Cycle Campaign News May 2015

114 MPs say they strongly support cycling

Cycle Campaign News May 2015

CTC's monthly round-up of cycle campaigning news

From the Editor ...

Thanks to everyone who used our Vote Bike tool to get in touch with their candidates in the run-up to the election, we know that at least 114 of the 650 who made it into Parliament are strongly supportive of cycling - including David Cameron, the Prime Minister. See headlines for more on what the PM said.

Just as exciting, we think, is the summer of cycling we've been planning for you. For two weeks from Saturday (23 May), our Big Bike Revival starts rejuvenating unloved and unused bikes, and enticing their owners back onto them (England); and how about going to or organising a Bike Week event (13 - 21 June)?

Cherry Allan
CTC Campaigns

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Exposed: cycling's allies in the new Parliament

We’re pleased to report that the Prime Minister David Cameron not only responded to our online Vote Bike campaign, but also sent a very supportive letter to CTC President, broadcaster Jon Snow.

Despite resistance from the previous administration, the Prime Minister backed Vote Bike’s calls for consistently high design standards for cycling in all highway and traffic schemes, new developments and planned road maintenance work.

What's more, he firmly stated in his letter that the Conservative ambition is to spend £10 per head of the population on cycling, i.e. the figure recommended as a good start by the last All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group (APPCG) in its 'Get Britain Cycling' report. What's unclear is when this figure will be reached. The Active Travel Consortium (which includes Sustrans, British Cycling, Living Streets and the Bicycle Association, as well as CTC) is submitting spending proposals for Ministerial consideration.

With this high level support for adequate funding, plus the 114 allies our Vote Bike campaign has identified amongst MPs, prospects are looking good for the ‘Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy’, which the Government is now obliged to produce under the Infrastructure Act. Also, the Vote Bike pledges we’ve collected from our politicians mean that we’ll be better able to hold them to account should this level of support slip.

Nearly 27,000 emails were sent to candidates through Vote Bike. Our thanks go to everyone who took part in our campaign.

CTC is now getting in touch with MPs to congratulate them on their election and encourage them to join the new APPCG.

Cycling portfolio stays with Goodwill

Robert Goodwill MP (photo right) has returned to his role as minister for cycling.  Like the Prime Minister (see above), he has backed a sum of £10 for cycling per head per year.

Mr Goodwill is joined at the Department for Transport by ministers Claire Perry MP and newcomer Andrew Jones MP, both active supporters of cycling.

What might be the largest seismic shift for cycling, though, is the replacement of Eric Pickles with Tunbridge Wells Bicycle User Group supporter Greg Clark as the new Secretary of State for the Department of Communities and Local Government. This makes it all the more likely that we will achieve a positive outcome from the review of how the planning system affects (or could affect) cycling, as promised in the previous Government's draft Cycling Development Plan.

Over 180 centres ready to revive bikes

The Big Bike Revival is the perfect opportunity to dig your bike out of the garage, stop it gathering dust and get it ready to use this summer.

I think we all remember how much fun we had on our bikes when we were younger, but I’m sure lots of people will have bikes they’ve not touched for a while.”

Martine McCutcheon
Former 'Eastenders' and 'Love Actually' star


This Saturday (23 May), sees the start of the Big Bike Revival, CTC's mass rescue operation to save bikes that have fallen into disrepair. And, because we want their owners to start riding again, we've arranged for advice on cycle training and other local cycling opportunities to be available too.

Former ‘EastEnders’ and ‘Love Actually’ star Martine McCutcheon came along recently to Manchester's Platt Fields Park to launch  the Revival,
enjoy a taster session and practise some bike repairs.

The Revival stretches from  23 May to 7 June, and there's 1000s of FREE events listed by 180+ centres taking part all over England.

  • Please help publicise the Revival through a social media 'thunderclap'. This is way of orchestrating supporters to use social media to make a loud 'noise' and help maximise the impact of a campaign. It’s simple, secure and can be done from here … 
  • Go to the Big Bike Revival website to read more about the initiative and search the events on offer
  • Get inspired by watching the short Big Bike Revival video

Bike Week 2015: take part and/or get organising!

Bike Week is coming up fast (13 – 21 June), and over half a million people are expected to enjoy events all over the country. It’s the perfect opportunity to demonstrate what a fun, healthy and convenient way cycling is to get around, especially for commuting to work – which happens to be this year’s central theme.

CTC has now taken on the role of co-ordinating Bike Week 2015 in conjunction with our partners Love to Ride (organisers of the Workplace Cycle Challenge) and Cyclescheme.

If you're organising a cycling event during Bike Week, remember to upload the details at so that you can benefit from FREE public liability insurance, promotional material and event registration on a national site that attracts thousands of hits.

Other stories

Cyclists amass in cities for campaigning rides

An impressive 4,000-strong crowd Pedalled on Parliament (PoP) in Edinburgh on 25 April to be greeted and addressed by a cross-party line-up of politicians. On the same day, around 500 joined a Space for Cycling ride in Sheffield, and hundreds more joined rides in Newcastle and Aberdeen.

Read Roger Geffen’s news story to find out what the politicians pledged at PoP’s rally; why the Sheffield ride was so inspiring; and the official 'safety'
concerns that failed to stop NewCycling (the Newcastle Cycling Campaign) taking to the streets on their bikes.
  • If you're in or around Nottingham on 6 June, Nottingham People on Bikes invites you to take part in the first  mass Space for Cycling ride in the city.

Photo right: riders large and small 'Pedal on Parliament' in Edinburgh [photo: Chris Hill (CC licence)]

City devolution could bring benefits for cycling

Given the boost that cycling has enjoyed for some years under the leadership of London mayors Livingstone and Johnson, the Chancellor’s plans to allow Greater Manchester to ‘devolve’, elect its own mayor and have greater control over local transport, is potentially good news for urban cycle campaign groups.

Hoping that other cities will opt to do the same, the Chancellor George Osborne said in a recent speech: “My door now is open to any other major city who‎ wants to take this bold step into the future”.

The Government has already passed secondary legislation so that Manchester can appoint an interim mayor and hold the election for a fully elected mayor from 2017. A ‘City Devolution Bill’ is expected in the Queen’s speech.

Supreme Court forces UK Government to act on air pollution

Tackling air pollution is a duty that the new Government can’t ignore after losing a 5-year legal battle brought against it by activist lawyers ClientEarth.

The proceedings at the UK’s Supreme Court arose “… out of the admitted and continuing failure by the United Kingdom since 2010 to secure compliance in certain zones with the limits for nitrogen dioxide levels set by European law, under Directive 2008/50/EC.”

The Court has now ordered the Government to “… prepare and consult on new air quality plans for submission to the European Commission no later than December 31 2015."

The UK Government identified emissions from transport as a major offender - on average, responsible for around 80% of nitrogen dioxide emissions at sites exceeding the EU limit values. Investing in sustainable and non-polluting travel, especially walking and cycling, will therefore be vital.

This ruling will benefit everyone’s health but particularly children, older people and those with existing health conditions like asthma and heart and lung conditions.”

Alan Andrews
ClientEarth lawyer

The Supreme Court is the final court of appeal in the UK for civil cases, and for criminal cases from England, Wales and Northern Ireland. It hears cases of the greatest public or constitutional importance affecting the whole population.



UK ranked 10th in Europe on cycling (again)

The European Cyclists’ Federation (ECF) has just published its second ‘Cycling Barometer’, a multi-dimensional view on cycling in all 28 EU countries.

As comparing countries across numerous fields is not easy, the Barometer is based on verifiable EU-wide surveys on five topics: road safety, cycling usage, cycling tourism, market size and cycling advocacy. It then awards points according to their rank in each field, and all points are added up to get a final score.

Once again, Denmark and the Netherlands come out on top overall, closely followed by Sweden, Finland, Germany, and Belgium. The UK, assigned 10th place in the last Barometer in 2013, hasn’t moved, although this time we shared the spot with Slovakia. Cyprus, Portugal and Romania were bottom, taking 26th-28th rank respectively.

In each of the five topics, the UK came ...

£20 million for Scottish walking and cycling projects

A £20 million fund from the Scottish Government will soon be helping people make more short journeys by foot and cycle.

Over 160 projects are planned, each hoping to help Scotland meet its Cycling Action Plan (CAPS) target for 10% of trips to be by bike by 2020. They include a walking and cycle-friendlier rail station forecourt for Stirling; de-dualling a five kilometre section of dual carriageway in South Lanarkshire and converting one carriageway into traffic-free cycling and walking space; and introducing cycling and walking facilities to a new park for a large development area in South East Edinburgh.

The measures will be delivered through a partnership of local authorities, government agencies and third-sector bodies, and applicant organisations have to at least match their allocation from Sustrans, who are administering the fund for the Scottish Government.

CTC works with Network Rail on level crossing safety campaign

CTC's cycle-rail specialist, Dave Holladay, is working with Network Rail to help frame their new level crossing safety campaign. CTC wants to make sure that it takes account of cyclists' needs and that its messages are genuinely useful for them, not patronising or unnecessary. Look out for the campaign in the summer. 

Business School plans cycling improvements for Durham

Staff and students at Durham University’s Business School have started work on proposals for a fully integrated network for cyclists in Durham City, accompanied by a bike rental scheme.

Supported by the wider university, the initial stages of ‘Trust Pathways’ have been planned by Dr Karen Elliott’s project management students as part of their Master Programme. A business plan, website, social media, etc. will be next and, finally, an approach to the council. The project is linked to the aims of CTC’s Space for Cycling campaign.

London police fight bike crime

The City of London Police have arrested seven men suspected of being a criminal network behind the theft, dismantling and sale of stolen bicycles at a market stall in Brick Lane. The police seized 20 suspected stolen bikes, along with high value items such as Brooks saddles. They will do their best to reunite them with their owners.

The arrests were part of a joint, proactive operation targeting those involved in the stolen bike trade. The City of London Police are supported by the Metropolitan Police, British Transport Police, Transport for London and Tower Hamlets Council.

Detective Inspector Doug Blackwood of the City of London Police said: “... the trade in stolen bikes will not be tolerated and we are working with our partners to dismantle these businesses. I would also like to tell those people that are buying expensive bicycles for a fraction of their value that you could well be handling stolen goods.”

There were 375 bikes stolen in the Square Mile between April 2014 and March 2015.

Applications invited for cycling fellowship

The Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851, a grant-making educational trust, is inviting applications for a Built Environment Fellowship to investigate how to introduce cycling into our street spaces where transport modes are hard to manage, and “create harmonious places where urban life can be enjoyed.”

Act now!

Get your bike (or someone else’s bike) revived!

Check out our Big Bike Revival (23 May - 7 June)


Put on a Bike Week event, or take part in one!

(13 - 21 June)


New publications

Transport transitions in Copenhagen: Comparing the cost of cars and bicycles

By Stefan Gossling and Andy S Choi (published in Ecological Economics, Vol 113, May 2015, Pages 106–113)

Academic paper finding that the use of cars costs society and private individuals six times more than cycling. The authors came to this conclusion by studying the cost benefit analysis used by Copenhagen to decide whether new cycling infrastructure should be built. Comparing cars to bicycles in terms of air pollution, climate change, travel route, noise, road wear, health and congestion, the impact of the car comes in at EUR 0.50 per kilometre and the impact of the bicycle at EUR 0.08 per kilometre. The study also shows that, looking at the costs/benefits for society alone, one kilometre by car costs EUR 0.15, whereas society earns EUR 0.16 on every kilometre cycled.

Impact of changes in mode of travel to work on changes in body mass index

By Adam Martin, Jenna Panter, Marc Suhrcke & David Ogilvie (published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, May 2015)

Having analysed selected data from three consecutive annual waves of the British Household Panel Survey, the authors of this paper conclude that: “Interventions to enable commuters to switch from private motor transport to more active modes of travel could contribute to reducing population mean BMI [Body Mass Index].”

Urban Transport - without the hot air: Volume 1 Sustainable Solutions for UK cities

By Dr Steve Melia (published by UIT Cambridge)

Transport seems to represent one of the most complex issues known to humanity, not to mention one that has a habit of triggering prejudice and wild exaggeration.

As author Steve Melia argues, transport specialists, the media, politicians and the public all spread and are influenced by diverse narratives that deserve much closer examination than they currently get. In other words, there’s a lot of hot air when it comes to transport, making it an ideal subject for the latest in UIT Cambridge’s ‘without the hot air’ series (sustainable energy and drugs being its forerunners).

It is ten transport-related questions - some of them based on nothing more than urban myths - that inspire the investigations set out in Part I of this book. For example, the author examines the evidence behind: claims of wars on motorists; calls for better public transport; assertions that “You’ll never get people over here cycling like the Dutch”; and the concept of the car as a “guest in our streets”.

In Part II, Steve Melia considers solutions - not necessarily simple ones - based on progress made in London, Bristol, Cambridge and other European cities, plus interviews with experts. The final chapter ('What can I do?') prompts professionals and campaigners who call on others to change their travel behaviour to look at their own personal habits and adjust them accordingly - a matter that is not aired enough in transport literature, perhaps.

This book is an entertaining and persuasive read from an author whose starting point is “a belief that maintaining the conditions for life on Earth is more important than increasing consumption or maximising individual freedom.” The transport section of your bookshelves will benefit from the addition - and if you haven’t got a transport section there yet, it’s a good first for your collection. 263-pages

Dr Steve Melia lectures in transport and planning at the University of the West of England, Bristol.

Diary dates

The Big Bike Revival

23 May - 7 June

We estimate that there are thousands and thousands of cycles lying unused simply because they need fixing, along with thousands of people who don’t ride as a result. The Big Bike Revival aims to solve the problem with a two-week festival encouraging people all over England to dig out their cycles, come along to a bike re-cycling centre and:

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

The scheme, which follows a successful pilot last October, is supported by the Department for Transport and delivered in partnership with bike re-cycling centres.

Velo-city 2015

2 - 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 our national Space for Cycling campaign.

Hackney Cycling Conference: Why invest in cycling?

5 June, Hackney Picturehouse, Mare St

This event will explore the economics of cycling in world-class mega-cities, a trending topic amongst professionals and campaigners. Offers a line-up of international and local speakers, including Andy Clarke, President, League of American Bicyclists (Washington DC); Rodrigo Guerrero Maldonado, Steer Davies Gleave (Mexico City); Elettra Bordonaro, Light Follows Behaviour (London); and
Liesbeth van Alphen, Mobycon (The Hague Area, Netherlands)

There’ll also be exclusive screenings of various films in partnership with the BFI.

Hosted by Hackney Council and the London Cycle Campaign in Hackney.

Keep up with the latest news by following @HackneyCouncil #ibikehackney

Nottingham Space for Cycling ride

6 June, Nottingham

Nottingham People on Bikes want to show that there is LOADS of hidden demand for better cycling conditions in the city, so please come along to a ride-for-all to claim the streets, and finish up with a picnic in the market square.

National Workplace Cycle Challenge 2015

(Love to Ride, CTC and Cyclescheme)

8 - 28 June

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

Bikes Vs Cars (film screening)

10 June, 8pm at The Hive, 5 Belmont, Shrewsbury

Swedish documentary from Fredrik Gertten looking at both the struggle for cyclists in a society dominated by cars, and the revolutionary changes that could take place if more cities moved away from car-centric models. The film premiered in Europe on 3rd May at the UK Green Film Festival, and went on to win the Festival’s Audience Award. 

This one-off screening is the idea of CTC member Charlie Sinclair, who wants to raise money for the Cyclists’ Defence Fund appeal for donations towards a private prosecution of the driver of the car that hit cyclist Michael Mason in February 2014 as he cycled along Regent Street in London. Michael died 19 days after the incident. The police have so far declined to pass the case file to the Crown Prosecution Service.

Charlie hopes that this event will inspire others to do the same, so please do consider hosting a fundraising screening of the film where you live as well. Find out how

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!)

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.

Bikes & Rail: Spokes public meeting

June 15, 7.30-9.30pm, Augustine United Church, Edinburgh

Dutch company Abellio is now running ScotRail.  What does this mean for bike/rail?  What else is happening locally and in Scotland for bike/rail?

The meeting’s headline speaker is John Dietz, Cycling Strategy Manager for Abellio ScotRail.

Other speakers are:

  • Sarah Ryan, Active Travel Officer for Sestran, the South East Scotland Regional Transport Partnership
  • Susan Warren, Development Officer at Transform Scotland
  • Campaign for Borders Rail – speaker to be announced

Sarah Boyack MSP (Spokes member, Deputy Convener of the Scottish Parliament Cross Party Cycling Group and Transport Minister 2001-4), will also chair a panel discussion and audience QA

Speak Up For The Love Of ... Climate Lobby

17 June, London

Join thousands of people as they descend on Westminster for a day of action on climate change. Celebrate all the things you love that could be affected by climate change, hear from some fantastic speakers - and be part of the UK’s biggest ever climate change lobby.

Organised by The Climate Coalition

Sign up to stay updated and find out more

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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