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Issue 54
January 2005

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Loughborough Integrated Transport Project

Leicestershire County Council is initiating the above project with the aim of reducing traffic in the town centre and to expand on the existing “pedestrian friendly” zones for environmental, road safety and economic benefits.

At this stage the project is in its infancy, but it is envisaged that the proposals will include the completion of the Loughborough Inner Relief Road, new public transport facilities, pedestrian improvements on the A6 and other improvements to the Epinal Way.

A public consultation will begin on 17 February in conjunction with Charnwood Borough Council who are also consulting on their strategic framework for the future town centre development. The results of the consultation will be taken into account in formulating the County's Local Transport Plan covering the period 2006 to 2011.

Road Safety Bill pros and cons (based on an article from the January Issue of CCN News)

The Road Safety Bill currently going through Parliament will make it easier for the police to detect uninsured drivers, by linking automatic number plate readers to the insurance industry database. It will be possible for the police to conduct roadside breath tests for drink driving (rather than these having to take place at a police station), although the drinking limit is not to be altered. The use of a hand-held mobile phone while driving will become an endorsable offence subject to three penalty points.

But the bill could lead to higher speeds and more injuries by reducing the penalties for so-called 'marginal' speeding“ such as doing 39 mph in a 30 mph area. Although this is far more likely to kill than driving at 85 mph on a motorway, the former would only incur 2 points and a £40 fine, whilst the latter would incur 6 points and a £100 fine.

The Bill will make little headway on making the roads safer for all, lacking any clear vision of the problems or the solutions. Clearly the Government does not want to upset motoring voters at the run-up to a General Election.

A further threat from this Bill is that Eric Martlew MP intends to propose an amendment to make it mandatory to wear a cycle helmet, his Private Members' Bill for a child helmet law having failed last year. It is likely that the Government will resist this amendment in order not to delay the Bill.

However, the risk remains, so please let Andy Reed (or your own MP, if you live outside his constituency) have your views on the proposed reduction in speeding penalties , especially on urban roads and country lanes, and urge him to oppose any amendment on compulsory cycle helmets but to support an open review of all the evidence.

Dramatic fall in cycling during 2004

According to the Department for Transport's traffic survey, cycling in Great Britain fell by 14% in the second quarter of 2004 and 21% in the third quarter, both by comparison with the same periods in 2003. These represent some of the biggest changes in cycle use that have ever been recorded over a single year. The DfT traffic surveys have often been criticised for under-estimating total cycle use, but the data has proved to be consistent across time even if it is incomplete. For this reason the surveys are considered to be a reasonable barometer of changes in cycling activity.

The summer of 2004 was particularly wet, but not more so than other summers within the last decade that have not suffered falls in cycling anything like as great. It seems unlikely, therefore, that the weather alone was responsible. Some people noted a good deal of press coverage about the 'dangers' of cycling last year - did that contribute to the downfall? Whatever the reasons, it may require more effort than ever to get a growth in cycle use back on track.

Traffic in GB Q3 2004:http://www.dft.gov.uk/stellent/groups/dft_transstats/documents/downloadable/dft_transstats_032709.pdf

Bike Week Sponsored Ride across Garendon Park - 19 June

We have invited most of the Primary Schools in Loughborough to promote this ride in 2005. So far Holywell and Mountfields schools have indicated that they will be supporting the event. Holywell will be raising funds for the PSA and a school it is twinned with in Kenya. The ride will start from the Safeway car park at 5pm finishing by 8pm.

We are encouraging the schools to start promoting the event towards the end of Spring term and it is hoped that given an appropriate “build up” we will have a much higher turnout in 2005. The ride will be marshalled so we will be looking to the membership to help run this event. More details of the ride can be found on the Campaign Website.

New Perspectives in Designing for Cyclists
(based on an article in CCN News)

The latest conference to be organised by Nottingham University in conjunction with CTC, DfT and ERCDT will focus on infrastructure for cycling in the context of the new guidelines currently being drawn up by the Department of Transport and others for the forthcoming “Manual for Streets” . The conference takes place on 14th April. There are a limited number of concessionary places at £35 for representatives of voluntary groups. Information and bookings: 0115 951 4132, cpd.conference@nottingham.ac.uk.

Cycling images wanted

CCN is often asked by groups and the media if we can supply images of cyclists that can be used for publicity. Images, that is, of ordinary people cycling positively on everyday bikes in typical (especially urban) situations. Regrettably sources of such images are few, so CCN is hoping that we can all help each other by building up a library of cycling images that can be readily downloaded from the CCN website. With the increasing availability of good quality digital cameras, this could now be a practical proposition. Images should preferably be in high resolution jpg or tiff format and finest compression. If there are any issues about copyright, please mention this. Email the files to webmaster@cyclenetwork.org.uk.

B&Q opportunities
(based on an article in CCN News)

DIY store B&Q has appointed Travel Plan Coordinators in each of its stores, with a National Travel Plan Coordinator, John Miller, at its Chandlers Ford headquarters. Mr Miller says local cycling groups should approach the coordinators at their local stores if cycle parking is not adequate. Also, each store has travel information stands, in both staff and public areas, and leaflets that promote or give advice about cycling would be welcome for adding to these.

If anyone would like to volunteer to check out the local B&Q please let John Catt know.

BMA Council to reconsider helmets U-turn

At the next meeting of BMA's Council on 4th February, Council will be asked to reconsider the BMA's recent U-turn towards the promotion of mandatory cycle helmets for adults and children. It could help if people - and especially doctors and other medical professions you may know - wrote to Professor Sir David Carter, chair of the Board of Education and Science along the following lines:

Dear Sir David,

We note the recent comments by the Board of Science and Education on the subject of compulsory cycle helmets. These do not appear to have followed any defensible scientific method, and the conclusions cannot be taken as reliable. We hope that the BMA will reconsider the matter, on the basis of a thorough review of the available literature and making use of experts in transport epidemiology.

Write to Professor Carter at:
Professor Sir David Carter,
Chair of the Board of Education and Science,
British Medical Association,
BMA House,
Tavistock Square,
London
WC1H 9JP.

Doctors can associate themselves with a similar message that is being sent corporately by a concerned group of doctors. To do this, they should email dr.richard@keatinge.net. PLEASE ENCOURAGE ALL DOCTORS THAT YOU KNOW TO DO THIS.


Any letters or articles for inclusion in the newsletter should be sent to
the Editor at 32 Bramcote Road,Loughborough, LE11 2SA or E Mailed to john.catt@ntlNOSPAMPLEASEworld.com.

(Please remove NOSPAMPLEASE).

CAMPAIGN MEETINGS are usually held on the second Monday of the month at John Storer House at 7-30pm.

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