Cycle Campaign News June 2015

Minister for cycling, Robert Goodwill, and others: Parliamentary Bike Week Ride 2015

Cycle Campaign News June 2015

CTC's monthly round-up of cycle campaigning news

From the Editor

Breakfast and speeches at the Dutch Embassy in London, followed by a sunny cycle ride to Parliament for MPs, Lords and over 100 influential people in the cycling advocacy world, all set the scene beautifully last Wednesday for the launch of Bike Week 2015.

Delivered this year by CTC, Bike Week is now in full swing – pledge to take part now!

Also under way is the linked National Workplace Cycle Challenge from our partners Love to Ride. It’s a fun, free and friendly competition with impressive prizes for the workplaces who get most staff to cycle for just ten minutes.

What better boost for cycle commuting?

Cherry Allan

CTC Campaigns

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Minister for cycling talks funding at Bike Week launch

With the Kingdom of the Netherlands’ Embassy hosting the launch of Bike Week 2015 last Wednesday, thoughts of Dutch cycle provision and the ‘normalcy’ of cycling in Holland were, quite naturally, in the air.

Indeed, in his speech the returned minister for cycling, Robert Goodwill MP (photo right), did not deny that the UK has a long way to catch up with the Dutch, but reassured everyone that Government commitment remains strong and an annual investment of £10 per head for cycling is still his ambition. 

This was welcome news, but the recent announcement that £23m has been sliced off the already thin funding slither of £114m for Cycling City grants in England, hadn’t primed the cycling advocates in the audience with unalloyed optimism. The minister, however, squarely blamed HM Treasury for all current funding challenges, and stressed how important it is to keep up pressure on the Chancellor for a better deal for cycling.

CTC and our partners in the the Active Travel Consortium do indeed have the Treasury firmly in our sights, and are already working to influence the Chancellor's Spending Review and Autumn Statement, due out later this year.

Almost half of commuters live within cycling distance of work, CTC finds

Facts and figures on transport habits and cycling abound - we've collected a few of the best for the infographic on the right.

Also to mark Bike Week 2015, we commissioned a YouGov poll asking people about commuting and cycling to work in particular.

Our latest research makes a really a compelling case for cycling. It is easy to start your day on time, less burdened by traffic jams, and with money still in your pocket ready for a hearty lunch break – the answer is cycling to work.”

Jonathan Sharpe, Bike Week Coordinator, CTC

Amongst other things, the results suggest that almost half of commuters (47%) live within an ‘easily cycle-able’ distance from their place of work (0-5 miles away).

Asked about their gripes, non-cycling commuters regularly mentioned traffic and inconsiderate drivers, buses not turning up, train cancellations and the rise in rail fares.

Our poll also found that, whilst those who already cycle to work share other commuters’ annoyance about the condition of the roads (i.e. potholes etc.) and inconsiderate road users, 27% of them said they found nothing frustrating about their commute at all!

We’ve put all this into film too – watch our Beat the Bustle video.

Right: Bike Week Commuting Infographic

Global cycling summit oozes optimism

CTC’s Sam Jones spent a few days earlier this June at Velo-city, the annual summit for people involved in policy, promotion and provision for cyclists.

Speaking from the venue in Nantes, France, Sam said: “What is encouraging is the sense of optimism that oozes from town planners and decision makers. While in the UK our politicians will talk of the lack of funds for cycling due to the economy, this is an excuse which appears to be rejected in many parts of the world.”

Over 1,500 delegates from more than 60 countries were at Velo-city to hear from over 200 expert speakers.

MBE for CTC's Campaigns Director

CTC's Campaigns and Policy Director, Roger Geffen, has been appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the Queen's 2015 Birthday Honours List for his services to cycling.

Roger, who joined CTC in 2002, was originally introduced to cycle campaigning as a volunteer with the London Cycling Campaign (LCC) in the late 1980s. He went on to take active roles in various transport and environment groups including the UK's anti-road movement. He later took a master’s degree in transport at London University, while working on walking and cycling policy at Oxfordshire County Council.

Roger Geffen MBE said: “If I’m really honest, the accolade I’d most dearly love would be a Government commitment to invest at least £10 per head annually on cycling – rising progressively to £20 per head – together with the design standards to ensure this money is well spent! So, humbled as I am to receive this honour, I promise that it won’t in any way weaken my resolve to continue campaigning for those outcomes!

“Seriously though, I genuinely regard this as an award for the fantastic collective efforts made by everyone involved in cycle campaigning, both in CTC and our partner organisations. I pay particular tribute to the many local volunteers involved in campaigning at the local level. They are absolute heroes, and I want to dedicate this honour to their efforts too.”

Malcolm Shepherd, CEO of Sustrans, has been awarded a CBE, and Phillipa Hunt of Living Streets an MBE.

Other stories

Cycle use creeps up in GB, but it'll take another 50 years to double it

Cycle use in Great Britain has crept up from 5.0 billion kilometres in 2013 to 5.2 billion kilometres in 2014, and is now about 20% higher than 10 years ago. This is positive news, but at this rate it will still take fifty years to double cycle use here, and even then it would still be at sub-basement levels compared with many European neighbours.  

This makes real leadership and commitment to cycling across all relevant Government departments as important as ever. After all, we need rapid progress on adopting a strong 'Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy', as promised by the last Parliament, with significant long-term funding and a national set of cycle-friendly design standards to ensure that the money is well spent.

Are killer drivers being treated more leniently?

The number of drivers found guilty of any 'causing death' offence in England and Wales dropped by 11% between 2013 and 2014, even though figures for people killed on the roads has recently shown an upward trend.

According to the Ministry of Justice, 355 drivers were convicted of ‘causing death’ offences in 2013, 40 more than in 2014. Although we don't yet know the total number of road deaths in England and Wales for 2014, we do know that Great Britain as a whole saw a 1% increase in the year to September 2014 over the corresponding period a year earlier (1,730 fatalities compared with 1,711). In short, prosecutions and convictions for fatal driving offences are down, despite an increase in the number of fatalities.

While finding fewer drivers guilty of 'causing death' does not necessarily point to greater leniency, CTC is aware of a number of recent 'no action' cases in which, arguably, justice has not yet won through. Much of this, we think, is due to police failings, exacerbated by the severe cuts that the service has suffered over recent years.

Rogue goods vehicle operators: their role in cyclist collisions

In collisions between lorries and cyclists, the subsequent focus is more often than not on the manoeuvres that led up to them, and on the driver and victim. However, CTC has been investigating the part played by the operators of the goods vehicles involved in two fatal cases and, as a result, has uncovered a range of significant failures. These include not checking a driver’s fitness to drive and driving record, or even if they were in possession of the appropriate licence.

CTC has identified a number of measures that would help make operators more accountable, and monitoring and enforcement of their activities more effective.

Cyclists' Defence Fund supporter raises funds through film-screening

Charlie Sinclair, a supporter of the Cyclists' Defence Fund (CDF), has raised £215.60 for the Justice for Michael fund by arranging a screening of the documentary Bikes vs Cars in Shrewsbury. The money will boost CDF’s appeal for the £30,000 needed to pay for a private prosecution of the driver who hit cyclist Michael Mason in February 2014. Michael died two-and-a-half weeks after the incident and, despite there being enough evidence, the Metropolitan Police decided not to press charges.  

CDF relies heavily on donations from supporters. Maybe you’d like to arrange a screening of the film to raise funds too?

Parents fear for their children's road safety on school run

Only a quarter of parents with children aged 5-11 who responded to a survey commissioned by Brake, the road safety charity, said that the route between their home and their school is safe enough for their children to walk or cycle unsupervised. Road safety concerns are a major deterrent.

Asked what would persuade them to allow their children to walk or cycle to school (supervised or unsupervised): 

  • 40% cited the creation of safe pavements, footpaths and/or cycle paths
  • 48% more safe crossing points
  • 29% free cycle or pedestrian training for their child(ren)
  • 34% lower speed limits including 20 mph limits in communities
  • 30% more speed enforcement

The survey also revealed that a significant minority of parents who drive their children to school habitually take risks: 12% commonly talk on a mobile phone; and the same proportion speed on the school run, and 23% don’t stick to 20 mph around homes, schools and shops.

The survey was published to mark Brake’s Giant Walk, which helps children learn about traffic pollution and danger, and transport choices.

London's mayor wants to halve KSI on capital's roads by 2020

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, intends to halve the number of people killed or seriously injured (KSI) on London's roads by 2020.

The announcement coincided with the publication of Transport for London’s (TfL) latest road casualty figures, which showed that KSI for 2014 are at the lowest level since records began.

The number of KSI cyclists was down 12% on 2013, despite huge increases in people cycling in the capital. However, six cyclists have died there this year, all of them in collisions involving commercial vehicles, so continued action on tackling the serious risk that lorries pose to cyclists will be crucial.

Technology trials may lead to longer time on green for cyclists

Transport for London is conducting a pioneering trial of new technology that detects the numbers of cyclists travelling along a route and enables the traffic signal timings to be adjusted to give more green time when there are high flows of cyclists at key junctions during peak times.

FPNs explained

Confused about Fixed Penalty Notices (FPN) for cycling infringements? Want to know how to contest them, or what will happen if you do go to court and are found guilty? If so, read Rhia Favero’s guide, with case studies, written for the Cyclists’ Defence Fund.

Rhia has also set up a short survey to find out how many cyclists pay FPNs and for what, and how many appeal against them.

The best cycling cities in the world are ...

... still Copenhagen and Amsterdam, according to the 2015 Copenhagenize Index, an inventory and ranking of cycle-friendly cities. 122 cities were scrutinised this year, more than ever before. Although Copenhagen overtook Amsterdam for the top spot, both cities still dominate the list.

Cities are scored on a variety of criteria, i.e.: advocacy; bicycle culture: facilities & infrastructure; bike share programme; gender split; modal share & increase; perception of safety; politics; social acceptance; urban planning; and reducing speed limits.

The top twenty cities are:

  1. Copenhagen
  2. Amsterdam
  3. Utrecht
  4. Strasbourg
  5. Eindhoven
  6. Malmö
  7. Nantes
  8. Bordeaux
  9. Antwerp
  10. Seville
  11. Barcelona
  12. Berlin
  13. Ljubljana
  14. Buenos Aires
  15. Dublin
  16. Vienna
  17. Paris
  18. Minneapolis
  19. Hamburg
  20. Montréal

Study looks at cycling in later life

Researchers from the Centre for Transport and Society at UWE (University of the West of England) Bristol are looking at what discourages and encourages cycling in later life, and hope to identify how the physical environment, cycles and equipment could be better designed to help them continue or reconnect with cycling. The study covers all forms of cycling, e.g. sport and exercise, travel and everyday transport.

The ongoing project, Cycle BOOM, involves interviews and cycle rides with participants aged 50+ who either still ride or have done so at some point during their adult life. The researchers have already discovered that moving to power-assisted bikes, attaching wing mirrors, re-jigging routes and timing their rides differently are some of the changes people make to keep cycling as they grow older.

Slaying the myths ...

Persuading your employer to cater for cycle commuters ...

  • The focus of Bike Week this year is on cycling to work, so we talk timely tactics.

Act now!

Submit your nominations for this year’s ATOC Cycle Rail Awards!

Why? You’ll not only be doing your bit to reward the rail industry and associated organisations for progress on cycle-rail integration, but also helping ATOC (the Association of Train Operating Companies), its partners and stakeholders improve communication and develop best practice.

The awards are supported by the All Party Cycling Group, CTC, Sustrans, British Cycling and the Bicycle Association. 

This year’s categories include:

  • Best Customer Service
  • Partnership Working and Local Government Schemes
  • Innovation
  • Cycle Champion
  • Door to Door Journeys including Station Travel Plans
  • London Cycle Parking
  • Cycle Security Award
  • Station of the Year
  • Operator of the Year
  • Cycle-Rail Photograph Competition
  • Staff Member of the Year (nominations from non-rail organisations and public only)

Deadline: 4 September 2015

New publications

Cycling and Walking Survey (Local Government Association)

Results of an LGA survey that asked English councils about how they are promoting active travel, their key funding challenges and policy barriers that are preventing them from doing more. All 149 upper tier councils in England were invited to respond and 57 did so in full. Amongst the findings, the survey found that:

  • 75% of respondents had a cycling and/or walking plan;
  • 98% considered (to a great or moderate extent), the improvement of public health to be a driver for their investment in walking and cycling;
  • 75% are currently promoting cycling and/or walking through schools;
  • 65% are currently implementing a cycle investment programme;
  • 63% were currently providing secure cycle parking and/or changing facilities;
  • 60% were cycle proofing new transport infrastructure, but only 32% have a programme to cycle proof existing main carriageways;
  • 86% considered that they're faced with barriers to cycle proofing more of their existing main carriageways - insufficient funding and conflicts with moving traffic being significant problems.

Getting There: How sustainable transport can support new development (Campaign for Better Transport)

A report that begins by looking at examples of how spatial planning is facilitating imaginative, and sometimes extensive sustainable transport projects, as part of the planning process at strategic and local plan level. It then details examples of where sustainable transport is supporting economic development, both in revitalising existing town and city centres, and as an integral part of new business and retail developments. It then looks at housing, presenting examples of good practice in both new developments and in regeneration. Finally, it offers recommendations on how the good practice already going on can be made more widespread.

Policy Futures for Urban Transport (pteg)

Report mapping out the policies needed to build on recent progress on devolution to the city regions on transport, in order to achieve a wider vision of smart and integrated transport networks that deliver growth. Finds that: ‘There’s a strong consensus that Britain’s city regions are key to the re-balancing of the economy and the UK’s wider economic success’, and ‘great strides have been made in ensuring that city regions can better shape their own futures and make the connections between different policy goals’. The report goes on to set out the policy framework needed to make faster and further progress.

Designed to Move: Active Cities (Active Living Research, University of California)

Guide reflecting the insights and contributions of over 80 individuals and organisations from around the world. Says that: “Active cities are an investment in developing greater human, economic, social and environmental capital. The returns across nearly every dimension of civic life are so impressive they simply can’t be ignored. This is for those who say that they can’t justify the expense of doing something. They’re wrong. What they can’t possibly justify is the cost of doing nothing.”

National Survey for Wales (Welsh Government)

Results of the Welsh Government’s national survey of 14,000 people aged 16 and over. Includes a section on active travel, the key findings of which are:

  • In the past week, 5%had cycled and 65% had walked for more than five minutes to get to a particular destination (rather than for exercise or recreation);
  • The most common reason for walking was to get to local shops for small errands, with 43% of people who walked for more than 5 minutes having done so for that reason;
  • The most common reason for cycling was to get to work (30% of those who cycled).

Involving the Public and Other Stakeholders (CIHT)

New guidelines from the Chartered Institution of Highways & Transportation to help transportation practitioners engage more effectively with those who stand to be most directly affected by their work. Gives practical advice, highlights good practice and concludes that: “…  strategically planned engagement with place users and other stakeholders is essential in achieving and maintaining well-designed streets and squares in neighbourhoods, towns and cities.”

Investigating the rates and impacts of near misses and related incidents among UK cyclists

By Rachel Aldred & Sian Crosweller  

Paper examining the occurrence of non-injury incidents (near misses and other frightening and/or annoying incidents) among cyclists in the UK, based on data collected through online diaries for the ‘Near Miss’ project.

Finds, amongst other things, that women seem to experience a higher rate of near miss incidents than do men, probably because slower, shorter trips are associated with higher incident rates. As a result, the authors recommend that more attention should be paid to the experiences of slower and possibly less risk-tolerant cyclists.

The authors also conclude that: “Policy-makers should pay similar attention to causes and effects of cycling near-misses, particular incidents that are more frightening (e.g. close passes) or those more likely to lead to injuries (e.g. incidents involving large vehicles). Preventing near misses is valuable both for injury reduction (for example, designing out left hook risks - a common category of incident), but also for improving the cycling experience.”

Published in the Journal of Transport & Health

Making Walking and Cycling on Europe’s Roads Safer (ETSC)

The authors of this European Transport Safety Council report say that unprotected road users need special attention because the numbers being killed are falling more slowly than those for vehicle occupants: in the last ten years, deaths among pedestrians and cyclists fell by 41% and 37% respectively, while vehicle occupant deaths fell by 53%.

The authors cite evidence of ‘safety in numbers’, showing that increases in cycling and walking can reduce the levels of risk to walkers and cyclists as motor traffic becomes more used to sharing the road, and could improve overall road safety if car travel were replaced by walking and cycling. The report also says urban planning should be based on a hierarchy of road users where pedestrians, cyclists and public transport are prioritised.

Health Profiles (Public Health England)

The latest easily accessible, summarised health profiles for every local authority in England, compiled each year. Covers, for example, life expectancy, child and adult health, excess weight and obesity and deprivation. Useful for cycle campaigners if physical activity is highlighted as a local priority!

Getting Britain Active: Setting the agenda for the new Parliament (UK Health Forum)

Written by a coalition of the country’s leading environment, transport and health organisations, including CTC, this document sets out a vision “to transform the UK and create communities where children and their families are able to choose to walk and cycle to school, to work and recreation. Supporting local authorities to deliver better places to walk and cycle will allow people and communities to thrive, increase educational attainment, social cohesion and economic output and reduce social isolation and preventable ill health. To do this we need renewed political vision and commitments in the form of three actions for the new Government to take in the first 100 days: Leadership, investment and strategy.”

Getting Active Outdoors (Outdoor Industries Association/Sport England)

A study of demography, motivation, participation and provision in outdoor sport and recreation in England. Looks at the demand and supply of the outdoor activity market, with an in-depth look at those who are active outdoors, latent demand and how to motivate those who are not active. Finds, for example, that:

  • There are currently 18.2 million people who are not active in the outdoors, but want to be;
  • 92 % of people take part in the outdoors to relax and de-stress;
  • There are over 9,000 providers in the outdoors sector;
  • 70 - 80 % of all outdoor users feeling being active outdoors strengthens family relationships.

Diary dates


National Workplace Cycle Challenge 2015

(Love to Ride, CTC and Cyclescheme)




8 - 28 June

Now on!

The first of its kind on a national scale, this three-week Workplace Cycle Challenge is inviting 20,000 businesses to see who can get the most staff to ride a bike for at least ten minutes. As team competes against team, office against office and company against company (all very amicably, of course), local and national league tables will monitor progress and determine the front-runners.

It’s free for organisations and individuals to take part, there are six size categories for businesses and a range of individual and team prizes, including a trip for two to New Zealand, new bikes, bike gear, holidays around the UK, and more. Local authorities can sign up to support and boost participation in their area, whatever their cycling budget.

Behaviour change and encouraging modal shift in commuting habits is the underlying aim.

Find out more and get involved

Bike Week 2015 (delivered by CTC as part of the European Union Intelligent Energy Commission)

13 – 21 June (although events still take place until September and beyond!)

Also now on!

Bike Week is one of the best annual opportunities to promote and encourage ‘everyday cycling for everyone’. It’s the UK’s biggest nationwide cycling event and there for people of all ages and abilities to give cycling a go for fun, visiting friends, to get to work, school or local shops.

The special focus this year is cycling to work, boosting people’s confidence and inspiring them to cycle-commute. We’ll be seeing all kinds of imaginative events, such as ‘buddy’ rides with colleagues, forays to scope out the easiest routes, and workplace challenges.

Check out the hundreds of events already planned for 2015, and/or organise one yourself and benefit from FREE event registration on a national site that attracts thousands of hits, public liability insurance and promotional material.

Cycle Active City

25 - 26 June, Newcastle

Now in its third 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.

CTC has a limited number of heavily discounted places for bona fide volunteer campaigners at £45 for the two-day conference, including refreshments (although the evening dinner on 25 June is extra). Contact Mark Slater to apply.


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