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Issue 63
July 2006

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Sponsored Ride – Schools up, numbers down

The turnout for the Sponsored Bicycle Ride across Garendon Park on Sunday 18 June was a little disappointing with approximately 60 riders (including parents), down from around 100 the previous year. Whilst we had the support of 3 schools this year, the proximity of a Saturday event at Mountfields and Holywell also supporting “The Race for Life” event that took place on the same day, probably cut into our potential riders. However, Shelthorpe, participating for the first time, provided a strong contingent of riders and intend promoting it again next year. The timing of Bike Week makes clashes with other events almost inevitable and it could be that moving Bike Week back into May would make it more attractive.

Many thanks to those members who supported the event and acted as marshals.

Tesco Development

We understand from the reports to the Charnwood Cycle Consultative Group that Tesco will be providing bicycle parking for 24 staff and 30 customers and there is to be a proper cycle facility providing a link to the Epinal Way. Access for pedestrians and cyclists will be via a ramped zebra crossing (Ed. in my opinion preferable to a Toucan crossing as it gives users immediate rights rather than have to wait for the traffic to clear, which is the way most Toucans are programmed).

Bicycles on Midland Mainline.

Alastair Meikle, a member of the Northampton Cycle Campaign, recently had difficulty getting bicycles on Midland Mainline Services . The Midland Mainline response to a letter of complaint was dealt with by Dave Holladay of the CTC. Some of the correspondence is set out below.

M.M We allow 2 cycle reservations on all Midland Mainline High Speed and Meridian Train services. Whilst, our staff will try to accommodate the needs of all our customers; Ultimately, if you don't make a reservation you may not be allowed onto the train particularly in the busy peak period.

D.H. This we are pleased to note, does have a hopeful aspect, that your staff are encouraged to have discretion to take unreserved cycles if space is available. The farrago of being told to go to a staffed booking office to book a bicycle space well in advance of travel, plus the position that you have to book a discounted fare and then find out if you can then get a bike space reservation, plus the apparent inability to book the limited bike space for multiple users over short sectors of a longer journey, makes the option to travel with a bicycle something that only the determined and well briefed traveller will pursue to a conclusion and it means that many will find themselves at the mercy of staff goodwill *GNER has mitigated this by offering online booking albeit with a need for a telephone confirmation..

M. M. Allowing more than 2 cycles onto trains can cause; Loss of capacity for other passengers.

D.H. Ridiculous! Unless the other passengers are going to be accommodated by standing in the cages in HST (Class 254) Coach A or bent down under the shelf where the dedicated, windowless and seatless bike space is on the Class 222’s, there is no loss of passenger capacity

M.M. Negative impacts on performance due to longer station stops to allow time for cycles to be loaded and unloaded. In busy peak-timetables, this causes significant knock-on delays.

D.H. Again most questionable – on HST- never as the conductor always uses the door on coach A van, and on the Meridian the door to board for access to the bike storage area from the platform can be opened by the passenger. Most travellers with bicycles have, because of the poor arrangements, and major hurdles put up by the operators, a substantial degree of experience in being at the right end of the platform and ready to board and alight with minimum fuss

M.M. Reduction in comfort and accessibility for other passengers.
M. M. Potential safety impact if cycles are carried on peak trains with high passenger (numbers?)

D.H. Go back to my first point and re-read this - the bicycle storage is separate from the passenger saloon on both types of train you now operate.

I would add that there is no justification for a 2-bike limit on HST services – using identical trains GNER allows for 6 reservable spaces, and First GW 7, both accept tandems. Perhaps you can enlighten CTC on the reason for this major variance from practice elsewhere

The cycle space provision on the Class 222 is I agree, limited, in fact it is abysmal for a 9 coach train, when compared to Virgin’s 220 and 221 units. The RPC Midlands research linked to the introduction of Voyager services, and revised interchange points, revealed that around 3% of Cross Country Passengers wished to travel with a bicycle, a level of service which can be achieved (just) with the 4-coach unit, and intensive use of the space available.

Cycle Derby

This project, formed as a result of Derby being awarded Cycle Demonstration Town status, is making good progress and all school cycle shelters due to be installed by April 2006 are now in place. A series of events has taken place to promote their use. In particular the 'bike to school week' at Walter Evans Primary in late April resulted in between 80 and 120 pupils and parents cycling to school.

A new cycle training and promotions officer, Mark Smith, has been appointed and his primary responsibility is to expand the cycle training programme in primary schools and, later, to introduce training to older pupils and adults. His immediate task is to organise the training for twelve new cycle trainers.

3-minute wonders
(from CTC Newsnet)

Channel 4 has announced the winners of its new documentary competition, which asked emerging film makers to take inspiration from the ITN archive to pitch an idea for a short documentary on the theme 'bicycle'. Four winning pitches – which range from the inspirational to the humorous to the historical – are now being made into 3-minute films by the winners.

The completed documentaries will be shown on Channel 4's 3 Minute Wonder slot from 24th – 27th July. See www.channel4.com/culture/microsites/0-9/3MWbicycle/winners.html for further details.

Loughborough Town Centre Masterplan

Action for a Better Charnwood (ABC) have arranged a meeting with Jonathon Hale (Director of Physical Regeneration for Charnwood Borough Council) at 7pm on Tuesday 18 July at John Storer House to discuss plans for the Town Centre. All are welcome.

Cycle Track Maintenance

Where members notice the verge is encroaching badly onto a local cycle track and significantly reducing the available width, please report the matter to northerndivision@leics.gov.uk.

PACTS launches road safety consultation

The Parliamentary Advisory Committee on Transport Safety (PACTS) has launched the Beyond 2010 project, to generate debate about the next stage in road casualty reduction after the 2010 targets expire. It includes an on-line questionnaire to get views on road safety issues and to which any interested individuals can respond. The PACTS website “Beyond 2010”, including questionnaire, has further details on the project and will be updated on progress.

The questionnaire is short and we would encourage members to complete it, hopefully helping put the emphasis on prevention of crashes rather than mitigating the effects of the crash.

More money for Cycling England
(from CCN News)

The Government has awarded an additional £15 million over three years to Cycling England to fund cycle training for 100,000 children and cycle links to another 150 schools. This will double the amount of money given by the Government to Cycling England.

Transport Secretary, Douglas Alexander, made the announcement at a Transport and Climate Change conference in Oxford. He said that it was an attempt to reverse the trend for children becoming the 'back of the car generation'. He vowed to make cycling safer and more convenient so that it becomes an attractive alternative for the school run.

But Alexander's "strong focus on safety" might have a sting in the tail. A Government spokesman told ITN that children who do training will have to wear a helmet.

Mobility, but not without safety
(from CCN News)

The European Transport Safety Council (ETSC) says that measures to improve road safety are a priority across Europe, where 43,500 road deaths occur each year. ETSC wants to see a traffic system that is better adapted to the needs, errors and physical vulnerabilities of its users rather than one which expects users to cope with increasingly demanding conditions.

It regrets the lack of concerted action taken by the European Commission in the area of road safety in its mid-term review of the White Paper on Transport, adopted in June.

See : www.etsc.be/documents/News_Release_WhitePaper_22_June.pdf

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