Pedal Power
Issue 95
November 2011

www.ldcuc.org.uk

Woodthorpe Roundabout

Following on from our report in the last issue of Pedal Power, Leicestershire County Council has reported that preliminary design work is under way on the proposals to reduce vehicle speeds and guide drivers to keep better lane discipline. A survey of the roundabout is being carried out to assist with this. Lining/hatched markings on the cycle track will also be incorporated in the scheme design to encourage correct alignment at the crossing points.

Frank Mackey 1925 – 2011

It is with great sadness that we report the death of Frank, a stalwart member of the Campaign (see his piece on "The Human Right to Drive") from its early days, although his death came about in a manner that he would have wished for, collapsing while on a cycle ride with In Tandem.

Frank had a very full and active life, being a founder member of the British Sub Aqua Club (he was still diving in Cuba when in his 80s), a keen motorcyclist (as well as car driver) and in particular cyclist during that latter half of his life. He had picked up a copy of the CTC Magazine, noted the great ages of the cyclists appearing in the obituary column, and decided this was a good way of travelling and staying fit (his father had died of a heart attack at the age of 51).

The bicycle was Frank's main form of transport and he would be seen out and about on various machines, including his recumbent tricycle. As well as In Tandem he was a regular rider with the Loughborough Social Cyclists and the CTC, having been out on Ray Clay's President's ride this year. Frank completed three 1,500 mile tours to Santiago de Compostela between 1985 and 2005 and also rode from Inverness to Dover as part of a Sustrans national ride in 1994, camping all the way.

Frank was also a great believer in exercising the mind, as well as as the body, and was a regular participant in meetings of the University of the Third Age (U3A). He had kept up to date with technology, was a keen web user (keeping in touch with his family abroad) and I had been helping him sort out his new computer the day before he died, when he was in his usual good spirits.

The story of Frank's life is certainly one deserving of celebration, but he will still be sorely missed by his family and friends.

John Catt

Who cycles to the station?

Passenger Focus, which represents rail travellers, has called for more car parking at stations. It claims that lack of available space can suppress demand for rail travel. This year's National Passenger Survey shows that 46% of passengers walk to their stations, 9% drive and 8% are “dropped off” by car. The Survey is not quoted as stating any figures for cycling to stations.

Mince Pie Run

See http://goo.gl/kY3hc

Loughborough CTC will once again be holding their Mince Pie Run at Belton Village Hall on Sunday 18th December. This event attracts hundreds of cyclists from all around the area. All cyclists are welcome.

Michael Forrest Comments

The enormous expansion of cycle-paths in Loughborough is to be commended, until one tries them, for they are clearly a measure of desperation – no beginnings nor ends, no provision at junctions, no continuity, an “ad hoc” painting of white lines wherever the footpath is wide enough or disused enough, - with no overall strategy. Looking at what is done, however charitably, it is difficult to imagine any coherent network can be wangled out of the opportunistic efforts made so far. But we never know. Some mighty intellect at County Hall is probably carrying round his vision of the finished network, to be available when funds allow?

Ed. This is a letter that Michael has submitted for publication

Following the outstanding success of Britain's cyclists in recent international road events, I understand the next Tour of Britain race, in the year of the Olympics, is to be run solely on the superb cycle-path network developed in the UK in our defence against the fuel and obesity crises.

It is designed to demonstrate to all us sceptics that the network is viable, safe, comfortable, convenient, fast and totally fit for purpose. Nevertheless, all 'Give Way' markings, visible or not, must be observed strictly, and no restrictions will be placed on wandering dog walkers, pedestrians or others, who have equal status to cyclists.

Parked cars and other numerous signs and construction vehicles placed by statutory authorities on cycle-paths to avoid inconvenience to speeding drivers, will not be disturbed.

The smooth transitions and surfaces, the superb attention given to the numerous excavations and “ad hoc” repairs to these surfaces, will enable our cycling champions to maintain their accustomed speeds, stressing the practicality of the bicycle as a replacement for the car for shorter and medium length journeys. Encroaching hedges and grass verges will be left untrimmed to add to the picturesque nature of this welcome British enterprise.

While organisers have no doubt that riders will be able to maintain their accustomed speeds, nevertheless ambulances and the Emergency Services will be on full alert, and timekeepers will be issued with calendars as well as stopwatches. Footpath cycling will be penalised.

It is hoped this initiative will counter the criticisms of that disgruntled minority of cyclists who consider present cycle-path provision as laughably inadequate.

Social Mobility and Access: Cycling’s Contribution

Summary of a talk by Danny Dorling given at the CTC/CNN autumn conference reported by Paul Thomson

Danny outlined some very important findings of preliminary research based on 2001 data that will be re-examined when the results of the 2011 census become available next year. Cycling is not even a significant minority mode of transport but this may be changing. As recently as the early 1970s thousands of factory workers used bikes to get to work. This gave the image of cycling as a second-class form of transport for those who couldn’t afford a car. The 2011 evidence is likely to present a very different picture where the commuting cyclist is young, male and affluent. Cycling is chosen, not a necessity, but as a life-style choice.

A demographic map of the popularity of travel modes in the UK revealed that, for example, no areas of Scotland had 16-24 year olds using cycling as even a second choice of travel. Only in affluent and highly educated Cambridge did cycling manage second preference.

Cycling seems to have become “embourgeoised” – a chosen mode for those displaying their physical as well as economic, social and cultural promise. For those aged 25-39 only Hull (where car ownership is well below average) and Cambridge showed cycling coming second. The car is predictably dominant in the 40-59 age group and evidence points to the younger males dropping out of cycle commuting from about 32 onwards. Fascinatingly amongst the over 75s, males generally have a car, whilst there are many women in this age cohort who don’t and have never driven, illustrating perhaps, some social history as this generation came to maturity in the 1940s and early 1950s. The car was then seen as a symbol of success, of masculine achievement, this status being central to its popularity.

The CTC and Cyclenation Memorandum of Understanding

CTC and Cyclenation have reached an agreement to collaborate to strengthen the capacity of the UK’s networks of local cycle advocates and campaign groups.

The arrangement is designed to be flexible, respecting the independence of individual campaign groups and the diverse ways in which the relationship between CTC’s local Right to Ride representatives and Cyclenation groups manifests itself at the local level.

It has been forged against the background of the clear cross-party political consensus which has emerged around the “localism” agenda, and devolution in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.  This is prompting a shift in decision-making powers on transport, economic development, health, law enforcement and other relevant policy areas from national to local government.

The over-arching aim of this partnership is to support local cycle advocates and campaign groups in galvanising public and political support for the promotion of cycling and improvements to cycling conditions, in order to maximise the health, environmental, economic, road safety and wider societal benefits of substantially increased cycle use.

The aims are:

  1. To increase the number of local groups acting as advocates for cycling with the aim of having an active cycle campaign group in every town with more than 50,000 inhabitants, together with county-wide or sub-regional networks to help organise joint activities.
  2. To create opportunities for information-sharing, training and other networking activities available to local cycling advocates and campaign groups, including online communication tools as well as workshops and similar activities.
  3. To create nationally co-ordinated campaigns and “campaign toolkits” which can be customised and delivered by local cycle campaign groups and other advocates.
  4. To help local cycle campaign and advocacy groups to boost their membership numbers and resources.
  5. To help CTC and Cyclenation to secure the resources to deliver on the above aims.
Loughborough & District Cycle Users' Campaign already has many members who are also CTC members (which includes RtR reps) so I don't think there will be any radical changes locally as a result of this “memorandum of understanding”

Worrying trend in cycle casualties despite overall growth in cycling

based on an article in CTC CycleDigest by Chris Peck

For the last few years, official figures have shown a gradual increase in cycle use – accompanied by a gradual increase in cycle casualties. According to the latest published statistics, in 2010 cycle casualties continued to increase, while the volume of cycle traffic appears to have reached a plateau.

As anecdotal evidence (from cycle sales, CTC membership and event attendance) appears to suggest that cycling is still growing very strongly, this discrepancy may be due to the 3 months of severe winter weather last winter. Indeed, the Department for Transport (DfT) suggests that the huge reduction in car mileage in 2010 (over 8 billion kms) was in large part a result of the weeks of snow and ice. In the first quarter of 2011 cycle casualties took a very sudden leap upward compared with the equivalent, snowy period in 2010. Even after accounting for the snow, cycle casualties are still estimated to be around 18% higher than the average for 2007-2009.

Since the late 1990s, risk of death while cycling has fallen 50% - thanks in part to the 20% increase in cycling recorded by the Traffic Census. However, the growth in cycling appears to be mainly associated with adults, particularly older adults. The level of cycling amongst children has continued to fall.

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