40th Mince Pie Run - Belton

Hundreds of local cyclists will meet at Belton Village Hall (weather permitting) on Sunday 23rd December 2018 (10.30am to 12-30pm), most having ridden from their home towns and cities for refreshments and a chinwag in the warm. There is a raffle in aid of Rainbows Children's Hospice. Over £500 was raised for the Hospice in 2017 plus £200 for the Cyclists’ Defence Fund.

All cyclists are welcome. More volunteers are still needed for this year’s event, so if you can help please let John Catt know. Email Mpie@ldcuc.org.uk

Not Such Active Lives in Charnwood

The Active Lives Survey (ALS), which drills down to the habits of the adult population at local level, has now been issued for 2016-17. The Charnwood figures are interesting in that only 75% of the population do exercise equivalent to walking continuously for 10 minutes once a month (compared to 80% nationally). On this measure Charnwood is consistently below the national average with only 28% of the population undertaking this much exercise at least 5 times per week compared to the national average of 35%.

Charnwood shows a much greater propensity to cycle with 23% of the population cycling at least once a month compared to the national figure of 17%. However, compared to the cycling levels seen in some countries on the continent, having only 2.5% of the population cycling 5 times a week is still very poor.

Among English local authorities:

A tale of two crashes

Earlier this year, two similar collisions on the same day drew radically different responses from the press. On 28th August, at around 2:30pm, a driver and a cyclist collided in Merseyside. A witness said the car was “purposely driven into the bloke on the bike” leaving him “badly injured”. The driver left the scene, later abandoning the car and, as far as we can tell, has still not been found.

On the same day, about two and a half hours later, a cyclist and a pedestrian collided in London. So far, there has been no public evidence to suggest the cyclist was riding irresponsibly. Both parties were injured, but the pedestrian sadly died from her injuries a number of weeks later. The cyclist left the scene, later abandoning the bicycle, but handed himself into police the next day.

There was a stark contrast in the media’s response to these two cases. Despite the apparently deliberate nature of the attack on the cyclist, the news was reported only in a local paper.

The press reaction to the London collision is a rather different story with reports featuring on the BBC and in all the major news outlets. This gave the impression that the nation was under threat from lawless cyclists.

The Conservative Party rapidly put out a tweet proudly proclaiming that they were looking to protect “our most vulnerable road users” by “cracking down on dangerous cycling”, accompanied by a photo of a bunch of cyclists appearing to cycle in a perfectly safe manner. All completely ignore the fact that of around 400 pedestrians killed in collisions in the UK each year, about 2.5 involve a bicycle.

The media and the Government ignore the worrying statistic that 4% of fatal collisions on UK roads see the driver flee the scene in a ‘hit-and-run’ – which jumps up to a staggering 12% of all collisions causing injury. Despite these figures exposing a serious national problem, the Government is instead reviewing cycling offences, despite the latter only affecting a handful of cases each year.

Cycling UK, RoadPeace and Brake are promoting a full review of road traffic offences and highlight the problem of hit-and-run drivers. Failing to stop at the scene of the accident currently holds a maximum custodial sentence of six months which fails to address serious hit-and-runs where a victim is left on the roadside with potentially fatal injuries and nobody else aware of the collision.

This item is based on a full article on the Cycling UK website with links to the campaign for a wider review of road traffic laws.

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