Cycle Campaign News December 2017
Cycle Campaign News December 2017
As we all know, the police aren’t always about when someone commits a traffic offence – but it’s increasingly likely that a cyclist or driver has filmed it. Recognising how very useful digital evidence from ‘cams’ is, police forces in Wales have come up with the excellent ‘Operation Snap’ – more in Headlines.
As far as aspiration goes, we also welcome news from Greater Manchester that city leaders there are getting behind calls for an investment in cycling and walking so substantial that it’ll mirror Dutch levels. As always, though, aspiration is one thing, hard cash another (Headlines).
Towns and cities across the UK will be following Manchester’s story closely, and we know that many local activists and practitioners are out there promoting and providing for cycling in their areas too.
We’d really like to hear what campaigning you’re doing and how, so please do get in touch by email, or put me on your mailing lists for newsletters and press releases: cherry.allan[at]cyclinguk.org. We may not be able to include everything, but our New Year’s resolution is to give local stories more coverage in Campaign News next year.
With best wishes for the festive season,
P.S. There's still time to give Cycling UK's campaigning and other activities a boost by buying someone a last minute gift membership this Christmas.
Find out what else is in this issue
Greater Manchester needs £1.5 billion to get it cycling and walking, says Chris Boardman
Chris Boardman MBE, Greater Manchester’s first Cycling and Walking Commissioner, has called for a ring-fenced, 10-year £1.5 billion fund to help transform the city region into a world class cycling and walking area.
Cycling UK calculates that this equates to around £54 a head a year, of which £25+ could go on cycling. If achieved, this sum would bring Manchester into the realms of Dutch investment, and set a good example for the rest of the UK. With few exceptions, e.g. London at c.£17, cycling spend elsewhere rarely creeps into anything like double figures.
This is all largely ambition, though. £1.5 billion spread over ten years is a huge commitment, and where it will all come from is the real challenge for Mayor Andy Burnham, and Chris Boardman himself.
Manchester says it aims, as a first step, to establish a “challenge fund” of around £50 million a year from 2019/20, which the city’s ten districts will be able to access “… if they are building to the required standard and meeting part of the costs.”
But what of the bulk, i.e. the other two thirds? Only when we see the funding sources identified, and the money both earmarked and assured, will we give the city region the three cheers it will then most certainly deserve.
- Manchester’s funding ambitions appear in 'Made to Move', the 15-point plan Chris Boardman has just delivered to city leaders. It also features ambitious targets and a proposal for a detailed infrastructure plan. Read more in Greater Manchester's press release.
Welsh police snap up footage of law-breaking drivers
Now that more and more cyclists and drivers are investing in video recording devices, the police are increasingly likely to be sent video footage of illegal road behaviour in the expectation that they’ll act on it.
Cycling UK was therefore pleased to hear about ‘Operation Snap’, a new resource from the four police forces in Wales, which is designed to accept digital evidence from the public. This is exactly the sort of pro-active policing we want to see not just in Wales but across the UK.
Cycling UK urges schools not to give cycling a hard time
Cycling UK has written to three head teachers explaining why it makes no sense to introduce policies that are more than likely to discourage pupils from cycling to school.
Permits, number plates and helmets, for example, feature variously, with at least one school threatening to confiscate bikes should a child fail to comply.
Cycling helps keep children and young people fit, especially crucial now that more and more of them are carrying excess weight or are already obese.
Although schools can exercise control over their pupils’ behaviour beyond the gates in certain circumstances, they have no right to ban any mode of travel. With overzealous barriers to cycling, though, this is exactly what some of them are, in effect, doing.
- Full story
- Audio clip of Duncan Dollimore, Cycling UK's Head of Campaigns
- A report from the Centre for Longitudinal Studies has found that one in five people born in the UK at the turn of this century was obese by the age of 14, and a further 15% overweight.
Hopes rise for 20 mph in Scotland
Nearly 2,000 emails were sent to MSPs in Scotland after supporters used Cycling UK’s online action to help galvanise support in the Scottish Parliament for a Bill proposing to replace 30 mph on restricted roads with 20 mph, by default.
The Bill, put forward by Mark Ruskell MSP (Green), has now gathered enough cross-party backing for him to draft legislation for consideration by Parliament next year.
20 mph is one of the simplest ways to reduce road casualties and make streets feel safer.
Agency partnership tackles lorry threat in London
In the two years since it was set up, a partnership targeting lorry dangers in London has stopped and checked 33,000 freight vehicles; and issued 9,114 fixed penalty notices and traffic offence reports, along with 5,600 mechanical prohibitions to operators with seriously defective vehicles.
The intelligence-led London Freight Enforcement Partnership (LFEP) involves TfL, City of London Police, DVSA, and the Metropolitan Police Service. Its mission is to raise standards amongst drivers and operators, and eliminate unsafe practices.
With lorries posing a disproportionate risk to cyclists, Cycling UK wants the Government to set up a national scheme based on LFEP’s model.
Changes to two Highway Code rules could help cyclists
Aiming to make sure that the Highway Code reflects the advent of remote control parking and motorway assist, the DfT is consulting on changes to four rules, including two which happen to relevant to cyclists’ safety as well.
One refers to overtaking cyclists (Rule 160), and the other to ‘car-dooring’ (Rule 239). Cycling UK has been arguing for some time that both need revising: the first, which tells drivers to ‘give them plenty of room’, needs to be much clearer about the gap needed; while we think the second would be more effective if it encouraged the ‘Dutch reach’ technique (i.e. opening a car door with the “wrong” hand, which makes people more likely to turn and look properly first).
Cycling UK talks potholes to The One Show
Cycling UK’s Victoria Hazael recently appeared on The One Show (BBC1) explaining why cyclists need potholes fixed. Victoria was invited to witness and rate repairs by three different methods, but stressed that planned road maintenance is the best way forward - prevention being better than cure.
- Read Victoria’s blog
- Since it was launched in 2007, over 150,000 potholes and road defects have been reported on Cycling UK’s FillThatHole website
- Last month, we reported on the death of Roger Hamer, an 83-year-old who hit a pothole whilst on his bike in Bury. It prompted a coroner to write to the Secretary of State with his serious concerns about the way councils may be interpreting national guidance on highway maintenance procedures.
London’s Superhighways move commuters
Monitoring of central London’s segregated cycle lanes shows that they are moving at least five times more people per square metre than the main carriageway. Not only that, but the section between Parliament Square and Tower Hill has further improved journey times for motorised vehicles.
This clearly strengthens the case for investing in cycle-friendly infrastructure but, sadly, it seems this isn’t what everyone wants to hear. The data appear in Transport for London’s (TfL) response to a Freedom of Information request from an enquirer who seems somewhat anti-superhighway, and convinced that the scheme is making congestion worse.
Record bike count for Edinburgh roads
Spokes, the Lothian Cycle Campaign, counts rush hour traffic twice a year along two roads in Edinburgh, and is pleased to report that bikes accounted for 16.5% of all vehicles last month. This is the highest ever November percentage
- Read more about the count, and what's been making a difference to the uptake of cycling in the city.
Seven London boroughs win Liveable Neighbourhoods funding
Seven boroughs in London will be transforming into greener, healthier and more attractive ‘Liveable Neighbourhoods’, thanks to successful bids to a long-term TfL funding programme. Improving conditions for walking and cycling is a core ambition.
The boroughs are Ealing, Greenwich, Hackney, Haringey, Havering, Lewisham and Waltham Forest.
Cycle Infrastructure Design up for revision
According to a parliamentary answer from cycling minister Jesse Norman MP, the Government is planning to revise and reissue the national guidance, Cycle Infrastructure Design (LTN 2/08) in 2018.
He said: “… The Department is currently procuring the necessary technical expertise to take this important piece of work forward.” CID was issued in 2008, and things have moved on a lot since then.
Wheels for Wellbeing explains inclusive cycling
As part of their recent 10th birthday celebrations, Wheels for Wellbeing launched what is possibly a world first with their Guide to Inclusive Cycling. In a new blog, the charity’s Campaigns and Policy Officer Neil Andrews outlines what the guide is, who it’s for and how it can be used.
Rethinking Beeching's axe: cycling threat or opportunity?
News that the DfT is thinking about re-opening regional train lines closed by Richard Beeching in the 1960s, puts cycling and cyclists in a dilemma. A fair number of disused lines have since been converted into iconic and popular motor-traffic free routes, some being part of the National Cycle Network.
- Cycling UK’s Sam Jones considers both the risks and opportunities this presents.
New modelling tool demonstrates air quality benefits of active travel
Now that many local authorities are facing air quality crises, they’re bound to be wanting to demonstrate how much difference investing in active travel will make.
An all-time first modelling tool from Sustrans and Eunomia should help them make the case, having demonstrated £millions of savings in terms of air quality and public health, if national targets for cycling and/or walking are met.
HEAT guide updated
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has updated its user guidance on the Health Economic Assessment Tool (HEAT) for cycling and walking.
HEAT is an online tool that estimates the value of reduced mortality resulting from regular walking or cycling. The revised guidance considers the health effects of road crashes and air pollution, and the effects on carbon emissions. It can be used to assess current (or past) levels of cycling or walking, changes over time, and evaluate new or existing projects.
Back to court, again
A judge has ordered a High Court hearing in ClientEarth’s latest case against the UK Government over illegal and harmful levels of air pollution. Reflecting the urgency of the situation, Mr Justice Nicklin has expedited the case and it will be heard before 23 February next year. This will be the third such case against the Government – ClientEarth won the previous two.
Steep fall for breath tests
Having analysed police data from England, The Institute of Alcohol Studies reports that both police officer and breath test numbers have fallen by a quarter in the last five years.
An active, adequately resourced and visible force is a road safety essential for everyone, and Cycling UK has long called on the Government to reverse the decline in traffic policing. What we’d also like to see reduced is the blood-alcohol limit for drivers in England and Wales, from 80 milligrammes per 100 millilitres of blood, to 50mg/100ml, as it is now in Scotland.
Highways England must re-focus, say campaigners
Responding to the Highway’s England Strategic Road Network Initial Report (SRNIR), the Campaign for Better Transport says the focus should be on improving existing roads, ‘green retrofit’ and supporting active travel, rather than building new capacity. Cycling UK agrees. The report does mention cycling and walking here and there, but not a lot.
- More from the Campaign for Better Transport
- Highways England’s SRNIR – the report is out for consultation, deadline 7 February 2018.
Ever wondered what the definition of a ‘nationally significant transport infrastructure is’? You can now find out, and why it makes a difference in planning terms.
Road death investigation: Overlooked and underfunded (RoadPeace)
A review of how thoroughly, impartially, effectively and consistently road collisions are investigated.
Reveals that over half of police services employ fewer than ten specialists, and that their lack of capacity is impacting adversely on justice for victims and their families.
Dedicated to the families of pedestrian Peter Price, and of twelve-year-old cyclist Jake Mitchell. Jake was hit and killed by a driver who had overtaken three cars and a tractor. The investigation into Jake’s death was far from exemplary, but there’s much good practice in Peter’s case.
A country in a jam: tackling congestion in our towns and cities (Local Government Association)
A report identifying congestion as a serious problem for economic development, quality of life and public health. Summarises the steps that innovative councils have taken to reduce congestion and its impacts. Cycling, of course, features.
Towards more physical activity: Transforming public spaces to promote physical activity — a key contributor to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals in Europe (World Health Organisation)
A publication focusing on physical activity and how it can be supported through urban planning.
Keeping us well (NPC)
A report to help non-health charities better understand and use the evidence about the social factors that impact on people’s health and well-being.
Headlines: Cycling and walking needs £1.5 billion in Greater Manchester, says Chris Boardman; Welsh Police snap up footage of law-breaking drivers; Head teachers are trespassing on parental responsibilities, says Cycling UK
Other stories: Hopes rise for 20 mph in Scotland; Agency partnership tackles lorry threat in London; Changes to two Highway Code rules could help cyclists; Cycling UK talks potholes to The One Show; London’s Superhighways move commuters; Edinburgh roads return record bike count; Seven London boroughs win Liveable Neighbourhoods funding; Cycle Infrastructure Design up for revision; Wheels for Wellbeing explains inclusive cycling; Rethinking Beeching's axe - cycling threat or opportunity? New modelling tool demonstrates air quality benefits of active travel; HEAT guide updated; ClientEarth takes UK Government back to court again; Steep fall for breath tests; Highways England must re-focus, say campaigners
New publications: Road death investigation: Overlooked and underfunded (RoadPeace); A country in a jam: tackling congestion in our towns and cities (Local Government Association); Towards more physical activity: Transforming public spaces to promote physical activity (World Health Organisation); Keeping us well (NPC)