Issue 73
March 2008

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500% increase in Government cash for cycling

Based on an article in CTC Cycle Digest

Transport Secretary, Ruth Kelly, has announced the Government will give Cycling England £140 million over the next three years. This will fund a variety of programmes including Bikeability, cycle training for an extra 500,000 children; another 250 Safe Links to Schools; further Cycling Demonstration Towns and the first large Demonstration City. The funding includes a contribution from the Department of Health as part of its new obesity strategy to promote cycling.

New Approach to Appraisal (NATA)

Based on an article in CTC Cycle Digest

The DfT has decided to revise NATA which was conceived in the Transport white paper in 1998. Some aspects of their proposals are welcome, such as the recognition that the health impacts of walking and cycling schemes upon adults have economic value. Also, climate change is an identified theme.

The Department acknowledges that NATA’s original intention to be ‘mode neutral’ – meaning not favouring road schemes over rail – hasn’t happened yet. They propose that planners will decide goals and then objectively generate a variety of options – say road, rail, bus or cycling - to reach those goals. But the revisions do not propose altering some of the fundamental problems with the costing of time, whereby business travellers in cars are assigned a higher time value than cyclists or pedestrians; or the fact that any scheme that reduces car use must be penalised through lost fuel tax revenue to the Treasury. Equally, NATA doesn’t offer a way of appraising a 'local sustainable transport plus less travel' option.

Accessibility is also poorly addressed, a problem perpetuated by the more recent ‘Accessibility planning' methodology, which is very helpful towards public transport, but omits walking and cycling almost entirely. It fails to recognise that the biggest impediment to walking and cycling accessibility are major roads and junctions.

Forthcoming Events

Just a reminder that it is our AGM on Monday 10th March - 7-30pm at John Storer House.

On the 5 April the East Midland Cycle Forum Spring meeting takes place in Chesterfield. Details from alastair@meikle.clara.co.uk

The Spring Cycle Campaign Network Meeting is being held in Cambridge on 10 May. Details are at www.camcycle.org.uk.

We will be holding the sponsored bike ride across Garendon Park on Sunday 15 June (5pm start). So please mark this in you diary as we will need help with organisation and marshalling.

20s Plenty

Based on an article in CCN News

There is growing interest across the UK in a default 20 mph maximum speed limit for towns, particularly in residential areas. The potential benefits in terms of safety and quality of life are considerable. Portsmouth has already implemented a town-wide 20 mph limit excluding only main arterial roads and other towns including London, North Tyneside and Norwich have plans to follow suit.

To encourage support for 20 mph limits throughout the UK and to provide information useful to campaigners, 20's Plenty For Us has been launched as a new voluntary organisation. It would welcome cycling, pedestrian and community groups of all kinds to sign up in support. Further information can be found on its website, http://www.20splentyforus.org.uk.

NHS mileage rates survey

Based on an article in CCN News

Spokes, the NHS cycling network, has conducted a survey of the amount NHS trusts pay to staff who cycle for work. It highlights just how poorly informed and contradictory an organisation can be even when it has a policy of encouraging people to cycle.

The NHS is the largest employer in Britain and also has relatively high cycle use. 7.5 per cent of NHS staff commute by cycle, more than twice the national average. The health service is therefore well placed to act as an example in the encouragement of active lifestyles which, in turn, could significantly reduce its own costs.

Agenda for Change, a NHS policy document, states: "Reimbursement for employees using pedal cycles for official journeys will be by local agreement, subject to a minimum of 6.2p per mile". This compares with 29.7p per mile for small cars and 36.9p for large cars.

Spokes contacted all 409 NHS Trusts and Authorities in England and received replies from 230 of them. 56 per cent of Trusts pay only the 6.2p minimum cycle mileage rate. More worryingly, 8 per cent of Trusts pay less than 6.2p and 14 per cent pay nothing at all, both groups contravening the Agenda for Change agreement.

On a more positive note, 22 per cent of Trusts pay above the minimum rate and 6 per cent pay more than the 20p per mile tax-free rate allowed for by Government. A few Trusts pay 50p per mile.

Because cycle mileage rates are not widely publicised, many staff are unaware that there is a minimum rate and more than a fifth of Trusts are similarly ignorant. However, it is clearly in the financial interests of Trusts to pay cyclists properly. Someone who travels on business for 5 miles a day will, over a year, save their Trust £282 by using a bike instead of a small car. Moreover, if some Trusts find it possible to pay as much as 50p per mile to demonstrate a genuine commitment to getting staff out of cars and on to bicycles, why not others?

The aim of the Spokes survey and report is to persuade all Trusts and Authorities to pay cycle mileage and to encourage more of them to consider paying higher rates as part of the NHS commitment to sustainable development. It also wants to see the 6.2p rate raised to 20p with direct linkage to the Government tax threshold for future increases. Spokes believes that it is virtually impossible for any NHS employer to lose money by offering a generous bicycle mileage rate.

Cycling in Cambridge

Cambridge Cycling Campaign have produced a campaign film about cycling in the City. All of the niggles that make daily cycling so frustrating are there with a positive image of good responsible cyclists. Click here to view.

Michael Forrest complains

Michael Forrest has had cause to complain as the cycle path alongside the A6 to Hathern was almost completely blocked at the Dishley lay-by with tipped spoil (something the County Council was aware of and controlled). Matters got worse even after an initial complaint brought assurances that the track would be cleared. He has now received a letter of apology.

He also wrote to Andy Reed MP expressing his disquiet at the attitude shown by journalists to cyclists (see Pedal Power January 2008). Andy responded "I did see the article in "Pedal Power" actually and I am more than happy to speak out in Parliament on these issues. We need someone sticking up for the rights of local cyclists."

Steam Train and Pedalling Picnic - Sunday 27th April

Charnwood Borough Council will once again be promoting a programme of rural rides this summer, beginning with the Pedalling Picnic.

This ride is at a very relaxed pace (10 miles—5 Hours approx .) with riders meeting at 11am at Quorn Station (Great Central Railway) to put their cycles on the 11.23 steam train for a trip to Rothley via Leicester.

After a short ride to Woodhouse for either a picnic or pub lunch, there will be an easy paced ride through Charnwood Forest back to Quorn, with a stop at Stonehurst Farm for afternoon tea.

Special reduced rates (Adults £5, Children £3 ) have been negotiated with the Great Central Railway. Tickets MUST be booked in advance with Charnwood Borough Council Leisure Services on 01509 634587. The new pamphlet setting out the programme of rides should also be available from the same source.

If you know of any families who would be interested in this ride, please pass the information on to them.

The Woman Who Stops Traffic

Is it possible for a town to go car free even for one day? To find out more about Kris Murrin’s campaigns in Marlow, Boston and Durham you can watch clips from her Channel 4 series . You may still be able to catch the last programme which will be on Tuesday 11th March at 9.00pm.

New Cycle Routes?

Leicestershire County Council's Transport Schemes Development team are reviewing cycle routes in Loughborough, signage and the cycle route map. If you have any suggestions please email suggestions@ldcuc.org.uk.

Bike Week

It has been suggested that for Bike week we set up a commuter challenge (walker, cyclist, bus passenger and car driver). If anyone would be prepared to organise this please contact bikeweek@ldcuc.org.uk.

Loughborough Cycle Facility of the Month

It has come to your editor's attention that Loughborough has an entry in Warrington Cycle Campaign's illustrious "Cycle Facility of the Month" (September 2006 entry). The commendation reads: "Full marks to B&Q for recognising the poor security normally offered by "wheel-bender" cycle stands. This pillar has been positioned in the centre of the bike stand in Loughborough providing a place to lock the frame of a bicycle. The advertising display in front hides bikes from the view of potential thieves".

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