We are pleased to report that our local MP Nicky Morgan attended this debate on 3rd December in the House of Commons.
In a letter of 4th September 2013 to those who had urged her to attend she said:
I would like to first assure you that the Government takes the safety of cyclists extremely seriously and we are taking a number of steps to ensure Britain remains a world leader in road safety. To increase motorists’ awareness of cyclists, Ministers have made the driving test more realistic and less predictable, and are currently considering how to improve training for drivers after they pass their test to help them develop their driving skills and knowledge.
Since the beginning of 2012 the Department for Transport has made available £159 million of new money focused on cycle infrastructure. This is over and above the £600 million Local Sustainable Transport Fund where 94 out of the 96 projects contain a cycling element. Taken together this is more than any other British Government has ever invested in cycling. Loughborough has directly beneﬁted with a £60,000 grant being provided to help towards pedestrian and cycle improvements on Epinal Way/Beacon Road.
With local contributions, this latest tranche of new funding for cycling in cities and national parks is £148 million between now and 2015. The Government is also taking action to ensure that roads are ‘cycle proofed’, starting with £5 million of investment to facilitate safe cycling on trunk roads, with a further £15 million planned for 2015 to 2016.
I discussed the issue of cycling yesterday with the Secretary of State for Transport, and I can assure you the Government’s commitment to cycling is genuine and will continue. I will also continue to work closely with Leicestershire County Council to make sure cycling infrastructure is improved. If there is a speciﬁc local problem area or road for cycling, please do let me know and I will bring it to the attention of the Council.
While it is pleasing to note that cycling is achieving a higher profile politically and obtaining some additional funding, the resources allocated are still very low when compared to what is required and what is spent in some other North European countries. Even if we accept that the whole £759M has been allocated to cycling and that all these funds were spent in England (neither of which is correct), then with a population of 53M this only amounts to just over £14 per head compared to £20+ per head (year in year out) in countries that are serious about cycling as a form of transport such as Denmark and the Netherlands.
The Local Sustainable Transport Fund (LSTF) was announced in 2011 and topped up to £600M to be spent over the life of this Parliament. The true expenditure on cycling is probably closer to £180M p.a. which equates to less than £4 per head per annum and much of this goes to the cities that have won bids for the LSTF. The example of the £60K allocated to Loughborough is reasonably typical for many locations at about £1 per head.
This government is certainly no worse in this respect than those that went before, but there needs to be a “step change” if we are to see cycling move from c.3% of journeys to 25% +.
What does “cycle proofing” mean?
based on an article in a CTC Blog by Chris Peck
The Government defines cycle proofing as "taking action on a variety of fronts".
When it comes to the major road network, the Government can act directly and has ordered the Highways Agency to undertake work to correct historic problems at 20 sites on the network. Further sites will be identified for improvement.
But what about local authorities which control over 99% of the public road network? The Government's statement is limited to just "encouraging local authorities to design road improvements with cyclists as well as motorists in mind."
Not only is this an extremely weak undertaking ("encouragement" could be merely a circular letter from the Minister), the action to be taken by local authorities is not sufficiently detailed.
The main problem with most schemes is often not that cyclists are not considered, just that the designs proposed are not good enough to make cycling a more attractive, safe or convenient form of transport. It is a quality issue, and often it is down to details.
Town Centre Cycle Parking
Members will have probably noticed that cycle stands have disappeared from outside the cinema in Cattle Market and from Bedford Square. The good news is that under a scheme being taken forward by a partnership of Charnwood Borough Council and Leicestershire County Council, these are to be replaced (although not necessarily in exactly the same locations) and additional stands installed at various locations in the town centre.
One problem that Charnwood has experienced is that the stands used in the centre are particularly expensive as they have to be removable for the Market and the annual Fair. Unfortunately, although the centre is pedestrianised, the area is still accessed by motor traffic, including large delivery lorries. Some of these manage to hit and break the stands which can only be replaced when budgets allow.
The next EMCF meeting will be taking place in Leicester starting at 10am on Saturday 26th October, organised by the new Leicester Cycling Campaign Group.
It is being held at the The Friends Meeting House at Queens Road, LE2 1WP, which is a 5 minute cycle ride from Leicester station. It will include a guided cycle ride in the afternoon.
Cycling on the up
based on an article in CTC CycleClips by Chris Peck
New figures from the Department for Transport show that for the second year in a row, cycle use appears to have increased sharply.
Cycle use rose from 49 miles per person in 2011 to 53 miles in 2012.
However, most of that increase appears to be down to people making longer journeys by bike.
The average cycle trip is now 3.2 miles – 45% further than it was 10 years ago. This may in part be down to the increase in long distance leisure trips, and the growth of the ‘Middle Aged Man in Lycra’ (MAMIL) phenomenon.
The richest 20% of the population also travel furthest by bike – 82 miles per year, over twice as far as people from the poorest 40%.
Men in their 30s travel the furthest: 141 miles per year, closely followed by men in their 50s (134 miles) and 40s (126).
National Cycle Campaign Conference
On Saturday 5th October, the CTC (the national cycle campaigning organisation) and Cyclenation (federation of local cycling campaigns) will be staging their joint annual cycle campaigning conference in Leeds, hosted by Leeds Cycling Campaign. This annual event will take place at Leeds Civic Hall.
Workshops and plenary sessions will include the following topics:
- Get Britain Cycling: mobilising the cycling vote
- Cyclescape: a tool for coordinating and organising campaigns
- Understanding your local authority
- Using the media
- Revitalising your local campaign group
- Reaching out to Health and other partners
- Explaining quality infrastructure
- Strengthening Campaigning
- CTC’s new campaign, Road Justice
Velo-city 2013 presentations
The presentations from Velo-city in Vienna (June 2013) are now on-line at http://goo.gl/SgV8Q.
Browse for an insight into all sorts of cycling stuff from all sorts of countries.
Active Travel to Work promotes good health
A paper on Active Travel to Work and Cardiovascular Risk Factors in the United Kingdom by Anthony A. Laverty et al (Published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine, August 6 2013) indicates that:
- A total of 69% of participants travelled to work using private transport, with public transport, walking, and cycling used by 16%, 12%, and 3%, respectively.
- Use of any active travel was more likely in participants living in London.
- Black participants were more likely to walk or take public transport to work than whites.
- Using public transport, walking, or cycling to work was associated with a lower likelihood of being overweight
- Walking or cycling was associated with a lower likelihood of having diabetes
- Walking was associated with a lower likelihood of having hypertension than private transport
This was complemented by a paper on the Socioeconomic Gradient in Physical Inactivity in England by Lisa Farrell et al (University of Bristol / ESRC)
Based on detailed data on over one million individuals in England, this paper reports high levels of physical inactivity and concludes that education, household income and local area deprivation are all independently and strongly associated with lack of exercise. “About 8 per cent of the adult population that can walk do not even walk for five minutes continuously in a four-week period” and that “Nearly 80 per cent do not hit key national government targets.”