycle campaign news September 2020
Another month, and yet another change to the context of cycle campaigning across our four nations.
As we return to a world of increasing coronavirus related lockdowns, comedian Dara Ó Brian has insightfully summed up the situation as “we now seem to have all the existential dread of lockdown, but the traffic of non-lockdown”.
Local authorities that have made changes such as Low Traffic Networks or, in England as a result of the Emergency Active Travel Fund, are now coming under pressure to roll back changes.
Yet, as this newsletter goes to press it’s Bike to School Week, and we’re encouraging parents to get their kids on bikes. The emphasis has to be on positive engagement with councillors and officers, for our voices to sing louder than the dissenters’ discord.
Can we better support people to raise their voices? Yes, we CAN.
Campaigns news editor
This week sees the launch of Cycling UK’s Cycle Advocacy Network (CAN) – if you’re reading Campaigns News, this one’s for you.
CAN builds on the achievements of the old Right-to-Ride network, and this month’s Campaigns News editor describes it as a ‘sturdy new configuration that embraces the expertise, wisdom, and know-how of seasoned cycling campaigners, along with the inexperienced willingness of Johnny-come-latelies like me. And everyone in-between’. The resources and toolkit are available to anyone and everyone to use.
Campaigners have written to the Prime Minister urging him to act, as fears grow that the promised ‘Golden Age of Cycling’ could fall victim to government delay and the perception of anti-cycling sentiment.
Cycling UK is urging cyclists to fight back against ‘bikelash’ by writing positive letters to local papers in support of cycle lanes and other measures. Use our helpful fact-file to quickly make the best case.
As the government calls for evidence as part of the Road Policing Review, a recent survey by Cycling UK revealed disastrously low confidence in the police’s ability to deal with evidenced reports of dangerous driving around cyclists.
Cycling UK will be responding to the review in full in due course, but if you’ve had first-hand experience of dealing with roads police in England or Wales following a dangerous driving incident, we’d strongly encourage you to make a personal response.
Open letter in support of Low Traffic Neighbourhoods
Approximately 130 organisations have signed an open letter supporting Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTNs) as local communities argue for and against the changes.
The Leader of Ealing Council has narrowly survived a ‘no-confidence’ vote over his handling of the introduction of new LTNs. Meanwhile, an Edinburgh campaigner has published a spirited defense and the city council is on course to introduce its first LTN.
LTNs are aimed at retaining access to residential streets for the people who live there, while blocking rat-running drivers aiming to avoid main roads.
Northern Ireland Infrastructure Minister announces Greenway Projects funding
Nicola Mallon has announced a £2.8million funding investment package towards the development of six greenway projects. Four council areas will benefit, with each aiming to start work during this financial year.
However, the government funding only covers 50% of each project, with councils required to produce business cases in order to secure part funding for the remaining 50%.
Welsh Government appoint new Chair to Active Travel Board
The appointment of Dafydd Trystan as the new Chair of Wales’ Active Travel Board is welcomed by Gwenda Owen, Cycling UK’s engagement officer for Wales.
The Board exists to ensure the Welsh Government delivers on its commitments under the Active Travel Act.
Gwenda said, "With Dafydd in place, and given the remit of his role, I’m confident that the Active Travel Board will be much better placed to ensure that the potential of the Active Travel Act is realised."
Scotland funding: £39m spent, £500m promised. Is it enough?
The Scottish Government's recent Programme for Government included a £500m funding commitment for cycling and walking.
The announcement is a positive long-term commitment to consistently spend money on active travel, but Jim Densham, Cycling UK’s campaigns and policy manager for scotland, argues that this post-coronavirus budget is equal to the pre-coronavirus budget, and does not reflect the new reality we find ourselves living in.
Poorer people and ethnic minorities live further from UK green spaces – study
They show that 11 million people in England live in areas categorised as having the lowest level of green space, with less than nine square metres of public green space per person, few gardens, and 75% of residents having to walk more than five minutes to find larger green areas.
Bike to School Week
Cycle routes to schools must be made safer for children to end the school run menace blighting schools and pupils, Cycling UK is urging at the launch of this year’s Bike to School Week.
Nearly half of all primary school children and almost a quarter of secondary school children are driven to school, causing a triple whammy of “pollution, congestion and danger”.
Meanwhile only two per cent of children in England cycled to school in 2019 – a figure that has remained largely static for the last 25 years.