Cycle Campaign News November 2015

Tell your MP to back funding for cycling! Photo: CC Number 10

Cycle Campaign News November 2015

CTC's monthly round-up of cycle campaigning news

From the Editor

Cuts at the DfT could be bad news for cycling, so we need the Chancellor to come up with the cash in next Wednesday's Spending Review.

Please call on your MP to back #funding4cycling (see 'Headlines'). 

With your help, secure funding could be the next big campaign win, following on from two rather diverse successes this month already: there's now no need to dismantle and box up your bike to use a Eurostar train (see 'Headlines'), while the victims of road traffic offences are no longer excluded from the Victims' Code for England and Wales (see 'Other stories').

Also, a shake-up of the driving test is now on the way, so we'll be working to get the best out of that for cyclists too ('Headlines').

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Tell your MP to back #funding4cycling

News that the Department for Transport (DfT) has agreed to make cuts of more than 30% over the next four years is very worrying for cycling. The odds are high that the axe will not fall upon the big budget £15bn roads investment, but on smaller scale projects, such as cycling, buses and filling in potholes.

If this happens, it is hard to see how the Government will meet its manifesto commitment to “reduce the number of cyclists and other road users killed or injured on our roads every year”. Slicing further funding from programmes which would help make cycling, walking and our streets in general safer will not improve the road environment.

This Government wants to be seen as one that builds. Essentially this means big projects: High Speed 2 and roads, for instance. “Lesser profile” projects, such as local cycle infrastructure, may well be lined up to be sacrificed on the altar of these larger projects. 

Cycling needs your help to make the Chancellor and the Government realise that creating conditions where anyone can cycle, no matter their age or ability, is one of the biggest and most worthwhile projects of all. The Spending Review is imminent - what better chance for the Government to put some money into cycling?

  • Please write to your MP and ask them to support the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group's letter to the Chancellor, which urges Osborne to do all he can to ensure that the Prime Minister’s vision for a ‘Cycling Revolution’ becomes a reality.

Don't let the axe fall on cycling! Time is short: the Spending Review is on Wednesday 25 November!

  • CTC's Sam Jones looks further at the “very worrisome" cuts due for the DfT in his latest blog. He points out, though, that cycling is an excellent investment, especially for cash-strapped Government departments: the average return of investment (ROI) for cycling sits at 5:1, comfortably above the 4:1 ROI which DfT classifies as “good”, and far better than the average 2:1 ROI for roads.
  • CTC is one of over 60 organisations supporting the People’s March for Climate Justice and Jobs on Sunday 29 November in London, just before ministers head to Paris for the 21st International Climate Summit.
    Among the various ‘blocs’ within the demo - each with different climate-related messages - will be a Cut transport emissions bloc. It’s possible that a ‘bike bloc’ may also be formed for those wishing to cycle rather than walk. With DfT ministers due to decide soon afterwards how much they’ll invest in their Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy, we’ll be there to say that this is a far better solution than a massive new roads programme.

Stellar campaign win on Eurostar!

Last month, we reported that Eurostar had plans to make cyclists dismantle and box up their cycles before travelling on their trains, but now - in a resounding victory for CTC and supporters - the company has rescinded.

Eurostar's Head of EU Public Affairs Pierre Delalande told us: "You will be pleased to know that we are not intending to go ahead with the requirement for all bikes to be carried in boxes and will accept fully-mounted bikes."

Nearly ten thousand people protested through CTC and the European Cyclists’ Federation’s (ECF) ‘Zero Stars for Eurostar’ online action, while politicians on both sides of the Channel - including London Mayor Boris Johnson - also criticised the move.

CTC Chief Executive Paul Tuohy said: "It's fantastic news that the views of so many of our members and other cyclists across Europe have been listened to. This proves how a successful, well-run campaign can be a massive force for good and make things happen."

  • Full story
  • We were expecting the changes on 1 November. However, as CTC's Duncan Dollimore discovered when he took a test Eurostar trip on the day itself, no bike dismantling or boxing up was required of him - implying (rightly, as it turned out) that a re-think was in progress. Duncan did come back with a gripping insight into what it’s like to take a bike through The Tunnel, though.  

Shake-up for UK driving test must protect cyclists, says CTC

The Government is seeking views on its draft 'Motoring services strategy: a strategic direction 2016 to 2020' - or the ‘biggest shake-up of the driving test in a generation’ for the UK. CTC sees this as a good chance to put forward some ideas that could reduce the risk that bad driving poses to cyclists.

While one of the shake-up's stated aims is to boost pass rates by incentivising learners to take their test only when they are up to standard and not before, the Government also notes that better prepared novices would make crashes less likely in their post-test months.

CTC is, of course, keen to see all drivers trained and tested to the highest standards, and less likely to cause collisions. Tough law enforcement is vital, but we also advocate a thorough grounding in what puts cyclists at risk. We think that cycle awareness training or, better still, practical cycle training, is the most effective way of achieving this.

Cyclists need drivers to maintain high standards throughout their motoring life, not just immediately afterwards, though. We'll therefore be urging the Government to consider routine, periodic re-testing to help identify anyone who's accumulated bad habits, forgotten their original training, or simply not kept up with changes to the Highway Code. This would also spot people whose eyesight, medical fitness or alertness has declined.

The consultation also asks for views on streamlining the application process for lorry drivers. In CTC’s view, any streamlined process needs to guard against weakening standards, as lorries already pose a disproportionate risk to cyclists. This should be accompanied by tougher and targeted enforcement from all the responsible agencies (e.g. the police, The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA), local authorities, Traffic Commissioners and the Health and Safety Executive).


Other stories

CTC explains how cycling helps clear the air

CTC is sure that one way of helping to clean up the UK’s air is to promote and encourage more cycling, a particularly valuable zero-pollution choice for short trips in urban areas.

We therefore welcomed the recent consultation from the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) on its draft air quality plans, using it as a chance to stress how important it is to fund cycling adequately, through the Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy and Spending Review. We also signed up as a partner to the Healthy Air Campaign, and supported their response to the consultation.

Road transport is responsible for about a third of the UK’s nitrogen oxides emissions, and about a fifth of particulate matter. Not only are these known health hazards, but the Government has been successfully taken to court by ClientEarth for failing to meeting its EU NO2 limits - hence this consultation.

The detail of our individual response was largely based on our new campaigns briefing on air quality, which explains how and why cycling has so much to contribute to improving the air we breathe. It also looks into the question of the impact of traffic fumes on cyclists. After considering a wide range of evidence, we’ve concluded that cyclists are probably less exposed than drivers and, in any case, the health benefits of cycling outweigh the disbenefits, even when pollution is taken into account.

  • The Scottish Government has just published 'Cleaner Air for Scotland: the road to a healthier future'. Its purpose is "to provide a national framework which sets out how the Scottish Government and its partner organisations propose to achieve further reductions in air pollution and fulfil our legal responsibilities as soon as possible." The strategy recognises that: "Active travel is inextricably linked to improving air quality, reducing environmental noise and easing congestion."

Sec of State admits transport policies not right for meeting renewable energy targets

In her evidence to The Energy and Climate Change Committee about the UK’s renewable energy targets earlier this month, the Rt Hon Amber Rudd MP (Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC)) said: “I recognise that we don’t have the right policies, particularly in transport and heat, in order to make [our] 2020 targets, but we have four to five years and I remain committed to making those targets.”

Stressing the importance of cross-departmental working rather than expecting DECC to act all by itself, the Secretary said that she’s been writing to other ministers ‘particularly in transport’.

Road traffic victims no longer excluded from Victims' Code

Historically, the definition of 'victim' in the Victims’ Code (England and Wales) excluded most victims of motoring offences including those injured by careless or drink drivers. CTC believed this not only to be deeply unjust, but also felt that it reinforced the misleading message that road crime is somehow less significant than other crime.

Earlier this year, however, the Government consulted on revisions to the Code and CTC, along with other organisations including Roadpeace, took
the opportunity to call for equal rights for road crime victims. Within three days, 1,800 people had contacted the Government in support of CTC's proposals.

The MOJ has now published and implemented a number of revisions that are positive news for cyclists:  

  • The victims of road traffic offences will now be able to access information about prosecution decisions, case progression and support services.
  • Victims who report a crime are entitled to receive a written acknowledgement from the police stating the basic elements of the crime – good news for any cyclist who's ever struggled to get the police to respond.
  • The Code has been extended to other prosecuting organisations including the Health and Safety Executive. This is crucially important for victims injured by drivers in the course of their employment (25% of all road casualties).

There are, however, a number of changes that CTC wanted to see, but which have not made it into the Code, including:

  • Adding the Traffic Commissioners and Coroners to the list of organisations who have to follow the Victims' Code.
  • Extending the' Victims' Right to Review', (which enables victims to request a review of a decision not to prosecute), to all offences and not just 'serious offences'.
  • Full story and further commentary

Why do so many people, including judges, deflect the blame in road collisions involving a driver and a cyclist onto the cyclist, e.g. for not wearing a helmet? CTC’s Duncan Dollimore discusses this in his blog.

Legalising turning left on red: CTC investigates

Whenever anyone’s looking for anti-cycling material, 'jumping red lights' is about the first thing that leaps out, it seems. While CTC doesn’t condone illegal behaviour, we feel that it’s always important to look at why cyclists do what they do and, if it's a problem, consider constructive solutions.

This is all the more important when the behaviour could be a question of cyclists choosing between committing an offence or staying safe - like trying to get ahead of motor traffic at junctions, for instance. While there may be ways of addressing this through changes to the road layout, officially allowing cyclists to turn left on red is a measure that's gathering support. CTC’s Duncan Dollimore therefore made use of a recent trip to Paris to see the result of the new 'turn right on red' rules there. 

Why do the media keep having a go at cyclists? CTC’s Victoria Hazael – a journalist herself – draws on a couple of recent examples of negative coverage and suggests some possible answers.

Lorry news:

  • Rogue operators licence finally revoked

Traffic Commissioner Sarah Bell has revoked the HGV operator's licence for Frys Logistics Limited, saying that the company put profit before the law with its lack of regard to the rules contributing to the death of End-to-End cyclists Andrew McMenigall and Toby Wallace 28 months ago.  Full story.

  • London Assembly unanimous on tackling lorry threat

London Assembly members have unanimously agreed a motion urging the Mayor to work with Government and commercial partners to reduce the number of cyclist collisions with lorries. The motion, proposed by Darren Johnson AM, asks for: a rush-hour lorry ban (subject to the completion of a full impact assessment); adopting Construction Logistics and Cyclist Safety (CLOCS) standards across the board; direct vision lorry cabs; confidential reporting of bad practice to cover all HGV drivers; and comprehensive enforcement.

  • CTC updates lorry policy

For more detail on CTC’s views on what needs to be done to reduce the threat that heavy good vehicles pose, with background information and key facts, see CTC’s newly revised campaigns briefing.

CTC welcomes DfT’s deadly country roads THINK! campaign

Given that cyclists are at greater risk on rural roads than on urban roads, CTC has welcomed a new THINK! campaign urging drivers to brake before a bend, not on it, when driving in the countryside.

The DfT says that country roads are the ‘deadliest’ roads of all, and a third of fatalities on them happen on bends. The problem is most acute among young drivers.

For cyclists specifically, the risk of death per billion miles in 2014, was:

  • 2.6 times higher on all rural roads than on all urban roads
  • 12 times higher on rural A roads than on all urban roads
  • 28 times higher on rural A roads than on urban minor roads

(Figures from the DfT’s Reported Road Casualties Great Britain 2014, table RAS30018)

Driver pleads guilty to causing cyclist John Radford's death

Michael Gledhill, the driver in a road rage case that eventually led to the death of cyclist and former CTC Councillor John Radford, has pleaded guilty to causing death by dangerous driving.

Before John died last November, over a year after he was hit, Gledhill was convicted of ‘causing serious injury by dangerous driving’, despite denying that he had driven dangerously. Subsequently, The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) laid an amended charge of ‘causing death by dangerous driving’, to which Gledhill has now pleaded guilty.

Sentencing has been adjourned to January 2016. The Judge warned Gledhill that he will be sent to custody for a significant period of time.

John's family have asked for as much publicity as possible for Road Justice issues, and expressed their immense gratitude to the investigating officer, Detective Constable Morrison, who was instrumental in gathering the evidence needed to prosecute the case.

Thousands benefit from CTC's Cycling Development projects

CTC has been tallying up the number of beneficiaries of our Cycling Development projects this year, and is happy to report that the total comes to over 95,000 people. This is more than double the number reached during 2014. As part of this:

  • 5,000 plus cycling-related activities and events have been delivered;
  • Over 4,000 people have received training through us (this includes cycle skills training and more formal training such as ride manager and bike maintenance training);
  • More than 8,000 volunteers have contributed over 2,200 hours of time as ride leaders, event assistants, mechanics and community club leaders.
  • More on CTC's local cycling projects

Cycling children count

According to a parliamentary answer given by Robert Goodwill MP, minister for cycling, the number of children cycling to school almost doubled between 2013 and 2014. While this represents only a small proportion - and the counts fluctuate significantly from year to year - this looks like good news. 

Below are the figures that Mr Goodwill supplied:









Car-free day for Cardiff gets green light

Cardiff is up for a ‘car-free day’, thanks to a ‘yes’ vote to a proposal brought to the council by Cllr Richard Cook. Mr Cook, who is also CTC member, said the day would be a way of “claiming back the streets”, and make the city centre more pleasurable for pedestrians, more accessible for cyclists and fun for families.

In an inventive frame of mind?

If you have any cycle-tech ideas to improve cycling safety in the UK, you could see them turn into reality if you win a new competition just launched by CTC and the Allianz Digital Accelerator, in partnership with Allianz UK.
From apps to wearable devices, all technology-based ideas will be considered by a panel of CTC and Allianz staff. The winner will be given development support from the Allianz Digital Accelerator, plus €5,000. Deadline 14 December 2014.

Act now!

Tell your MP to back #funding4cycling

Cycling needs your help to make the Chancellor and the Government realise that creating conditions where anyone can cycle, no matter their age or ability, is one of the biggest and most worthwhile projects of all. 

So, please write to your MP and ask them to support the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group's letter to the Chancellor, which urges Osborne to do all he can to ensure that the Prime Minister’s vision for a ‘Cycling Revolution’ becomes a reality.

The Spending Review is imminent - what better chance to put some money into cycling? But please hurry - it's due on Wednesday 25 November!


New publications

A Global High Shift Cycling Scenario: The potential for dramatically increasing bicycle and e-bike use in cities around the world, with estimated energy, CO2, and cost impacts

(Institute for Transportation & Development Policy and the University of California, Davis)

Argues that: “Given the convenience, health benefits, and affordability of bicycles, they could provide a far greater proportion of urban passenger transportation, helping reduce energy use and CO2 emissions worldwide.

Concludes that a world with a dramatic increase in cycling could save society US$24 trillion cumulatively between 2015 and 2050, and cut CO2 emissions from urban passenger transport by nearly 11% in 2050 compared to a “High Shift scenario without a strong cycling emphasis.”

To achieve a ‘high shift cycling scenario’, the report says that governments should:

  • Rapidly develop cycling and e-bike infrastructure on a large scale;
  • Implement bike share programs in large and medium-size cities, prioritising connections to transit;  
  • Revise laws and enforcement practices to better protect people cycling and walking; 
  • Co-ordinate metropolitan transport and land-use plans, so that all new investments result in more cycling, walking, and public transport trips and fewer trips by motorised vehicles;
  • Repeal policies that subsidise additional motor vehicle use, such as minimum parking requirements, free on-street parking, and fuel subsidies; 
  • Encourage cycling and active transport via pricing policies and information campaigns; 
  • Adopt policies such as congestion pricing, 'vehicle km travelled fees', and development impact fees to charge a price for driving that accounts for negative  externalities;  
  • Dedicate fuel taxes, driving fees, and other transport-system revenues toward investment in sustainable transport.  

The research was commissioned by the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), the European Cyclists’ Federation (ECF), and the Bicycle Product Suppliers Association (BPSA).

Global status report on road safety 2015 (World Health Organisation)

Report covering 180 countries, offering a snapshot of the worldwide road safety situation. Finds that:

  • The worldwide total number of road traffic deaths has plateaued at 1.25 million per year, with the highest road traffic fatality rates in low-income countries;
  • Vulnerable road users are involved in a disproportionate number of incidents - with motorcyclists accounting for 23%, pedestrians 22% and cyclists 4%;
  • In the last three years, 17 countries have aligned at least one of their laws with best practice on seat-belts, drink–driving, speed, motorcycle helmets or child restraints;
  • While there has been progress towards improving road safety legislation and in making vehicles safer, the pace of change is too slow;
  • Urgent action is needed to achieve the ambitious target for road safety reflected in the newly adopted 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: halving the global number of deaths and injuries from road traffic crashes by 2020.

With useful one-page profiles for each country, from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe.

Bicycling injury hospitalisation rates in Canadian jurisdictions: analyses examining associations with helmet legislation and mode share

By Kay Teschke, Mieke Koehoorn, Hui Shen, Jessica Dennis

Results of a study that looked at hospital admission rates (2006-2011) for cycle-related injuries in the light of different cycle helmet laws in Canadian jurisdictions.  

The authors say that: “Hospitalisation rates varied substantially across the jurisdiction, age and sex strata, but only two characteristics explained this variability: for all injury causes, females had rates consistently lower than males; for traffic-related injury causes, higher cycling mode share was consistently associated with lower hospitalisation rates.” This latter finding backs up CTC’s ‘safety in numbers’ argument – i.e. that, along with good provision, the more cycling there is, the safer it becomes.

On the subject of cycle helmet legislation, the researchers found that it was not associated with hospitalisation rates for brain, head, scalp, skull, face or neck injuries. They therefore concluded that their results: “suggest that transportation and health policymakers who aim to reduce bicycling injury rates in the population should focus on factors related to increased cycling mode share and female cycling choices. Bicycling routes designed to be physically separated from traffic or along quiet streets fit both these criteria and are associated with lower relative risks of injury.”

Cycle training for children: Which schools offer it and who takes part?

By Anna Goodman, Esther M.F. van Sluijs and David Ogilvie

Key findings of this research paper are that:

  • Around half of children in England receive Bikeability cycle training in school;
  • Schools with a more deprived student body offer Bikeability slightly less often;
  • Cycle training participation is higher in children who are White, affluent or sporty;
  • These differences in participation rates are smaller in schools offering Bikeability;
  • Further promoting Bikeability could reduce but not necessarily eliminate inequalities.

Concludes that: “Offering high-quality cycle training free of charge in English schools reduced but did not eliminate inequalities in cycle training participation. Further promoting the scheme to parents and schools, particularly in deprived areas, would be expected to increase uptake and help reduce current inequalities in participation.”

Published in ScienceDirect

What Works in Schools and Colleges to Increase Physical Activity? 

An evidence-based briefing for head teachers, college principals, staff working in education settings, directors of public health and wider partners. Active travel is listed as one of the ‘promising principles of practice’, and safer routes to school and cycle training are highlighted in case studies.

Prepared by Public Health England, the Youth Sport Trust and the Association of Colleges Sport and supported by the Department of Health; the Department for Transport; the Department for Culture, Media & Sport; and the Department for Education

Active Design: Planning for health and wellbeing through sport and physical activity (Sport England)

Guidance document setting out ‘Ten Principles of Active Design’ developed to inspire and inform the layout of cities, towns, villages, neighbourhoods, buildings, streets and open spaces, to promote sport and active lifestyles.

Includes a series of case studies setting out practical real-life examples of the principles in action to encourage planners, urban designers, developers and health professionals to create the right environment to help people get more active, more often. 

The Active Design Principles aim to contribute towards the Government’s desire for the planning system to promote healthy communities through good urban design. 

Active travel: Walking and cycling (Welsh Government)

Statistical report on the results of a survey of people aged 16 and over. Asked about their travel in the previous three months:

  • 6% of adults said they cycled at least once or twice a week for active travel purposes;
  • 34% reported doing no active travel in the last seven days;
  • Regardless of the distance from home to school, only 2% of primary school children and less than 1% of all secondary school pupils cycled there.

Driver Attitudes & Behaviour Survey 2014 (The Road Safety Authority, Ireland)

Results of an ad hoc survey of a nationally representative sample of 1,000 motorists in Ireland aged 17+ years. The questions on cycling revealed that:

  • Approximately 1 in 4 of adults can be described as cyclists, rising to 1 in 3 males, and 1 in 3 in Dublin;
  • While the national incidence of cyclists remains consistent, those who consider cycling as their ‘main form of transport’ rose sharply in June 2014 (17%) - it was 9% in June 2013;
  • 78% said they thought cycling is either ‘very dangerous’ or ‘fairly dangerous’.


Diary dates

Presentation of Road Danger Reduction Forum (RDRF) Manifesto for London Mayoral Candidates (Hustings)

23 November (London)

Public meeting presenting the RDRF's manifesto for the candidates standing in London's mayoral election next year.

Also offers other presentations on law enforcement, measuring danger, lorries and safer buses, modal shift and post-crash investigation.

Hosted by the London Borough of Lambeth.

Road Safety Week: drive less, live more

23 – 29 November

The road safety charity Brake’s week of activity to encourage everyone to consider how they use roads, to see if they can ditch some driving, and instead walk, cycle or use public transport as much as possible.


28 November (Shrewsbury)

CTC Cymru represents members living in Wales, and its AGM is a chance to meet the CTC Councillor for Wales, Gwenda Owen, along with the Cymru committee. Come along to find out what CTC's been up to and have your say on what we should be doing next.

People’s March for Climate Justice

29 November (London)

CTC is one of over 60 organisations supporting the march, which happens just before ministers head to Paris for the 21st International Climate Summit.

Among the various ‘blocs’ within the demo - each with different climate-related messages - one will be a Cut transport emissions bloc. It’s possible that a ‘bike bloc’ may also be formed for those wishing to cycle rather than walk. With DfT ministers due to decide soon afterwards how much they’ll invest in their Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy, we’ll be there to say that this is a far better solution than a massive new roads programme.

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