Cycle Campaign News December 2016

Cycle Campaign News December 2016

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

From the Editor

This month's Campaign News brings good tidings of London's investment in cycling and some high quality infrastructure elsewhere. Promising moves on air pollution are also on the way, which could (and should) benefit cycling too.

Other tidings aren't quite so joyful in cycling and road safety terms, though, particularly plans to reform the small claims limit and the draft scope of the Ministry of Justice's review of motoring offences.

But at least they're only proposals for now, and we're already on the case. And so, we hope, will you, once you've read on.  

Cherry Allan
Cycle Campaign News

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In this issue: 

Headlines: Planned rise for small claims limit threatens cyclists' compensation - act now; car dooring in spotlight; Government's motoring offences review falls short; Clean Air Zones must support non-polluting travel.
Other stories: Leap for London's cycle funding; Scotland 2016; Turning the Corner (British Cycling campaign); Newcastle builds protected city centre cycleway; Cambridge walking and cycling priority scheme backed by locals; buzz on the Quietways; car dooring in spotlight; #NeverTextDrive, says AA; air quality action updates; sweet nothings for 'sugar tax'; compulsory hi-vis out of the question; getting more women cycling - experts talk to politicians; sport counts; ride and part: new cycle hub for Ewell West; Exeter leads on e-bike hire.
Act now: Help persuade Justice Secretary not to raise small claims limit; if you live in Wales, get involved in improving cycling and walking in your local community; send The Canal & River Trust your thoughts on towpath cycling.
New publications: Safety in Numbers for Cyclists in England: Measuring the Effect; Cycle campaigns conference presentations (online); Road user charging; Transport & social exclusion; Car Related Economic Stress; The EU Cycling Economy; Transport Statistics Great Britain; Talking climate - from research to public engagement; Mode use, 2005-2015 - a view into the travel week; E-bike training guidance.
Diary dates: Space for Cycling Roadshows (January - Cardiff, Plymouth, Durham, London); 20's Plenty for Healthier Places (8 March 2017, Birmingham). 


Planned rise for small claims limit threatens cyclists' compensation: act now

The Government seems to think that raising the small claims limit will deter motorists from pursuing exaggerated ‘whiplash’ claims. It is, however, a sledgehammer to crack a nut, and will almost certainly disadvantage a large number of cyclists with other injuries.

At the moment, most personal injury claims made by cyclists are over the current small claims limit of £1,000, which means that they can recover their legal costs. Almost three quarters of their claims, though, are still under £5,000, which happens to be the new limit proposed by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ).

Instead of hunting for headlines, the Government should consider the impact these reforms will have on vulnerable road user victims.”
Duncan Dollimore, Cycling UK’s Senior Road Safety and Legal Officer

Should this new limit be introduced, cyclists making a typical claim would thus have to pay costs from their damages, a particularly galling prospect given that their injuries are most unlikely to involve ‘whiplash’, bogus or otherwise.

  • If you want to help us persuade Justice Secretary Elizabeth Truss otherwise, please take action now
  • Full story 
  • Read blog from Cycling UK's Senior Road Safety and Legal Officer looking into the impact these changes could have on victims, with case studies. 
  • The MoJ’s proposals are out for consultation. The current deadline is 6 January 2017, but we’re asking for an extension as it’s simply not long enough to respond on such a complex subject, especially over Christmas. 

Government’s motoring offences review falls short

Cycling UK has waited two-and-a-half years for the Ministry of Justice’s (MoJ) review of road traffic offences and penalties, and they’re finally consulting publicly on it.

Its draft scope, however, has dismayed us. Despite promises to the contrary, the MoJ only wants to look at the maximum sentences for the most serious road crimes, rather than all motoring offences and penalties.

If accepted, this narrow remit means that the review will ignore the confusion, undercharging, lenient sentencing and injustice caused by the all too easily misunderstood and misapplied distinction between ‘dangerous’ and ‘careless’ driving.

“… at the moment some of the most dangerous sorts of reckless, criminal driving are called careless, and that is wrong.”
Greg Mulholland MP.
Parliamentary debate, 6 December 2016

We also want the review to consider the importance of disqualification as a sentencing option, and how over-receptive courts are to pleas of ‘exceptional hardship’, a problem that leads to far too many bad drivers being let off the bans that both they and the road using public deserve.

  • Full story
  • MoJ consultation. Deadline 1 February 2017.
  • Parliamentary Q&A about the offences/sentencing review, during which MPs queried the decision not to cover the distinction between ‘dangerous’ and ‘careless’ driving in the review. 6 December 2016.

Car-dooring in the spotlight

When the Guardian published helmet-camera footage of cyclist Jaiqi Liu being hit by Transport Secretary Chris Grayling’s ministerial car door, it brought the issues of cyclists’ compensation and the Government's review of motoring offences and penalties (see above) sharply into relief.

And then, columnist Rod Liddle followed on with a 'satirical' anti-cycling comment in the Sunday Times, essentially glorifying what had happened. We believe this could not only incite dangerous and illegal actions, but is also totally contrary to the spirit of the Times’s ‘Cities fit for Cycling’ campaign.

  • Read Cycling UK Policy Director Roger Geffen's reaction to this, and the ramifications of the original car-dooring incident in his latest blog
  • Cycling UK's press release

Clean Air Zones must support non-polluting travel, says Cycling UK

With Clean Air Zones (CAZs) on the horizon for a number of UK cities, Cycling UK thinks that it makes sense to introduce walking and cycling schemes within them, funded by the revenues generated from non-compliant vehicles entering the zones.

This is one of the key points we made in response to the recent consultation on the ‘Implementation of Clean Air Zones in England’ from DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs).

We don’t need to wait for new techno-fixes to clear up our air. The 200-year-old bicycle can do it right now.” 
Roger Geffen MBE, Cycling UK’s Policy Director

We also recommended: ‘cycle-proofing’ CAZs so that high quality conditions for cycling are designed in at the outset, or provided for and/or improved during highway maintenance work; setting up e-bike hire and cargo schemes; and making sure that plans for cleaner lorries also stipulate ‘direct vision’ cabs to help eliminate the ‘blind spot’ hazard.

  • Full story
  • Non-answer from environment minister Thérèse Coffey MP to a PQ from Alex Chalk MP (co-chair of the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group) about the use of CAZ revenues to fund walking, cycling and other sustainable transport improvements. 
  • Cycling UK's briefing on air quality

Pollution has been much in the air lately – see 'other stories' for more news …

Other stories

Leap for London's cycle funding

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has announced that £154 million will be spent on cycling in the capital in each of the next five years.

Representing £17 per head p.a, this is far more generous than almost everywhere else in the UK, and brings London towards the levels of investment seen in countries like the Netherlands and Denmark.  

The money will go towards a combination of Superhighways, Quietways and ‘Mini-Hollands’, helping to make cycling the “safe and obvious” transport choice for all Londoners.

New Commissioner: Sadiq Khan has also appointed regular cyclist Will Norman, formerly a Nike executive, to be his Walking and Cycling Commissioner. The post previously held by Andrew Gilligan has been expanded to a full-time role, with walking also included in its remit. Cycling UK and London Cycling Campaign (LCC) welcomes Mr Norman to his appointment. We are keen to support him in progressing towards a truly cycle-friendly capital city. 

Scotland 2016

Looking back over our activities in Scotland during 2016, Cycling UK’s Suzanne Forup has been spoilt for highlights: the 7,000 preschool children taught to ride a bike, thanks to Play on Pedals in Glasgow; the 300 people who’ve experienced cycling at our All-Ability Cycling Centre in Edinburgh; the hundreds of women cycling together through our growing Belles on Bikes network; and our 20,000 Big Bike Revival beneficiaries.

And for 2017? Top of Suzanne’s wish-list are political backing, commitment and funding. Help make that a reality by supporting We Walk, We Cycle, We Vote.

Turning the Corner

Cycling UK has given wholehearted backing to British Cycling’s ‘Turning the Corner’ campaign, which is calling for updates to the Highway Code so that junctions become simpler and safer for everyone. Junctions are, after all, where around three-quarters of collisions involving cyclists happen.

Based on research into continental best practice, the campaign proposes that:

  • Drivers turning at a junction give way to people cycling and walking who may be on their nearside, or crossing the road they wish to turn into (unless traffic signs or signals indicate otherwise);
  • Cyclists turning at a junction would similarly give way to people walking across the road they wish to turn into; 
  • Pedestrians are given increased protection when crossing a side road or other junction.

The changes would make it much easier to introduce physically separated cycle tracks alongside busier main roads without compromising cyclists' safety and priority at side-roads, signalised junctions or similar Dutch-style roundabouts. 

Newcastle builds protected city centre cycleway

John Dobson Street in Newcastle upon Tyne now boasts a segregated, two-way cycleway with dedicated signals at junctions. The scheme has been hailed locally as a step-change in design quality. 

Cycling UK now wants to see it extended, and further protected cycle lanes along other fast or busy main roads in Newcastle, as part of a comprehensive, well-connected and safe cycle network that anyone can use for any local journey.

The £1.7m for the scheme came from the DfT’s Cycle City Ambition fund.

Cambridge walking and cycling priority scheme backed by locals

Campaign group CamCycle is happy to report that plans to incorporate priority for walking, cycling and public transport along Milton Road has won the support of a group of local residents and organisations working on a shared vision to take to the City Deal Board for funding.

The ‘do-optimum’ scheme offers cycle lanes separated from motor traffic by trees and verges, and a safe roundabout design.

  • CamCycle’s press release
  • Drawings
  • City Deals are agreements between government and a city, giving the city control to: take charge and responsibility for decisions that affect their area; do what they think is best to help businesses grow; create economic growth; and decide how public money should be spent.

Buzz on the Quietways

An update on the Quietways and Cycle Superhighways programmes from Transport for London (TfL) says that:

  • According to initial cycle counts, certain sections of Quietway 1 saw an increase from 650 to 900 cyclists in the morning peak;
  • In only five months since the launch of four new routes, there has been a 50%+ increase in the number of cyclists using the East-West (CSEW) and North-South Cycle Superhighways (CSNS), compared to pre-construction levels. In the morning and evening peaks, this brings the total daily number of cyclists using Blackfriars Bridge to 8,400, and those using Victoria Embankment to 7,000;
  • Most cyclists now choose to use the dedicated cycle track rather than the carriageway, with over 90% doing so along CSEW and CSNS.
  • TfL update

#NeverTextDrive says AA

Cycling UK has backed a powerful new short film and social media campaign from the AA Charitable Trust, designed to tackle the distracting habit of texting at the wheel.

According to an AA-commissioned poll of over 23,000 drivers released at the same time, over a third of car passengers would not do anything if their driver used a hand-held phone; one-fifth claim to see other drivers on hand-held mobiles on every journey they make, with a further fifth saying that they see this on most journeys and over half on some journeys. 

Air quality updates …

  • NICE draft

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has launched a very welcome consultation on ‘Air pollution - outdoor air quality and health.’

Draft recommendations include encouraging employees to cycle to work; reducing the time that cyclists spend at junctions; siting cycle routes either off-road or along quiet streets but, if this can’t be done, providing as much space as possible between cyclists and motorised vehicles, and planting foliage screens. (However, as directness is important for many cyclists, Cycling UK thinks that authorities should always seriously consider segregation alongside fast and/or busy roads, rather than sending them on circuitous back routes).

Another of NICE’s recommendations is the need to promote and facilitate smooth driving (which some of the mainstream media mistranslated as an attack on motorists); and ensuring that speed humps and bumps are designed to minimise sharp deceleration/acceleration (which some of the mainstream media mistranslated as an attack on traffic calming). NICE is at pains to point out that lower speeds can help encourage walking and cycling, and thus reduce pollution.

Deadline 25 January 2017. 

Following a ‘disappointing’ grilling it recently gave ministers from DEFRA and the DfT, the Environment Food Rural Affairs Committee (EFRA) has written to the Government to demand more urgent action on air quality.

We repeat our call for urgent publication of a comprehensive air quality strategy containing positive measures to protect the public from the invisible threat of air pollution."
Neil Parish MP, EFRA chair

Cycling UK was amongst the signatories of an open letter to the London Mayor calling on him to commit to a ban on diesel vehicles no later than 2025. Along with other sustainable transport groups, the letter was also signed by Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth.

Sweet nothings

Ruth Cadbury MP, co-chair of the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group, did not get a firm answer when she asked if the Government is going to use revenues from the soft drinks industry levy (or ‘sugar tax’) to promote walking and cycling for school journeys.

Minister Edward Timpson simply said that, from September 2017, the levy will be used to double the primary PE and sport premium to £320 million a year, but that it’s up to schools to decide whether they want to spend it on encouraging school-run walking or cycling.

Compulsory hi-vis out of the question

Lord Laird, on the other hand, did get a very firm response when he asked whether the Government had “… considered making mandatory the wearing by under-19 year olds of high-visibility clothing while cycling or walking on the roads network after dark.”

To that, Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon replied: "The safety of vulnerable road users is a priority and we recommend that pedestrians and cyclists wear clothing that makes them sufficiently visible to other road users, especially in poor light and at night. However, wearing high visibility clothing is a matter of individual choice. Imposing additional regulations could lead to people choosing not to walk or cycle and would be difficult to enforce.”

Getting more women cycling: experts talk to politicians 

With only a third as many women cycling as men, the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group (APPCG) is keen to investigate the best ways of addressing the imbalance. As a result, they recently invited experts to talk to them about academic research into gender diversity in cycling, the role of urban design and infrastructure, field experience of activities to encourage more women out on their bikes, and the approach of the cycle trade.

Cycling UK’s Community Cycle Clubs Project Manager Hannah Chivers was amongst the speakers.

Sport counts

According to figures from the latest Active People Survey (APS), the number of women playing sport and exercising regularly has risen to 7.2 million.

The APS also finds that cycling attracts two million people, making it the third most popular sport after swimming (2.5 million) and athletics (2.2m), and beating football (1.8m). Less positively, some sports have seen a decline in participant numbers in the 12 months up to 30 September 2016, and these include cycling. 

Ride and park: new cycle hub for Ewell West

Cycle hubs are multiplying fast at South West Trains' stations. In the last issue we reported on Woking’s new facility, and now we’re pleased to say that Transport Secretary Chris Grayling has opened another one at Ewell West. 

Providing cycle parking at stations is an inexpensive but incredibly cost-effective way to increase both cycle use and rail patronage, easing the pressures on station car parks and giving people a door-to-door non-car option for longer journeys. It is typically almost full within a couple of days, providing immediate proof that it is popular locally and needed more widely.”  
Roger Geffen MBE, Cycling UK’s Policy Director

  • Ewell West opening
  • Just how important is cycle security at railway stations (and, indeed, at shopping centres, car parks, hospitals and colleges)? Find out from bike insurer Protect Your Bubble’s analysis of where thousands of parked bikes were no longer when their owners came back. 

Exeter leads on e-bike hire

The UK’s first on-street public electric bike hire network has just opened in Exeter, including hubs at the railway station, university and a park-and-ride.

The Co-Bikes scheme offers e-bikes powered by zero-carbon renewable energy from Good Energy, and are provided by bike share specialists Nextbike.

Act now

  • Help us persuade Justice Secretary Elizabeth Truss not to raise the small claims limit and threaten cyclists' compensation for their injuries. Take action now
  • Live in Wales? Here's your chance to help improve cycling and walking in your local community. Find out how, and get involved through our online action now
  • What are your experiences of cycling or walking along a towpath, and have you got any ideas for improvements? The Canal and River Trust wants to know. Read Cycling UK's briefing on towpaths too. 

New publications

Safety in Numbers for Cyclists in England: Measuring the Effect (Road Safety Analysis Limited)

By George Ursachi and Richard Owen

Using data from every English local authority, this report explores the 'Safety in Numbers' effect, i.e. the theory, as defined by the authors, that, “where there are more cyclists on the road, the rate of injury collisions involving cyclists reduces”.  Widely referencing Cycling UK’s own research into the subject, the authors conclude that:

  • More cycling goes hand-in-hand with safer cycling, with North Norfolk having the lowest risk rate of any area in England;
  • There are big discrepancies in risk to cyclists in different towns and cities in England;
  • The opportunity for savings are greater in those areas with low levels of cycling, although investment in appropriate safe systems for cyclists are even more important than in areas with relatively safer records;
  • More cyclists on the roads will result in an increase in the absolute number of injured cyclists, unless significant measures are put in place at the same time as increasing numbers.

Cycle Campaigns Conference presentations online

If you didn’t get to this year’s CycleNation/Cycling UK campaigners’ conference hosted by St Albans Cycle Campaign this November, or need a re-run of the main presentations and workshops, links to the main slides are now online. Topics include:

  • The economic case for cycling
  • The Propensity to Cycle Tool
  • Living Streets overview of walking
  • Enfield’s Mini Holland
  • Healthy streets
  • The concept of ‘intrinsic safety’
  • British Cycling’s 'Turning the Corner' campaign
  • Collision investigation
  • Pollution
  • Developing a network quality map
  • Putting the London Cycling Design Standards into practice
  • Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plans; and
  • Cycling UK’s Space for Cycling campaign.

The case for active travel (Urban Transport Group)

As the publication of the Government’s Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy (England) approaches, this report sets out the fivefold economic benefits of investing in active travel, covering health costs; value of trips; an improved urban realm; promoting inclusive growth; and direct employment and spend.

The report also provides a concise and accessible summary of the wider evidence base for investing in active travel for urban transport planners and practitioners to use when building the case for policies and projects.

Latest Essential Evidence one-pagers from Dr Adrian Davis

  • Road user charging: considers the history of the charge, how effective it is and why it’s often trumped by ‘second-best alternatives’, such as parking policies.
  • Transport and social exclusion – where are we now? Finds that, if properly designed and delivered, public transport can provide part of a solution to social exclusion, but it is most likely that other forms of more flexible (and often informal) transport services will be needed to complement mainstream services.

Car Related Economic Stress – Is there a Transport Equivalent of Fuel Poverty? (DEMAND)

Two-page research insight into the affordability of household transport. Finds that:

  • 9% of UK households, and large areas of the country, are in a state of ‘car-related economic stress’, with a low income but high expenditure on running motor vehicles;  
  • For households, the affordability of transport is not the only barrier to having access to essential services – affordability is only a subset of a broader ‘transport poverty’ problem;  
  • Fuel poverty concepts and metrics should not be applied directly to transport, as travel is different from home energy consumption in several respects;
  • Metrics of ‘economic stress’ can be calculated based on actual rather than modelled expenditure on transport.

The EU Cycling Economy: Arguments for an integrated EU cycling policy (ECF)

An extended and updated version of the ECF’s 2013 calculation of the internal and external benefits of cycling linked to the current level of cycling in the EU-28. Comes up with a total figure of 513.19 billion euros.

Transport Statistics Great Britain: 2016 (Department for Transport)

The DfT’s main statistical compendium, describing the main trends in the British transport sector, and covering not just road traffic, but also aviation, shipping, rail freight etc.. Most of the figures have been published during the year, but this is a useful one-stop reference for the main data.

Talking climate: from research to practice in public engagement 

By Adam Corner and Jamie Clarke (Climate Outreach)

A book presenting a blend of existing knowledge and new ideas from original research, and describing a fresh approach to climate change communication. Relevant to academics, educators campaigners, communicators and practitioners.

eBook £29.99; Hardcover £37.99

Mode use, 2005-2015: A view into the travel week (DfT)

Using data from the National Travel Survey, this fact sheet looks at the travel behaviours of users of various modes of transport, including cars, bicycles, trains and buses.

E-bike training guidance (The Association of Bikeability Schemes (TABS))

Two new e-bike training documents: a simple ‘top tips’ for riders (e.g. casual hire of e-bikes); and more detailed guidance (e.g. for first time e-bike purchasers).

Diary dates

Space for Cycling Roadshows

7 – 28 January 2017

Cycling UK’s Space for Cycling campaign wants to transform Britain’s roads so that anyone can cycle anywhere. Local pressure is crucial to success, so we’ve taken to the road throughout this winter with a series of workshops across the country.

The aim is to engage with local campaign groups, councils and the wider public to expand the reach of the campaign, share ideas and expertise, and develop a coordinated national strategy.

There are four more events to go:

20's Plenty for Healthier Places Conference (20's Plenty)

8 March 2017, Birmingham

The national 20 mph conference, now in its 8th year, will focus on why and how best to implement and educate drivers on 20 mph limits to make a healthier public realm that feels safer, cleaner and friendlier for all. Features a line-up of experts on speed reduction, covering health-themed best practice, innovation, research, policy and cost effectiveness. 

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This remains true during this difficult period with the ongoing threat of coronavirus Covid-19