Cycle Campaign News March 2018
Cycle Campaign News March 2018
From the Editor
Only last month, we were saying that financial incentives for farmers to make it easier for the public to enjoy their land were on our visionary list for rural cycling; and this month, we're seizing a timely chance to support Government proposals to turn this into reality (England). We hope you'll help too via our Get on my Land! campaign (see Headlines).
In other news: we're preparing our response to the DfT's consultation on its cycle safety review - more on that next month; we've found how much councils in Britain are spending on pothole claims (= £millions); and offer footage of our Head of Campaigns, Duncan Dollimore, on a cargo bike delivering c.10,000 letters objecting to Highways England's proposals to ban cyclists from a stretch of the A63 near Hull. Thanks to everyone who added to the consignment - our Get on my Land! action now awaits you.
And, if you'd like to add some active cycling to your indoor online campaigning too, check out our National Day of Action on 21 April (see Diary dates).
- Subscribe to Cycling UK's Campaign News monthly bulletin
Find out what else is in this issue.
Get on my Land!
Brexit spells changes to agricultural policy and farm subsidy payments or, from Cycling UK’s point of view, an unmissable opportunity to call for financial incentives for farmers who make it easier for the public to enjoy their land.
Below, our Head of Campaigns, Duncan Dollimore, runs through our campaigning tactics so far, both quiet and noisy:
There are often different views about whether quiet lobbying or noisy campaigning is the most effective way to influence change but, in truth, they’re not always alternatives, merely stages in a process.
This was evident last week when a House of Lords Select Committee published its report on the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006 (NERC), including recommendations which fully support our new Get on my Land! campaign.
Last September, Cycling UK submitted evidence to the Committee, identifying three key strategic recommendations for consideration. One of these was a post-Brexit agricultural funding model to promote non-motorised access to the countryside, linking farm subsidies with enhanced access to ensure that wider public benefit is secured in return for public money. The Committee has now adopted this idea within its own recommendations.
Cycling UK has been plugging away with the 'public access for public benefit' argument for some time, and it was one of the solutions put forward in our Beyond the Green Belt vision for rural cycling last month.
Since then, the Environment Secretary Michael Gove seems to have warmed to the idea, with the Government launching a Green Brexit consultation inviting views on linking farm subsidies to public benefits, specifically referencing public access as one of those possible benefits.
So, our quiet lobbying has helped put better public access, plus financial support for the farmers who promote it, on the agenda.
But we need to make sure it stays there, and that public access ends up in the forthcoming Agriculture Bill as one of the public benefits linked to farm subsidies. That’s why we also need noisy campaigning, and why we’ve launched our Get on my Land! campaign.
Please take two minutes to take part in our campaign action, and respond to the Government's consultation telling them why it's so important to improve public access to our amazing countryside for cyclists, walkers and horse riders, and that it must be part of the new farm subsidy system.
- Why is countryside access a public good? Read blog from our off-road policy adviser, Kieran Foster.
- Why is post-Brexit agricultural policy as important for you and your child as it for farmers? Read blog from Cycling UK’s Mark Slater
- Rewarding landowners for helping make the countryside more cycle-friendly is one of the measures we highlighted recently in our vision for rural cycling, Beyond the Green Belt
- Last year, we published the results of our Rides of Way survey, giving a snapshot of cyclists’ impressions of riding off-road.
- The Government's Green Brexit consultation
- Lords' Committee NERC inquiry report
- Cycling UK's evidence to the Lords' inquiry on NERC
DfT calls for evidence on cycling and walking safety
As part of its Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy (CWIS), The Department for Transport (DfT) is calling for evidence for ‘an open and comprehensive review of how we can address the issues that cyclists and pedestrians face, or perceive, when using our road infrastructure, to support the Government’s aim of increasing cycling and walking.’
Look out for the launch of our campaign in mid-April.
The DfT says it will respond separately to an independent legal report it commissioned on the case for a new offence equivalent to causing death or serious injury when cycling.
Cycling UK believes that adding one or two new offences specific to cyclists would just be tinkering around the edges, given that the way mistakes, carelessness, recklessness and deliberately dangerous behaviour by all road users is dealt with hasn’t been fit for purpose for years.
Our Head of Campaigns explains why in the video below.
Councils spend £millions on pothole claims
Cycling UK's investigation into the scale of the pothole crisis on British roads has uncovered an alarming picture, demonstrating yet again the long-term failure of the Government to fund local road maintenance properly.
Having analysed the responses of the 156 highway authorities (GB) who answered our freedom of information (FOI) requests, we find that:
- They spent at least £43.3 million between them dealing with pothole compensation claims and legal costs from 2013-2017. This averages at £277,707.44 each;
- Altogether, £9,980,158.74 went on legal costs;
- On average per successful claim, motorists received £841.26 and cyclists £10,963.15 - or thirteen times as much, no doubt reflecting how vulnerable cyclists are to personal injury rather than just property damage.
It is likely that council compensation records don’t reflect the full picture – many cyclists, possibly as much as two thirds, don’t alert the council to incidents because the process is so complicated.
Cycling UK wants the Government to concentrate on fixing existing roads before building new ones; and for councils to have enough funding to adopt long-term plans for maintenance rather than a patch-up approach.
While we welcome the extra £100m the Government’s just put into local road maintenance following winter damage in England, we still believe it’s too little too late.
- Read our news story
- Use our interactive map to find out how much your council’s spent on pothole compensation
- Report potholes to Cycling UK’s www.fillthathole.org.uk
- Cycling UK’s Keir Gallagher reflects on the economic and human costs of pothole-related crashes, with case studies of local councils
- DfT’s extra £100m winter damage announcement
The Asphalt Industry Alliance’s annual ALARM survey, just published, shows that road surfaces in England and Wales are getting worse. The latest estimates suggest that:
- 12% of local roads (24,500 miles) will need repairing in the next 12 months, while 20% will need fixing within the next five years;
- It’ll take 14 years and £9.3bn to clear the backlog.
Cycling UK delivers almost 10,000 letters objecting to A63 cycle ban plan
Our thanks to everyone who added to the piles of c.10,000 letters we recently delivered to Highways England, all objecting to proposals to ban cyclists from a 15-mile stretch of the A63 near Hull.
The letters were collected during a four-week consultation period, and arrived at Highways England’s Leeds office on a cargo bike powered by our Head of Campaigns, Duncan Dollimore.
This sends a strong message to Highways England. We hope it will listen carefully and reconsider plans that are in stark contrast to its own Cycling Strategy.
Duncan Dollimore, Head of Campaigns, Cycling UK
We’re not expecting a decision until the autumn, but hope to enter constructive dialogue with Highways England in the meantime.
- Cycling UK's news story
- Answering a parliamentary question, cycling minister Jesse Norman said that the total budget for Highways England’s Cycling, Safety and Integration designated fund is £175m until 2020. Of that, £53.5m had been spent by January 2018 (31% of it). In the 2016/17 financial year, the spend was £18.1m. More schemes are expected to be built in the next two years than in the past two.
According to the latest figures from Sport England’s Active Lives Survey (Nov 16/Nov 17), based on a sample of 200,000 people aged 16+:
- Swimming and cycling have both decreased in popularity, with almost 283,000 fewer people swimming regularly, and 93,000 fewer people cycling;
- 27.7 million people – 61.8% of the population are active (i.e. meet physical activity guidelines);
- 11.5m people (25.7%) are inactive, meaning they do less than 30 minutes of physical activity a week.
As Sport England says, however, it is too early to talk of trends over time with only two years’ worth of data from its survey so far.
2017 estimates from traffic counts and the National Travel Survey (NTS), both of which are collections of much longer-term data, are due out later this year. In 2016, pedal cycle traffic rose by 16% over 2015 according to counts, although the NTS saw little change in people’s cycling habits.
Cycling on the up in Scotland
Transport Scotland has published its round-up of the latest transport-related statistics, highlighting estimates showing that from 2015 to 2016, car traffic increased by 2% to 35.4 billion vehicle km, but pedal cycle traffic by more at 3% to 352 million vehicle km.
We hope this increase is just the start of a cycling revolution in Scotland; it’s a result of many years of work from campaigners, cycling organisations and Transport Scotland.
Suzanne Forup, Cycling UK’s Head of Development for Scotland
- Transport Scotland figures
- Cycling UK's news story
- In September, Cycling UK welcomed the Scottish Government’s decision to double the annual level of funding for active travel (cycling & walking), by £40m, bringing the total to £80m.
News from London:
Cycling infrastructure report out from London Assembly's Transport Committee: following its inquiry into the capital’s cycling infrastructure, the committee has just published a report, with recommendations, on how things have gone so far and what needs attention.
It says that ‘It is clear that good quality infrastructure makes cycling safer, and encourages more people to cycle.’ It also points out that:
- So far, most cycling infrastructure has been built in inner London, although the greatest potential for cycling growth is for local journeys in outer London;
- Overall, boroughs’ delivery has been patchy, suggesting that the London Cycling Design Standards should be turned into new formal planning guidance;
- Inadequate cycle parking, especially at train stations, is still a problem and should be addressed by a cycle parking plan;
- Dockless bike schemes have much potential and would benefit from a pan-London approach;
- The Mayor should change the name of Cycle Superhighways to something more inclusive.
New pedestrian and cycle bridge: plans for a new river crossing for pedestrians and cyclists over the Thames between Rotherhithe and Canary Wharf have attracted the support of 93% of respondents to TfL’s public consultation.
Tower Bridge to Greenwich route: over four fifths of respondents also support plans for a major new cycle route route between Tower Bridge and Greenwich, which include four kilometres of segregated track.
Warwickshire backs Space for Cycling
Last week, Warwickshire County Council passed a motion taking it one step closer to creating a county-wide network of safe cycle routes.
The motion, based on a draft from Cycling UK and the latest of a series of such motions to pass, demonstrates cycling’s relevance to both urban and rural transport systems.
- Cycling UK Infrastructure Campaigner, Tom Guha, explores how it happened and what it means for cycle campaigning nationally
- If you want your local authority to pass a similar motion, take a look at our draft motion and accompanying guides
New cycle infrastructure solutions toolkit in offing from Propensity to Cycle team
The team who created the well-known Propensity to Cycle Tool (England) is now working on a new Cycling Infrastructure Prioritisation Toolkit (CyIPT). The idea is to help decision-makers work out the most appropriate type of cycle infrastructure on each road in England.
Using data about the existing road network (e.g. speed limits, road types and traffic levels combined with data on cycling levels), CyIPT recommends buildable schemes and evaluates them by estimating construction costs, increase in cycle use, benefits from increased cycling and benefit-cost ratios.
The toolkit is work in progress at the moment, but we expect more detail later this year.
Cycling UK on alert over Civil Liability Bill
Last year, Cycling UK’s Road Victims are Real Victims campaign, in partnership with Living Streets and RoadPeace, aimed to stop changes to civil justice rules which would have short-changed 70% of cyclists seeking compensation for injuries sustained in road collisions.
Alongside new legislation to restrict whiplash claims (rarely made following road collisions by people who weren't inside a motor vehicle), the Government was threatening to increase what’s known as the 'small claims limit'. This would have prevented cyclists from recovering their legal costs in claims under £5,000.
Having fought this off last year, we expected this proposal to raise its head again at some point and, just over a week ago, the Government published the Civil Liability Bill setting out proposals to reform whiplash claims. They’ve also said they’re planning to simultaneously go ahead with some changes to the small claims limit, though it’s not yet clear whether these will affect cyclists and other vulnerable road users. We are currently seeking clarification and will update as and when we have news.
More than 26,000 motorists have been caught using a handheld mobile phone while driving since harsher penalties came into force in March last year. This includes 500 novice drivers whose licences were revoked.
The figures were released to coincide with a new THINK! campaign from the DfT.
Grants for e-bikes ruled out for now
Cycling minister Jesse Norman MP says that the Government does not plan to extend grants for electric cars to e-bikes and e-cargo bikes ‘at this stage’.
As a supporter of the Campaign for Better Transport’s online action Fair funding for e-bikes, Cycling UK hopes that this means it hasn’t been ruled out altogether.
Winners of the DfT’s innovation in cycling and walking competition include projects: offering cyclists activated warning signs on rural roads; using recycled batteries to reduce the cost of e-bikes; solar powered lighting for cycle paths and footways; and an active travel dashboard.
Cut private vehicle use for air quality's sake, say MPs
Following the Government’s third court defeat in three years over the illegal failings of its air pollution plans, MPs from four Commons committees have now united in demanding urgent action.
In their report on the 'Improving Air Quality’ inquiry they held last year, the MPs criticised the government on numerous counts, including its failure to “provide clear messaging and national leadership on the issue of charging Clean Air Zones”.
They also said that ‘Reducing the need for private vehicle use within our metropolitan cities should be a key aim of air quality policy. There is not enough urgency in the Government’s current strategy to achieve this.’
Want to qualify in the field of transport?
The University of the West of England (UWE) is currently recruiting for part-time students for an MSc Transport Planning and an MSc Transport Engineering and Planning, with a September 2018 start.
An extensive portfolio of research work feeds into the curriculum, including in areas linked with autonomous vehicles, public transport and cycling, amongst many others.
Get on my Land! Call on the Government to subsidise farmers for improving public access to the countryside.
Nominate now for Cycling UK's 100 Women in Cycling 2018! The final list will be published in May for the start of Cycling UK’s month-long Women’s Festival of Cycling in July.
A useful summary of key statistics on road collisions involving cyclists as reported to the police (GB), highlighting the facts that:
- Since 1984, the annual number of cycle fatalities decreased from 345 to 102 in 2016 (a 70% drop), whilst cycle traffic over the same period declined by only 13%;
- Between 2003 and 2016, fatalities decreased from 114 to 102 (11%) during a period when cycle traffic grew by 25%;
- BUT, the number of serious injuries has grown faster than cycle traffic. Between 2003 and 2016 serious injuries rose by 48%.
It goes on to note, however, that 'Despite cycling being less safe relative to some other modes of transport, at an absolute level serious injuries are still rare. For the period 2011-2016 there was approximately 1 KSI [killed or seriously injured] casualty per 1 million miles cycled and 1 KSI casualty per 100,000 hours of cycling.'
It also confirms a perennial finding, namely that cyclists involved in a reported collision with another vehicle are less likely to have a contributory factor (CF) assigned to them by the police: between 2011 and 2016, 48% of CFs went to cyclists; 72% to all motor vehicles (more than one CF can be attributed to each vehicle involved).
On 2-vehicle only collisions involving a cycle, it says that: ‘passing too close to pedal cyclist’ is commonly recorded for buses and HGVs (37% of buses; 32% of HGVs); and, unsurprisingly, that HGVs in particular are most commonly allocated the ‘vehicle blind spot’ CF (17% to HGVs; only 3% to cars).
Also includes a useful analysis of other vehicles’ involvement in cyclist collisions, set against the percentage of GB traffic they represent.
Major features of immunesenescence, including reduced thymic output, are ameliorated by high levels of physical activity in adulthood
By Niharika Arora Duggal et al.
According to the results of this recent British study, the fact that ageing compromises the immune system (aka 'immunesenescence') needn’t worry cyclists too much. The researchers looked at immune profiles in 125 adult cyclists (55–79 years), plus 75 older and 55 young adults not involved in regular exercise.
The cyclists were all amateurs who had kept up their cycling activity for much of their adult lives. Males had to be capable of cycling 100 km in under 6.5 hr, and females 60 km in under 5.5 hr.
From blood samples, the researchers concluded: “… that many features of immunesenescence may be driven by reduced physical activity with age.”
Published in ‘Aging Cell’.
Are we nearly there yet? Exploring gender and active travel (Sustrans)
Report based on a study of the travel habits and choices of nearly 2,000 women in Glasgow, combined with the findings of a literature review of research on women’s travel patterns across Scotland, the UK and Europe.
Says that, whilst women are motivated to travel actively for physical and mental health reasons, their worries about personal safety and convenience put them off from doing so more often.
Also suggests that the relatively low proportion of women working in the transport policy and planning sector in the UK doesn’t help and needs to be addressed.
Local road charges (Parliamentary briefing)
Short paper explaining what local road charging schemes are, how they can be implemented and what successive governments’ attitudes have been towards them.
Such schemes are designed to help local authorities tackle congestion and poor air quality, but their use so far has been limited. Interest in ‘low emission’ or ‘clean air’ zones in the UK, however, is growing, and charging polluting vehicles for entering them is known to make them more effective.
East Midlands Cyclists’ Forum (EMCF) Meeting
14 April (Leicester)
With guest speaker Brian Deegan, the new Healthy Street Adviser to Leicester City Council; a ‘safari ride’; and a discussion on air quality and the contribution cycling can make to improving the health of our cities.
Hosted by the Leicester Cycling Campaign Group
Cycling UK’s National Day of Action!
As this year’s council elections draw nearer, groups around the country are preparing to take part in Cycling UK’s ‘National Day of Action’ to ensure that cycling is given pride of place in local transport policy.
The Big Pedal (Sustrans)
23 April to 4 May
The Big Pedal is the UK’s largest inter-school cycling and scooting challenge. It inspires pupils, staff and parents to choose two wheels for their journey to school.
28 April (Edinburgh & Inverness)
Meet at The Meadows 12 noon to cycle, scoot and march on closed roads down to the Scottish Parliament.
Now an annual event, the idea is to ask all of Scotland’s politicians, from all parties, to sign up to PoP’s manifesto to make Scotland a cycle-friendly country for people of all ages and abilities.
Pedal on Parliament is a grass-roots group of people who want to see Scotland become a place where active travel is safe and enjoyable for everyone, whether they cycle or not.
PoPs will be popping up in Inverness and other cities across Scotland too.
28-29 June (Manchester)
A two-day exhibition of the product and service suppliers to the sector, with plenary presentations by high-profile individuals throughout the UK and beyond with expertise and influence in cycling and walking policy, promotion and infrastructure, active place-making, public health, and positive urban design and development.
Headlines: Get on my Land!; DfT calls for evidence on cycling and walking safety; Councils spend £millions on pothole claims.
Other stories: Cycling UK delivers almost 10,000 letters objecting to A63 cycle ban plan; Active Lives? (Sport England survey); Cycling on up in Scotland; London Transport Committee's cycling infrastructure report out; Warwickshire backs Space for Cycling; Propensity to Cycle team works on new cycle infrastructure solutions toolkit; Cycling UK on alert over Civil Liability Bill; Caught mobile-handed; Grants for e-bikes ruled out for now; Winning innovations; Cut private vehicle use for air quality's sake, say MPs; Want to qualify in the field of transport?
Act now: Get on my Land! Call on the Government to subsidise farmers for improving public access to the countryside; nominate now for Cycling UK's 100 women in cycling 2018.
New publications: Pedal cycling road casualty fact sheet (DfT); Major features of immunesenescence (academic paper); Are we nearly there yet? Exploring gender and active travel (Sustrans); Local road charges (parliamentary briefing).
Diary dates: East Midlands Cyclists’ Forum (EMCF) Meeting 14 April (Leicester); Cycling UK’s National Day of Action! 21 April; The Big Pedal (Sustrans) 23 April to 4 May; Pedal on Parliament 28 April (Edinburgh & Inverness); 6th Annual Cycle City Active City 28-29 June (Manchester).