Loughborough & District
Cycle Users' Campaign

Pedal Power
Issue 101
November 2012

www.ldcuc.org.uk

New Police Commissioner's Views on Cycling

Clive Loader, the newly elected local police commissioner, responded to a request for his comments on road safety and cycling stating:

“we need to do all that we can to make cyclists as safe as possible. How? There are several strands, I think.

  1. - the roads. We need, wherever possible, to encourage local authorities to allow bespoke cycle lanes etc – thus providing some physical separation between vehicle and cyclist.
  2. - training. We need to ensure that training is available to reduce the risks – training for all road users. For the cyclists (I am old enough to remember passing my Cycling Proficiency Test – administered, as I recall, by the local ‘bobby’) it must include such dangers as those imposed by large lorries turning at junctions unaware that there is a cyclist alongside etc, or the stupidity of ‘jumping’ red traffic lights. And we also need vehicle drivers to have an increased awareness of the dangers to cyclists – this would imply, perhaps, an raised emphasis during the Theory and Practical Driving Tests.
  3. - equipment. Firstly, there is still, I judge, an element of our society who feel that wearing a helmet is, somehow, ‘un-cool’. We need to address this – through teaching, through training, and through youngsters seeing those who they admire wearing cycle helmets (e.g. a photo of Leicester City footballers /Leicester Tigers players wearing them……?). And, secondly, there is the issue of proper cycle maintenance….. again, previously a part of the Proficiency Test in days of yore.
  4. - police reaction. There is clearly a role for the police in helping here. Firstly, when they see people on bikes doing silly/illegal things (e.g. going through red traffic lights) they need to stop and issue warnings etc. Secondly, and most critically, they need to do the same when they see motorists endangering cyclists (overly aggressive driving, overtaking much too close to vulnerable cyclists, using mobile phones while driving etc); I will encourage them to do so.

Ed. It would appear that Mr. Loader will need some guidance about the efficacy of both cycle lanes and helmets. The newly formed Leicester Cycling Campaign Group have asked to meet him. The full responses from all the candidates can be seen at http://4c3.de/t7C.

Cycling Stats at Local Authority Level

The Government has now begun to publish figures, collected by Sport England through the Active People survey, which allow cycle use to be compared in different English local authority areas. This information can be found at http://4c3.de/shz. Overall, 15% of adults in England cycled at least once a month. Rates were highest in the South East (18%) and lowest in the West Midlands (12%). The figure for Charnwood was 19%, a figure no doubt inflated by our student population.

Mince Pie Run

Loughborough CTC will once again be holding their Mince Pie Run at Belton Village Hall on Sunday 23rd December between 11am and 1pm. All cyclists welcome. See http://4c3.de/t7l.

Campaign priorities - Cyclenation decides..

Simon Geller - Cyclenation Secretary.
(This is an edited version. Simon's full message can be read in the October edition of CnNewsthat can be found at at http://4c3.de/sda)

At the Bristol Conference we announced our campaigning priorities for the coming year.

We felt that we needed a visionary theme to hang specific campaigns from. These were considered:

  • Strict Liability - this is also known as stricter or proportionate liability. Although we support this principle, which appears to contribute to safer cycling conditions in Holland and Germany, we are not convinced that the political climate is right for this to be accepted in the UK at the moment. We also noted that we have plenty of traffic laws on the books at the moment - the problem is one of enforcement.
  • Going Dutch - This is a very successful campaign being run by London Cycling Campaign. However, we don’t think it would be necessarily successful in every town and city in the UK.
  • Permeability. – Maximum Road Choice Minimum Diversion. This is an important feature in planning for cycling but we didn’t feel it would have the resonance in the wider community that we need.
  • Building Cycle Friendly Communities - Our tagline since 2008 has been “building a nation of cycle-friendly communities” so hopefully that notion has become embedded in the public perception of what we do. With the launch of the CTC’s Cycletopia vision perhaps that vision is becoming clearer. So that will be our over-arching campaign vision for 2013 and beyond.

The second thing we wanted to do was focus on a specific cycle-friendly measure. Talking to local groups, the issues that they were most concerned about were these:

  • Road narrowings.
    This refers to those pesky pedestrian refuges that have been sprouting up in the middle of roads around the UK. The solutions to this problem are a bit complex and not easy to get over on a national basis without appearing anti-pedestrian.We don’t think it’s suitable for the kind of campaign we want to run.
  • Road maintenance relating to road safety.
    The situation around the UK is mixed - with a variety of agencies responsible for street maintenance and increasing out-sourcing of this function, sometimes through PFI agreements, we couldn’t quite see where we could ‘hang our hat’ on this one.
  • Community Events.
    Having a presence at local festivals and other events is crucial to growing your campaign group and can be a lot of fun. We don’t think we need to tell local groups that though - you’re doing it already!

So what campaign IS Cyclenation adopting?

The DfT document, ‘Signing the Way’ proposed a simplification of the procedure for doing this, based on widespread use on the Continent and a trial in London. The principle is that one-way streets should always allow for two-way cycling, just as they do for two-way walking, unless there is an over- riding reason why not.

The current status is this:
The “Signing the Way” paper was published by the DfT in October 2011. This stated “English local authorities will be able to place the combined sign ‘No entry except cycles’ where they consider appropriate”. Pilots in London have been very successful, with no noticeable increase in casualties and definite benefits for cyclists. So what should local groups be doing about this?

Here are our suggestions:

  • Identify the streets in your area that are suitable for contra-flow cycling. (Cyclescape could be useful for this). If they’re not suitable because the speed is too high, get together with your local 20’s plenty group to press for a speed reduction (as part of an overall reduction in traffic speeds in the area)
  • Make sure your local council officers are aware of the changes in DfT guidelines. We often find that campaigners are more aware of DfT changes than local officers.
  • Get that list in to your local council and ask them to let your have their timescale for making these changes.
  • Keep on at them until they do it!

Letter about Cycle Helmets

from Richard Faulkner

Thought you might like to hear my opinion as someone who has been knocked off by a car rather than a near miss.

My helmet did save my head getting a bash (big crack!) from where it hit the road and meant I only had to worry about the broken shoulder! I think in reality it has to stay a personal decision but, in terms of just looking after yourself, I think it's a good thing.

Ed. Cycle helmets protect the head by reducing the rate at which the skull and brain are accelerated or decelerated by an impact. The helmet acts like a shock absorber. As it is impacted, the expanded polystyrene liner is intended to crush, dissipating the energy over a rapidly increasing area like a cone. When helmets fail, they do so catastrophically, rather than gradually, by breaking. The breaking of a helmet is not by itself evidence that it has provided useful protection to the wearer. It is common for cycle helmets to fail prematurely, before the polystyrene liner has been fully crushed. Indeed, very often helmets break without the liner compressing at all. If a helmet breaks without its liner compressing, it is likely that no more than superficial protection would have been afforded. See http://4c3.de/shZ .

In terms of making people think about their driving style, the only thing I can think that would actually work is if anybody involved in an accident 3rd party or otherwise had to retake their driving test. I think there would be a much lower tolerance of bad driving....

Cycling Conferences

Your editor attended both the East Midlands Cycling Forum meeting at Chesterfield in September and the CTC/CCN Conference at Bristol in October.

The Chesterfield meeting highlighted activity in the area and the presentations can be found at http://4c3.de/sdN. The next meeting will be in the summer/autumn of next year and it is hoped that it will be hosted by the newly established Leicester Cycling Campaign.

The main focus of the Bristol meeting was the CTC's new strategy and the announcement of support for quality segregation, while still opposing "farcilities". The new policy calls for neighbourhoods, town centres and road networks to be “fundamentally redesigned to be ‘people-friendly’, with cycling not only contributing to a reduction in car dependence, but also benefiting from it”. Details of the policy can be found at http://4c3.de/sdO and further details of the conference at http://4c3.de/sd9.

The Chair is too busy to write a piece this time but would still like to hear your ideas for 21st anniversary events.
Ariadne Tampion

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