Cycle Campaign News January 2015

A Cycling and Walking Strategy is a real possibility

Cycle Campaign News January 2015

CTC's monthly round-up of cycle campaign news ...


From the Editor ...


The best news this month is that we're feeling really positive about the prospect of a Government commitment to a legally binding 'Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy'.

As it happens, CTC has been looking at the other side of the coin too – i.e. not just how much money cycling needs, but how much money it could contribute to the economy if the Government invests in it and gets more people cycling by 2050. Naturally, it runs into £billions!

Read on for more …

Cherry Allan
CTC Campaigns

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Breakthrough for Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy!

We're delighted to report that the Government has today (22 January) included an amendment of its own to the Infrastructure Bill (England) in support of a 'Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy'.

CTC, a leading partner in a coalition lobbying for such an amendment, unveiled research only on Tuesday showing the enormous economic benefits of meeting the targets of the 'Get Britain Cycling' report (see below). On the back of that, 5,000+ people took part in our e-action to call on their MPs to support the coalition's campaign for a legally binding Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy. This would set:

  • a long-term vision to increase walking and cycling rates across the whole population, in rural as well as urban areas;
  • a Statement of Funds available for the next five years that would be spent specifically on cycling and walking;
  • a detailed Investment Plan of programmes and schemes; and
  • a Performance Specification of measures and targets.

Today, the Government has tabled an amendment of its own which achieves the same aims. Ministers have listened and acted in response to what CTC, our coalition partners and our supporters have all been saying. This is terrific news, a hard-fought victory to which many individuals and groups have contributed. So a huge "thank you" to Roads minister John Hayes and local transport minister Robert Goodwill. And a huge, huge "thank you" to every one of you who has supported the campaign.

In the run-up to the general election, it is now for each of the political parties to say how much funding they would allocate to the Investment Strategy.

In the meantime, the Bill has still to be debated in Parliament next Monday (26 January), and it would be great to see a really strong show of cross-party parliamentary support. So, do call on your MP to speak up for it, if you haven't done so already. There's just about enough time left!

Growth in cycling could be worth £¼ trillion to England’s economy

New research commissioned by CTC shows that cycling could provide economic benefits worth £248bn between now and 2050, if England meets the cycle use targets recommended in the parliamentary ‘Get Britain Cycling’ (GBC) report – i.e. if cycle use increases from less than 2% of all journeys (as now) to 10% by 2025 and 25% by 2050.

The 'Economic Cycle' report, by Leeds University, compares the economic benefits of meeting these targets, compared with the much lower growth proposed by the Government’s draft 'Cycling Delivery Plan' (CDP), namely to double the number of trips made wholly or partly by cycle by 2025.

Researchers Fiona Crawford and Dr Robin Lovelace found that meeting the GBC report’s 2025 target in England would yield economic benefits that are worth £6.4bn in today’s money, whereas the Government’s CDP target would be worth just £2.1bn. Meeting the 25% target in 2050 would be worth £42bn that year, compared with just £6.4bn if cycle use continues to grow at the rate proposed by the CDP.

Even after allowing for ‘discounting’ (which is how economists and the Treasury account for the lower value of long-term benefits compared with those earned more quickly), the cumulative benefits of the GBC’s targets are worth £248bn between now and 2050, compared with £46.4bn under the CDP.

Cyclists’ Defence Fund supports quests for justice

Last February, Michael Mason (70) was cycling in Regent Street, London, when he was hit from behind by a car. He died from his injuries two and a half weeks later. The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), however, were not even given the chance to consider prosecuting the driver because the Metropolitan Police failed to refer the case file to them. This appears to be a clear breach of CPS guidelines.

The Cyclists' Defence Fund (CDF), a charity established by CTC, provided funding for Martin Porter QC (who acted for the family at the inquest), to make representations aimed at reversing the Met’s decision not to pursue the case. If that proves unsuccessful, he will advise on other options to secure justice for the Mason family, including the possibility of a private prosecution. 

The justice system's apparent failure in Mr Mason’s case contrasts starkly with its handling of Kristian Gregory's, a cyclist who strayed over the white line marking a woefully sub-standard cycle track in London. Kristian has appealed against a £50 fixed penalty notice (FPN) issued by the Met and is pleading ‘not guilty’. He now faces a court appearance in early February. CDF is supporting his case too.

High cyclist death toll for January 2015

The importance of the role that both the CDF and CTC’s Road Justice campaign carry out can’t be over-emphasised. According to media reports, thirteen cyclists have died from their injuries since the beginning of the year – i.e. in the first three weeks of January 2015. From what we understand:

  • At least eleven were involved in crashes with motor vehicles, including a cyclist who was hit by a lorry in London. Of the remaining two - both women - one was found injured and died after being discharged from hospital, whilst another collided with a pedestrian who wasn’t hurt;
  • Eight died as a result of incidents on A roads. At least two of these roads were part of the Strategic Road Network (SRN).

To put this in perspective:

  • From 2009-13, the average number of cyclists killed in the whole of January each year is around eight;
  • 58 cyclist fatalities happened on A roads altogether in 2013 (under 5 a month, on average);
  • There was an average of 8.3 cyclist deaths on the SRN each year in the 3 years 2010-12.

Cycling is, of course, highly seasonal and influenced by the weather. It remains to be seen, therefore, if the relatively high numbers of deaths this January can be explained by the fact that more cyclists have been out on the roads so far this year than is usual. Another possible explanation is that perhaps the emergency services are not coping as well as they usually do with life-threatening incidents. If that is the case, a ‘spike’ may be evident for other road users too.

Of course, the rate (i.e. the number of cycle casualties per mile/km) will be the most accurate way of measuring whether the risk of cycling has been higher this January than in the same month in previous years and, when the same analysis has been done for the whole of 2015, whether the risk of cycling generally is going up or down.

Whatever the explanation, such a high number of cyclist deaths this January is of serious concern to CTC. We will continue to campaign for better conditions for cyclists on the road, together with a much more robust response from the justice system when injury collisions do occur.

Other stories

Fill That Hole app goes Android

Android phone users can now join iPhone people and report potholes to CTC’s Fill That Hole site thanks to a new app. 

Both apps work by combining a photograph of a pothole or road defect with GPS technology to pinpoint its exact location. Once a report is logged, the relevant local authority is informed, so that they can quickly inspect and fix it. Reporting a pothole with the app takes less than two minutes.

Road defects are hazardous to cyclists, some of whom end up in hospital as a result of hitting them, so please report any you find as soon as you can. Also, if you’re part of a local campaign group, perhaps you could promote Fill That Hole through your website? Worcestershire’s Push Bike! is doing just that.

£6bn for road maintenance welcome, but could do better by cycling, says CTC

News that Government has dedicated £6bn to improve the maintenance of England’s local road network is particularly welcome, therefore – although CTC also sees it as a missed opportunity. It would have been even better had the DfT taken the chance to incentivise councils to improve road layouts for cyclists when resurfacing is carried out, a very cost-effective way of delivering better cycling conditions.

CTC meets with Minister of State for Policing, Criminal Justice and Victims

On 17 December, CTC's Road Justice campaigner Rhia Weston joined CTC Vice-President Lord Berkeley for a positive meeting with Mike Penning MP, Minister of State for Policing, Criminal Justice and Victims.

A main topic of discussion was the promised comprehensive review of sentencing for driving offences and penalties, and its timescale. The minister said that the review is already under way and that he wants to complete a number of elements by the time pre-election purdah starts, including:

  • ensuring driving bans start after a custodial sentence
  • creating tougher sentences for hit and runs
  • setting minimum custodial sentences 
  • raising minimum driving ban lengths

For more about the meeting, and how Mr Penning’s previous life as a fireman has shaped his attitudes to road policing and the justice system, see our full news story.

Hi-vis unenforceable and could put people off cycling, says Cycling Minister

When Dan Jarvis MP, the Shadow Justice Minister, asked what the Government is doing to encourage cyclists to wear hi-vis clothing, CTC was pleased to note that transport minister Robert Goodwill replied as follows:

"The safety of vulnerable road users is a priority for this Government and we recommend that cyclists wear clothing that makes them sufficiently visible to other road users. However, wearing high visibility clothing is a matter of individual choice, and I would want to resist imposing additional regulations which could lead to people choosing not to cycle and would be difficult to enforce."

Cap on New Forest event riders not on

A cap on the number of cyclists allowed to ride in the New Forest at 1,000 per event has dismayed CTC. Despite objections from us and Sustrans, and attempts at constructive dialogue, the restriction has been written into the otherwise well-balanced New Forest Cycle Event Organisers' Charter from the New Forest National Park Authority (NFNPA).

Some residents and local organisations claim that cycling presents a threat to the “special qualities of the forest” and “a danger to people and wildlife”, but CTC argues that this view is based on anecdote, not firm evidence, and that it is better to take a case-by-case approach to events in the forest.

CTC Head of Development, Tejesh Mistry, says: “This move comes across as both discriminatory and disproportionate. No other activity outside of cycling enjoys such depth of scrutiny or limitation, so it is exceptionally disappointing that the NFNPA wants to limit participants in events that celebrate the forest.”

We are now looking at ways of persuading NFNPA to re-think.

Here’s hoping …

“We are designing a training package that can be used to allow us to better consider cycling in our scheme designs. In conjunction with this we are also reviewing the relevant parts of the Design Manual for Roads and Bridges to make sure that we are delivering provision for cyclists in and around our schemes as best we can. And we are also developing a programme of cycling infrastructure schemes which are aimed at delivering a real, positive difference to the provision for cyclists in and around our network.

“In order to reduce the potential for our network to segregate local communities we are looking at how we can make sure that people who walk, cycle or use horses on, or across, our network can do so in the easiest way possible.”

Extract from the Highways Agency Business Plan 2014-15

First National Workplace Cycle Challenge set for June

In 2015, Love to Ride, CTC and Cyclescheme will be challenging 20,000 businesses across the UK to see who can get the most staff to try riding a bike. Local authorities can also sign up to support and boost participation in their area, whatever their budget is to promote cycling. The challenge will be a major annual event in the cycling calendar, and run from 8-28 June. With prizes!

CTC is supporting the Love to Ride Challenge as part of its involvement in the EU Bike2Work project, whose objective is to encourage a significant modal shift from motorised commuting to cycling. It targets employee behaviour and encourages employers to meet cyclists' needs.

Strava Cycling Story

Report on the 2014 activity of UK cyclists using the services of Strava, who provide online tracking for sporting enthusiasts. Finds that: they rode a total of over 320 million miles; the average cycling ride distance for males was 41km (25 miles) and they rode at about 14 mph; while the female average was 34km (21 miles), riding at an average of 12 mph; and some hills in Yorkshire saw a 280% increase in activity during “Tour Fever”.

Cycling beats football

The latest results from Sport England’s 'Active People Survey' show that more people cycle than play football at least once a week: 2.1m people (aged 16+) cycle, while 1.9m play football. At 2.9m, swimming is the top once a week sporting activity, followed by running (2.2m).

Award for Sheffield Cycling 4 All project

Sheffield Cycling 4 All has won Cycle Sheffield's 'Grassroots Cycling Initiative of the Year' award. The all-ability cycling initiative offers people with disabilities the opportunity to ride a wide array of adapted bikes in the safe surroundings of Hillsborough Park.

Sheffield Cycling 4 All is one of over 40 CTC-accredited clubs in the UK that are part of the National Inclusive Cycling Network - a partnership between CTC and Cycling Projects.

5,000 bikes for Birmingham

As part of its £24.3m Cycle Revolution, Birmingham City Council is providing 5,000 free-to-use bikes to residents to encourage people of all backgrounds to get cycling regularly. All residents will also be able to take advantage of a variety of activities at the city’s new Cycling Centres.

Lessons from America

How have advocacy groups Bike Pittsburgh and Atlanta Bicycle Coalition used the three-year grants they received in 2011? The money’s resulted in “exciting progress, major wins, and stage-setting advocacy in both communities”, according to the USA’s Alliance for Biking and Walking. Read their blogs to find out more.

Do you have strong administrative and project management skills?

CTC is looking for a Training Coordinator to grow and develop our network of on and off-road cycle instructors so you will need to understand what it takes to market and organise training courses at a range of venues. The position will be based at our Guildford office and the closing date is Tuesday 27 January. 

Act now!

Please help the Cyclists’ Defence Fund raise £30,000 for cases such as that of cyclist 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.

Ask your MP to speak up for a Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy - MPs are due to debate the matter on Monday 26 January.

New publications

International Cycling Infrastructure Best Practice Study (Urban Movement & Phil Jones Associates for Transport for London)

A report based on the findings of study tours of 16 cities, including Amsterdam, Berlin, Copenhagen, Dublin, Malmo, Munich, Nantes, New York, Seville and Utrecht. Makes recommendations on a wide range of topics, including liveability, leadership, long-term commitment, avoiding compromised design, legal framework, pedestrian-cyclist interaction and avoiding jargon.

Concludes that: “This study has yielded a great deal of valuable information, but no simple formula that will transform London or other UK cities into places as attractive to cycle in as, say, the capital cities of the Netherlands, Denmark and Germany. What is needed is concerted action, on several fronts, according to a clear plan, over the long-term.”


An investigation into the relationship between age and physiological function in highly active older adults

By Ross Pollock et al

Paper on the results of analysing the physiological functions of 125 amateur cyclists between the ages of 55 and 79. The 84 men studied had to be able to cycle 100 km in under 6.5 hours and the 41 women 60 km in 5.5 hours (i.e. quite a long way, but not all that fast – about 10 mph for men, 7 mph for women). Found that cycling seems to optimise the ageing process.

One of the authors, Steve Harridge, says: "Because most of the population is largely sedentary, the tendency is to assume that inactivity is the inevitable condition for humans. However, given that our genetic inheritance stems from a period when high levels of physical activity were the likely norm, being physically active should be considered to play an essential role in maintaining health and well-being throughout life."

Published online in The Journal of Physiology on Tuesday 6 January 2015

Physical activity and all-cause mortality across levels of overall and abdominal adiposity in European men and women

By Ulf Ekelund et al

A significant study from the University of Cambridge looking at whether the higher risk of death from ‘excess adiposity’ can be reduced by physical activity. Having followed 334,161 Europeans for 12 years, the authors concluded that  “… efforts to encourage even small increases in activity in inactive individuals may be beneficial to public health.” Cycling fits this bill perfectly, we think.

Published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition

2014 Bikeability School Travel Survey report (England)

The Association of Bikeability Schemes (Dr Michael Frearson / Dr Paul Hewson)

Finds that children who complete Bikeability cycle training are significantly more likely to cycle to school than untrained children, and they report significantly higher levels of confidence cycling on the road. The report also suggests that compared with untrained children, trained children cycle to destinations and with people, offering greater opportunities for independent mobility, such going out to play with friends or going to the park or recreation ground, the most popular cycling destinations for children.

Amongst the best news is the finding that most of the surveyed children think cycling is fun and exciting, and training helps them enjoy it all the more, especially girls. Trained and untrained children both said that cycling would be more enjoyable, however, if they were simply allowed to cycle more. 

Based on a survey of 1,345 trained and untrained Year 5 and 6 pupils in 25 primary schools in seven local authorities in England.

Plain English Guide to the Planning System (Department for Communities and Local Government)

A simple ‘overview’ guide explaining how the planning system in England works. Very useful.

Road Danger Reduction and Enforcement in London: how policing can support walking and cycling

Presentations and summaries of the talks from the conference held in November covering:

  • Traffic law enforcement in London and the Criminal Justice System;
  • Reducing danger to walkers and cyclists;
  • Southwark Cycling Strategy and policing;
  • MPS Roads policing and transport command: new approaches;
  • Enforcement - a Safe Streets for London priority.

The event was organised by the Road Danger Reduction Forum, RoadPeace, LCC and CTC and hosted by Southwark Council.


Roads, traffic, cars and drivers ...

For anyone after all the latest on roads, traffic, cars and drivers, 15 January was a very good day as the DfT published a long list of reports on the topic:

Diary dates


Smarter Travel 2015

5 & 6 February 2015, Birmingham

The third in a series of annual events, this conference is for representatives and stakeholders from the Smarter Travel Sector, including new technology entrepreneurs, local and central government departments and representatives of all Local Sustainable Travel Fund (LSTF) awarded regions. It’s an opportunity to share knowledge, good practice and discuss effective implementation of future projects.

Confirmed keynote speakers include:

  • Baroness Kramer, Local Transport Minister
  • Paul Zanelli, Chief Technology Officer, Transport Systems Catapult
  • Geoff Inskip, Chief Executive, CENTRO

The conference format includes 'Speed Networking' case study discussion forums, workshops, panel discussions, case study and key-note presentations taking place over the two days.


Space for Cycling Campaigners' training days

Cycle-friendly streets are the life-blood of safe, pleasant and healthy communities. They are good for everybody's quality of life, whether or not they choose to cycle - and we need local campaigners to make it happen. These events are for anyone interested in using Space for Cycling to galvanise cycle campaigning in their area. New and experienced campaigners are all welcome.


It's miles better!

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

Speakers include:

  • 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.

Rates and booking


Velo-city 2015

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


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