Cycle Campaign News March 2015

The Big Cycling Debate grills party representatives on cycling [Photo: Amritpal Virdi]

Cycle Campaign News March 2015

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

From the Editor

With the general election not far away, CTC's been quizzing political parties about their cycling intentions.

The Big Cycling Debate at the beginning of March lined up a panellist each from the Conservatives, Liberal Democrats and Labour, and was shortly followed by a questionnaire to their parties and nine others - most of them responded.

Soon, you'll be able to contact your own parliamentary candidates too via our Vote Bike! campaign - so do watch out for that.

But, whoever our MPs are in the summer, they'll have to prepare for all those people who'll be wheeling out their bikes into the sunlight and getting into cycling again, thanks to our Big Bike Revival project!

Cherry Allan

CTC Campaigns

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£1 million for CTC's Big Bike Revival

“As the national cycling charity, CTC wants to encourage as many people as possible to fall back in love with cycling and experience all the health and economic benefits it brings. 

“Knowing so many bikes are lying dormant gathering dust in people’s homes, the Big Bike Revival aims to bring them back to life and give people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities the incentive they need to re-engage with cycling.”

CTC Chief Executive Paul Tuohy

CTC will be encouraging thousands of people to start or get back to cycling, thanks to £1 million from the Government for the Big Bike Revival project. In towns and cities all over England, members of the public will be offered the practical help they need to:

  • fix and maintain a cycle
  • trade-up and donate machines
  • learn about local cycling opportunities
  • access cycle training

The scheme, which will be run in conjunction with bike re-cycling centres, follows a successful pilot last October. The 2015 programme will begin in mid-May, with many of the events being held during the school half-term week. A targeted festival is planned for 23 May – 7 June.


Vote Bike!

Now that the Government has to produce a Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy for England by law, and with only a few weeks left until the general election, CTC has been grilling political parties on what they intend to do to Get Britain Cycling.

On 2 March, we organised the Big Cycling Debate on behalf of the UK Cycling Alliance and with the support of News UK as part of the Times newspaper's Cities Fit for Cycling Campaign. Once they'd outlined their party's plans, the three panellists were invited to answer questions on funding, joined-up government, inclusive design standards, 20 mph and cycling safety, road user training and public awareness.

  • Find out what Robert Goodwill MP (Con), Lilian Greenwood MP (Lab) and Julian Huppert MP (LibDem) said.

CTC also invited the twelve main political parties to respond to a survey on their cycling intentions and received replies from the most of them. Our forthcoming Vote Bike website will round-up their responses, while the April/May issue of our members’ magazine, Cycle, will include an in-depth article.

Get involved!

CTC will soon be calling on members and supporters to contact constituency candidates via our easy-to-use Vote Bike website.

You’ll be able to ask candidates to show support for CTC’s five key campaigning aims for the coming years: targets and ambition, funding, cycle-friendly design standards, safety improvements and positive promotion of cycling (e.g. through cycle training) for people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities.  You’ll also be able to see what commitments they’ve already made (so you can help us hold them to account if they get elected!), as well as helping us identify allies for the new Parliament.

As soon as goes live, we'll announce it on our home page - so please keep watch.

The Met Police and the Michael Mason case

As reported in the last Campaign News, the family of Michael Mason, a cyclist who died following a collision with a car, has been fighting for the Met Police to refer the case to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). Although the police said in a recent statement that they had backtracked on the decision, they have since confirmed that they do not, after all, intend to pass the file on to the CPS.

Michael Mason, 70, was hit from behind by car in London’s Regent Street in February 2014, and died two and a half weeks later. Although the police did not break any rules when they failed to consult the CPS, their action did go against charging guidance. With the support of the Cyclists’ Defence Fund (CDF), Mr Mason’s family has been fighting for answers ever since. 

CDF will look to initiate a potential private prosecution of the driver, if necessary. It has launched a fundraising appeal

  • CTC article on the latest developments in Michael Mason's case
  • A vigil for Michael Mason took place in Regent Street on Friday 13 March, to mark the one year anniversary of his death. It also remembered the many other people who have lost their lives on London’s roads and across the UK. A speech from Mr Mason’s daughter Anna Tatton-Brown was particularly moving. Roger Geffen was also amongst the speakers, representing CTC and CDF. 

Other stories

Experts all set to get UK's roads 'cycle proofed'

The move to ‘cycle proof’ the UK’s roads for cycling is gathering momentum now that the ‘Cycle Proofing Working Group’, chaired by the DfT, has a web presence on the Government’s site.

The site defines cycle proofing as: “a process which over time ensures that the built environment generally, and roads specifically, are seen to be safe, convenient and pleasant for cycle use by people of all ages and abilities.” It also sets out the Group’s terms of reference and lists its members, which include CTC, Sustrans, British Cycling, the Highways Agency, engineering and transport institutes, local authority representatives and TfL.

Tougher penalties for dangerous drivers on horizon

The Government's promised review of driving offences and penalties is now truly under way, thanks in large measure to CTC's Road Justice campaign. Prime Minster David Cameron has recently expressed support for tougher penalties for dangerous drivers, and written personally to Justice Minister Chris Grayling, outlining his support for a reconsideration of maximum penalties.

Also, a manifesto for better justice for victims of dangerous driving has been launched in Westminster. Compiled by the office of the Liberal Democrat MP Greg Mulholland, it calls for a redefinition of dangerous and careless driving to avoid dangerous driving being dismissed as less serious; interim bans for drivers arrested on suspicion of causing death or serious injury; and treatment of victims of criminal driving as victims of crime with the same entitlements as victims of other types of crime.

Although the final manifesto does not correspond exactly with CTC's own proposals for changes to the justice system, its contribution to the debate about how the system needs to be changed is welcomed.

Drivers still disobeying mobile phone law

Statistics just released by the DfT suggest that many drivers are still defying the law on mobile phones. In 2014, 1.6% of all drivers in England and Scotland were observed using a hand-held mobile phone whilst driving

Drug-driving law comes into effect

A new law that makes it illegal to drive with certain drugs in the body above specified levels came into effect in England and Wales on 2 March. The legislation covers illegal and prescription drugs (eight of each), but people using prescription drugs within recommended amounts will not be penalised. New screening equipment will help the police test suspected drug drivers and make it easier to prosecute them.

DfT's THINK! cycle safety campaign reaches more cities

The DfT is extending its largely sensible THINK! cycle safety campaign to a further seven cities.

The campaign, which is based on posters, is intended to “remind drivers to take care around cyclists and remind cyclists of the actions they can take to stay safe on the road.” It will run for a third time in Birmingham, Bristol, Cambridge, Leeds and Manchester, and now for the first time in Bradford, Brighton and Hove, Kingston upon Hull, Newcastle, Portsmouth, Southampton and Liverpool.

Analysis of last year’s campaign showed that more than three quarters of drivers agreed the adverts reminded them about the importance of looking out for cyclists.

Cycle-lorry safety aired at major conference and Lords debate

The risks that cyclists face from lorries have recently been the subject of both a major conference and a House of Lords debate.

The conference, which attracted over 600 people, was organised by CLOCs ('Construction Logistics and Cycle Safety'), an industry-led initiative to improve its road safety record, particularly where it relates to cyclists and pedestrians. On display were safety-optimised vehicles developed in partnership with CLOCS, and safer driving aids from a selection of suppliers which can help operators meet the CLOCS Standard.

The CLOCS event sparked a short and useful airing of the issues in the House of Lords. Earl Attlee (Con), who secured the debate, said: “My Lords, the House will be aware that, every year in London, there are several cyclist fatalities involving HGVs and that these accidents often occur at relatively low speeds. These are extremely distressing incidents for all concerned, not least because of the gross disparity in vulnerability. I have been first on the scene on one occasion and witnessed a near miss on another.”

The debate centred on technology (e.g. ‘blind spot’ sensors), but also covered a variety of other relevant topics. CTC’s Vice President, Lord Berkeley, also took part.

HGVs and HS2

Looking to the hazards that the construction of the High Speed 2 (HS2) rail project could pose for cyclists, CTC has met with the promoters of the HS2 Bill to discuss a range of issues, including a proposal to adopt the CLOCS lorry safety standard for all its construction work. They were encouragingly receptive.

CTC was instrumental in ensuring that lorry drivers involved in the construction of London’s Crossrail are given induction training in sharing the roads with vulnerable road users. (See also 'New publications' for details of two new reports on freight).

It’s miles better!

As the number of towns and cities that have adopted wide area 20 mph has grown, so has the number of 20's Plenty campaigners, practitioners and politicians who have championed the cause at local level.

Their accumulated expertise and experience is impressive, as demonstrated by all speakers presenting at the recent 'It’s Miles Better' conference in Cambridge. This has, in no uncertain way, strengthened the cause of a national 20 mph default built-up limit, meaning that 30 mph would be the exception in places where people live, work, shop and learn rather than the rule. The benefits, as the conference heard, go beyond road danger reduction – 20 mph leads to a more attractive public realm and reduced noise and emissions, whilst boosting healthy, active travel.

Police, pavements and child cycling

Reports that a police officer in Lincolnshire threatened to confiscate four-year-old Sophie Lindley’s bicycle because she was cycling on the pavement, triggered several media calls to CTC asking for our reaction. Essentially, we pointed out that children should be encouraged to cycle to school for many reasons - not least fun, fitness and a sense of independence - and that telling off a four-year-old for cycling on the pavement was over-zealous and inappropriate.

It is, of course, true that footway cycling is a criminal offence, but official guidance advises police officers to use their discretion over it. If cyclists (of any age) are not doing any harm to anyone else and are cycling on the pavement out of fear of the traffic, they should not be penalised. In any case, children under ten are below the age of criminal responsibility and the police therefore has no powers to arrest, fine or even caution them. Furthermore, the police don’t have powers to confiscate bikes as a sanction for pavement cycling by cyclists of any age.

Labour shares vision for Cyclist and Pedestrians' Advisory Board

Shadow Transport Secretary Michael Dugher MP has said that Labour wants, amongst other things, “to move cycling and walking from the margins to the mainstream” and create a “new high level, and for the first time, cross government Cyclist and Pedestrians’ Advisory Board, which will put cyclists and pedestrians at the heart of government transport policy.”

Tasked first with developing and publishing a long-term Cycling and Walking Strategy by summer 2016, the Board would be chaired by the Transport Secretary and include ministers from across Whitehall, cycling and pedestrian representatives, plus senior civil servants from the DfT and other relevant departments, including Education, Health and DCLG.

CTC would strong welcome a Board that genuinely attracts cross-departmental support and sufficient funding. This will determine whether it’ll be a real task force that can take real action, or merely a ‘talking shop’.

Scotland's 2013 cycling levels 32% higher than in 2003

According to a new report from Cycling Scotland, cycling growth in Scotland is looking healthy: the volume of cycling traffic was 329 million vehicle kilometres travelled, a 32% increase since 2003. The report also found that, in 2013:

  • 11% of adults participated in cycling in the previous month
  • The proportion of households in Scotland that have access to one or more bicycles for private use is 34.7%
  • The proportion of those cycling to work at least ‘regularly’ is 5.6% for Scotland as a whole, with Edinburgh doing best locally at 12.2%
  • 5% of children indicated that they normally cycle to primary school, while 0.9% cycle to secondary school
  • 37.2% of schools delivered on-road Bikeability Scotland Level 2

Annual Cycling Monitoring Report 2015

Draft National Transport Plan for Wales needs to do better on cycling, says CTC Cymru

In its response to the Welsh Government's draft National Transport Plan, CTC Cymru says that it wants to see more on: active travel and its economic benefits; high quality cycle facilities and comprehensive networks as outlined in the Active Travel Wales Act; and joined-up thinking across all government departments.

Most seriously, though, CTC Cymru fears that the lack of targets for modal split and budget allocation suggests that “there is little in this plan to suggest that anything will change, except lots of specific roads building projects.”

The National Transport Plan sits within the framework provided by the Wales Transport Strategy, detailing how the policies and objectives in the Strategy will delivered.

TfL partners with Santander over bike sharing

Santander is Transport for London’s new partner for the capital’s self-service bike sharing scheme. The seven-year partnership aims to develop the scheme further with extra docking points, a new app, easier access and events to encourage new users. A red-and-white livery is on the way too. Almost 40 million journeys have been made by London’s bike hire scheme since its launch in 2010.

What's the Local Sustainable Transport Fund done for cycling?

The Government’s third annual report on the LSTF says that some of the money (2013 to 2014) has gone towards installing over 17,000 new cycle parking spaces; building or improving over 1,100km of routes for cycling and walking; and involving 43,675 participants in led walks and cycle rides; teaching 23,269 adults how to service their own bike; and cycle training for 14,544 adults.

The report looks at projects under five headings: improving access to employment; boosting local economies; infrastructure for sustainable transport; increasing physical activity; and supporting access to education. Cycling-related initiatives feature in all of them.

Back in 1935 ...

This week eighty years ago was a busy time for the UK’s transport system with the introduction of the first ever driving licence, and a 30 mph speed limit for built-up areas. Two of our bloggers, Victoria Hazael and Sam Jones have looked at these anniversaries from a cycling point of view.

Act now!

Please help 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 general election is approaching, so it's time to think about contacting your parliamentary candidates about cycling. Our Vote Bike! campaign will help you do that and it's coming soon!

New publications

Inhabiting infrastructure: exploring the interactional spaces of urban cycling

By Alan Latham and Peter R H Wood (published in Environment and Planning A)

Findings from a study that followed and videoed cyclists on their everyday rides across London, with an academic wearing a head-mounted camera and riding behind them. Having examined the many hours of resultant footage, the authors conclude that: “closer investigation of cyclists’ actions might suggest innovative new ways for managing streets in the future. Putting this into practice should suggest how to build new spaces for cycling, how to design streets supporting a greater variety of uses, or with reduced conflict between road-users.”

With case studies and diagrams showing the manoeuvres of cyclists like Elle and Tara (following the rules of London’s infrastructure settlement), Dick (making and breaking rules), Gail (being together and being left behind) and Rachel (finding a way through, being redefined through infrastructure) - and lawyer Mary’s experience of the Stockwell Gyratory - this article offers a particularly clear insight into how people on bikes adapt their movements to different types of street, and why and how current infrastructure all too often fails them. Equally, it is a useful tool for anyone who wants to realise cycling’s potential and encourage more people to take it up.

Risk factors for cycling accident related injury: The UK Cycling for Health Survey

By Milo A. Hollingworth, Alice J.L. Harper, Mark Hamer (published in the Journal of Transport & Health)

Presents findings from responses to an online questionnaire that collected information on participant demographics, self-reported cycling behaviour and cycling accident-related injury. The aim was to identify factors that make some cyclists more likely than others to have ‘accidents’, e.g. age and gender of the rider, their level of experience, whether they commute, whether they use busy roads, and whether they use helmets, hi-viz etc.

The researchers found that: “The use of helmets and lights was associated with higher likelihood of an accident, although no association was observed in relation to high visibility clothing or wearing headphones whilst cycling. Always stopping at red lights was linked with lower risk [ … ], as was regular use of minor roads as oppose to major roads [ … ].”

The 4,961 cyclists who participated (mean age 47.9 yrs, 79.2% men) were contacted through large UK cycling organisation networks – i.e. self-selecting and a non-randomised sample of “cyclists”. 54.3% of them reported a cycling incident resulting in injury in the last five years.

Tackling the causes of premature mortality (early death)

NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence)

A summary of NICE's recommendations for local authorities and partner organisations on tackling the more direct causes of premature mortality.

Aimed at health and wellbeing boards and others with a responsibility for, or interest in, delivering the Department of Health's 'Public Health Outcomes Framework for England 2013 to 2016' and the Government's call for action, 'Living well for longer: a call to action to reduce avoidable premature mortality'.

Says that one in three deaths in England occur among people who are under the age of 75, and that around two-thirds of these are caused by diseases and illnesses that are largely avoidable because many of them are due to lifestyle related factors. One of its recommendations is for local authorities to: “Create, protect and manage safe spaces for physical activity and plan local facilities and services to ensure they are accessible on foot or by bicycle.”

Delivering the future: New approaches to urban freight


A comprehensive report that looks at the benefits and challenges of urban freight, and makes recommendations for the future. Includes sections on: road safety; the benefits of rail and water freight (because it reduces road congestion and is largely separate from cyclists and pedestrians); and making the last mile green, safe, smart and unobtrusive (e.g. by using cargo cycles and micro-consolidation hubs).

Sustainability Value of a Water-Side Logistics Centre for Vauxhall Nine Elms

KLH Sustainability

A report, prepared for the London Construction Consolidation Link (LCL), looking at the use of construction consolidation and river transport for the large scale Vauxhall Nine Elms regeneration project in London, 2015 to 2017.

The study found that consolidating building material at the Port of Tilbury for the Nine Elms site would mean a:

  • 48% reduction of heavy goods vehicle movements
  • 34% reduction of annual HGV kilometres travelled
  • 2 fewer cyclist deaths or injuries

The authors believe that, once at the Tilbury consolidation centre, bulk materials such as steel, pre-cast concrete, block-work, timber and cladding could all be transported to Vauxhall Nine Elms by 1000 tonne river barges, leading to further reduction in HGV kilometres travelled.

CTC believes that consolidation centres and carrying more freight by water (or rail) are an important means of reducing the risks that HGVs pose to cyclists. A very significant proportion of cyclist fatalities involving goods vehicles happen in London – almost half of the 44 cyclists death there between 2011-13 (inclusive) were as a result of a collision with a lorry, and construction vehicles seem to pose a particular problem.

Flexi-mobility – unlocking low-carbon mobility opportunities

A ‘Green Paper’ on ‘flexi-mobility’, a concept that recognises that almost everyone gets around by a range of transport options some of the time, and at some points of their life. Finds that there is far more flexibility and variability in people’s day to day travel than policy, or behavioural theories, generally account for; and sets out a vision where it is normal for people to consider making journeys by a wider range of modes.

See for the research, summaries and examples.

Motoring of the future

House of Commons Transport Committee

A report on the Committee’s inquiry into “government support for the development of new automotive technologies and the action the DfT is taking to set standards, shape markets and influence consumer choices, so that the potential benefits are realised." As a result, one of its main calls is for the Government to set out a comprehensive strategy that will reduce or eliminate fatalities and serious injuries on the roads, and cut vehicle emissions.

Diary dates

European Mobility Week 2015: UK National Training Workshop

15 April, Camden Town Hall, London

A free, DfT-funded training event (full or half day) for anyone thinking of organising activities for European Mobility Week between 16-22 September 2015, e.g. council officers, campaigners and potential sponsors. Hear what makes a successful event, learn about behaviour change promotion and pick up free samples. The organisers will also match people to mentors and explain how to register local events and become eligible for awards.

The theme this year is mixing travel modes.

Women and Cycling: The Inaugural Women’s National Cycling Convention

30 Apr 2015, York (organised by Landor Links)

In Holland 52% of all bicycle trips are made by women, whilst in the UK women account for just 27% of cycle commutes. Women are under-represented both in most transport planning and engineering teams who design the cycling facilities on our roads, and in the cycle industry. Bearing this in mind, this event offers the chance to:

  • Learn about the current initiatives that are working to give cycling facilities universal appeal;
  • Explore the latest research on the impact of issues such as bike maintenance, safety, cycle training, confidence, community, culture;
  • Meet practitioners from around the UK that are working in the field;
  • The main objective for this event is to develop a network of women working across all areas of cycling.

Confirmed speakers include:

  • Kersten England, Chief Executive, York City Council
  • Carlton Reid, author of "Roads were not built for cars"
  • Rachel Aldred, Senior Lecturer, Westminster University
  • Isla Roundtree, Founder, Isla Bikes
  • Chris Garrisson, UK Media Relations, Trek Bikes

Booking and more information

Providing for Cycling

28 April 2015 – 30 June 2015, London

A 10-week evening lecture series investigating individual, societal, policy and technical issues underpinning current cycling levels, and exploring proven methods of increasing cycling participation rates.               

Learning outcomes                                      

At the end of the course, participants will have a clear understanding of how wider transport and planning policies impact on the uptake of cycling as a mode of transport, as well as the effect that media coverage and the public image of cyclists has on people’s transport mode choices. Delegates will learn about the benefits available to individuals and society from higher cycling levels, as well as the conflicts that can arise as cycling numbers increase. Methods of supporting an uplift in cycling numbers are considered, with policy, infrastructure, training and promotional measures illustrated through the discussion of relevant case studies.                        

Who should attend                                     

This course is designed to provide a solid introduction to cycling considerations and is suitable for people working in the fields of transport planning, transport policy, highway engineering, road safety, public health, or with managerial responsibility for these roles. It will also be of interest to people addressing cycling and transport issues within the third sector and academia.

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

CTC's Sam Jones will be there to give a presentation on Space for Cycling.

Cycle Active City

25-26 June, Newcastle

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.

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