CycleDigest May 2013

APPCG publishes 'Get Britain Cycling' report

CycleDigest May 2013

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

From the Editor

Welcome to the May issue of CycleDigest. No apologies for mentioning the 'Get Britain Cycling' e-petition four times (this is the first mention) - it's doing very well, but still needs more people to sign it. Our headline below explains why and how.

Improved infrastructure, justice for victims of collisions and lorries are never far from our minds, and the stories we've covered this month reflect this. So does our 'Get Britain Cycling' campaign - I hope you've signed the e-petition as a result of my first mention, but if not, please do so now and encourage your friends to do the same!

The CycleDigest is a free resource for anyone with a voluntary or professional interest in cycling. New subscribers are always welcome at - if you sign up to that, you'll receive a bulletin letting you know when the latest issue is online.

With best wishes

Cherry Allan


Vision, ambition and strong political leadership - that’s how to Get Britain Cycling!

The All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group (APPCG) has published a set of 18 recommendations based on six weeks of oral evidence and pages of written submissions to its Get Britain Cycling inquiry earlier this year.

The report calls for cycling levels of 10% by 2025 and 25% by 2050 - at the moment the figure is less than 2%. To achieve this goal, it stresses that 'vision, ambition and strong political leadership’ is crucial, along with a spend of at least £10-£20 per year on cycling per head of the population.

Watch CTC’s President, broadcaster Jon Snow, cycle in London and explain the importance of the Get Britain Cycling campaign and how to sign a Government e-petition in support of its messages.

The petition has already attracted more than enough signatures to receive an official response, but there's still a few thousand more to gather to help ensure a Parliamentary debate on the subject - and we really want this to happen before George Osborne announces the results of the Comprehensive Spending Review on June 26 so that the £10+ per head spending proposal turns into a reality. Please sign up and spread the word!

Pedal on Parliament

Around 4,000 cyclists gathered in Edinburgh last Sunday 19th May and rode to Holyrood to deliver an 8-point manifesto calling for more investment in cycling, slower speeds, and better facilities for cyclists on Scotland’s roads.

The presence of the families of Andrew McNicoll and Audrey Fyfe (see below), both killed on Edinburgh’s roads in recent years, made the 2013 ride especially poignant. Read CTC Councillor for Scotland Peter Hayman's blog.


Protest over killer driver’s derisory sentence

In August 2011, Audrey Fyfe, 75, a mother, wife and much-valued member of CTC Scotland, was hit by driver Gary McCourt whilst she was riding her bike near her home in Edinburgh. On 3 May 2013, McCourt was sentenced to 300 hours of community service and a 5-year driving ban for causing death by 'careless' driving. It transpired that Mrs Fyfe was the second cyclist killed by McCourt's driving.

CTC is campaigning for a review of McCourt’s lenient sentence, and thousands of supporters have already written to the Lord Advocate asking for an appeal. Please join them (deadline 31 May 2013). 

Improved guidelines on prosecuting bad driving published

Changes to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS - England & Wales) guidance on prosecuting acts of bad driving should go some way to stop prosecutors downgrading cases of bad driving from 'dangerous' to 'careless' driving. For example, the guidance now explicitly includes failing to have a proper and safe regard for vulnerable road users as a criteria for 'dangerous' driving. More needs to be done, however, to stop 'dangerous' driving being dismissed as nothing more than carelessness, says CTC.


Other stories

Dutch-style roundabouts put to the test

Cycle-friendly roundabouts with a much tighter geometry – usually with only one entry and exit lane and a narrower circulating lane – have been on trial at TRL’s vast test track in Berkshire. Such roundabouts with cycle priority over the arms are standard in the Netherlands, but rare and radical in the UK.

TRL is also investigating ‘low level’ traffic lights - small, cycle-specific traffic signals that don’t confuse other road users. Also common in Europe, they save space and reduce clutter.

Motor traffic drops off

Figures released by the Department for Transport show that, compared to Quarter 1 (Jan - March) 2012, all motor traffic in Great Britain decreased by 2.3% in Q1 of 2013. Car and light goods vehicle traffic both went down by 1.9%, and HGVs by 3.8%.

The DfT notes that traffic volume doesn’t appear to have been influenced by a slight increase in GDP over the same quarter, and suggests that heavy snow and ice may have contributed to the decline. However, other experts, notably 'Get Britain Cycling' report author Prof Phil Goodwin, are questioning whether car use may, in fact, have peaked.

Walking and cycling to school in road safety spotlight

GO 20, a coalition of 11 charities calling for 20 mph to be the norm in communities, focused on cycling and walking to school during Global Road Safety Week (6-11 May). A survey published by GO 20 member Brake revealed that 77% of 500 UK primary schools are so concerned about road safety that they feel compelled to campaign actively on the subject. CTC is a member of GO 20.

Collisions in Westminster – who’s to blame?

According to the City of Westminster’s draft cycling plan (2013-26), analysis of collisions between drivers and cyclists in the last 12 months shows that the most common contributory factors were attributable to the driver (68% of cases) and 20% to cyclists. In the 133 crashes between pedestrians and cyclists in the last 36 months, 60% were attributable to the pedestrian, and 40% to the cyclist.

How is your local council performing on road safety?

A new website from DfT presents visitors with collision and casualty figures set against population, traffic levels, road length and authority spending for the last 7 years. It includes a mapping facility.

The DfT has also launched a new research portal giving road safety professionals access to research on a variety of relevant topics.

Bigger = better for HGVs - or not?

The European Cyclists’ Federation (ECF) wants to make sure that changes to the permitted size and dimensions of lorries that cross the borders in Europe will be cycle-friendly. It believes that updating cab design, for example, is a good opportunity to ensure that drivers can see cyclists more clearly. ECF, however, is still concerned that the legislation will allow trucks with larger trailers to travel beyond their national borders – a move that would put more cyclists at greater risk.

Helmet latest

  • Research from Canada published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) has concluded that making helmets compulsory in certain provinces has had minimal impact on reducing the rate of admissions to hospital for cycling-related head injuries. Injury rates, the authors say, were already going down in the provinces that had introduced compulsion.
  • A study that looked at the serious injuries and deaths of cyclists under 16 in the US (1999-2009) has concluded that requiring children to wear cycle helmets by law saves  lives.  However, CTC’s Roger Geffen, who appeared on BBC Radio 4 along with the lead author of the US report, Dr William Meehan, pointed out that making helmets compulsory puts people off cycling and means that they lose out on the health benefits that far outweigh the risks.

Bad news for cycling Channel-hoppers

Eurostar has revised its cycle policy for the worse – the service used to allow people to travel with their packaged bikes, but in future only folding bikes will be allowed as carry-on luggage. A bike that is longer than 85cm will have to be carried as freight, not necessarily on the same train. CTC’s public transport adviser Dave Holladay explains all in the Guardian Bike blog.

Funding issues

The London Evening Standard has pointed out that Mayor Boris Johnson's plans to spend £913m on cycling in the capital over the next 10 years are dependent on securing Treasury funds.

Meanwhile, we await the announcement of the winners of the £30m Cycle City Challenge and the £12m National Parks funds announced by Norman Baker in January. Bids were submitted in late April and the results should be out soon.

Rich world of cycling on stage at LCC's 2013 awards

The array of winners at the London Cycling Campaign’s (LCC) 2013 Awards goes to show how exciting and diverse the cycling world is.

Prizes went to TfL’s 'Safer Lorries' procurement programme; London Borough of Camden/City Of London's two-way cycling on one-way streets; London Bike Kitchen (a community cycle repair workshop); Hackney Bike Around The Borough (schools initiative); Heathrow Cycle Hub; Sir Bradley Wiggins; Rapha; Brompton folding bicycle;’s website; and retail chain Cycle Surgery.

Act now!

  • You have until 31May 2013 to use CTC’s draft letter to write to the Lord Advocate
    in Scotland calling for a review of the lenient sentence handed down to the driver who killed Audrey Fyfe, a 75-year-old cyclist in Edinburgh (pictured right, with her daughter Aileen Brown).
  • Add your name to the e-petition that’s calling on the Government to implement the recommendations of the Get Britain Cycling report. The more signatures it gets, the more the Government should sit up and take notice!

New publications

Maintaining Momentum: Summer 2012 Logistics Legacy Report

CILT (Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport)

In-depth analysis of how the logistics sector performed during the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Permanently adopting the measures introduced then, it says, would improve safety levels for cyclists and others, and bring environmental benefits, including:
  • More night-time deliveries
  • Consolidation of loads onto fewer vehicles, and;
  • Much improved levels of communications between local authorities, operators, customers and employees
  • Fewer CO2emissions
  • Less traffic congestion
  • Reduced fuel consumption 


Pedestrian safety: A road safety manual for decision-makers and practitioners

World Health Organisation (WHO)

Module-based manual with data on casualties and risk factors, a look at land-use and planning, prioritising interventions, safety plans and evaluation. With case studies and useful material on speed and the need to reduce limits.

The Green Way to Work

Cycle to Work Alliance

Report on a survey of 18,500 employees who use the tax efficient cycle to work scheme.

Finds, for instance, that:
  • they save 112,210 tonnes of CO2 every year
  • they cycle over 13 million miles per week
  • 67% of them would commute by car if they did not cycle to work
  • 54% did not cycle to work before signing up to the scheme
  • 72% would not have bought their bike if it had not been available through the scheme.


Economic aspects of non-technical measures to reduce traffic emissions

Research institutes Fraunhofer, INFRAS and IFEU, commissioned by the German Environmental Agency

German study on the economic effects that a shift from driving to sustainable transport would have compared to 'business as usual'. The researchers calculated that a 10% increase in the modal share of walking and cycling in urban areas would mean that the German GDP would go up by 1.11% by 2030. This doesn’t sound much, but nevertheless represents about € 29bn, based on German GDP in 2012. Air pollutants would go down by between 5 – 10 % and CO2 by about 2 %. English summary downloadable. See also ECF's press release.

Cycling and the economy

CTC Campaigns

How valuable is cycling to national and local economies? Why do we need to invest in it? What can businesses, developers and the Treasury do to promote it? Read CTC’s new briefing, ‘Cycling and the Economy’ to find out – it’s full of facts and arguments you can use to persuade people that cycling makes sound economic sense.

Diary dates

Bike to School Week 2013

10-14 June

A week to encourage all schools to get cycling. Tips, guides and further information available from Sustrans.

Bike Week

15-23 June

The annual week of cycling-related events. Offers something for everyone - from families, schools and companies, to seasoned cyclists and those who have never cycled before. This year, Bike Week is asking the nation to dig out their bikes, get back on the saddle and fall in love with cycling all over again.

Prudential RideLondon

3-4 August

Part of the Olympic Legacy, this mass-participation cycling festival offers four separate events for professionals and non-pros. If you’d like to be part of cycling history, volunteer to become a marshal on the London-Surrey 100 & Classic on 4th August.


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