Test Campaign News April 2017

Cyclists in Sheffield ride for Space for Cycling. Photo: Sam Wakeling
Space for Cycling ride, Sheffield, April 2017

Test Campaign News April 2017

Cycling UK's monthly round-up of cycle campaign news:

From the Editor

Two years in the offing, the Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy (CWIS) for England made it to the Government announcement finishing line on 21 April, just in time for the ‘purdah’ cut-off imposed by the General Election. Its appearance is testament to the stamina of the small team of Department for Transport (DfT) officials behind it.

Apart from its vision, which we absolutely support, the promise of CWIS lies mainly in the contribution it could make to better cycling infrastructure, as long as local councils commit to investing in it (see 'Headlines'). 

In other news, a variety of local elections is only just over a week away, and we and our allies have been pressing as many candidates as possible to sign up to cycling. In areas about to vote in Metro Mayors, for example, we're pleased to report that many main contenders have already done so. Space for Cycling rides in England, and Pedal on Parliament in Scotland, have been showing politicians how much popular support there is amongst voters too.  

With the news that regularly cycling to work is linked with a 45% lower risk of cancer, and a 46% lower risk of cardiovascular disease compared to commuting by car or public transport (see 'New publications'), Bike Week 2017 (10 - 18 June) is the perfect chance to encourage people to give the activity a go, or celebrate what it already does for them. You can register your events now and take advantage of free third party insurance, promotional materials and national publicity.

Also, watch out for the official launch of our third Big Bike Revival, coming soon to fix bikes and boost cycling confidence, thanks to support from the DfT in England, and Transport Scotland.   

Cherry Allan
Cycle Campaign News

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Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy: let's put the vision into practice

The Department for Transport has published the final version of the Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy (CWIS, England), and we cannot fault its vision, or its proposals for a local cycle network planning process. We too want cycling and walking to become the ‘natural choices for shorter journeys such as going to school, college or work, travelling to the station, and for simple enjoyment”, and for “… more people to have access to safe, attractive routes for cycling and walking by 2040.”

If, as we'll be urging them to do, councils run with CWIS’s Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plans (LCWIPs, England, outside London), well-designed and comprehensive networks should appear on the ground over the next few years. This, and the excellent guidance the DfT has published to help councils draw up their LCWIPs, is perhaps the most valuable contribution CWIS currently makes to active and sustainable travel.  

Now is the time to call on our would-be decision-makers nationally and locally to commit to substantially increased investment in cycling, both in the short and the longer term, and to spend it on cycle facilities designed to the highest possible standards.”

Roger Geffen, Cycling UK’s Policy Director

Visions and networks, of course, need financial backing and the ‘investment strategy’ side of CWIS is where much of our future campaigning energy will still be targeted. The document does quote a range of allocations, secured and expected, amounting to £1.2 billion - amongst them £1m for Cycling UK’s third Big Bike Revival project, which will be inviting people to bike-fixing and cycling events over the summer.

Crucially, whether or not the expected funding, which forms the bulk of the £1.2 billion, will materialise depends very much on local investment decisions made by councils themselves and their Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs). The political sway of Metro Mayors, for example, could make a huge difference (see next story).

Within 24 hours of CWIS making its appearance, International Earth Day saw cycling groups out riding in support of Space for Cycling in Birmingham, Bradford, Derby, Huddersfield, Leeds, Liverpool, Nottingham, Oxford, Sheffield, St Albans and elsewhere. See our Space for Cycling Officer Tom Guha’s round-up

Full sweep for Vote Bike amongst Metro Mayoral hopefuls in West Mids, Tees Valley and Greater Manchester

With all five contenders for Metro Mayor pledging to support cycling, the West Midlands has become the first area with unanimous backing amongst main party candidates for our Vote Bike calls.

The second area to declare all-candidate support from its Metro Mayoral candidates was Tees Valley, with Greater Manchester third. 

In the West Midlands, the calls backed by candidates include a target for 5% of all trips to be made by cycle by 2023, a high quality and coherent cycle network, and actively seeking the funding necessary to make the West Midlands Cycling Charter a reality.

Working with Cycling UK, the calls were devised by the Bike West Midlands Network

In Tees Valley, all candidates say they support plans for a costed, strategic and integrated network of safe cycle routes; ensuring developers cater for the needs of cyclists; and actively seeking the funding to build it.

The calls were developed by Tees Valley Cycle Campaign, working with Cycling UK.

In Greater Manchester, four of the main candidates have agreed, if elected, to improve cycling in the region by: ensuring more Space for Cycling is provided across the area; developing a dedicated budget for cycling and walking schemes; and working towards a highways network with zero road traffic fatalities or serious injuries.

Greater Manchester Cycling Campaign have organised a Big Ride (and walk) this Saturday, 29 April, from Platt Fields to show support for the campaign's asks and to deliver a petition and letter to the Greater Manchester Combined Authority and Manchester City Council.

For more details about our campaigns in other Metro Mayor regions, see:

We Walk, We Cycle, We Vote in Scotland

In Scotland, the collaborative We Walk, We Cycle, We Vote campaign has been asking voters in local elections to contact their local candidates and ask them to sign up to three pledges:

  • Investment: provide sustained, long-term investment in both cycling and walking, reaching 10% of the transport budget
  • Infrastructure: build and maintain dedicated cycling infrastructure suitable for people of all ages and abilities
  • Local action: to solve the main local barriers to active travel, as identified by residents and businesses.

For those who vote in Scotland, find out who your candidates are and get in touch with them using a simple online tool

You can also find out how else you can support the campaign by checking the campaign actions list - every single action counts! 

  • The sixth Pedal on Parliament (PoP) drew thousands of people out on their bikes in Edinburgh, Inverness, Aberdeen and Glasgow last weekend. Have a look at PoP's news, photos and commentary

Other stories

Old Bailey 'death by careless driving' acquittal highlights urgent need for justice reform

Although a private prosecution brought by Cycling UK’s Cyclists’ Defence Fund (CDF) for death by careless driving ended in the acquittal of Gail Purcell at the Old Bailey on 6 April, the action vindicated our contention that the case should have been heard before a jury in the first place.

Teacher Michael Mason was cycling along Regent Street in London on 25 February 2014 when he was hit from behind by a Nissan car driven by Ms Purcell. He sustained a brain injury and died 19 days later. Ms Purcell has never been unable to explain why she failed to see Mr Mason, even though he was illuminated by his bicycle lights and the surrounding street lights.

Both CDF and Mr Mason’s family would like to thank everyone who supported this prosecution. Although we can only be disappointed at the result, we hope that this case demonstrates why we need to look closely at how the justice system serves the victims of road collisions and their families.

If failing to see an illuminated cyclist on a well-lit road is not careless driving, and no explanation for that failure is required, that reinforces the arguments Cycling UK’s Road Justice Campaign has been making for many years: that the definition and identification of bad driving offences needs urgent review.”

Duncan Dollimore, Cycling UK’s Senior Road Safety and Legal Officer

Contrary to Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) guidance in fatal collisions, the Metropolitan Police refused to refer the case to them for advice on whether to charge Ms Purcell, and they dropped the matter. A private prosecution was the only way forward, so CDF raised over £80,000 to fund proceedings at the Old Bailey. We believed that there was a case to answer and so, it proved, did His Honour Judge Gordon. When asked by the defence to dismiss it, he refused, accepting that it needed to be put to a jury.

  • Our Road Safety Officer, Duncan Dollimore, who worked with other experts to bring this case to court, was at the Old Bailey throughout the proceedings. Read his moving blog. Duncan also raises serious questions about the way the police investigated this incident – failing to follow up statements from key eye-witnesses, for example. The failures in this case, and in others, make us strong supporters of RoadPeace’s campaign calling for national standards for collision investigation and greater transparency. 

Civil compensation changes dropped to cyclists' relief

Cycling UK is delighted by the news that the Government has dropped the Prison and Courts Bill (England & Wales). The bill, designed to crack down on bogus ‘whiplash’ claims, was to be introduced alongside increases in the small claims limit for road traffic victims from £1,000 to £5,000.

Given that c.70% of cyclists' claims fall within this bracket, and that it is not possible to recover costs in small claims cases, we argued that the move would have affected cyclists disproportionately. What's more, it's motorists who overwhelmingly make whiplash claims, not cyclists. 

As the Government made it clear that the small claims limit increase would only be introduced alongside the bill, the change has been avoided, at least for now. Had the measure gone through, cyclists injured by at fault drivers may well have ended up paying most, if not all, of their compensation in legal fees; or decided not to pursue a claim at all.

It is not impossible that the issue will re-surface under a future Government and, if it does, we will once again urge them to give more thought to the impact that plans of this kind would have on vulnerable road users. Road victims, we say, are real victims. 

Direct vision standards one step closer for lorries in London

Following a commitment by London Mayor Sadiq Khan to ensure that by 2020 all lorry drivers in London sit in cabs that give them the best possible view of pedestrians and cyclists around them, Transport for London (TfL) has been consulting on standards to measure, assess and compare the ‘direct vision’ offered by different lorries.

Evidence from both research and collision investigations shows that restrictions in lorry drivers' field of direct vision are a contributing factor in many fatal and serious injury collisions involving vulnerable road users. Also, a study commissioned by TfL shows that drivers react more quickly when they can see cyclists and pedestrians directly, than if they have to use mirrors or other equipment.

Low entry lorries, where the driver is surrounded by glass windows (i.e. as in a bus), are already available, though not in mass production.

Ladder fall case threatens e-bike ridership

When a Slovenian farm worker, Mr Vnuk, fell off a ladder in 2007, it's doubtful that it would have occurred to anyone that the case could have adverse repercussions for electrically assisted pedal cycles. Ten years on, though, and we're fighting off suggestions that e-bikes need third party liability insurance as an upshot. Read our Senior Road Safety Officer, Duncan Dollimore’s blog on why this is such a threat, and how it could so easily be overcome by common sense. 

Driving test changes could spell friendlier road conditions for cyclists

From 4 December 2017, driving test candidates in England, Scotland and Wales will be expected to:

  • Drive independently for 20 minutes (instead of ten)
  • Follow directions from a sat nav
  • Carry out one of three possible reversing manoeuvres (but not ‘reverse around a corner’ and ‘turn-in-the-road’)
  • Answer a ‘show me’ vehicle safety question whilst driving

We feel that, overall, the driver training and testing system is becoming more cycling-conscious, and that these specific changes could be used to make a difference to cyclist safety.

In a joint response to DVSA’s original consultation on the changes, The Association of Bikeability Schemes (TABS), Cycling UK and other cycling groups strongly supported lengthening the independent driving slot. It gives examiners more time to find locations where cyclists are likely to be, and check how safely candidates interact with them (though, of course, we know this is not always circumstantially possible).

We also said that 20 minutes instead of ten give examiners a better chance to ensure that drivers understand cycling infrastructure, and look out for cyclists at junctions. 

With regard to optional manoeuvres, we recommend that drivers are observed overtaking a cyclist or, if that proves impossible, questioned on the subject. Likewise, the ‘show me’ question asked whilst driving could be used to make sure that they consider the risks to any cyclists around when deciding whether or not to adjust, say, the rear heated screen.

Local consultations on future walking and cycling routes in Wales: list updated 

Together with Sustrans Cymru and Living Streets, we’ve been updating our list of the Welsh local authorities who have started to consult on future cycling and walking routes, as required of them by the Active Travel (Wales) Act. The authorities have until 3 November this year to complete their consultation.

Revised cycle infrastructure guidance on way, but no timetable

Asked when the DfT plans to revise Local Transport Note 2/08 on cycle infrastructure design, Andrew Jones (as Parliamentary Under-Secretary for the DfT), said the Department will consider how to refresh it “to take account of the new facilities to encourage cycling introduced in the Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 2016.” He also said: “No timetable for this work has yet been set.”

Asked around three weeks later whether the DfT will ensure that the planned revision will help create the conditions in which young people, older people, women and people with disabilities are as likely to cycle as others, in accordance with its public sector equality duty, Andrew Jones said that the existing guidance already highlights the need to ensure cycle facilities are inclusive, and that the revision "will continue to emphasise this." However, he added that it is up to local authorities to "ensure that they meet their public sector equality duty." 

Cycling UK has been calling for national standards for high quality cycle-friendly design and infrastructure for some time, both in the interests of consistency, and so that all local authorities are in no doubt about exactly what constitutes poor and unusable provision.

We are also urging the Government to ensure that the standards reflect its public sector equality duty under the Equality Act 2010. Far too much existing cycle infrastructure, we believe, is unsuitable or off-putting for use by people with disabilities, women, and younger and older people, thus discriminating against those with ‘protected characteristics’.

  • Parliamentary questions, both asked by Ruth Cadbury (Co-chair of the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group): 31 March; 21April.

Safety record for London junctions to be monitored yearly

Transport for London (TfL) has been analysing three years’ worth of casualty figures to identify the junctions on its road network with the poorest safety records for pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists. A list of 73 is now being considered in detail to assess what can be done to make them safer.

This analysis will be carried out each year, and is part of a new approach that will see work continually monitored, and the junctions with the most incidents prioritised.

Any ideas for encouraging more bike or foot journeys? 

The Department for Transport, along with Innovate UK, is inviting individuals, groups and organisations to apply for a share of up to £470,000 for innovative proposals to encourage people to make more journeys by bike or on foot.

Innovations may include technology, infrastructure, manufacturing or behavioural change.

Deadline for registration is midday on 7 June 2017

Bicycle Association draws up manifesto

The Bicycle Association (BA), the national body representing the cycle industry in the UK, has drawn up a manifesto based on new analysis showing that cycling, and its principal related industries, makes a £1bn+ contribution to the economy.

The manifesto, ‘Start Cycling’, leads with measures to get children started in cycling, and adds a range of others designed to help adults too. The BA plans to launch a new Bicycle Industry Fund this summer to fund the manifesto, aiming to raise £500,000 per year. It is calling on all cycle industry businesses with a stake in the future of cycling to participate.

The full analysis by economic consultancy SQW is available to BA members.

Continental tax breaks 

Read all about new or extended tax breaks for cycling to work introduced in France, Belgium, Luxembourg and Italy lately. Belgium, for example, has increased its tax-free reimbursement for cycle-commuting to 23 eurocents per kilometre; while tax payers in Luxembourg can deduct 300 euros from their personal income tax for the purchase of a new bike or pedelec.

Greenpeace has released the results of its investigation into air pollution round schools, colleges and Ofsted-registered childcare providers in England and Wales. They found that at least 2,092 education or childcare providers across England and Wales are within 150 m of a road breaching the legal limit for NO2 pollution. Of these, 1,013 are nurseries, many in towns and cities outside London.

Act now

  • Going to the polls to vote in local elections on 4 May? Get in touch with your candidates about cycling through our Vote Bike 2017 tool. 
  • Live in Wales? Do you have an idea for a new or improved cycle or walking route in your area? Now's the time to share your views and local knowledge - see our online action.

New publications

The Big Bike Revival: Scotland Case Studies 2016-17 (Cycling UK)

In 2016, thanks to funding from Transport Scotland, our Big Bike Revival project worked with 81 community groups and over 7,000 people across Scotland to encourage more everyday cycling with: led rides; puncture repair workshops; basic bike maintenance classes; cycle health checks; cycle skills sessions; and route planning. We've now captured some of these events and activities in an 18-page compendium of case studies.

Association between active commuting and incident cardiovascular disease, cancer, and mortality: prospective cohort study

By Carlos A Celis-Morales

Paper presenting the findings of an investigation into the association between walking, cycling and mixed mode commuting versus non-active commuting.

The study, which involved 264,337 people, found that cycling to work is linked with a 45% lower risk of developing cancer, and a 46% lower risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD), compared to commuting by car or public transport.

Concludes that: “Cycle commuting was associated with a lower risk of CVD, cancer, and all cause mortality. Walking commuting was associated with a lower risk of CVD independent of major measured confounding factors. Initiatives to encourage and support active commuting could reduce risk of death and the burden of important chronic conditions.”

Published in BMJ.

What could a switch from 30 mph to 20 mph achieve across a whole country’s population?

Essential Evidence: No 159 by Dr Adrian Davis

A useful summary of research into the road safety benefits of 20 mph, focusing on a recent study published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Health showing that 6-10 lives could be saved and up to 1,200-2,000 casualties avoided each year, if all Welsh 30 mph limit roads became 20 mph limits. In road casualty terms alone, this would save between £58 million to £94 million.

The original study is 'Twenty miles per hour speed limits: a sustainable solution to public health problems in Wales', by Sarah J Jones and Huw Brunt.

The Bike Hub Fund: 14 years of supporting cycling (Bicycle Association)

Since 2003, the Bike Hub cycle industry levy scheme has funded a variety of projects working to build a stronger cycling future in the UK. This report looks back at some of the schemes the levy has supported, from those encouraging children to get into cycling to advocacy.

According to the report, industry leaders are discussing plans for revamping and re-structuring the fund. This will see “a new much greater focus on advocacy, as well as continuing the important outreach and promotion work needed to secure the future of cycling.”

Guidance: European type approval for certain electrically assisted pedal cycles (DfT)

Guidance to help make sure retailers, manufacturers, importers and dealers do not sell or register non-compliant electrically assisted pedal cycles (e-bikes), including ‘twist and go’ machines.

Connected and Autonomous Vehicles: The future? (Science and Technology Committee, House of Lords)

Report on the Committee’s inquiry into connected and autonomous vehicles (CAV - i.e. ‘driverless’ vehicles). Its main findings are that:

  • The Government is too focused on highly-automated private road vehicles (“driverless cars”), when the early benefits are likely to appear in other sectors, such as marine and agriculture;
  • The development of CAV across different sectors needs coordination and the Government, working with key stakeholders, must get a grip on this chiefly by establishing a Robotics and Autonomous Systems (RAS) Leadership Council as soon as possible to play a key role in developing a strategy for CAV;
  • There is a clear need for further Government-commissioned social and economic research to weigh the potential human and financial implications of CAV;
  • This is a fast-moving area of technology and the Government has much to do, alongside industry and other partners, to position the UK so that it can take full advantage of the opportunities that CAV offer in different sectors.

Why people travel: Shopping (DfT)

National Travel Survey factsheet focusing on shopping trips in England, and what factors might be influencing trends. Says that:

  • The number of shopping trips per person per year has dropped from 216 in 2002 to 177 in 2015, and that the drop has been larger for females than males
  • People are travelling less for shopping trips: females travelled 164 miles less in 2015 than in 2002, and males travelled 144 miles less
  • In 2015, two thirds of shopping trips were made by car or van (about the same as it’s been over the last 10 years).

Suggests that buying goods online is responsible for the decline in shopping trips – it seems that in 2015, 74% of households ordered clothes online; and 67% books, CDs and DVDs. In 2016, 77% of adults (GB) had bought goods or services over the Internet in the past 12 months, compared to 53% of adults in 2008.

This, in turn, probably explains the rapid rise in light goods vehicles (LVG). In 1995 (GB), LGVs made up 10% of total traffic, but they now account for around 15%; and in 2015, they travelled 46.9 billion miles, 22% up on 2005.   

Physical Inactivity Report 2017 (British Heart Foundation)

A compilation of the latest health statistics presenting a comprehensive overview of levels of physical inactivity and sedentary behaviour in adults across the UK. Suggests that large numbers of people are still failing to meet official physical activity guidelines, putting themselves at greater risk of heart and circulatory disease.

Says, for instance, that:

  • Around 39% of UK adults – 20 million people, approx. – are failing to meet Government recommendations for physical activity
  • Around 11.8 million women across the UK are insufficiently active, compared to around 8.3 million men
  • Overall women are 36% more likely to be classified as physically inactive than men

Active Design: case studies (Sport England)

Three real-life case studies exemplifying how Sport England believes cities, towns, villages, neighbourhoods, buildings, streets and open spaces should be designed to promote sport and active lifestyles. The studies cover:

  • The National Forest: Connectivity through walking and cycling
  • Our Parks: Bringing activity to the community
  • Active Parks Birmingham: Let’s take this outside

England’s new leaders: How mayors can transform their cities (IPPR North)

Report looking at how the new Metro Mayors, to be elected in six of England’s major cities on 4 May, could use their powers to improve the everyday lives of the ten million citizens they’ll be serving between them. It puts forward thirty policies to transform their city regions, covering inclusive growth, infrastructure (planning, transport and housing), a healthy environment, effective public services and inclusive democracy.

Diary dates

Hackney Cycling Conference 2017: Cycling as a catalyst for healthy neighbourhoods

27 April, Hackney Town Hall

Sixth Hackney Cycling Conference, with a line-up of expert speakers, including best-selling author, academic and campaigner Dr Ben Goldacre on the use of science in policy making, and how to improve the quality of our evidence base by spotting and avoiding common mistakes in the use of science and statistics. Also speaking is Dr Will Norman, London’s new Walking and Cycling Commissioner.

Cycling UK’s Policy Director, Roger Geffen, is leading a streamed session on the Space for Cycling toolkit.

Big Ride (and walk)

29 April, Manchester

Ride (and walk) organised by Greater Manchester Cycling Campaign, calling on Greater Manchester Combined Authority, the Mayoral candidates and local authorities for clean air, healthy streets and more cycleways. The campaign plans to deliver a petition and letter on the day. If you live in Greater Manchester, sign the petition online

Women and Cycling Conference 2017

4 May, Bradford

An event to inspire more women to cycle more often and to more places, offering the chance to:

  • Share and celebrate good inclusive practice
  • Look at new cycling developments and up-to-date information on all aspects of cycling
  • Develop local, regional and national links and networks
  • Engage with decision-makers

Cycling UK's Hannah Chivers and Rachel Seymour are speaking. 

For women cyclists (beginners to veterans), physical activity and cycle leaders, trainers, women responsible for designing and maintaining bikes, campaigners, health and youth & community workers, transport planners, volunteers and practitioners from the voluntary, public and commercial sector.

Fourth United Nations Global Road Safety Week / Slow Down Days

8-14 May 2017

The focus of the UN’s collaborative fourth Road Safety Week is speed this year, and the World Health Organisation (WHO) is encouraging community volunteers to organise ‘Slow Down Days’ street events all over the globe.

With support from the UK’s 20’s Plenty for Us campaign, WHO has published a toolkit for organisers on how to host such an event, with ideas for engaging the public and attracting media attention. The website also presents a fascinating map of places round the world where events are taking place (Fiji, Brisbane, Trinidad and Tobago, Pune in India, South Acton …) 

National Bikeability Conference

9 -10 May, Hull (City of Culture 2017)

The Association of Bikeability Schemes' (TABS) conference, offering free guided ride round Hull and social evening (9 May, hosted by Hull City Council) and workshops (10 May).

Cycle City Active City (Landor Links)

11-12 May, Bradford

The 5th annual Cycle City Active City conference.

Includes a two-day exhibition of the product and service suppliers to the sector, including plenary presentations by high-profile individuals throughout the UK and beyond with expertise and influence in cycling and walking policy, promotion and infrastructure, active place-making, public health, and positive urban design and development. Also offers seminars, study tours, keynote presentations and networking opportunities.

Women’s Festival of Cycling

Month of July

Throughout July 2017, Cycling UK will be celebrating women who cycle and helping those who need extra encouragement to take up it up. Be part of it, whether you cycle five miles or 500, on or off-road.

Also, this is your chance to nominate inspirational women in cycling, living or dead, for our own '100 women in cycling' list.  

Bike Week 2017

10 - 18 June

Delivered by Cycling UK, Bike Week is the biggest nationwide cycling event in the UK, offering the foremost annual, mass opportunity to promote and encourage 'everyday cycling for everyone.'   

The week is all about freedom and fun, giving people the chance to give cycling a go or celebrate what it does for them. It also helps demonstrate its social, health and environmental benefits, and what an efficient way it is of getting around for work or school, shopping or just to visit friends.

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Cycling UK continues to support the UK to cycle
This remains true during this difficult period with the ongoing threat of coronavirus Covid-19