Cycle Campaign News September 2014

Space for Cycling supporters take to Manchester's streets (Photo: Jonathan Keenan)

Cycle Campaign News September 2014

CTC's monthly round-up of cycle campaign news - all in one place ..


From the Editor ...


It must be getting harder and harder for MPs and local councillors to ignore calls for Space for Cycling and the funding to back it up - this week's mass ride at Labour's party conference was a pretty visible statement, I think. The Conservative Conference is next on the list!

To be fair, a good number of politicians over the years have recognised the benefits of cycling and tried to do something about it - but we can now boast the specific support of 500 local councillors (and counting) and some influential MPs (see below).

Now we need to gather further momentum by getting cycling woven into party manifestos, acknowledged in the Chancellor's Autumn Statement (3 December), and on the minds of every prospective Parliamentary candidate at election time next year. We also want to encourage MPs to speak up for action to 'Get Britain Cycling' during a Parliamentary debate on cycling on 16 October. It's a big task and your support is invaluable - find out how to get involved.


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Space for Cycling hits party conferences...

The streets around the Labour Party conference venue in Manchester on Monday evening were the scene of a 300-strong mass ride promoting the Space for Cycling campaign. Co-hosted by CTC and the Greater Manchester Cycling Campaign (GMCC), the ride was joined by Labour MPs and councillors including Shadow Transport Minister Richard Burden, MP for Hackney Meg Hillier and prospective parliamentary candidate for Sheffield Hallam, Oliver Coppard.

At a breakfast gathering on the same day, Shadow Transport Secretary Mary Creagh MP promised her support for cycling to an audience of MPs and councillors. Chris Boardman also spoke out, saying that if Westminster is serious about action to Get Britain Cycling, it needs to follow the model of British track racing with its set goals and targeted spending.

It was great to see so many cyclists in Manchester at conference, calling for action on leadership and funding. Labour is committed to delivering space for safer cycling in Government."

Richard Burden MP, Birmingham Northfield
Labour's Shadow Minister for Transport

During her plenary speech to the party on Tuesday, Mary Creagh also touched on a number of key points of Labour’s transport policy towards cycling, including cycle training for all children, more cycle commuting and safer lorries. However, she is yet to commit Labour to the targets or spending levels called for in the 'Get Britain Cycling' report. There is still time, though, with Parliament set to debate cycling on 16 October.

CTC and allies will be in Birmingham next week for the Conservative Party conference as part of our ongoing campaign to get all the main parties signed up to the Get Britain Cycling report's recommendations in their manifestos for the General Election next May.

We will be holding another Space for Cycling ride together with the Birmingham campaign group Push Bikes on Monday 29 September. All are welcome.

… and signs up 500th Councillor

500 local councillors have now signed up to the Space for Cycling campaign – the 500th signatory being Cllr Jerry Evans of Birmingham City Council. This means that we now have significant support for the campaign’s goals, namely for conditions where anyone can cycle anywhere, with the funding to make it possible.

Cllr Evans says: "As a councillor in one of the UK’s eight Cycling Cities, I can readily see what is achieved for cycling when there is funding of £10 per head per year. However, with this sum drying up after only two years, I can also see the risk of not having long term consistent cycle funding. We need committed funding for cycling and strong central leadership – only then will we achieve space for cycling.”

Please go on lobbying your local councillors to sign up – you can find out who has and who hasn’t registered their support from our map.

Draft cycling strategy full of promise for Northern Ireland

Cycling in Northern Ireland will become "accessible, attractive, safe and desirable", if the Department for Regional Development’s new draft Bicycle Strategy fulfils its admirable intentions.

The strategy aims to build, support and promote cycling, but as quantified targets and funding are both missing, CTC thinks that success will depend heavily on the subsequent Delivery Plan. Ideally, this should set an initial cycling budget of at least £10 per person per year, rising to £20 as cycle use increases, plus a challenging national target to substantially increase the proportion of journeys undertaken by bike in Northern Ireland – currently a meagre 0.7%.

CTC has welcomed the strategy, although we’d like it to be explicit about the link between promotion and infrastructure, and more positive about 20 mph schemes, and the opportunities to improve facilities for cycling when road maintenance takes place. It should also make it clear that cycle provision in any given location ought to do its best to meet all cyclists’ needs, not just cater for a certain type (e.g. acknowledge that main roads aren’t just for fast cyclists).

The strategy is out for public consultation until 21 November.

Other stories

Campaigners propose new law for funding walking and cycling

Six campaigning groups, including CTC, are backing an amendment to the Infrastructure Bill currently going through Parliament that would force the Government to plan for greater investment in cycling and walking.

The amendment, to be tabled by Lords Berkeley and Judd, would require the Government to publish a binding 'Cycling & Walking Investment Strategy' and answer to Parliament if its ambitions were not met.

Ralph Smyth at CPRE, the organisation leading on campaigning for the amendment, said: “England desperately needs to catch up with neighbouring countries and make physically active forms of travel the norm for everyday journeys. But the funding picture is now so bleak, we risk not just huffing and puffing but actually dropping out of the race.”

Help Barts Health NHS Trust improve London for cyclists!

In the last 10 years there has been a 400% increase in the number of cyclists being brought into the emergency department of the Royal London Hospital. Following the Barts Charity safer cycling campaign in 2012, researchers from the Orthopaedic and Emergency Departments of Barts Health NHS Trust have designed ‘The Bespoke Study’ to collect quality data on this, as well as on the number of near misses that go unreported. The team will then use the data collected to work with key stakeholders to improve London for cyclists.

To inform the design of the study, they are asking London's cyclists, cycling communities, cycling clubs and cycling businesses to tell the team what is important to them when they are injured – they need your input. The team are hosting an event on 7 October 2014 at 6 pm, which they encourage all who are interested in contributing, to attend. See the Bespoke website for more details about the project, the event and how to register.

Backing London's 'Crossrail for Bikes'

Transport for London (TfL) has unveiled detailed proposals for two continuous cycle routes  - or 'Crossrail for Bikes' - in the capital. One runs east-west from Tower Gateway to Paddington and on to Acton (18 miles), while the other runs north-south from Elephant & Castle to Kings Cross (3 miles).

Three particularly welcome aspects of the routes are that:

  • they involve protected space for cyclists;
  • the designers have thought carefully about how to do, whilst maintaining cyclists' priority at junctions; and
  • they involve a significant reallocation of road space from motor vehicles to pedal cycles.

Such bold steps for cycling are bound to attract resistance from some quarters - the RAC Foundation and business group London First have already said they oppose the schemes. This makes it all the more important for everyone who wants cycling to flourish to respond positively, although this doesn't mean that we should stay quiet about the plan’s flaws.

For more on both the welcome and not-so-welcome features of the cycle routes, see Roger Geffen’s blog.

The plans are out for consultation until 19 October 2014.

Lorry driver sentenced but spotlight needed on operators

Robert Wayne Palmer, the lorry driver who caused the deaths of two cyclists on the A30 last year, has not only been sentenced to seven and a half years for each death, but also received a one-year sentence for a dangerous driving offence he committed whilst on bail ten weeks after the fatal crash. As in the first case, Palmer ploughed his lorry into the back of another road user, this time a driver who suffered minor injuries.

Rhia Weston, CTC’s Road Justice campaigner, said: “If ever there was a case that demonstrated the need to impose immediate interim driving bans on drivers that kill, this is it.”

Palmer’s lack of sleep was found to be a significant factor in the first crash, but while this demonstrated his own serious disregard for others’ safety, CTC feels that his employer’s apparent failure to ensure that he was safe and fit to drive should be called into question too.

For more on this and the call for the lorry companies' 'Operator Compliance Risk Score' to be made public so that those who procure logistic services can check a company’s reputation before hiring them, read Rhia’s blog.

More lorry news:

  • Safer Lorries for London: In our response to Transport for London’s Safer Lorries consultation, CTC has welcomed the proposals to prohibit almost all HGVs over 3.5 tonnes that are not fitted with side guards and certain mirrors from driving in London. TfL estimates that the ban could save the lives of between 3-7 cyclists and pedestrians, and prevent 1-5 of them from being seriously injured. 

CTC, however, has urged TfL to go further by banning the longest lorries on busy streets at the busiest times and permitting shorter lorries only if they have safe cab designs, with the driver's seating position close to the ground, and ample window area, so that the driver can see cyclists alongside or near the front of the cab (see next item).

  • Academics say 'direct vision' lorry concept could save lives: A new study by academics at Loughborough University’s Design School has concluded that a longer, more aerodynamic cab with better vision for lorry drivers could save the lives of hundreds of cyclists and pedestrians.

The proposed new cab is 80cm longer with a rounded nose, smaller dashboard, expanded glazed areas, and a slightly lower driver position. Such a ‘Direct Vision’ lorry concept would increase the driver’s field of view in front and to the sides of the lorry by 50% compared to today’s ‘brick shaped’ lorry designs.

The study analysed 704 accidents involving HGVs and found that 31% of road fatalities were caused by drivers pulling away, 19% by left turns, 7% by right turns, and a quarter from drivers reversing.

The analysis indicates that ‘critical blind spots’ in current models cannot be compensated for by the use of a lorry driver’s mirrors, because of the time lapse between checking them, making observations through the window, and then pulling away from a junction.

The study,written by Dr Steve Summerskill and Dr Russell Marshall, was commissioned by Transport for London (TfL) and Transport & Environment (T&E).

Earlier this year, CTC and its partners in the European Cyclists' Federation (ECF) helped persuade MEPs to back new rules that would have required the introuction of these new lorry designs. We were subsequently dismayed when  EU ministers decided to delay the introduction of safer lorry cabins for eight years.

  • Ealing Council try out detection system: Ealing BC has been testing technology that helps lorry drivers detect vulnerable road users outside their cabs. During the trial, which ran from January to June, the system detected more than 40,000 cyclists, pedestrians and motorbikes, but an alarm only alerted the driver on 15 occasions, when they became close enough to collide with the lorry.

Ealing Council developed this technology in partnership with Safety Shields Systems and the trial was funded through Transport for London’s borough cycling programme.

  • CTC advocates research into all measures that have the potential to make the interaction between cyclists and HGVs safer, but believes that direct vision, good driver training and bans on lorries altogether on the busiest roads at the busiest times are especially vital. See our briefing on goods vehicles.

Cycling to work is win-win for staff and bosses

According to a survey published to highlight Cycle to Work day on 4 September, there appears to be a link between cycle-commuting, individual productivity and even career progression. Two thirds of employees who cycle to work say they’ve been more productive since taking up cycling; 64% have become more creative; 77% feel more focused in the office; 82% have more energy and are less stressed; and 15% even say that they feel like they have a better chance at progressing in their career than colleagues.

Over half (53%) of the 100 employer representatives surveyed alongside the 2,500 employees said that cyclists take fewer sick days, while 63% reckon cycling initiatives have improved their business and 66% that their workforce is more energetic.

The second annual Cycle to Work Day was run by Cyclescheme and CTC was one of its partners.

Autumnal thoughts ...

Although by no means entirely seasonal, potholes and cycle lights tend to become more and more newsworthy as the nights draw in. For some expert comment on each subject, CTC offers blogs by Chris Peck explaining why road surfaces are in such a bad state; and by Chris Juden on the relatively modern problem of bike lights that risk dazzling other road users.

Introducing Sam Jones, newly appointed to CTC’s campaigns team:

Sam joined the CTC Campaigns team at the beginning of ,having spent several years working in UK advanced manufacturing and more recently the Home Office. He comes with a background in campaigning, public affairs and media relations, which he has done both professionally and in a voluntary capacity at the Woodland Trust. He will attempt to step into the large shoes left by Chris Peck who has now moved on from CTC for an interesting mixture of academic study at college and work for the UCI.

Sam is a keen cyclist and is happiest when out of doors. He hails originally from the West Country which, in a true sign of his commitment to CTC and cycle campaigning, he has now traded in for the Surrey Hills. Sam will be working in the newly created role of Campaigns and Communications Co-ordinator.

Act now!

… or quite soon, rather …

CTC has been waiting for the DfT to publish its draft 'Cycling and Walking Delivery Plan' for some time – and we hoped it would be out by now. But, as soon as it appears, we’ll be triggering a ‘Funding for Cycling’ campaign, urging cyclists to respond to the Chancellor’s consultation on his autumn statement.

This will call for the Plan to be backed by money so that it can actually deliver, i.e. £10 per head per year, rising to £20 as cycle use increases. Watch out for details of our Funding for Cycling campaign – they’ll be posted our website as soon as it’s ready to go.

Key dates: 16 October - Plan due to be debated in Parliament (assuming it has been published by then!); 17 October - Autumn statement consultation closes;  late November expected launch of the final Plan; December 3 – Autumn statement due.

New publications

Influence of road markings, lane widths and driver behaviour on proximity and speed of vehicles overtaking cyclists

By Stella C. Shackel & John Parkin 

A study looking at how fast or closely vehicles overtake cyclists depending on the road circumstances (e.g. 20 mph and 30 mph speed limits, different widths, number of lanes and presence of cycle lane or absence of a centre-line).

The finding that cycle lanes have no beneficial effect on passing distances and speeds at posted speed limits of 20 and 30 mph led the researchers to conclude that greater degrees of separation from the carriageway would increase cyclists’ comfort. They also suggest that lower speed limits or the adoption of shorter forward visibility help reduce overtaking speeds when cycle traffic is mixed with motor traffic, and that lane widths need to be sufficiently wide to allow over-taking within the lane. Where lane widths are too narrow for this, the authors say that removing the centre-line markings would be a very cost-effective way of creating slower overtaking speeds.

Published in Accident Analysis and Prevention 73, December, pp100-108, available free until 3 November 2014.

The study was funded by a bursary from CTC.

Does active commuting improve psychological wellbeing?

By Adam Martin, Yevgeniy Goryakin & Marc Suhrcke

Results of a study by health economists who explored the relationship between active travel and psychological wellbeing. The research, which was based on data on 17,985 adult commuters in eighteen waves of the British Household Panel Survey (1991/2–2008/9), took into account feelings of worthlessness, unhappiness, sleepless nights, being unable to face problems, plus facts like income, having children, moving house or job, and relationship changes.

The authors observed significant associations between overall psychological wellbeing and active travel when compared to car travel. For instance, car commuters were found to be at least 13% more likely to feel constantly under strain or unable to concentrate than those who cycled or walked to work, and the longer drivers spent on their daily commute, the worse they felt psychologically. Travelling on public transport seems to be therapeutic too.

Concludes that: “The positive psychological wellbeing effects identified in this study should be considered in cost–benefit assessments of interventions seeking to promote active travel.”

Published in Preventive Medicine

Associations between active commuting, body fat, and body mass index: population based, cross sectional study in the United Kingdom

By Ellen Flint, Steven Cummins & Amanda Sacker

Paper on the findings of research to determine whether active commuting (i.e. walking or cycling) helps reduce obesity. Concludes that: “Men and women who commuted to work by active and public modes of transport had significantly lower BMI and percentage body fat than their counterparts who used private transport.”

Published in BMJ

The Fat Lie (Institute of Economic Affairs)

By Christopher Snowdon

A study concluding that the rise in obesity in recent decades in the UK is not, as popularly believed, the result of increased consumption of calories in general and sugar in particular. Instead, the author says, the primary cause is a decline in physical activity at home and in the workplace - since 2002, the average body weight of English adults has increased by two kilograms, coinciding with a decline in calorie consumption of 4.1% and a decline in sugar consumption of 7.4%. Clearly, this has implications for the public health approach to obesity.

HEAT update (WHO)

HEAT, the tool that helps conduct an economic assessment of the health benefits of walking or cycling, has just been updated with the latest scientific evidence. The main new features and changes include: updated relative risk functions for walking and cycling; new Values of Statistical Life (VSL) with averages and country-specific values; updated and more detailed mortality rates for European countries; and a new section of frequently asked questions (FAQ).

Active travel: Walking and Cycling, 2013-14 / Road Safety 2013 (Welsh Government)

Two recently published statistical bulletins, the first setting out a range of baseline information about active travel by people in Wales, and the second giving a general overview of road traffic casualties there. Reports that: 6% of the population travelled by pedal cycle for active travel trips at least once a week; and that since 1979, the smallest percentage fall in road fatalities has been for pedal cyclists.

Interchange: Linking cycling with public transport (Transform Scotland)

A report, with recommendations, on the results of Transform Scotland's audit of the ease of combining cycling with public transport networks across Scotland. The project analysed 19 bus stations, rail stations and ferry terminals in ten towns and cities across Scotland, from Aberdeen to Mallaig, and from Inverness to Glasgow.

Concludes that while there are some stations that have excellent cycling facilities, the majority do not. Transform Scotland argues that with coordination and effort, a basic and consistent level could be maintained. By implementing the report's recommendations and providing funding, cyclists' experience could be transformed and the reach and flexibility of the public transport network could be drastically increased - the authors say that 60% of the Scottish population live within a 15 minute cycle to a bus or rail station or ferry terminal.

Roads Were Not Built for Cars

By Carlton Reid

After 4 years of writing and research, Carlton Reid has published his book on “how cyclists were the first to push for good roads and became pioneers of motoring”. In essence, this is a work of history busting the myths that roads were built for the sole use of motorists. The book offers plenty of references to CTC, a forward by AA President Edmund King, some entertaining images and chapter titles such as ‘Mastodons to Motorways’ and ‘From King of the Road to Cycle Chic.”  Both the hard and softback versions sold out almost at once, but multimedia iPad and other digital editions are available.

A Global High Shift Scenario: Impacts and Potential for More Public Transport, Walking, and Cycling with Lower Car Use

By Michael A. Replogle, Institute for Transportation and Development Policy & Lewis M. Fulton, University of California, Davis
A report examining how major changes in transport investments worldwide would affect urban passenger transport emissions. Concludes that: “ …  more than $100 trillion in cumulative public and private spending, and 1,700 megatons of annual carbon dioxide (CO2) - a 40% reduction of urban passenger transport emissions - could be eliminated by 2050 if the world expands public transportation, walking and cycling in cities.”

News story in (e) Science News

Protected Bike Lanes in NYC (New York City Department of Transportation)

By Polly Trottenberg, Commissioner

Report on the safety, mobility and economic impact of protected bike lanes installed in Manhattan since 2007. Finds, amongst other things, that pedestrian injuries have dropped by 22%; cyclist injuries show a minor decrease even as bicycle volumes have dramatically increased; 75% decrease in average risk of a serious injury to cyclists from 2001 to 2013; that travel speeds for motor traffic have remained steady, or improved; when compared to similar corridors, streets that received a protected bicycle lane saw a greater increase in retail sales.

Who owns the city?

By Heinrich Strößenreuther from the Berlin-based “Agentur für clevere Städte” (Agency for smart cities)

Report finding that only 3% of Berlin’s public road space is dedicated to cycling, compared to 58% for motorised transport. Car parking alone gets 19% of the public road space (6 x more than cycling). Walking comes in at 30% - Berlin has wide pavements.

To find out whether this is a fair allocation of road space, the authors looked at the transport modal split. They discovered that cycling increased from 10% in 1998 to 15% in 2012, contrasting with a decline in car use: the car still made up 38% of all trips in 1998, but fell to 33% in 2008 – and has further declined since. Noting also that the political objective of the Berlin Senate is to achieve a cycling mode share of 20% by 2025, the authors suggest that a fair allocation would mean that dedicated space for cycling should grow by 660% over the next 11 years.

Diary dates

Working with London's cyclists to make our roads safer (Barts Health NHS Trust)

7 October, London 18.00 - 19.30

Help inform the design of the Barts Health NHS Trust's Bespoke study to collect quality data on injuries to cyclists and near misses in London. The research team will use the data collected to work with key stakeholders to improve London for cyclists.

This event is for London's cyclists, cycling communities, cycling clubs and cycling businesses to tell the team what is important to them when they are injured – they need your input.

Further details and registration.


Cycling and Walking Briefing: Understanding the Government's Cycling & Walking Delivery Plan (Westminster Briefing)

21 October, London

An event to consider the Government's anticipated cycling and walking delivery plan - and the infrastructure & policy issues it examines. Offers the chance to discuss how to respond, plan and prepare; and look at how the new plan differs from previous Government initiatives, and how the work of local authorities will be affected.

For stakeholders working on cycling and walking and related areas, including in active travel, local highway authorities, infrastructure and asset management, transport planning and related areas.

Discounts for readers of CTC’s Cycle Campaign News are available.



Space for Cycling and Road Justice Campaigners' Training Days

Gain the knowledge and tools you need to campaign effectively for Road Justice and Space for Cycling. All events are free and take place on Saturdays.

  • 18 October, central Manchester 11.00 – 17.00 (Methodist Central Buildings)
  • 25 October, South Wales (venue tbc)
  • 1 November, Llandudno, North Wales, 12.00 – 17.30 (Craig Y Don Community Centre)

Further details will be posted shortly on our events listings.


Road Danger Reduction and Enforcement: How policing can support walking and cycling in London

November 1 (Saturday): 10.30am – 3.45pm (hosted by LB Southwark at 160 Tooley Street)

Conference to highlight what the Metropolitan Police Service and TfL are doing to improve cyclist and pedestrian safety, and what changes campaigners would like to see. Aimed at non-professional road safety campaigners, councillors, and transport, health and road safety professionals concerned with safety on the roads.

Chaired jointly by Lord Berkeley, President of the Road Danger Reduction Forum and Vice-President of CTC, and Baroness Jenny Jones MLA.
Organised by RoadPeace, the Road Danger Reduction Forum; CTC; and the London Cycling Campaign.

Free of charge. To register, please send an email giving your name and e-mail address to


London Cycle Design Standards training (Urban Design London)

4 and 20 November

Training sessions looking at TfL’s new LCDS in detail and how to apply them.

N.B.: Most places go to the organisation’s members, but where there’s space, others may be able to book for a fee.

UDL are also offering training events on the Mayor’s cycling vision and cycle scheme evaluation and site visits. See brochure for all details.


Designing-in walking and cycling (Landor Links conference)

6 November 2014 (London SE11)

An event looking at how walking and cycling can support transport needs and improve the economy, health and well-being.

Rates, speaker list and programme


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