Campaign News March 2016

Cycling Minister backs CTC's Big Bike Revival (L to R: CTC's Ian Richardson, Martine McCutcheon and Cycling Minister Robert Goodwill)

Campaign News March 2016

CTC's monthly round-up of cycle campaigning news:

From the Editor

At CTC, we don't like the thought of bicycles rusting away, so last year we helped rescue around 24,000 of them, and encouraged over 21,000 people to cycle more often as a result of the Big Bike Revival.

This year, thousands more bikes and people should benefit likewise, thanks to Department for Transport backing (see Headlines).

In other news this month: so far, three candidates in London's Mayoral elections have supported our calls to get unsafe lorries off the streets; and we've strongly welcomed a parliamentary committee's report on its inquiry on road traffic law and enforcement which echoes many of the points CTC gave in evidence.

On the other hand, though, we've been dismayed by the costly road-building plans just announced in the Chancellor's budget - the money cycling gets is minuscule in comparison, despite being such a cost-effective investment (Other stories).

Cherry Allan
CTC Campaign News

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DfT backs CTC's Big Bike Revival for second year 

The strong results of CTC's Big Bike Revival for 2015 have led the DfT to fund it again this year to the tune of half a million pounds. 

Announcing the funding at the Design Museum’s Cycling Revolution Exhibition in London, Cycling Minister Robert Goodwill MP said: “We are determined to create a cycling nation and the Big Bike Revival is a fantastic initiative getting impressive results."

Martine McCutcheon, former EastEnders and 'Love Actually' star, who was there to celebrate the funding too, said: "Helping people to fall back in love with their bike and see how it can help them get around is so important – that’s why I support the Big Bike Revival.”

Last year, CTC brought together a network of 90 bicycle recycling centres across England to host over 1,600 family-friendly events for people to get their bikes checked and repaired, pick up simple maintenance tips, and donate old machines.

MPs echo CTC on road traffic law enforcement

The House of Commons Transport Committee has officially recognised many of CTC’s concerns about cycling safety in its report on its inquiry into road traffic law enforcement, published 15 March.

It also supports a range of solutions we have been recommending for some time and raised in the evidence we submitted to the inquiry, both orally and in writing. We now urge the Government to implement them.

Prospective London Mayors sign up to safer lorries 

So far, three candidates in London's Mayoral elections have backed calls we've made in our roadmap to get unsafe lorries off our streets.

Launched last month, the roadmap focuses on designs that help drivers see pedestrians and cyclists as easily as bus drivers can, or ‘direct vision’. This means bigger side windows in the lower section of a lorry’s passenger-side doors, along with positioning drivers nearer ground level and surrounding them with as much glass as possible.

The roadmap’s goals have already attracted the support of three candidates:

  • Caroline Pidgeon (Lib Dem) has officially given the campaign her backing, saying: "Cyclists often find themselves fighting for space with HGVs and construction vehicles and feeling scared for their safety. Despite some of TfL's positive initiatives in recent years more must be done." 
  • Sadiq Khan (Labour) says in his manifesto that he will: "promote safer, cleaner lorries – working with the boroughs and using City Hall procurement to set new safety standards, moving towards City Hall and TfL contracts specifying direct vision lorries."
  • Sian Berry (Green) has told CTC: "Reducing lorry danger on our streets will be an absolute priority for me in City Hall. It is scandalous that vehicles designed for use on construction sites with high wheelbases for rough terrain and high cabs with poor vision are used routinely on our streets in close proximity to people walking and cycling. It is also unfair on the drivers to expect them to drive through crowded city streets without a clear view of the people on the street alongside them.  

    “I am happy to sign up to all the provisions of the CTC roadmap for bringing in safer direct vision lorries. Using City Hall and borough procurement processes as a lever to reduce lorry danger will be fundamental to getting more people making daily journeys by bike and on foot."

CTC published the roadmap in conjunction with an online action (now closed), which asked supporters everywhere to back Transport for London’s plans to impose tougher conditions on lorries allowed to use the capital’s roads. Nearly 1,800 people took action – thanks if you were one of them.

Safer lorries are not just an issue for London. If we can persuade London’s authorities to ban all lorries with ‘blind spots’, they could be taken off most built-up streets throughout the country within a few years.

  • More on the roadmap
  • What’s the latest progress on moves to protect cyclists from lorry danger? In his update on the ‘lorry safety jigsaw’, CTC’s Duncan Dollimore considers vehicle design, procurement, safer employer and driver behaviour, and bans.
  • A commitment to safer lorries from each Mayoral candidate is also one of London Cycling Campaign’s three ‘Sign for Cycling’ asks. The other two are for more space for cycling on main roads and at junctions, and a ‘Mini-Holland’ for every London borough. Add your voice to LCC's asks.

Election fever: cycling must be hot topic, says CTC

With a wide spectrum of other elections coming up on May 5, we want all candidates to put cycling on their agenda, whatever they’re standing for or why.

This year, we’re primarily targeting the Welsh Assembly and Police & Crime Commissioner elections (England and Wales). We are supporting local campaigners working on the Northern Ireland Assembly elections too, and the ongoing collaborative campaign, ‘We Walk, We Cycle, We Vote’ in Scotland.

  • News of how to get involved is coming soon on our website.

Other stories

Chancellor's Budget dismays CTC

As welcome as any funding for cycling is, the sums involved are minuscule, not to say pitiful, in comparison with the money the Government plans to spend on road-building.

When Chancellor George Osborne announced in his latest budget (16 March) yet more funding for roads - no doubt amounting to £billions - CTC's reaction was therefore one of dismay.

CTC’s Policy Director, Roger Geffen said: “Britain has illegal pollution levels, an obesity time-bomb and a climate change strategy which is officially failing. Yet the Chancellor responds by squandering squillions on road schemes, ignoring all the warnings from experts about the lack of clear economic benefits.

“Meanwhile, walking and cycling remain cash-starved, despite mountains of evidence that they are incredibly cost-effective investments.

“His cabinet colleagues need to remind him that he’s supposed to be part of the ‘greenest Government ever’ and urge him to reallocate some of the £15billion earmarked for road-building to invest instead in walking and cycling. That would be far better for our economy, our streets, our environment and our quality of life.”

Committee agrees that Active Travel (Wales) needs a budget

Happily, the Welsh Assembly’s Enterprise and Business Committee’s has agreed that the ground-breaking Active Travel (Wales) Act 2013 actually needs a budget. 

The Act, expressly designed to encourage more people to walk or cycle, was commendable on ambition, but campaigners were disappointed to find that it didn't have the funding to match.

Fortunately, in its review on the progress on the Act, the Committee has pointed this out too, saying: “Welsh Government should have a specific budget line dedicated to supporting active travel. The budget for active travel should be used for both supporting active travel infrastructure projects and promoting active travel.”

CTC recommends £10 per head a year, rising to £20 over time and, ahead of the National Assembly’s elections in May, we’ll be asking all candidates to support this level of funding.

DfT funds Bikeability Plus

It's not a huge amount of money, but at least the DfT is putting £5 million into Bikeability Plus, a suite of additional cycling activities and extra training based around the core Bikeability course (England).

The scheme includes introducing four-to-five year-olds in reception class to balance training, and showing older children how to fix and maintain their bikes. Pilots in 18 areas saw cycling to school at least once a week more than double to 10%.

Thanks to the funding, which is part of £50 million already allocated to Bikeability (2016 to 2020), 200,000 more children across England will benefit from Bikeability Plus.

Healthy Towns need Space for Cycling

Our newly appointed campaigner, Tom Guha, has been looking at NHS England’s plans to build ten 'Healthy New Towns'. The idea behind the towns is to link urban planning with health service delivery.

Tom, who will take the helm of CTC’s Space for Cycling campaign from the beginning of April, thinks that the Healthy Town scheme could (and should) prove to be a golden opportunity to showcase the benefits of providing well for cycling. More about Tom and his role in the next issue of Campaign News. 

Cycling on track with HS2 (almost)

Transport Minister Robert Goodwill MP, who has both cycling and High Speed Rail (HS2) amongst his portfolio, has told the parliamentary committee looking at the High Speed Rail (London - West Midlands) Bill that he is "... determined that the opportunities afforded by the land we are procuring are used to the full to increase cycling and walking along the route.”

This is good news, but CTC has also been pressing for routes across the line, along with measures to reduce the hazards posed to cyclists by all the associated construction traffic.

Off to court again on air pollution?

On March 1, lawyer activists ClientEarth sent a final legal warning to the UK Government giving it an ultimatum on improving its air quality plans, or face action in the High Court yet again.

ClientEarth successfully took the Government to the Supreme Court last year for failing to meet its obligations on clean air. As a result, DEFRA had to produce plans to meet the UK’s legal limits, but ClientEarth does not believe they are good enough.   

CTC promotes cycling for its health and environmental benefits, not least because it is a non-polluting mode of transport. We are therefore a supporter of ClientEarth’s Healthy Air Campaign.

  • Visit ClientEarth for updates on the warning letter and potential case

Justice system still failing cyclists

CTC’s Road Justice Campaign continues to lobby for a better deal for cyclists from the justice system, while our Cyclists’ Defence Fund (CDF) supports cyclists' legal cases. A number of ongoing and recent examples of injustice and highly questionable police, prosecutor and/or court decisions show how vital this work is:

  • It is now two years since Michael Mason (70) was hit from behind by a Nissan whilst cycling on London’s Regent Street. He died just over two weeks later. The driver could not explain why she did not see him when many other witnesses had. Following the police and the Crown Prosecution Service's failure to act, CDF launched Justice for Michael, a fund-raising appeal to help build a case for a private prosecution. Read CTC Road Safety and Legal Officer, Duncan Dollimore's reflections on the situation, two years on. 
  • Daniel Squire, 18, was killed by a van whose driver had failed to see him cycling along a straight road on a clear day. Yet a jury cleared the driver of all charges, even though he had been texting continuously until seconds before the collision. Daniel's devastated family want to stop distracted driving, and is now donating monies raised through fundraising to CTC's Road Justice campaign. Read more.
  • A District Judge at Brighton Magistrates Court decided that the taxi driver who knocked a 19-year-old from her bike, didn’t leave his vehicle and only contacted the police an hour later, is a ‘fit and proper person’ to be a taxi driver. Read more.
  • A former qualified driving instructor, privately prosecuted for causing cyclist Martin Porter QC to swerve towards the kerb by overtaking him at very high speed and far too closely, has been acquitted by a jury at Isleworth Crown Court of dangerous driving, despite camera and expert evidence. Read more.

Drug-drive arrests soar

Initial figures from police forces show that laws to catch and convict drug drive offenders introduced a year ago have led to a huge rise in arrests. A new roadside swab test has made it much easier to test suspected drivers. Provisional figures show that in Cheshire alone officers arrested eight times as many suspected drug drivers than in 2014.

Act now

London Cycling Campaign is calling on candidates in the Mayoral elections to commit to:

  • More space for cycling on main roads and at junctions
  • A Mini-Holland for every London borough
  • An end to lorry danger

Add your voice to LCC’s calls and Sign for Cycling

New publications

Active commuting and obesity in mid-life: cross-sectional, observational evidence from UK Biobank

By Dr Ellen Flint and Steven Cummins

Paper on the results of a large study of around 73,000 men and 83,000 women that examined the relationship between active commuting and obesity in mid-life. Found that, compared to their car-only counterparts, mixed public and active transport commuters had significantly lower BMI and body fat.

The authors conclude that their study: “… shows robust, independent associations between active commuting and healthier bodyweight and composition. These findings support the case for interventions to promote active travel as a population-level policy response for prevention of obesity in mid-life.”

Published in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology


Fit to Drive? (PACTS)

Report with recommendations from PACTS (Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety) looking in detail at a range of factors that can affect people’s fitness to drive, including: vision and hearing impairments; diabetes; epilepsy and multiple sclerosis; drugs; alcohol; fatigue; cognitive health; reduced physical strength and mobility; and personality. 

A useful reference source for anyone concerned with health and safety management in relation to road casualty prevention. 32 pages.


Every breath we take: the lifelong impact of air pollution (Royal College of Physicians / Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health)

Noting that each year in the UK around 40,000 deaths are attributable to outdoor air pollution, this report examines the impact of exposure during the course of a lifetime. Suggests a number of reforms, including putting the onus on polluters to take responsibility for harming health, action from local authorities, effective monitoring, defining the economic impact of air pollution, and leading by example within the NHS. The authors also set out six steps for the public to take, including:  “Take the active travel option: bus, train, walking and cycling”. 123 pages.


A New Move for Business: Electric Cycle Logistics in European cities (Pro-E-Bike/Energy Institute Hrvoje Požar/ECF)

To produce this report, Pro-E-Bike worked with 40 partners, from private and public sectors, large and small, in seven EU member states to assess the contribution that electric bikes used for delivery purposes can make towards safer cities and cleaner air. The project demonstrated that e-bikes were “popular, efficient, reliable and – above all – saved money compared to the motorised alternative. Most of the participants were so impressed, they are continuing or expanding their use of e-bikes, after the project end-point.”

The document outlines major learning points and success factors, and sets out nine recommendations. Aimed at city administrations, national policy makers, and anyone considering a move to employ cycle logistics. 27 pages.

Diary dates

Spokes' Holyrood Hustings 2016

21 March, Edinburgh

For its spring public meeting, Spokes (the Lothian cycle campaign) has invited all the parties currently represented at Holyrood to send a candidate for any Edinburgh/Lothians seat or for the Lothians list, to give a short talk on their party’s concerns and commitments on cycling, and any related transport policy issues they wish to mention.

Members of the audience will have the opportunity to engage directly with the politicians, and the speakers will close with a brief summing up of what they have learned from the meeting. 

Promoting Cycling and Improving Road Safety for Cyclists: Challenges and Next Steps

5 April, Central London

A symposium providing an opportunity for government, local authorities, cyclists’ groups and other stakeholders to explore how the latest developments can be implemented and discuss how various funding streams can be used effectively to create a suitable physical environment to promote safer and easier cycling in our communities.

Delegates will:

  • Assess government thinking on promoting cycling and increasing participation in every community
  • Discuss ways in which local infrastructure can be improved to create a safe environment for cyclists
  • Consider how to provide training for children and adults through various funding streams
  • Share best practice and discuss local level strategies and assess how cyclists can be better protected on the roads and on cycle paths

Key speakers: David Cox, CTC; Marcus Jones, TRL; Amy Aeron Thomas, RoadPeace; Joel De Mowbray
Cycle Training & Projects Co-ordinator, Royal Borough of Greenwich.

Two courses from PTRC Education and Research Services Ltd, part of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT), the professional membership organisation for all those working in the passenger, freight transport and supply chain professions:  

Providing for Cycling

12 April-14 June, London

Ten-week evening lecture series investigating individual, societal, policy and technical issues underpinning current cycling levels, and exploring proven methods of increasing cycling participation rates. 

Cycling Infrastructure Design Course

20 April-25 May, Manchester

Six-week evening lecture series exploring different methods of providing for safe and convenient cycling in the urban environment, illustrated by case studies of innovative cycle infrastructure design. National design guidance, engineering standards, and UK and international cycle infrastructure design best practice will be considered in-depth, with topics presented by experts in the field of cycling infrastructure design. Taking a practical look at real-life situations, the course considers solutions for junctions, main roads, quieter streets, and signage. 

Women & Cycling Conference 2016 –Toward 50:50 by 2020
More women riding bicycles: the key to less congestion, better health and wellbeing for all

4 May, Hereford

Open to both professionals and volunteers, this conference is for anyone who has an interest in cycles and wants to make Britain a better place for people to ride them.

A chance to:

  • Review the barriers to women participating in the cycling industry, in cycle sport and everyday riding
  • Find out about and share current good practice in women and cycling across the UK
  • Network with other people active in this area of work, and collaborate to plan the next steps along the journey toward 50:50 by 2020
  • Discover more about the new organisation for women’s equality in cycling, WE Cycle and the Women’s Cycle Forum.

Cycle City Active City

19-20 May, Curve Theatre Leicester

Two-day conference and exhibition event. Offers plenary presentations by high-profile individuals throughout the UK and beyond, with expertise and influence in cycle policy, promotion and infrastructure. Product and service suppliers to the sector will also be on show. 

The organisers are currently calling for papers.

National Bikeability Conference (TABS)

20 May, Leicester

The Association of Bikeability Schemes' annual conference, to be held in conjunction with the wider Cycle City, Active City (see above).

Fleet Safety Conference 2016 (Brake) 

26 May, Solihull

A conference to share best practice in managing road risk, including protecting vulnerable road users, engaging drivers with safety, and managing high-risk drivers. 

The agenda will feature presentations from both public and private sector operators, representing car, van, truck, and mixed vehicle fleets. Paul Kitson, cycle injury lawyer at Slater & Gordon and CTC, is amongst the speakers. 

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