Cycle Campaign News October 2016

Victim-blaming has no place in cycle awareness messages. [Photo - Flickr CC: Duncan C]

Cycle Campaign News October 2016

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

From the Editor

Cycling UK is all for making road conditions safer for cycling, but believes that 'victim-blaming' is most definitely not the way to do it.

This is why we, and over a thousand of our supporters, challenged the Government's 'hang back' video message from THINK! for implying that it is merely cyclists' behaviour around lorries, rather than lorry drivers' behaviour around cyclists (or any other factor) which leads to collisions (see headlines). 

THINK!'s video is in marked contrast to the West Midlands Police's direct, unambiguous and actively enforced message to drivers about overtaking cyclists, as demonstrated in an excellent One Show report recently. 

This month, we also look at the prospect of city mayors, and update you on: Public Space Protection Orders and cycling bans; the latest reported road casualty stats; lorries (good news); road justice; policing 'hit-and-runs'; and much more. 

And don't forget, if you're interested in making a positive difference to cycling conditions locally, book your place now at one of our forthcoming Space for Cycling roadshows.

Not only that, but you're also invited to the 2016 Cyclenation/Cycling UK campaigners' conference in St Albans on 19 November (see diary dates). 

Cherry Allan
​Cycle Campaign News

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In this issue:

Headlines: Space for Cycling takes to the road; Unthinking THINK!; Cycling and the mayor factor
Other stories: Let's protect cycling from protection orders; London to see off the most dangerous lorries by 2020; What the latest road casualty stats mean for cyclists; Motoring offences review to start before Christmas; Old Bailey for driver privately prosecuted by CDF; Hit-and-runs must be taken seriously; Cyclist MP blogs on intimidation by drivers; MPs to inquire into urban traffic congestion; How the Dutch tackle 'dooring'; Local high/lows; Award for Cycling UK's Big Bike Revival; Cycling UK teams up with MP to talk cycle-rail to MP; and more
New publications: Space for Cycling guide for decision makers (Cycling UK); cycleBOOM - design for lifelong health and wellbeing report (Oxford Brookes); The cost-effectiveness of bike lanes in New York City (academic paper); Fix it First (Campaign for Better Transport); Global outlook on cycling - policies and realities around the world (United Nations); National Cycle Network pocket maps (Sustrans).
Diary dates: Space for Cycling roadshows (ongoing); National air quality conference & awards (10 November, London); Benefiting business through cycling public meeting (10 November, Edinburgh); Cyclenation-Cycling UK campaigners' conference 2016 (19 November, St Albans). 


Space for Cycling takes to the road

Around fifty existing and would-be Space for Cycling campaigners gathered in Cambridge last Saturday, keen to help improve local conditions so that anyone can cycle anywhere.

"An excited buzz filled the day!", says Tom, our Space for Cycling officer in his blog

The event was the first in our series of roadshows, and there are another nine to come in Birmingham, Leeds, Edinburgh, Crewe, Bristol, Cardiff, Plymouth, Durham and London. So, book your place now at an event near you - Birmingham is next on 29 October. All the roadshows are free and cater to all levels of campaign experience.

  • Unless you’re a hyper-sensitive in-law with a passion for collecting paperclips, read our Space for Cycling officer Tom’s blog on ‘network planning’ or, ‘happy maps’ as he’s renamed them.  
  • Our Space for Cycling Guide for decision makers, 2nd edition, is now out - read online, or order a print copy.

Unthinking THINK!

Victim-blaming is not only unfair, but also a pointless way of tackling any kind of safety problem. This is why Cycling UK has been challenging the DfT over its latest THINK! cycle safety campaign.

If THINK's intention was to warn cyclists that they might have to deal with lorry drivers trying to overtake before junctions, or taking left-hand corners at speed by cutting across from the right-hand lane, then we should expect a campaign next year warning pedestrians to watch out for drunken and/or dangerous drivers mounting the pavement and failing to see them.” 

Duncan Dollimore
Senior Road Safety and Legal Officer, Cycling UK

Quite rightly, the DfT wants to stop cyclists being killed and injured by lorries but, quite wrongly, THINK!'s recent advisory video implies that cyclists on the inside of such vehicles are to blame for any collisions at junctions, regardless of how the situation arose.

Cycling UK, together with over 1,000 of our supporters, wrote to transport minister Andrew Jones MP in protest and, as a result, we understand that once this particular THINK! campaign has run its course, the DfT will review it and engage with Cycling UK on such projects in the future. 

The message we always advocate is this: avoiding collisions involves factors like infrastructure, vehicle design and driver behaviour, not just what the victim does or doesn't do. 

To be clear, though, Cycling UK strongly supports messages that advise cyclists to be aware of the very real dangers of approaching lorries from the rear and undertaking them. Lorry drivers may not see you and turn left regardless - a situation that has led to all too many fatalities. 

Cycling and the mayor factor


We know from London that, if a city’s mayor gets behind cycling, cycling booms. With other cities to elect their own mayors in May next year, cycle campaigner and London Assembly Member Caroline Russell considers what the prospect could mean for cycling in Greater Manchester.

This is a huge opportunity to shake up how people get around in Manchester, and an opportunity to have healthier streets, better transport options, and, ultimately, better lives.

"The new mayor could opt for a business-as-usual approach of a car-dominated urban area, or they could take a new course, which would help solve the problems that car dependency causes."

Caroline Russell, cycle campaigner and London Assembly Member

  • Read Caroline's blog

Other stories

Let's protect cycling from protection orders!

In September’s Campaign News, we promised more on Mansfield District Council's Public Space Protection Order (PSPO), which bans cycling in the town centre.

Well, thanks to Cycling UK's Cyclists' Defence Fund (CDF), proceedings have now commenced in the High Court, with CDF supporting six Mansfield cyclists in the first legal challenge to any PSPO since the legislation allowing councils to make these orders was passed in 2014.

Two other councils, Bexley and Sunderland, have now opened consultations on proposed PSPOs which include cycling restrictions in certain areas. We have responded to both, but if anyone hears about proposed PSPOs in their area which involve cycling bans, please let Duncan know ( Please do respond to any such consultations individually too.

Working with other campaign groups and liaising with the Home Office, we are also seeking an amendment to the statutory guidance on PSPOs that would make it clear that they were intended to tackle anti-social behaviour, not ban lawful activities like cycling.

London to see off the most dangerous lorries by 2020

London Mayor Sadiq Khan's timing is exquisite, we think. Fast upon cycle campaigners' protests against the THINK!'s' victim-blaming awareness campaign (see headlines), the Mayor has demonstrated exactly why listening to cycle campaigners about cycle safety makes such sense. 

Responding to a consultation on lorry cab design earlier this year, Cycling UK asked supporters to email Transport for London (TfL) backing our call for a 'road map' setting out steps towards the widespread introduction of direct vision lorries.

Campaigners told Sadiq they wanted safer lorries on the streets. He listened and came up with a plan similar to our suggested road map, for which he has been rightly applauded.

"In contrast, THINK! has been rightly lambasted for not listening to campaigners. Perhaps THINK might LOOK at that, LEARN, and LISTEN to us the next time they launch a cycle safety campaign."

Duncan Dollimore, Cycling UK

We're pleased to report that Sadiq has now announced plans to assess lorries using a five-star rating standard based on the level of vision the driver has from the cab. The lowest rated vehicles will be banned by 2020 and, ultimately, only the highest rated lorries will be allowed on the capital's roads by 2025.

Importantly, TfL and the London boroughs will also require safer lorry standards in all their contracts and procurement from the start of the next financial year.

  • Full news story
  • Fortunately, the freight industry's interest in cycle awareness instruction for their drivers is growing. One provider of such courses, including practical training on bikes, is Cycle Training UK, who have just launched a new 3.5 hour 'Pro-Driver' programme for van and other professional drivers.  

What do the latest road casualty statistics for 2015 mean for cyclists?

Bearing well in mind that the health paybacks of cycling hugely outweigh the risks, there’s not much joy to be had from GB road casualty statistics in isolation.  

With regard to cyclist fatalities, in statistical terms little has changed over the last nine years. The 100 cyclists killed in 2015 was the lowest number on record, but similar to the figures for each year since 2008.

On the other hand, by and large the number of seriously injured cyclists has been going up since 2004. Although 2015 saw a 5% drop from 2014 (3,239 down from 3,401), it is still the second highest year since 1997.

What’s more, while the number of cyclists killed per billion miles cycled has been falling on the whole since 2005, if you add in seriously injured cyclists, it’s another and very disturbing story. The KSI (killed or seriously injured) rate per billion miles has grown significantly over the last 10 years.

Interestingly, for the first time ever the DfT presents data on seriously injured casualties admitted to hospital, whether or not the police were called to the scene. This suggests that from 1999-2011, the police decided that 8% of the serious road injuries they reported overall happened to cyclists, but hospitals put this figure at 14%. It’s the other way round for car occupants: hospitals say that 33% of their road traffic serious injuries were car occupants, whereas the police put it at 45%. This phenomenon evidently needs investigating.

On the subject of casualties on 20 mph roads, the DfT sensibly says that casualty increases aren't because they are less safe (as sceptics have tried to assert), but because there are now more roads where this limit applies.

It is crystal clear that 20 mph limits work.”

Mark Ruskell MSP (Scottish Parliamentary debate, 28 September 2016)

Consultation on motoring offences review to start before Christmas

After a two-year plus wait for the Government’s motoring offences and penalties review, at last we have some idea of what it will look at, and a date for its publication.

From a recent meeting with Ministry of Justice (MoJ) officials, we understand that: it will not be part of a wider sentencing review, but focus on motoring; there'll be a public consultation on it starting Christmas; and the necessary legislation should be brought before parliament in 2017. 

  • Find out why Cycling UK believes the review is going further than we originally thought in some ways, but still not far enough in others; and what other justice matters we took the opportunity to raise with the MoJ.

Old Bailey for driver privately prosecuted by Cycling UK’s Cyclists’ Defence Fund

As mentioned in the last issue of Campaign News, Cycling UK's Cyclists' Defence Fund (CDF) has brought a private prosecution for causing death by careless driving against Gail Purcell (58) of St Albans.

London teacher Michael Mason was cycling north on Regent Street from Oxford Circus in London on 25 February 2014, when he was hit from behind by a black Nissan Juke driven by Ms Purcell. As a consequence, he sustained a fatal injury to his brain.

At her second hearing, which took place at the Old Bailey, Ms Purcell pleaded not guilty and now faces a six-day trial from 3 April.

CDF is pursuing this case because the police declined to do so. It is the first private prosecution brought by CDF for any offence involving the death of a cyclist, and the first private prosecution for causing death by careless or dangerous driving that we are aware of.

  • Full story
  • This prosecution would not have been possible without crowdsourcing. If you would like to donate, you can do so via our Justice for Michael fundraising page. Our thanks to everyone who's donated so far. 

Hit-and-runs must be taken seriously

In July, 14-year-old Jack Connor was knocked off his bike, suffered concussion and a broken wrist. The driver checked that he was still breathing, then left the scene. According to his mum, Julie, police ‘investigations’ were lacklustre at best.

In September, 43-year-old cyclist Adrian Smith was left for dead in the middle of the road at a junction following another hit-and-run. He suffered extensive facial injuries, lost several teeth and broke bones in his hand. The police were contacted straightaway, but nobody came out for four hours, possibly compromising the freshness of any evidence.

In October, 15-year-old cyclist Dylan Crossey died following a collision with a car in the Preston area. The driver failed to stop at the scene, but was arrested subsequently on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving and excess alcohol.

Since our Road Safety and Legal Officer, Duncan Dollimore, first looked into these cases and seriously questioned the response from the police, he’s learnt of a further three serious injury hit-and-run collisions involving cyclists, all in the last four months and within 13 miles of Preston. The priority given to these incidents is an issue we will be raising with Lancashire police.

Cyclist MP blogs on intimidation by drivers

Collisions can and do have tragic consequences for the individuals involved, and it’s not surprising that the general perception of cycling is that it’s unsafe despite its overwhelming benefits.

I don’t find it acceptable that people just trying to get to work or to the shops are so regularly intimidated. And people cycling are doing something that according to policy and research is the right thing.

"Cycling is a safe transport mode, not just for the cyclist but also other road users: you’re much less likely to kill someone else than if you’re driving a motor vehicle. You’re not causing air or noise pollution. And you’re keeping yourself healthy.”

Ruth Cadbury MP

In her blog for Cycling UK, Ruth Cadbury (co-chair of the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group (APPCG), Labour Shadow Housing Minister, and MP who’s ‘brave’ enough to cycle) shares her concerns about intimidation on our roads, and particularly ‘near misses’. Better driver behaviour, more investment, improved infrastructure and law enforcement are the solutions, the MP says.

The APPCG is planning an inquiry into road justice for cyclists in early 2017.

MPs to inquire into urban traffic congestion

The House of Commons Transport Select Committee is calling for submissions to its forthcoming inquiry into how to tackle urban traffic congestion in a balanced, fair and integrated way.

The Committee will be considering, amongst other things, road-pricing, parking schemes, cycling and walking infrastructure, and the use of innovative traffic management technologies. More widely, it will also look at the safety of road users, particularly cyclists and pedestrians.

How the Dutch tackle 'dooring'

See how drivers are taught to open their car doors in the Netherlands so that they are less likely to ‘door’ cyclists riding by - watch the ‘Dutch Reach’ video.

Local high/lows …

  • London Cycling Campaign has welcomed most of the Mayor’s plans for new, green river crossings that cater for cyclists, pedestrians, DLR and the overground. LCC is, however, less than happy about the Silvertown Tunnel proposal, fearing that it could lead to more motor vehicle trips unless the ‘user charge’ is high enough. There is also only a provisional commitment to a bespoke ‘cycle-bus’.
  • East Dunbartonshire councillors have voted against stage two (out of four stages) of the Bears Way protected cycle route, which would have offered a completely traffic free cycle from Milngavie and Bearsden to Glasgow. So much for Scotland’s target of 10% of all everyday journeys to be by bike by 2020! Sign the local petition.

Award for Cycling UK’s Big Bike Revival


Beating 14 other entries, Cycling UK’s Big Bike Revival has won the ‘Behaviour Change Campaign of the Year’ category at the 2015 Cycle Planning Awards ceremony in London. [Photo above: Cycling UK’s Daisy Goaman and Hannah Wilson after the Big Bike Revival award presentation]

The Revival, which brings bikes back to life and encourages their owners back into the saddle, has been running again this year, in both England and Scotland.

Winners of other awards include:

  • CycleStreets Ltd (which provides data to a wide range of journey planning websites and apps across all major platforms);
  • The London Borough of Waltham Forest (for its ‘mini-Holland’ programme);
  • Transport for London (for its Cycle Superhighways and associated infrastructure such as low level signalling, bus stop bypasses, separation from traffic at junctions etc.);
  • Next Plc (for its ‘Where Will You Cycle to Next?’ initiative promoting sustainable travel to its workers in 2014. As a result, 100 employers now cycle daily or occasionally to head office, rather than a mere 24);
  • Coca-Cola Belfast Bikes (bike hire scheme launched by Belfast City Council in April 2015, now with more than 4,000 annual members);
  • Cambridgeshire County Council (for working with partners to establish funding and an expert team, leading to a rise in cycling’s modal share from 18% in 2008 to 25% in 2015);
  • TfL’s Michael Barratt (for consistently going over and above the call of duty to improve road safety, specifically for more vulnerable road users).

The Lifetime Achievement Award went to 89-year-old Alistair Hanton, who started campaigning actively for cycling 40 years ago, and is one of the foremost advocates of direct vision lorries.

Cycling UK teams up with MP to talk cycle-rail with GWR

​Cycling UK, together with Ben Bradshaw MP (Exeter), has met with Great Western Railway to discuss the company's mandatory booking cycle carriage policy and planned developments for cycle-rail.

Officially, the news is not ideal, as booking on their intercity trains is “mandatory”. In reality, though, the train manager is encouraged to use their discretion and to be as accommodating as possible. Further changes are likely to be rolled out by the end of the year, however.

Court appearance for UK Government over air pollution

ClientEarth has lately been battling with the UK Government in court over its failure to meet its legal limits on air pollution. The charity's activist lawyers say that officials failed to take action “as soon as possible”, and focused on cost at the expense of compliance. 

Police reunite cyclist with stolen Brompton

Registering your cycle with a central scheme certainly helps in the event of theft, according to the City of London Police. Its officers recently re-united a woman with her pink Brompton because it was logged on BikeRegister at a Metropolitan Police pedal cycle marking session.

Sainsbury’s trials home delivery by bike

Sainsbury’s has announced a pilot home delivery service by cycle in Central London.

Using its IOS Chop Chop App, customers will be able to order up to 20 items and have them delivered by cycle within one hour, for a flat fee of £4.99. If it proves popular, the scheme could be introduced to other areas of the capital.

New publications

Space for Cycling: a guide for decision makers (Cycling UK)

Our Space for Cycling campaign is calling on councils to embark on a three-step process to create cycle-friendly conditions by:

  • Planning a comprehensive network of cycle-friendly routes;
  • Actively seeking the funding to implement the plan;
  • Building the network in accordance with up-to-date high quality design standards.

Our 2nd edition, simple 8-page guide, packed with new shining examples of good practice from around the UK, explains how to do this.

If you’d like printed copies to circulate to your local council officers or elected members, please get in touch with Tom Guha (

cycle BOOM: Design for Lifelong Health and Wellbeing (Oxford Brookes University)

Summary of Key Findings and Recommendations by Dr Tim Jones et al

Paper presenting the results of the three-year cycle BOOM study, which investigated older people’s experience of cycling in the UK, and how this affects independence, health and wellbeing.

The 240 participants came from Oxford, Bristol, Reading and Cardiff, and were a mix of non-cyclists, current cyclists and also a group of older cyclists who wished to re-engage with cycling after a break.

Results show that cycling has the potential to improve physical and mental health in the older population, although participants reported a number of negative factors including poor and unsupportive infrastructure and fear of injury from other traffic.

It seems that the small minority that do cycle, classified as “resilient riders” by the researchers, use various coping strategies to deal with declining capabilities and road danger, e.g. timing their rides to avoid peak periods, riding away from motor traffic, adapting cycles, and even riding on the pavement. 

Lead researcher Dr Tim Jones said: “Our study reinforces the need for cities to plough ahead and create a dedicated infrastructure for cycling along major roads, implement slower speed zones and support the growing market of electric bikes. Interventions targeted at promoting older cycling will not only support healthy ageing, but it will also support younger cycling and help address the pressing issue of low levels of fitness and growing levels of obesity amongst the nation’s younger population.”

Other outputs of the study include three briefing notes:

Promoting age friendly cycling (for health promoters); Planning for age friendly cycling (for planners, engineers and designers); and Electric cycling for an ageing population (for the cycle industry).

Watch a series of short video clips featuring 12 participants from the trial. The oldest was 83-year-old Brian Hook based in Oxford.

The cost-effectiveness of bike lanes in New York City

By Jing Gu, Babak Mohit and Peter Alexander Muennig

Based on New York City's (NYC) fiscal year 2015 as a case study, this paper looks at the cost-effectiveness of investments in cycle lanes, and offers a model to help other localities estimate their return.

The authors found that 45.5 miles of bike lanes NYC constructed in 2015 may increase the probability of riding bikes by 9.32%, and conclude that “ … investments in bicycle lanes come with an exceptionally good value because they simultaneously address multiple public health problems. Investments in bike lanes are more cost-effective than the majority of preventive approaches used today.”

Published in Injury Prevention. 

Fix it First (Campaign for Better Transport)

Briefing arguing that focusing transport spending on a small number of large infrastructure schemes is expensive. The benefits, CBT says, aren’t realised for many years, whereas local schemes are popular, better value and quicker to deliver. Amongst the measures CBT advocates is new dedicated funding to support the Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy (CWIS).

Global outlook on cycling: policies and realities around the world (United Nations)

Report looking at ideas from around the world for facilitating NMT (non-motorised transport - i.e. walking, cycling, animal-drawn transport, skateboarding etc.).

It documents the inclusion of NMT in national or city policies in a sample of low- and middle-income countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America, and concludes that: “There is an urgent need to [ … ] reduce the risks of injury or death, and facilitate a shift to lower carbon modes. Even where governments are resource-constrained, a solid commitment to NMT can change the experiences of millions of pedestrians and cyclists every day.”

National Cycle Network pocket maps (Sustrans)

Sustrans has just issued the last four in a series of 56 maps covering all 14,000 miles of National Cycle Network, as well as other major routes such as the London Cycle Superhighways. The maps include over 100 recommended day rides, along with inset maps of towns and city centres.

Diary dates

Space for Cycling Roadshows

​Ongoing until January 2017

Cycling UK’s Space for Cycling campaign wants to transform Great Britain’s roads so that anyone can cycle anywhere. Local pressure is crucial to success, so we’re taking to the road throughout this winter with a series of workshops across the country.

The aim is to engage with local campaign groups, councils and the wider public to expand the reach of the campaign, share ideas and expertise, and develop a coordinated national strategy.

National Air Quality Conference and Awards

10 November, London

Expert speakers from organisations including ClientEarth, Volvo and Public Health England will deliver an essential mix of advice and guidance, and champion innovation throughout the air quality sector.

Benefiting Business through Cycling (Spokes public meeting)

10 November, Edinburgh

With Edinburgh’s economy, business, employees and the population at large all increasingly benefiting from cycling, this is a chance to hear and debate the issues with experts from the council, business, bike trade and bike user group.

The organisers, the Lothian cycle campaign Spokes, hope the talks, questions, discussion and networking will result in new ideas, opportunities and link-ups.

Cyclenation-Cycling UK Campaigners' Conference, 2016

19 November, 10-30 – 18.00, hosted by St Albans Cycle Campaign at Dagnall Street Baptist Church, AL3 5EE

A day of expert presentations and workshops covering a wide variety of topics of interest to campaigners, including infrastructure, promotion, the Propensity to Cycle Tool, the case for cycling, road safety and justice, air quality, active travel networks and more.

£15 or £10 early-bird rate available until 1 November.

You’re also invited to a cycling infrastructure safari in central London on Sunday 20 November 

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