Cycle Campaign News April 2016

Vote Bike on 5 May!

Cycle Campaign News April 2016

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

From the editor

Cycle Campaign News is still Cycle Campaign News, but CTC is now Cycling UK.

Under our new brand, we’ll continue to help more people enjoy the gift of cycling, whilst campaigning to make it more practical and safer. Paul Tuohy, our Chief Executive, explains our vision for the future.

Whatever role they’re standing for, we believe that every candidate in the 5 May elections should have a positive vision for cycling too, but which of them will really deliver if they win? Our Vote Bike Campaign is on the case.

Thinking further forward, Bike Week 2016 is coming up from 11-19 June – the website is now ready for you and your events! 

Cherry Allan
Cycle Campaign News

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In this issue: 

  • Headlines Vote Bike this May; No hope for Cycling and Walking 'Investment' Strategy without investment.
  • Other stories - Space for Cycling takes off anew with Tom; holes need more money; health institutions call for more cycling to tackle climate change; dirty air worries parents; suspended sentence for driver who couldn't see cyclist.
  • Act now - Vote Bike!
  • New publications on the 'national propensity to cycle' tool; value of cycling; Mayor's 'Vision for Cycling', three years on; crime of speeding; road injury prevention resources for schools; trip-chaining; Bikeability; and more.
  • Diary dates - Pedal on Parliament (Edinburgh, 23 April); National Walking Month (May); Women & Cycling (Hereford, 4 May); Cycle City Active City (Leicester, 19-20 May); Bikeability conference (Leicester, 20 May); Space for Cycling development workshops (Leicester, 21 May); Fleet safety (Solihull, 26 May); Ready for 20 - Scotland (Edinburgh, 8 June); Bike Week 2016 (11-19 June). 


Will you Vote Bike this May?

On 5 May, the polls will open for Scottish, Welsh, Northern Irish, local, mayoral, and Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC, England and Wales) elections.

To help voters identify their pro-cycling candidates, Cycling UK’s President, broadcaster Jon Snow, has written to the contenders in devolved and PCC elections, suggesting ways to support cycling if they get in. We’re publishing their responses on our Vote Bike portal and, in the case for Wales and the PCC elections, be calling on our supporters to write to their candidates as well. 

  • A number of local campaign groups have already been harnessing the election opportunity in their areas to press politicians to think bike. Find out what the campaigns in Bristol, Cambridge, Derby, London and Sheffield are doing.  

If you are a member of a local campaign group and would like us to publicise your actions, please contact our Space for Cycling campaigner, Tom Guha

  • Why are we targeting PCCs? We need to tell them that road crime is real crime, says Cycling UK's Road Safety and Legal Officer, Duncan Dollimore. 

No hope for Cycling and Walking 'Investment' Strategy without investment, say campaigners

If more elected members at all levels were true champions of cycling, maybe Cycling UK wouldn’t be so disappointed by the Government’s first draft Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy (CWIS, England), now out for consultation.

Yet again, pitiful funding is its major downfall: instead of the recommended £10 per head for cycling each year (rising to £20 as cycle use goes up), the draft strategy ear-marks only £300m for 2015-20 - just £1.39 per person outside London.

Although Cycling UK commends CWIS’s laudable aim to normalise cycling and walking by 2040, we’re also unimpressed by its draft target to double cycling trips by 2025. At that rate, English cycle use would only reach Dutch levels (27% of trips) by the start of the 23rd century.

If ministers are serious about their stated aims, they need to reallocate some of their £15bn motorway and trunk road budget towards cycling and walking. That could help tackle congestion, pollution, physical inactivity and climate change, whereas roads spending will do the exact opposite.”
Roger Geffen
Cycling UK Policy Director

British Cycling’s policy adviser Chris Boardman agrees: “The truth is that without sustained funding, this strategy won’t be worth the paper it’s written on”, he said.

Cycling UK will be mobilising a CWIS campaign in the coming weeks, to try and strengthen the strategy's final version. Keep watch on this website.

CWIS consultation deadline: 23 May 2016.

Other stories

Space for Cycling takes off anew with Tom 

Introducing Tom, our new Space for Cycling Campaigns Officer at Cycling UK … Here he is, in his own words:

“My name is Tom Guha. I have a background in environmental and human rights campaigns and have been an avid cyclist ever since childhood, so am excited to get stuck into the Space for Cycling campaign.

“As many Cycling UK members will be aware, Space for Cycling is a national campaign, in which we work closely with local campaign groups to demand better cycling provision.

“Your local campaign may focus on a particular route or piece of infrastructure. Or you may be demanding better Space for Cycling more generally. Whatever your demands, we are here to support you."
Tom Guha
Cycling UK Space for Cycling Campaigner

“In turn, your campaigning supports us in our national work – as we ask the Government to provide better funding, accept clear design standards and show real leadership and ambition regarding cycling.

“By working together, I hope we can form a healthy dialogue between campaigners and Government – and hopefully see proper Space for Cycling implemented across the country.

“We're still in the early days of developing a strategy, and are inviting campaigners to help us do that at a workshop event in Leicester on 21 May. If you have any ideas you’d like to share with us in the mean time, please don’t hesitate to get in touch."

  • Already on the look-out for news of successful ‘space for cycling’ schemes, Tom has posted his thoughts on a new study based on the cycle path alongside the Cambridge Guided Busway, opened in 2011. The authors, who are academics at Cambridge University, found that “… exposure to the busway was positively associated with an increase in cycling – with 85% of the reported increase in cycle use being attributed to use of the cycle path only.”

Holes need more money, we say 

Is £50 million a year, divided between 100+ councils, enough to repair England’s potholes and make cyclists’ journeys safer, particularly on the local roads they tend to use? No, says Cycling UK, it’s ‘like using a sticking plaster to fix a broken leg.”

It's not all bad news about potholes, though. Cycling UK has been working with technical and scientific experts to devise a new non-Newtonian substance that can fill defects at a tiny fraction of the cost of established repair methods. We revealed these timely findings on 1 April (equally timely, please note). 

Health institutions call for more cycling to tackle climate change impacts

In a letter to Health Secretary Rt. Hon. Jeremy Hunt MP, a newly launched alliance of Britain’s major health institutions, has sharply warned the Government that the health services are under-prepared for climate change.

Citing dangers such as increased air pollution, heatwaves and the spread of disease vectors like mosquitoes, the Alliance says that healthcare professionals are in a good position to help reduce the financial pressures on the NHS and the wider impacts of climate change by supporting their patients to take up simple measures like “walking or cycling instead of driving”.

Members of the Alliance include the Royal Colleges of: General Practitioners; Nursing; Obstetricians & Gynaecologists; Physicians; Paediatrics & Child Health, Anaesthetists; Emergency Medicine, and Psychiatrists; Royal Society of Medicine, Faculty of Public Health, Climate and Health Council; BMA, BMJ, and The Lancet.

Dirty air worries two out of three parents in London

Two out of three parents worry about children breathing London’s dirty air, according to a YouGov poll commissioned by environmental lawyers, ClientEarth. The survey also suggests that Londoners believe air pollution is the biggest health threat they face as residents.

ClientEarth successfully took the Government to the Supreme Court last year for failing to meet its obligations on clean air. As a result, DEFRA had to produce plans to meet the UK’s legal limits, but ClientEarth does not believe they are good enough and is preparing for another court battle.   

Cycling UK promotes cycling for its health and environmental benefits, not least because it is a non-polluting mode of transport, and supports ClientEarth’s Healthy Air Campaign.

  • Visit ClientEarth for updates on their potential case.

Suspended sentence for driver who couldn't see a cyclist

How do we deal with the mobility of an ageing population, whilst ensuring that both elderly drivers and others with impairments are fit and safe to drive?

Our road safety and legal campaigner, Duncan Dollimore, looks at these difficult questions following the recent conviction of 80-year-old George Barrett for causing the death of cyclist and Cycling UK member Ian Jobson by careless driving. Barrett’s eyesight was reportedly a major issue in the case. 

Act now

Vote Bike!

Come 5 May, polls open in Scottish, Welsh, Northern Irish, local, mayoral, and Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC, England and Wales) elections.

Through our Vote Bike 2016 campaign, you can check out the cycling-friendliness of your candidates and/or quiz them (the actions you can take are tailored to where you live and what elections are taking place there).

New publications

National propensity to cycle: first phase development study (DfT)

Executive summary, plus full report with annexes describing Stage 1 of the National Propensity to Cycle Tool project. The work, undertaken for the DfT, aims to create an online tool to predict cycling levels in local authority areas, given a number of scenarios.

Cycling UK believes that, when complete, the tool will be immensely valuable to local authorities and campaigners alike.

So far, the prototype uses data from the Census 2011 to predict commuting potential against three scenarios: ‘Government Target’, ‘Gender Equality’, and ‘Go Dutch’ (an e-bike scenario is on the way). The focus on commuting (which tends to be dominated by fit males) means that the current tool is inevitably slanted towards urban networks, but further development should ensure that it is applicable more widely, and cover other journey purposes such as shopping and cycling to school.

The value of cycling: rapid evidence review of the economic benefits of cycling

By Fiona Rajé and Andrew Saffrey (University of Birmingham and Phil Jones Associates)

An independent evidence review, commissioned by DfT, focusing on the evidence of the wider economic benefits of cycling as a mode of transport, such as retail revenue, employment effects, and public spending efficiencies.

The review verifies the value of cycling - and the fact that it has largely positive impacts for people and the places where they live - but concludes: “… it is less clear what the exact nature of that value would look like: the valuation and monetization of the complete range of potential benefits of cycling do not appear to have been widely considered.”

  • Sustrans estimates that there is a net benefit of 67p to society for every mile cycled rather than driven. Dr Andy Cope explains the maths

Evaluating the economic and social impacts of cycling infrastructure: considerations for an evaluation framework

Technopolis Group for the DfT

A report for practitioners and commissioners of cycling programmes offering options for evaluating the economic and social impacts of investments in new or improved cycling infrastructure. The DfT is encouraging interested authorities to contact them about potential schemes which can use this framework.

Human Streets:  The Mayor’s Vision for Cycling, three years on

Mayor of London / GLA

A report full of facts, figures and updates three years on the Mayor’s Vision for cycling.

It confirms that the cycling budget for London per head of the population is far, far more generous that the c£1.39 (see headline) almost everyone else gets in England: “This year (2015/16), we will be spending around £145 million, roughly £18 a head, on a par with Germany and almost equivalent to the Netherlands. We are spending more on cycling than the rest of the UK put together.”

It also backs up the ‘safety in numbers’ theory, i.e. combined with improved conditions, the more cyclists there are, the safer cycling becomes: “… even as the numbers of cycle journeys have risen sharply, cycling casualty rates are the lowest ever recorded. In 1989, the worst year, 90 million cycle journeys were made in London, of which 33 ended in death. By last year, around 270 million cycle journeys were made in London, of which nine ended in death.”

Diversity has benefited too: “The proportion of black and minority ethnic Londoners who cycle frequently (three days a week or more) is now the same as the proportion of white Londoners who do. The proportion of Londoners from the DE social classes who cycle frequently is also catching up with the average.” 

In his foreword, outgoing Mayor of London Boris Johnson says:

“The East-West Superhighway will be able to carry 3,000 people an hour. That is the equivalent of putting four extra trains an hour on the District and Circle Tube lines running beneath the route, at a fraction of the cost in capital works and disruption. It is the equivalent of running 41 extra buses an hour, at a fraction of the cost in road space and emissions. And it is the equivalent, at the average rush-hour loading, of the passengers carried by 2,100 cars.”

Above all, cycling in London has never been more normal. Within a few years, at the current rate of growth, people commuting by bike to central London will outnumber those commuting by car. Already, in the centre, a third of all vehicles on the road during the morning rush hour are now bicycles.” 
Boris Johnson
Outgoing Mayor of London

In his foreword, Andrew Gilligan, Cycling Commissioner for London, also has some interesting reflections on the experience of introducing major new cycling infrastructure to the capital:

  •  “Officially, the cycling programme is about cycling. In reality, it is about breathing. It’s about pollution, about health, about noise, about the kind of city we want to live in […]. Most of the people who will benefit from the cycling programme aren’t cyclists.”
  •  “In engineering terms, cycling schemes are not very complicated. The key factor is political leadership.”
  • “… for years in this country, we did half-hearted cycling schemes that upset nobody but also, bluntly, helped nobody and changed nothing. Then in London, a few years ago, something did change. [ … ]. Our new approach in London is to do serious, meaningful schemes and prove to others that they work.”

Much of the opposition to cycling schemes is based on a belief that motor traffic is like rainwater and the roads are the drains for it. If you narrow the pipe, these people say, it will flood. If you block one route, they say, the same amount of traffic will simply flow down the next easiest route. But that seldom or never actually happens in practice. Because traffic isn’t a force of nature. It’s a product of human choices.”
Andrew Gilligan
Cycling Commissioner for London

The report finishes with a section on priorities for the future, i.e. what the outgoing mayor wants his successor to carry forward. These include cycle hire, training for children, mini-Hollands, junction treatments, rail interchange, superhighways, the safer lorry scheme and using the congestion charge smartly “to discourage discretionary car journeys and encourage freight operators to consolidate their deliveries.”

Global report on diabetes (World Health Organisation)

Major report from WHO prompted by the increasing prevalence of diabetes around the globe. Highlighting the importance of promoting physical activity to tackle the problem, the authors say: “The physical or built environment plays an important role in facilitating physical activity for many people. Urban planning and active transport policies can ensure that walking, cycling and other forms of non-motorized transport are accessible and safe for all.”

See our Tom Guha's blog on the findings and how more cycling could help.

Trip Chaining 2002-14 (DfT)

Fact sheet summarising data collected by the National Travel Survey (England) on linked trips for different purposes (“trip chains”) during the morning peak, e.g. breaking a journey to work to take a child to school, or taking children to school, returning home and then travelling to work.

Finds that most travel in the morning is direct to work; when trips to work are not direct, the main reason is to take a child to school: and women are more likely to combine other purposes on their way to work.  

The Crime of Speeding (RoadPeace)

Four-page briefing highlighting the low priority the justice system gives to the crime of speeding. Looks at impacts, incidence and enforcement, and sets out RoadPeace’s recommendations.

Road injury prevention: resources to support schools to promote safe active travel (Public Health England)  

A guide primarily for staff working in education settings, but also for those with interests in local public health and road safety. 

It underlines the importance of emphasising the benefits of active travel alongside managing risk and promoting safety, stating: “All too often, it is easy to over-stress the dangers and inadvertently give the message that children are safest when travelling to school in the car, and lose the personal and health benefits of walking and cycling to high school.”

It also stresses that reducing the chances of children being hurt involves a combination of measures, i.e. safer road design and improved driver education and training, not merely ‘teaching children how to cope with the traffic environment’ alone. It advocates, for instance, school travel plans, working with the local authority on walking and cycling routes, and Bikeability training, and offers a number of case studies along with some useful facts:

  • “As children become more independent and start to travel on their own this corresponds to an increase in the casualty rate.”  
  • “Consistently more boys are injured as a result of a road traffic collision than girls in England.”
  • “Overall the fatality rate is 20 times higher among children from the most deprived backgrounds compared to children from the least deprived backgrounds. A similar pattern of inequality exists in relation to higher rates of KSIs in school-age cyclists from more deprived backgrounds."
  • "However, actual and perceived road danger deters cycling and walking, so it is important for schools and local authorities to also work together to make walking and cycling routes to school as safe as possible, so that students’ safety is not compromised."

Compiled with the help of Sustrans.

Impact of offering cycle training in schools upon cycling behaviour: a natural experimental study

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

The results of a ‘natural experimental study’ using information on over 3,000 children aged 10–11 years participating in the nationally-representative Millennium Cohort Study, whose schools offered Bikeability in 2011–2012.

Concludes that: “Offering high-quality cycle training free at the point of delivery in English schools encourages children to do cycle training, but we found no evidence of short-term effects on cycling frequency or independent cycling. Future evaluation should investigate longer-term effects on these and other stated Bikeability objectives such as increasing cycling safety.” 

TABS (The Association of Bikeability Schemes) questions the findings, highlighting research that has shown that half of parents and children report the child cycles more often after Bikeability than before, and have acquired a range of personal skills, such as better hazard perception, confidence and overall co-ordination. 

Physical activity infographic (Department of Health)

Infographic explaining the benefits of physical activity for adults and older adults, in the context of the UK Chief Medical Officer’s guidelines.

Sitting on the sofa too much gets a big cross, while cycling is awarded a big tick as a moderate activity for a healthy heart and mind.  

Diary dates

Pedal on Parliament #Pop2016 

23 April, Edinburgh

Gather at the Meadows in Edinburgh for the fifth mass ride (or walk, if you prefer) on Holyrood, starting 12 noon. 

The Holyrood elections makes this year particularly important, so Pedal on Parliament (PoP) is joining forces with We Walk, We Cycle, We Vote and many other active travel organisations to present a united front to Scotland’s politicians to put active travel on the agenda for the next five years.

Although PoP is making a serious point about making cycling safer and easier, the day itself will be light-hearted.

National Walking Month (Living Streets)

Month of May

Throughout May, Living Streets will release 20 easy ways to fit 20 minutes walking into a daily routine. Take the pledge! 

Women & Cycling Conference 2016 –Toward 50:50 by 2020
More women riding bicycles: the key to less congestion, better health and wellbeing for all

4 May, Hereford

Open to both professionals and volunteers, this conference is for anyone who has an interest in cycles and wants to make Britain a better place for people to ride them.

A chance to:

  • Review the barriers to women participating in the cycling industry, in cycle sport and everyday riding;
  • Find out about and share current good practice in women and cycling across the UK;
  • Network with other people active in this area of work, and collaborate to plan the next steps along the journey toward 50:50 by 2020;
  • Discover more about the new organisation for women’s equality in cycling, WE Cycle and the Women’s Cycle Forum.

Cycle City Active City

19-20 May, Curve Theatre Leicester

Two-day conference and exhibition event. Offers plenary presentations by high-profile individuals throughout the UK and beyond, with expertise and influence in cycle policy, promotion and infrastructure. Product and service suppliers to the sector will also be on show. 

The organisers are currently calling for papers.

National Bikeability Conference (TABS)

20 May, Leicester

The Association of Bikeability Schemes' annual conference, to be held in conjunction with the wider Cycle City, Active City (see above).

Space for Cycling Development Workshop (Cycling UK)

21 May, Leicester

With new funding to revive the national Space for Cycling Campaign, we are looking to develop it collaboratively with local campaign groups, Cyclenation and the Cycling Embassy of Great Britain.

Cycling UK therefore invites campaigners to a day of development workshops designed to help shape Space for Cycling's future.

We look forward to your ideas, skills and passion at an event that is more about developing the Campaign than a learning opportunity. It’s aimed primarily at campaigners, but anyone with a professional interest in promoting cycling at local level is very welcome to join us and contribute from their perspective too.

The key themes of the day are:

  • Strategy (objectives and how to achieve them)
  • Policy (infrastructure priorities, urban/rural differences, commitments required from local authorities)
  • Communicating the Campaign
  • Tech (tools etc.)

Alongside many others, there will be input on policy from Senior Lecturer in Transport at the University of Westminster, Dr Rachel Aldred, and from Dr Robin Lovelace on the National Propensity to Cycle Tool (see 'new publications' above).

We are also planning some activities for the Friday evening (20 May), for those wishing to stay on from the Cycle City Active City conference (see above) or travel the day before.

Free or £5 donation. Please book.

Fleet Safety Conference 2016 (Brake) 

26 May, Solihull

A conference to share best practice in managing road risk, including protecting vulnerable road users, engaging drivers with safety, and managing high-risk drivers. 

The agenda will feature presentations from both public and private sector operators, representing car, van, truck, and mixed vehicle fleets. Paul Kitson, cycle injury lawyer at Slater & Gordon and Cycling UK, is amongst the speakers. 

Ready for 20 - Scotland

8 June, Edinburgh

With mandatory 20 mph speed limits across roads in Edinburgh planned from July 2016, this event will feature presentations from politicians, transport planners, public health experts and road safety organisations about the lessons learned from around Europe, Scotland and England.

Early bird discount (deadline 8 May 2016).

Organised by 20's Plenty for Us, and hosted by Edinburgh City Council.

Bike Week 2016 (delivered by Cycling UK)

11-19 June, nationwide

Get set for Bike Week 2016!

Bike Week will soon be here, and more people than ever before are expected to enjoy events all over the country. It’s the perfect opportunity to demonstrate what a fun, healthy and convenient way cycling is to get around, especially for commuting to work – which continues to be the central theme.

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

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