Cycle Campaign News January 2017

Now's the time to get involved in mapping the vision for routes in Wales

Cycle Campaign News January 2017

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

In our first issue of Campaign News for 2017, a number of initiatives are already promising well.

Councils in Wales, for instance, are beginning to consult the public on their future vision for cycling and walking routes, and you can help if you live in Wales. Also, we report on the roll-out of an excellent campaign to tackle 'close pass' drivers, pioneered by West Midlands Police; and look at London's progress on introducing direct vision cabs to reduce the disproportionate risk that lorries pose to cyclists and pedestrians.

Meanwhile, the refreshed Cycling Action Plan for Scotland is sticking to its central target of 10% of everyday journeys to be made by bike by 2020 - but where's the finance?

Cherry Allan
Cycle Campaign News

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In this issue:

Headlines: Wales starts mapping active travel vision; refresh for Scotland's Cycling Action Plan; capital event for Space for Cycling - book now (and quickly!)
Other stories: Thousands of cyclists protest over proposed small claims limit hike; close passes tackled with greater force; new sentencing guidelines disappoint us; APPCG inquires into cycling and the justice system; Olympian support for safer junction campaign; TfL consults on direct vision for lorry cabs; pothole toll; will UK cities follow the global car-free trend? GWR users - help us test new cycle booking system; Stonehenge tunnel plans need cycle-proofing; grants for bright ideas to double cycling by 2025.
New publications: Public bike share users results 2016 (Bikeplus); Bicycle use and cyclist safety following Boston's bicycle infrastructure expansion, 2009-12 (academic study); Making better places - autonomous vehicles and future opportunities (WSP/Parsons Brinckerhoff); Driverless cars (DfT); Hit-and-run - why do drivers fail to stop? (University of Leicester); 1st Physical Activity Almanac (Global Observatory for Physical Activity).
Diary dates: Space for Cycling roadshow, London / 28 Jan; Road Safety Conference, Manchester / 7 Feb; Sustainable Transport + Health, Bristol / 23-24 Feb; Festival of Women & Bicycles, Oxford / 4-5 March; 20's Plenty for Healthier Places, Birmingham / 8 March; Cycle City Active City, Bradford 11-12 May. 


Wales starts mapping active travel vision

Councils in Wales are beginning to consult the public on maps of potential cycling and walking routes in their areas, as required by the ground-breaking Active Travel (Wales) Act 2013.

The Welsh Government has already approved local authorities’ maps of existing routes, and given them until November to come up with ideas for the future. They then have 15 years to turn their mapping vision into reality.

Refresh for Scotland's Cycling Action Plan

The Scottish Government has just published the third iteration of its Cycling Action Plan for Scotland (CAPS3).

The document looks at progress since the first CAPS appeared in 2010, and sets out actions to meet its goal of 10% of everyday journeys to be made by bike by 2020, to which the Government remains committed.

While remaining ambitious and offering a good collection of initiatives and interventions, including a new task force to improve local authority delivery of infrastructure, the Cycling Action Plan for Scotland's challenge is the lack of additional financial investment to ensure that the vision of 10% of cycling journeys becomes a reality.

With the last Scottish Household Survey recording cycle trips at 1.2% of journeys, CAPS3 has a big hill to climb.”

Cycling UK

  • What’s good? What’s bad? Read Cycling UK's full story and commentary and, if you’re a voter in Scotland, find out how to help influence future cycling investment and policy.   
  • Read reaction from Spokes, the Lothian Cycle Campaign, who express their disappointment that CAPS3 "... follows the pattern of CAPS1 and CAPS2 – a collection of increasingly useful & positive initiatives, but not an evidence-based, costed and funded programme to achieve its 'unshakeable' commitment to 10% of all trips being by bike in 2020."
  • According to the Surveyor Transport Network, local government is looking to do its best to realise Scotland's cycling ambitions. Cllr Stephen Hagan, spokesperson for CoSLA (the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities) is quoted as saying: "Local government is a strong supporter of cycling and active transport and we are happy to support the 2017 Cycling Action Plan. Local authorities, whether through education, the management of local paths and roads or working with local partners, have a huge role to play in encouraging the continued growth of cycling." 
  • More cycling should help the Scottish Government realise its new and tougher aspirations for tackling climate change - by 2032, it wants to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 66%. 

Capital event for Space for Cycling: book now (and quickly!) 

Our Space for Cycling roadshows are almost done, but there’s one left to go in London on Saturday 28 January (Southwark).

The event’s open to everyone, but is particularly for people who live and campaign (or are thinking of campaigning) in South East England and want to help improve local conditions for cycling.

Other stories

Thousands of cyclists protest over proposed hike in small claims limit

In the last issue of Campaign News (December 2016), we reported on the detrimental effect that raising the small claims limit could have on cyclists’ compensation claims (England & Wales).

Since then, 6,000 people have protested by emailing Justice Secretary Elizabeth Truss through our online 'Road Victims are Real Victims' action (now closed) - thanks if you were amongst them. Cycling UK has now responded in detail to the Ministry of Justice’s consultation on their proposals.

At the moment, most claims made by cyclists are over the current personal injury 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).

  • Read Cycling UK’s official response to the MoJ's consultation, and further updates from Senior Road Safety and Legal Campaigner, Duncan Dollimore.

Close passes tackled with greater force

Back in September last year, we described West Midlands Police’s 'Give Space, be Safe' close pass initiative as the “best cyclist road safety initiative ever”. It’s cheap, cost-effective and helps change dangerous driving behaviour.

Since then, we have been encouraging other forces to roll out similar schemes, and two weeks ago the Midlands held a training day to explain to officers from other forces how and why they take such a proactive approach to highlight the dangers of close overtaking.

It’s great to see so much interest in following West Midlands’ example, but Cycling UK is aware that some forces are still not getting their very simple message. We want to see more consistency across all police forces in tackling near misses, as these are not isolated incidents happening only in certain pockets of the country, but everywhere, every day."
Duncan Dollimore, Cycling UK's Senior Road Safety and Legal Campaigner

Cycling UK is looking to support a wider roll-out of West Midlands Police’s close pass initiative and will be speaking with various police forces over the coming weeks to this end. Watch this space!

London Assembly Member Sian Berry (Green) has called for a roll-out of a close pass operation that was run as a trial by plain clothes police officers on three occasions in Camden.

According to the Mayor of London, the trial resulted in:

  • One person being processed for ‘driving without due care’ (close pass)
  • Four drivers pulled over and spoken to for close passes
  • Four people processed for red light/mobile phone related offences
  • Three people reported for failing to stop for police
  • Sian Berry's press release

New sentencing guidelines for traffic offences no more than 'window dressing', says Cycling UK

Cycling UK is disappointed with new Sentencing Council (England & Wales) guidelines for magistrates’ courts, which cover a selection of traffic offences.

Media reports have concentrated on the news that drivers who commit the most serious speeding offences will now face tougher penalties, with fines set to start from 150% of their weekly salary (rather than 100%). Whilst Cycling UK in principle welcomes measures to treat motoring offences more seriously, and as real crime, we think the Council has missed an opportunity to make a real difference to bad driving behaviour. 

Changes to the sentencing guidelines garnered lots of headlines on a tougher approach to speeding, but are window dressing rather than real substance.”
Duncan Dollimore, Cycling UK's Senior Road Safety and Legal Campaigner

In response to the consultation on the new guidelines, we made the point that the fear of losing a driving licence is more likely to affect driver behaviour than the thought of larger financial penalties. The Council, however, opted to tinker with the level of fines. It also rejected most of our other recommendations, including our contention that magistrates should be expected to consider the presence of vulnerable road users (rather than merely pedestrians) as an aggravating feature of a traffic offence.

Watch out for Duncan's forthcoming blog on the detail. 

All party parliamentary group inquires into cycling and the justice system

The All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group (APPCG) is conducting an inquiry into cycling and the justice system.

Cycling UK, RoadPeace and a number of other groups have submitted evidence, and we’ll report further in the next issue of Campaign News.

Olympian support for safer junction campaign

Watch Olympic cyclist Chris Boardman explain why British Cycling is calling on the Government to introduce a universal rule giving anyone going ahead priority over anyone turning the corner. This would apply to all road users, including cyclists, and should help improve the safety record of junctions, where around three-quarters of all reported collisions involving cyclists happen.

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. 

British Cycling has also launched a petition in support of its Turning the Corner campaign, which Cycling UK wholeheartedly supports.

TfL consults on direct vision for lorry cabs

Transport for London (TfL) has just launched the first in a series of consultations on proposals to implement a Direct Vision Standard (DVS) for Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs) in the capital. Direct vision cabs give drivers a much clearer view of what's going on outside, as happens in buses, helping reduce the disproportionately high number of cyclist and pedestrian fatalities involving HGVs.

The DVS uses a zero to five ‘star rating’ system to categorise HGVs based on how much a driver can see directly from the cab without using cameras or mirrors. Under TfL’s proposal, ‘zero star rated’ HGVs would be banned or restricted from London’s roads by 2020, and only HGVs rated three stars and above would be allowed from 2024.

Cycling UK has long been calling for the widespread introduction of direct vision as one of the most effective ways of protecting cyclists and pedestrians from the risk that lorries pose to them. This, and other measures, are outlined in our briefing on goods vehicles

Pothole toll

A recent answer to a parliamentary question on pothole-related injuries revealed that, from 2014 to 2015, 99 cyclists were killed or seriously injured in reported road incidents in which the police decided that a contributory factor was a 'poor or defective road surface' on local roads (for England) or all non-motorway roads (for Scotland and Wales).

Will UK cities follow the global car-free trend?

The Mayor of Paris has announced major infrastructure projects to halve the number of private cars and ‘reconquer’ public space for non-polluting transport. Rolling out a vast cycle network, including a 4km fully segregated cycle lane along the iconic Rue de Rivoli, is now on the cards.

Madrid’s mayor has announced similar plans, while radical urban realm projects that favour low-emission travel are on the way for Barcelona, Oslo, Hamburg and New Delhi, to name but a few cities.

  • Cycling UK’s Space for Cycling campaigner Tom Guha asks what’s happening in Britain?
  • When Baroness Jones of Moulsecoomb asked what advice the Government issued about using public transport, walking or cycling instead of driving during a particularly nasty week of air pollution towards the end of last year, the answer from Lord Gardiner of Kimble (DEFRA) didn't say. 
  • Read our briefing on air quality.

Calling all GWR users! Help us test new cycle booking system

Following Great Western Railway’s attempt last year to implement a mandatory booking system for cycle carriage, Cycling UK has been working with the company to produce a booking system that works for cyclists.

We now need regular users of GWR intercity services to help test these out. If that sounds like you, please email expressing your interest with a summary of your regular route(s).

Stonehenge tunnel plans need cycle-proofing, say campaigners

The Government has announced plans for a tunnel under Stonehenge as part of a major investment programme to “transform the A303 and benefit those locally by cutting congestion and improving journey times.”

Local Cycling UK campaigners and representatives of COGS (Cycling Opportunities Group, Salisbury) will be responding to the consultation, stressing the point that catering for sustainable transport must not be an afterthought.

This means ‘cycle-proofing’ the plans right from the beginning, especially as cycling through the tunnel will probably not be permitted, and direct routes from Amesbury westwards are likely to be cut off unless Highways England provides some kind of all-weather, properly maintained cycle facility along the existing A303. Cyclists and walkers will also need high quality access to the World Heritage Site from the main centres of population and transport hubs Amesbury and Salisbury.

Highways England is staging a series of public exhibitions, and plans are now subject to consultation until 5 March.

Grants for bright ideas to double cycling by 2025

The Department for Transport has launched a grant scheme to support and develop innovations that use or enable science, engineering and technology to address its policy goals on:

  • doubling cycling by 2025
  • improving driver training
  • … and drones

The Innovation Challenge Fund is offering grants of up to £90,000. Deadline 13 February 2017.

New publications

Public Bike Share Users Results 2016 (Bikeplus)

The first UK-wide survey of public bike share scheme users. Looks at the schemes' impact on attracting people to cycling, their health and wellbeing benefits and how they are influencing people’s travel choices, particularly in terms of moving away from car journeys. Finds that:

  • 50% of users are either new cyclists or increasing how often they cycle
  • A substantially higher proportion of women use bike share schemes than ride their own bikes – 57% of users are men, 42% women
  • 22% switched their main bike share journey from car to bike
  • 20% use the scheme in conjunction with the bus, and 40% with the train
  • 65% of users said they mainly used the scheme for exercise, 59% for convenience and 42% for time savings

Other facts: 

  • 17 towns and cities have public bike share schemes, with at least another four in development including Brighton and Cardiff
  • 16,413 bikes are shared in the UK, of which 13,868 are in London
  • There are 138,802 casual users and members of bike share schemes in the UK

The survey was based on the responses of 800 bike share scheme users in England, Wales and Scotland.

Bicycle Use and Cyclist Safety Following Boston’s Bicycle Infrastructure Expansion, 2009–2012

By FE Pedroso et al

The results of a study evaluating changes in cycle use and cyclist safety in Boston, Massachusetts, following the rapid expansion of its bicycle infrastructure between 2007 and 2014.

Found that:

  • Boston increased its total bicycle lane mileage from 0.034 miles in 2007 to 92.2 miles in 2014
  • The percentage of bicycle commuters increased from 0.9% in 2005 to 2.4% in 2014
  • The total percentage of bicycle incidents involving injuries diminished significantly, from 82.7% in 2009 to 74.6% in 2012
  • For every one-year increase in time from 2009 to 2012, there was a 14% reduction in the odds of being injured

Published in the American Journal of Public Health

Making Better Places: Autonomous vehicles and future opportunities (WSP / Parsons Brinckerhoff in association with Farrells) 

Report taking a very positive look at driverless vehicles which, they say, have the “… potential to support a better quality of life, economic growth, health, safety and social connections. They offer convenient and affordable mobility to all of us, regardless of where we live, our age or ability to drive. They could also help to improve the way that our existing places and routes work, while offering new potential for more valuable land, and additional homes and jobs.”

Presents a vision of how five places in the UK might look in an autonomous vehicle world (i.e. 'AV' zones, city centres, suburbs, motorways & major routes and rural communities).  

Driverless cars (DfT)

  • Impacts on traffic flow: report, based on virtual models, finding that delays and traffic flow could improve as the proportion of automated vehicles increases above specific levels. 
  • Social and behavioural questions associated with automated vehicles: a scoping study to help the DfT embark on its ‘wider social and behavioural programme’. The recommendations include: a “Deliberative exercise with citizens and organisations to investigate attitudes and likely behavioural responses to the technology”; and “Scoping work on the interaction between AVs and road users (including AV users themselves).” 
  • Pathway to driverless cars: the Government's response to “… a consultation on proposals to facilitate advanced driver assistance systems and automated vehicle technologies.” This covers regulatory reform, motor insurance, and amending the regulatory framework for driving, including the Highway Code, and construction and use regulations. 

Obviously, the pathway to driverless cars is likely to be far from straightforward, but Cycling UK believes that they must be able to detect cyclists and pedestrians and predict their movements reliably before being approved for general use. We also share concerns about the transition period. 

Hit-and-run: why do drivers fail to stop after an accident? Contexts of incidents, driver motivations and preventative strategies

By Matt Hopkins et al, Dept of Criminology, University of Leicester

An academic report, funded by the Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB), looking mainly at why some drivers fail to stop/report an incident and how the number of ‘hit-and-run’ offences could be reduced. Based on interviews, the researchers found that the four principal motivations for leaving the scene are: self-preservation; drinking; claiming no knowledge of the incident; incident too trivial to report.

The authors suggest that amongst the cures are: making reporting easier; education and training; tackling the antecedents of hit-and-run; incentivising technologies such as dash cams; and exploring sentencing guidelines and how they are applied.

1st Physical Activity Almanac (Global Observatory for Physical Activity)

Impressively thorough collection of data on physical activity, summarising indicators from 64.1% of the world’s countries, including surveillance, policy, research and deaths.

With a fascinating graphic showing the milestones marking progress since 1953 in research into physical activity, and 'Country Cards' detailing the situation in numerous countries, including England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Intended as a baseline for future monitoring and a tool to help countries tackle the global inactivity crisis.  

Diary dates

Space for Cycling Roadshow

28 January, London

Help transform Britain’s roads so that anyone can cycle anywhere, and come along to the last in our current series of Space for Cycling Roadshows. All welcome, but this event caters especially for campaigners or would-be campaigners in South East England.

Road Safety Conference 2017: prevention and protection

7 February, Manchester

Conference offering expert insights into how to keep motorists, cyclists and pedestrians safe.

Learn how the ‘Safe Systems’ approach and the latest technology can be used to mitigate risks and prevent serious accidents. Cycling UK’s Senior Road Safety and Legal Campaigner, Duncan Dollimore, will be speaking.

Sustainable Transport + Health 2017

23-24 February, Bristol

This two-day summit, showcasing successful UK projects, is for local authorities, specialist consultants, stakeholders and change-makers to pick up new ideas, inspiration and intelligence to take home and deliver in their own context. Expert speakers lined up. 

Festival of Women & Bicycles 2017

4-5 March, Oxford

A weekend festival, hosted by Oxford’s Broken Spoke Bike Co-op in partnership with The Adventure Syndicate. Coincides with International Women’s Day.

Speakers include Josie Dew (author, veteran cycle tourer and Cycling UK's Vice President) and Isla Rowntree (designer and founder of Islabikes).

Open to people of all genders, ages, abilities, shapes and sizes, keen cyclists, aspiring cyclists and the bike-curious alike. With practical workshops, Q&A sessions, local guided rides and bike-specific yoga classes. Tickets are £45.

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. 

Cycle City Active City (Landor Links)

11-12 May, Bradford

The 5th annual Cycle City Active City conference.

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

The call for papers closes on 31 January. 

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