Loughborough & District
Cycle Users' Campaign

Pedal Power
Issue 107
November 2013


Charnwood tenants told to keep bicycles in bedroom

Maureen Clarke who lives in Syston has written to Charnwood Borough Council about their latest ruling on the storage of bicycles by tenants.

“Again we have the perennial attacks on the cyclist. If it’s not the LCC making the roads oh so delightfully suitable for the speeding motorist that it can only result in misery for cyclists and pedestrians, it is Charnwood Borough Council telling tenants in flats to keep their bikes in their bedrooms (after carrying them up stairs) or get rid of them. Not very encouraging when we’ve all been told that cycling is the healthy thing to do, for individuals, society and the planet.

Charnwood even have a picture of a bike in a bedroom, in their magazine, just in case tenants are too stupid to know what a bike inside the room they sleep in looks like!

Councils are very good at telling us what we can’t do. We can’t have plants in pots, or sheds or make the gardens nice (where do we keep the tools?) We can’t keep a buggy or a motor scooter or a bike or a shopping trolley or a Zimmer frame, in fact anything useful, in a suitable and appropriate place to keep it, in case someone falls over it. No-one at the council ever comes up with a solution which allows us to have the things we need to live healthily. And now I have to give up cycling because my bike is considered a health hazard.

I realise that in ‘the provinces’ we can’t expect to find a champion like Boris to help us, but surely you can see how absurd it is to lay down cycle routes and make a big splash in the local paper of Councillors Bloggs and Smith, with their families, using them and then tell tenants in flats there’s nowhere to keep their bikes.

Before it occurs to you (as a non-cyclist) that I could leave my bicycle outside, let me ask you if you would expect a gardener to leave his or her precious lawn mower outside. Both are valuable machines that can rust. Ask an Olympian cyclist. Or perhaps you think my cycling is less valuable because I’m not likely to win a bit of tin for doing it?”

Maureen reports that Charnwood have set a deadline 22nd November for all cycle owners in the flats where she lives to find alternative storage for their bicycles. No alternative storage has been offered even though there is space available. In reality, for many, this is a dictat to get rid of their bicycles. Maureen (a mature lady) tried carrying her bicycle upstairs but found her hands couldn't hold it and it fell down the stairs nearly taking her with it.

The reason for this initiative is given as “fire safety” and it would appear that a regulation is being introduced without consideration as to whether or not it is sensible in each location. Looked at sensibly, the cars parked in the area next to this block almost certainly present a far worse obstruction and the Fire service would struggle to get a tender near the building. However nothing is being done to prevent cars being parked in the area.

Maureen would hate to see her bicycle go to the tip, so if nothing changes, we may be emailing out an offer of a sturdy and usable bicycle to members shortly.

Inner Ring Road Parking Strips

from Michael Forrest

Observant cyclists (aren't we all, for it saves lives – ours) will have noticed the proliferation of parking strips provided for tired motorists along the new and misguided inner ring road. They will also have noticed that these parking strips are about two feet too narrow for modern cars. Indeed, some motorists have already complained to LCC that these widespread parking strips are too narrow.

Of course, they are not parking strips but nascent cycle-paths. And despite the extraordinary cost of this new road layout, they are not proper cyclepaths, but just a few feet carved of the edge of very wide new roads, protected from encroaching cars by dotted lines so that drivers may legally use the cycle-path if it suits them, leaving the despised cyclists frightened and fuming attempting to climb the kerb or falling off. Or dead.

The LCC Liaison Officer tells me that the requisite TRO for reinstating the former double yellow lines has not been implemented (ie someone at LCC has forgotten it) but the yellow lines will ensure that motorists realise this is not a free parking lot but inferior provision for cyclists, and will give them a wide berth.

It really is extraordinary that a new road layout, to take heavy traffic out of the town cetre, should not have incorporated the very latest and best in provision for the cyclist, wanted in large numbers to ease traffic flow and reduced vehicles/pollution/danger from our streets.

Of course, it is not surprising for despite the rhetoric, the authorities never have been serious about encouraging cycling, have they?

Unnecessary UK Lighting Regulations

Based on a CTC blog by Chris Juden

To comply with UK lighting regulations you need (fixed to the bicycle):

  • An ‘approved’ white front light
  • An ‘approved’ red rear light
  • An ‘approved’ red rear reflector
  • And ‘approved’ pedal reflectors facing both ways on both pedals.

This means that the lamp must be designed to conform with BS6102 part 3, and marked accordingly. These regulations were designed back in the 1970s to protect the likes of Ever-Ready which mass-produced bike lamps in the UK. However, now just about all the lights available in the UK come from Asia and don't comply with any lighting standards.

We are happy to use these low cost lamps which generally work better than lamps that comply with the standard. With no British manufacturing or retail interest to keep them up to date, British Standards are completely out of date. Fortunately, Police seldom bother to look for approval marks on bike lamps and will be happy to see a white light in front and red behind.

The problem with the current situation is that if a rider is involved in an crash at night the rider may well be accused of contributory negligence due to the failure to display lights that conform with the British Standard.

The obvious option would be to simply abolish the requirement of lights of a particular standard and lay down a simple requirement for the level of brightness required and the angle over which the light can be viewed.

An alternative would be to adopt the approval system of another EC country such as Germany. Germany has supported its established dynamo lighting manufacturers by requiring a dynamo system to be fitted and in working order (not necessarily switched on) at all times on all bikes weighing over 11kg, and by updating their lighting standards.

Bearing in mind the Government's commitment to the reduction in “red tape”, it is disappointing that nothing has been done to reform the situation. Allowing any recognised EC standard would enable law-abiding cyclists to avoid riding illegally in the dark.

Buses through Market Place

The County Council is consulting on whether buses should be allowed to travel through the Market Place once the town centre improvements are completed and is seeking views on three possible options for Market Place.

The consultation will last until 8th December and is available online at leics.gov.uk/lborobustrial.

There will also be a public exhibition on 21st, 22nd and 23rd November at Loughborough Town Hall, where staff from the County Council and bus company representatives will be on hand to answer questions.

Mince Pie Run

Loughborough CTC will once again be holding their Mince Pie Run at Belton Village Hall on Sunday 23rd December between 11am and 1pm. All cyclists welcome. See http://4c3.de/t7l.

Talk “On Yer Bike!! Getting Leicester Cycling”

David Horton and Andy Salkeld will be giving a talk at Secular Hall, 75 Humberstone Gate, Leicester LE1 1WB on Sunday, 19 January 2014 at 18:30. All welcome. Refreshments. Admission is free, although Leicester Secular Society welcome contributions towards expenses.

Dr David Horton is a sociologist and writer based in Lancaster. He loves thinking, cycling and writing. His interests centre around politics, culture and everyday life. His main focus and passion is cycling and its capacity to transform people’s lives. He is also a leading UK qualitative and ethnographic researcher, a founder member of the Cycling and Society Research Group and widely published writer.

Between 2008 and 2011 he contributed to the Understanding Walking and Cycling Research Project partly carried out in Leicester. He co-edited the book 'Promoting Walking and Cycling' in 2013. The ground-breaking research it contained has helped to change the national debate on identifying and overcoming barriers to cycling and walking in cities like Leicester.

Andy Salkeld is the Cycling Co-ordinator for Leicester City Council. He enjoys living in cities, is interested in the legacy of the 1964 Leicester Traffic Plan, 'Peak Car' theory and ideas for building and re-cycling people-friendly towns and cities. He contributes to 'Postpeakcartastic' alongside photographer Iain Jaques whose work will help to illustrate the talk.

Facts and figures for Leicestershire Constabulary

Based on responses received by the Road Justice Campaign

In 2012 Leicestershire Constabulary had 73 traffic police officers representing just 3.40% of all officers in the force, 37th out of 43 police forces.

There were 46 road casualties per traffic officer, which is just above average.

Leicestershire's Police and Crime Commissioner, Sir Clive Loader has said he will not support the campaign but has prioritised road safety in his Police and Crime Plan.

East Midlands Cycle Forum, Leicester, 26th October

The Forum brought together campaigners from around the region to talk about common issues. Rory Palmer, the Deputy Mayor (Labour) was the keynote speaker and talked about the “Connecting Leicester” project. The city is a “collection of Islands” that are not very well connected together - this hopes to address that and hopes to have the largest collection of cycle-friendly streets in UK.

A full report can be found at http://goo.gl/qwcqJC

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