Cycle Campaign News February 2015
Cycle Campaign News February 2015
From the Editor:
Turning points and game-changers are the happy news this month: the Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy has made it into law and London's going to benefit from two new major Cycle Superhighways (see headlines).
The latest reported road casualty figures are worrying though, and show just how crucial investment and high quality infrastructure are for cyclists.
And, as you'll read below, we still need the police and the justice system to stop lagging and do better by the victims of road crashes.
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Investing in cycling enshrined in law at last!
Royal Assent for a new law that commits the Government to a Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy (CWIS), has made February 2015 a turning point for cycling in England.
Once the relevant clause in the Infrastructure Act has been commenced in around two months’ time, the Secretary of State will have to publish a CWIS that specifies objectives and the financial resources for achieving them. A progress report must also be laid before Parliament ‘from time to time’, and the Strategy has to be reviewed every five years.
As there is no CWIS at the moment, the Secretary of State must set one as soon “as may be reasonably practicable” – and if that doesn’t happen, explain to Parliament why not. The Government won’t be left to hammer it all out on its own, however, as the new law says that the Secretary is expected to “consult such persons as he or she considers appropriate” before setting or varying it.
The sporadic nature of funding for cycling has concerned campaigners for years, so it is good to note that the Act obliges the Secretary “to have regard to the desirability of maintaining certainty and stability” when varying a prevailing CWIS.
CTC was a leading partner in the coalition lobbying for the investment strategy, and 5,000+ of our supporters and members took part in an e-action calling on their MPs to back it. With the general election only months away, we will now be asking each political party to tell us how much funding they actually intend to pledge.
Baroness calls on police to reconsider fatal case
London Assembly member Baroness Jones of Moulsecoombe has written to the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, about his force's failure to refer the case of cyclist Michael Mason (photo right) to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).
As mentioned in January's Campaign News, Mr Mason was hit from behind by a car on Regent Street, London in February 2014, and died 19 days later. Even though the driver admitted at the inquest that she could not explain why she hadn’t seen Mr Mason right in front of her, the police did not refer the case to the CPS, a failure that appears to be a clear breach of CPS guidelines.
It is understood that the police came to their decision because none of the witnesses interviewed actually saw the collision. This, however, suggests an over-reliance on witness statements – it seems that there was no lack of physical evidence from the road scene, a point that Baroness Jones highlighted in her letter to the Commissioner. She also pointed out that CCTV footage confirms that Mr Mason was complying with all legal requirements to make himself visible at night, and that, as an experienced cyclist, he was riding well out from the kerb in accordance with official training guidelines.
Martin Porter QC, who acted for the family at the inquest, has also asked the Met to reconsider the case. Funded by the Cyclists’ Defence Fund (CDF), a charity established by CTC, he will also advise the Mason family on the possibility of a private prosecution, should the Met refuse to reverse their decision not to pursue the case.
- Please donate to CDF's £30,000 appeal to support these and similar cases where the legal system fails on cycling.
- Campaigners are not the only people who are unhappy with the way that the police and CPS handle fatal road crashes. A recently published report by the HM Inspectorates of Constabulary (HMIC) and the Crown Prosecution Service (HMCPSI), has highlighted a range of flaws, e.g. in victim support, training for prosecutors and record-keeping on CPS internal decision-making. However, CTC was dismayed by the report’s analysis of charging decisions. Find out why.
Prosecuting fined cyclist "not in the public interest", agrees CPS
While the CPS has not so far been given the chance to consider whether to prosecute in the case Mr Mason’s death (see above), the file of fined cyclist Kristian Gregory made it all the way to them.
Kristian was issued with a Fixed Penalty Notice last August, simply for straying slightly over a white line marking a cycle track on a London pavement, and appealed against it. Fortunately, the CPS has sensibly decided that it was “not in the public interest” to prosecute Kristian, and dropped the case just a couple of days before his hearing on 5 February.
Go-ahead for 'game-changing' Cycle Superhighways in London
Work will soon begin on the east-west and north-south Superhighways in London, or ‘Crossrail for Bikes’. The go-ahead came after an intense battle to fight off attempts to block the schemes by vested interests with seats on the board of Transport for London.
Welcoming the news as a "game-changer" for cycling, CTC’s Campaigns Director Roger Geffen said:
“These are two really bold schemes that will massively enhance the opportunity for people to take up cycling in London. London’s roads and its economy will flow more smoothly, and we’ll all be able to breathe more easily in a healthier, greener city. The designs of these schemes aren’t perfect but they absolutely deserve to go ahead without further delay.”
If you do, hurry! Limited places are available at the first ever ‘Big Cycling Debate’ on 2 March (11.30-12.30) in London - first come, first served.
With the General Election fast approaching, the UK Cycling Alliance - which includes CTC - has invited cycling leads in political parties to debate what they would do to make cycling safer and increase participation levels.
The event will follow a similar format to BBC's Question Time and be chaired by John Humphrys, broadcaster and journalist.
- More details here.
Cycle use breaks records in capital
According to figures released by TfL, cycling levels in quarter 3 of 2014/15 (14 Sept - 6 Dec) were 10% higher than in the same quarter the previous year, and the highest since records began in 2000. This was the fifth record quarter in a row and, by the end of 2014/15, TfL forecasts a 12% rise from the previous financial year.
2015 was also a record for London's Cycle Hire scheme, with 10,023,987 journeys made - up 5% on 2012 (the previous highest year) and 25% on 2013.
All-time high for Cycle to Work Scheme
Record numbers of employees equipped themselves tax-efficiently with a commuting bike last year. According to the Cycle to Work Alliance, 183,423 people signed up to the Cycle to Work scheme in 2014, representing an 11.6% increase on 2013.
Steve Edgell, Chair of the Cycle to Work Alliance, said: “It is clear that the cycle to work scheme is a key mechanism for delivering on the Government’s health and sustainable transport objectives, such as those set out in the draft Cycling Delivery Plan. Whilst these figures are clearly excellent news, it is important that the scheme’s ongoing success is ensured through continued governmental commitment to cycling.”
Worse road safety worst for cyclists
The latest road casualty figures from the Government show a worsening of road safety in Britain, particularly for cyclists.
Overall, the year to September 2014 saw a 4% increase in road injuries when compared with the same period a year earlier, while serious injuries increased by 5% and deaths by 1%. Cyclists fared worse, with an 8% increase in fatal and serious injuries. Although cyclist fatality numbers have remained fairly steady, the number of cyclist casualties has risen by 26% compared with the 2005-9 average, while fatal and serious cyclist casualties have risen by 46%.
Figures for cycle use up to September 2014 are not yet available, so it is impossible to tell whether there have been more casualties simply because more cyclists have been out on the roads. However, even after allowing for almost a 20% increase in cycle use up to 2013, CTC estimates that the risk per mile of a cycling injury is now about 14% above the 2005-9 average, while the fatal and serious cycle injury risk is up 22%.
Operation Safeway re-launched in London
In response to the relatively high number of road deaths in London already this year, the Met Police have revived Operation Safeway.
The operation, which started in 2013 after six cyclists were killed in just two weeks, involves the deployment of more than 600 police officers for six weeks at 166 key junctions in the city during morning and evening rush hours.
Officers will target road users committing traffic offences, in particular those using mobile phones whilst driving, failing to wear seat belts and driving vehicles with defects. Cyclists who are not complying with the law will also be targeted.
However, over-zealous fining in the last wave of Operation Safeway suggested that officers were not aware of ministerial guidance that advises the police to use their discretion when fining people who are riding on the pavement out fear of the traffic and who show consideration to other pavement users when doing so. Fortunately, this guidance - which was reiterated by the minister responsible for cycling, Robert Goodwill MP, in 2014 - has been included in a revised briefing for officers.
Government updates e-bike regulations
The legal definition of an electrically assisted pedal cycle (EAPC) that is not treated as a motor vehicle has been updated. New regulations coming into force on 6 April will:
- Increase the permitted maximum motor power for standard bicycles from 200 to 250 watts.
- Amend the electric assistance cut-off speed to 15.5 mph (from 15 mph)
- Remove all the weight limits
- Permit vehicles with more than three wheels
One motivation is to harmonise GB standards with those of the EU, while another is to “promote cycling as a mode of transport that has health and environmental benefits.”
'Twist-and-go' e-bikes will still need type approval.
Driverless cars to be tested on public roads
Driverless cars will be trialled for the first time on public roads this year. The Government has been supporting development projects in Greenwich, Bristol, Milton Keynes and Coventry and now wants the UK “to take this technology to the next level and investigate how vehicles that can take greater control could improve our driving experience and increase safety further.”
The impact that driverless cars could have on cyclists and cycling is naturally of great interest to CTC. More predictable and precise steering could preclude collisions and also free up space for cycling, thanks to a reduction in lane widths needed for motor vehicles. We would be dismayed if this led to closer overtaking distances, however. More positively, driverless cars could make community car-sharing schemes much easier to facilitate and more attractive, meaning fewer private cars about and much more efficient logistics.
The transition period could get messy, though: the mix of driverless and driven cars on the roads could prove highly challenging for transport planners and it might take some time for them to maximise any potential benefits.
Faster lorries followed by faster tractors
As reported in December's Campaign News, CTC has serious concerns about the Government’s recent decision to raise the speed limit for HGVs of 7.5 tonnes or more on dual and single carriageway roads in England and Wales. Now, agricultural tractors and trailers will be allowed to go faster too. From 9 March, their limit will increase from 20 mph to 25 mph, whilst the permitted combined weight of a tractor towing a trailer will go up from 24.39 tonnes to 31 tonnes.
Savings for the farming industry and road safety are cited as the reasons for the change - the Government says that it will stop farmers using overly small tractors when towing trailers and increase the amount of produce they can carry at once, resulting in fewer journeys. Nevertheless, CTC fears that this move could adversely affect cyclists riding in the countryside, making them feel less safe and more intimidated.
MP visits CTC in Guildford
CTC was delighted to welcome MP Anne Milton recently to our National Office, which lies in her Guildford constituency.
Arriving by bike and describing herself as a “reborn” cyclist, Mrs Milton spent over an hour at CTC learning about our national campaigning and community and inclusive activities. [Photo: Paul Tuohy (CTC CEO), Anne Milton MP, Roger Geffen (CTC Campaigns Director).
Co-op trials cyclist sensors on trucks
The Co-operative supermarket chain is trialling ten lorries fitted with sensor systems, extra indicators and side guards to help improve the safety of cyclists and pedestrians outside their cabs. The vehicles are operating from the Co-op's depots in West Thurrock, Essex, and Plymouth, to distribute to its food stores across the South and South East region, and particularly in London.
CTC welcomes all moves to make the interaction between lorries and cyclists less hazardous and intimidating, but believes that technology isn’t the only avenue to explore. See CTC’s campaigns briefing on Goods Vehicles for more.
Cycling to school hampered by parental worries ...
A survey released by the road safety charity Brake suggests that parental worries are stopping almost half of 11-17 year olds in secondary schools and colleges from starting or cycling more.
Brake also found that:
- two in five (38%) 11-17 year olds cite a lack of safe routes as a barrier to cycling
- four in 10 (41%) think traffic in their area is too fast for the safety of people on foot and bike
- nearly four in 10 (37%) think their area needs more pavements, paths and cycle paths
- More on Brake's survey
... but nothing's stopped young cyclist Sam
With the full support of his parents in 2008/9, he campaigned to be allowed to ride to St Paul’s Primary in Portsmouth; now he’s won a 2-year triathlon scholarship to the Elite Junior Sports Academy at Thanyapura in Phuket, Thailand, with former Tour De France rider Nick Gates as his cycle coach. Out of the three disciplines he’s studying, cycling is his favourite (of course).
Cycling manifesto for Cardiff aims high
Determined to make Cardiff the UK’s best cycling city, a new grassroots movement there has launched an eight-point manifesto, including calls for:
- Better connections in the cycle network and two new cycle superhighways,
- 20 mph speed limits, where needed
- A city-centre bike hub, and at least 1,000 new bike parking spaces
- Cycle training for all, including the city’s drivers and planners
- Easy and affordable access to bike hire
- A Cycling Commissioner to inspire and lead
- A cycling team within Cardiff Council
- Minimum annual spend of £15 per person on cycling infrastructure, education and promotion
The group, Cardiff Cycle City, is calling on residents, businesses and other groups to sign up to their asks, and on Cardiff County Council and other decision-making bodies to take immediate action.
Gwenda Owen, CTC Councillor for Wales, said: “Cardiff is the youngest capital city in Europe, and has the potential to grow up to become the Amsterdam of the UK.”
Support the manifesto by signing up online and sharing it on social media platforms using hashtag #CardiffCycleCity,
March festival in Manchester to promote cycling to women
Along with Transport for Greater Manchester, CTC’s Development Officers Jayne Rodgers and Anna Smith are pulling together a festival of events throughout March to encourage more women to cycle in the city. A photo competition is already gathering entries, and a bike party and prize giving are planned for 27 March.
- Read our full news story for more and find out how to get involved.
Blow for New Forest cycling
CTC is disappointed that the New Forest National Park Authority’s Cycle Events Organisers' Charter will impose a cap on the number of entrants to cycling events in the Forest at 1,000 and require riders to wear numbers front and rear. These restrictions are based on unsupported claims that cycling presents a threat to the forest.
This is how much space cyclists need
Bradford Cycling 4 All, an inclusive cycling group in West Yorkshire, have staged a very graphic demonstration of how much space cyclists need. Fitting their bikes with cages custom-made by a local artist, they headed out on to the streets of Bradford.
Tips and tools from America ...
Boasting a coalition of over 200 groups in North America, The Alliance for Biking & Walking has learnt a lot about developing advocacy organisations over the years. Reflecting on their experience, the secrets of success and typical problems, the Alliance has set out its ten top tips - one of them being: ‘Run three achievable campaigns at all times.’
Also from America is T-MAP, ‘The Trail Modeling and Assessment Platform’, a three-year initiative launched by the Rails to Trails Conservancy, who work to promote and create multi-use pathways. T-MAP is creating a set of data collection instruments, methodologies and analysis tools intended “to transform the way America thinks about - and develops -trails and trail networks.”
Cyclists are heroes ...
Are you lionised like the hero you really are on your morning cycle commute? Well, you deserve to be! Watch this.
Act now!the Cyclists’ Defence Fund raise £30,000 to support cases where cyclists have been let down by the justice system, including that of Michael Mason, who died as a result of the injuries he suffered in a collision with a car in London in 2014.
The police decided not to refer the case to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), a failing that appears to be a breach of CPS guidance. The CDF wants the Met’s decision reversed and the closure of justice for Mr Mason’s family.
If you're a resident of Glasgow and want to see 20 mph speed limits instead of 30 mph on a city-wide basis (with any variations to be considered where appropriate), please sign a petition supported by CTC, Go Bike (Strathclyde Cycle Campaign), Living Streets and 20's Plenty for Us.
Closing date 17 March.
The effectiveness of roads policing: Summary report (TRL)
Commissioned by the Joint Roads Policing Unit of Thames Valley Police and Hampshire Constabulary, this report evaluates the effectiveness of their policing strategy in terms of reducing the number of people killed and seriously injured in road collisions.
Focusing on the ‘fatal four’ of speeding, drink-driving, not wearing a seat belt and drivers using mobile phones, the researchers concluded that, “… the potential casualty savings if compliance for each of these offences were increased to full compliance is highest for mobile phone use and drink-driving.” Importantly, the report also confirms that roads policing is a very cost-effective way to improve road safety.
Severity of urban cycling injuries and the relationship with personal, trip, route and crash characteristics: analyses using four severity metrics
Peter A Cripton et al
Paper analysing the cases of 683 cyclists injured whilst cycling in Canadian cities. Found that 528 did not continue with their trip by bike, 251 were transported by ambulance and 60 were admitted to hospital for further treatment. Older age and collision with a motor vehicle were consistently associated with more severe injuries, as were: downhill grades; higher motor vehicle speeds; ‘sidewalks’ (these significant for ambulance transport); multiuse paths and local streets (both significant for hospital admission).
Published in BMJ
Essential Evidence on a Page: latest additions
The latest two additions to Dr Adrian Davis’s 'Essential Evidence on a Page' series cover induced motor traffic and democratic streets (i.e. where streets are locally controlled, broadly accessible, well-used, invite direct participation and provide opportunities for discovery and adventure).
12 March 2015, Cambridge
Wide area 20 mph limits are being adopted in most of the UK’s iconic cities and there is pressure for 20 mph to become the national default limit where people live, work, shop and learn.
The recognition of benefits from setting such a standard now go far beyond road danger reduction. They include a more attractive public realm, public health, active travel, noise and emission reduction, and traffic reduction.
Studies and presentations at the conference will include:
- Best practice implementation and engagement
- The real benefits for vulnerable road users, pedestrians and cyclists
- The opportunities to provide a foundation for active travel and improved public health
- How lower speed limits may be necessary in meeting Public Sector Equality Duty
- Chris Boardman MBE, Policy Adviser, British Cycling
- Joe Irvin, Chief Executive, Living Streets
- Rod King MBE, Campaign Director, 20's Plenty for Us
- Rachel Christie, Strategic Area Manager, Manchester City Council
- Andrew Preston, Project Delivery & Environment Manager, Cambridge City Council
- Dr Paul Butcher, Director of Public Health, Calderdale Council
- Dr Jo Cairns, Postdoctoral Research Associate, Durham University
- Dr David Bonnett RIBA, Director, David Bonnett Associates
- Nicola Wass, CEO, SoMo
- Anna Semlyen, Campaign Manager, 20's Plenty for Us
- Jeremy Leach, London Campaign Co-ordinator, 20's Plenty for Us
The conference will be hosted by Cambridge City Council and bring together presenters from local authorities, academic, NGO and consulting organisations.
26 March, 7.30 (doors open for coffee, stalls & chat at 6.45), Augustine United Church
Spokes, the Lothian Cycle Campaign, invites you to come along to hear about and discuss the role of the bicycle in Edinburgh’s city centre.
- The council view – Cllr Lesley Hinds, Convener of Edinburgh City’s Transport Committee
- The business view – Richard Darke, Projects Manager for Essential Edinburgh
- ‘My view’ – Professor Tom Rye, Director of Napier Transport Research Institute
… followed by audience Q&A and panel discussion
2 to 5 June, Nantes (France)
Situated at the crossroads of Eurovelo bike routes 6 and 1, two major cyclo-tourism routes, Nantes will seek to meet four key objectives as it hosts the next Velo-city event:
- Create a replicable model dedicated to regional cities
- Build on the strengths and weaknesses of the Nantes experience and other French cities
- Reach out to the world
- Create a future inspired by cycling
25-26 June, Newcastle
Currently calling for paper submissions and now in its 3rd Year, Cycle Active City is a ground-breaking conference and exhibition of products and services for all those working to encourage Dutch levels of utility cycling in Britain.
Organised by Landor Links and hosted by Newcastle City Council.