Pedal Power
Issue 119
November 2015

www.ldcuc.org.uk

Volunteers needed

Route 6 of the National Cycle Network (NCN) goes all the way from Windsor to the Lake District. Locally it passes along Epinal Way on the Leicester – Derby section and is managed by Sustrans in collaboration with local authorities.

Brian Goss has previously worked as a volunteer ranger in Nottingham and is now setting up a Loughborough Sustrans volunteer ranger group. The focus of the group initially will be leisurely group rides every month or two to check on the route locally and resolve signage, foliage etc. issues where necessary. Minor issues are dealt with in situ and major issues are reported to the County Council or other landowner. Rides will likely take place 10-4, probably on a Saturday depending what the group decides.

No prior experience is necessary but some sort of bicycle is more or less a pre-requisite. If you would like to know more or you would be interested in joining, you can contact Brian at sustrans.lboro.rangers@gmx.com or 07771 743724. For more info on Sustrans, see www.sustrans.org.uk/volunteer/get-involved and for the NCN 6 route, see www.sustrans.org.uk/ncn/map/route/route-6.

UK backs EU action to Get Europe Cycling

Based on an article in CTC Cycle Campaign News

At an informal ‘European Cycling Summit’ in Luxembourg on 7 October, transport ministers from around the EU officially backed a new EU 'Declaration on Cycling'.

The declaration commits ministers to promoting cycling as a climate-friendly and efficient transport mode. It also calls on the EU to:

set up a European focal point to facilitate monitoring and the exchange of best practice, notably on cyclists’ road safety. Member States, it says, can contribute likewise by designating a national focal point for cycling.

The European Cyclists’ Federation (ECF), which has long been lobbying for just such a policy framework, heralded the declaration as “a big milestone, if not historic event, for cycling advocacy and making ECF’s vision of doubling cycling in Europe come true.”

Cycle funding?

Based on an article in CTC Cycle Campaign News

According to minister for cycling Robert Goodwill MP, in the five years 2011/12 to 2015/16, the Department for Transport (DfT) “increased its spend on cycling in England from £1 per head to £3 per head”. Mr Goodwill also said that local authorities spent “significant amounts on cycling”, up from a total spend of £2 to £6 per head, with £10 per head in the eight Cycle Ambition Cities and London.

What the Minister did not mention, however, is the fact that the Local Sustainable Transport Fund (LSTF), which financed numerous cycling projects around England, runs out in April next year. On top of this, even the eight cities that are now receiving Cycling Cities Ambition Grant money are set to lose it in 2018. Mr Goodwill did not mention this either.

If politicians are worried that investing in cycling is something that the public isn't happy about, they certainly needn't worry. According to a survey just published by Sustrans, three quarters of the respondents (75%) supported more investment in cycling, with £26 per head a year (50p per week) as the ideal spend.

Women and/or Slower Cyclists

Based on an article by Roger Geffen in CTC Cycle Campaign News

Although several factors affected the rate of reported near-miss or collision incidents per mile (e.g. women reported more incidents per mile than men, and the rate was higher for weekday cycling than for cycling at the weekend), the strongest factor affecting the reported incident-rate was the cyclist’s average speed. A 1 mph increase in speed was associated with a 9.6% decrease in incident rate per mile cycled.

From this, it is clear that cycling on shared roads is more intimidating and/or dangerous for slower cyclists than those who ride faster. This is consistent with the findings from a study of cyclists in Oxford and Cambridge, published in 2005 by Dr Ian Walker of Bath University (the researcher who later found that drivers leave more space when overtaking cyclists without helmets than those with them – and who co-authored the paper mentioned below). He found that female cyclists were more likely than men to be hit from behind (male cyclists were more likely to be hit from the side), and were also more likely to report that they found it hard to look over their shoulder.

Walker hypothesised that this may be because, on average, women cyclists ride more slowly, meaning that there is a greater difference in speed between them and any motor vehicles coming up behind them. Therefore, if they want to look over their shoulder to see if it is safe to pull out (e.g. to turn right or pass a parked car), they have to look further over their shoulder to see if it is safe – whereas a faster cyclist may need only a quick sideways glance. Moreover, their lower speed means they are also less stable when looking round. This difference may make it easier for faster cyclists to feel confident about pulling out into the traffic stream or changing lanes, whereas slower cyclists may feel more inclined to stay close to the kerb. It is even possible that this difference could also explain why women cyclists are more likely to be hit by left-turning lorries at junctions in central London.

However the solution to the problem isn’t to try and speed up the slower cyclists! If we want cycling to be a safe and normal activity for people of all ages and abilities, we either need to reduce the speed and dominance of the motor vehicles (in order to reduce the speed difference between the two groups) or, where this is considered impractical, to separate the two groups by providing high-quality segregated infrastructure. This needs to have decent widths and surfaces and, crucially, a high level of safety and priority at junctions.

Sharrows

Based on an article in Cyclenation News

Over the summer, two-way cycling has been implemented in dozens of Cambridge streets that were approved for conversion last year.

The ‘Sharrow’ is a North American name for a road marking showing a cycle symbol with an arrow indicating a permitted direction for cycling has been introduced. They have helped to reinforce the rights of cyclist to be legitimately cycling against the main traffic flow where one-way roads have been made two-way for cyclists.

The Sharrows are added at the start of the contraflow section on the streets that have been converted to two-way cycling and are usually repeated along most of its length.

Transport for London Safety Tips

Diagram

These diagrams appeared in the London edition of the free ‘Metro’ newspaper.

Good idea? Perhaps they are?

Cyclenation is asking if we agree with the messages and if so, should we ask for them to be widely published?

BBC World Service showing more interest in cycling
The Bicycle: Freedom Machine

The BBC World Service has put out a programme with this title about "The importance of the bicycle around the World as a means to heat and light remote African communities, as an ideal city transport, as a vehicle for female emancipation and as a philosophy, exploring the relationship between us and the bicycle. With Bridget Kendall are social enterprise guru Sameer Hajee, Helsinki city cycling planner Reetta Keisanen, historian Dr Sheila Hanlon and professor Mike Austin."

You can still listen or download the podcast at www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p034cf79

Why Do We Love the Bicycle?

It has also broadcast this programme showing how “The bicycle - and cycling - started out as somewhat of a faddish leisure pursuit, largely the preserve of middle-aged and wealthy men. Yet it quickly became the world’s most popular means of transport and remains so to this day. So what lies behind its mass appeal?”

Rob Penn charts the cultural and social impact of the bicycle in helping to widen the human gene pool and blazing a trail for the women’s movement.

Dr Jay Alberts has recently been looking into the impact of cycling on the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease patients, with surprising results, while in India? We hear from a hardy cyclist who regularly braves the streets of Old Delhi.

Again you can still listen or download the podcast at www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p035yyjk

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