Loughborough & District
Cycle Users' Campaign

Pedal Power
Issue 110
May 2014


Making Space for Cycling guide launched

Cyclenation have published “Making Space for Cycling”, a guide for new developments and street renewals. The guide is sponsored by the cycle industry through its Bike Hub funding scheme backed by the Bicycle Association and independent cycle dealers. The guide describes ways to achieve higher levels of cycling, for new developments and when redesigning streets, to create family-friendly healthy environments, productive employees and profitable shops, together with relaxed public spaces and attractive streetscapes making efficient use of space.

The guide has been endorsed by many leading cycling groups include British Cycling, CTC the national cycling charity, the Cycling Embassy of Great Britain, London Cycling Campaign, Cambridge Cycling Campaign, and the Campaign to Protect Rural England.

The guide was launched at Cycle City in Leeds on May 1st. We are expecting to receive some paper copies and is also available at www.makingspaceforcycling.org. If you would like a paper copy (possibly to share with your councillor) please contact the editor.

Space for Cycling calls on councils to improve our streets so that anyone can cycle anywhere. But what does that mean in practice? CTC wants photos and examples of infrastructure that's good or bad to explain to councils what works, and what needs improvement.

If you've got photos of examples of infrastructure for cycling - whether good or bad - CTC wants to see them. Your photos can now be uploaded to a map with categories so that they will be easier to search in future.

Cycle use falling nationally (but not locally)

Based on articles by Chris Peck on the CTC website www.ctc.org.uk

Overall, across England, the proportion of people cycling once a month or more has fallen from 15.3% to 14.7% in one year - a reduction in over a third of million people. The data, published by the Department for Transport, comes from the Active People Survey, a large survey of people's physical activity habits compiled by Sport England.

However, in Charnwood the proportion who cycle once a month has increased by 2.7%, taking it once more above the 19% seen in 2010/11 to 19.5%. This places Charnwood in 47th place out of 326 local authorities in England. The census however showed that bicycle commuting in Charnwood fell from 4.1% of such journeys in 2001 to 3.8% in 2011 (a fall of c.7%). The use of public transport also fell from 7.4% to 6.6%, with the shift being roughly half and half to cars (68.1%) and (more encouragingly) walking (10.8%).

In her annual report on the state of the nation’s health, the Chief Medical Officer, Dame Sally Davies says: “I believe that encouraging more people to engage in active travel, such as walking and cycling, is crucial to improving the health of the nation and reducing the prevalence of obesity.”

Change in cycle use between 2011/2012 and 2012/2013 

Whereas 193 local authorities have declined or remained static, only 133 have shown increases.

Cycle use in 2012/2013 by % of people cycling once a month or more

This map shows the proportion of people who cycle once a month or more in 2012/2013. 

Click on each location to see the last three years of data and the local authorities position amongst all English local authorities. 

These maps show that cycle use is still concentrated in the flatter, drier East of England, with the highest proportion (over 50%) in Cambridge, with high use also found in Oxford (42%) and York (27%).

By contrast, less than one in ten cycle once a month or more in the urban towns and cities in the north, such as Oldham, Burnley, Wakefield or Barnsley.

However, cycle use is pitifully small compared to our continental neighbours - 80% of people in the Netherlands cycle once a week or more.

From the Chair

At the Campaign AGM back in March I was re-elected to the Chair. Thank you to those of you who attended the meeting to vote for me, and to the majority of you who trusted your fellow members present. This will be the third of the three years which I am allowed in the post before I must stand down, in accordance with the Campaign's constitution. I am hoping that I shall be a rather more active Chair this year than I was in the past two, even if all I manage to do is write you a few more of these pieces. Up until the end of 2013 I was serving a three-year term on the Committee of the British Computer Society's Specialist Group on Artificial Intelligence. This proved very demanding on top of my 'day job' running a home and family, and left me with little capacity for additional roles. Unfortunately, now I am having to face the extent of the backlog of things that did not get done at home during my odyssey with BCS SGAI, and it looks daunting! Still, I promise to do my best, on all fronts.

At the AGM I gave a brief verbal report in which I began by stating that we were still here after twenty-two years, which was both a good and a bad thing. It is good, because it means we have not collapsed! It is bad because we have not yet succeeded in making ourselves redundant through stimulating the emergence of a cycling paradise in Loughborough and the surrounding area. However, we have made serious progress, and I was reminded of that very recently by the opening of the Inner Relief Road.

Like many of the founder members of Loughborough and District Cycle Users' Campaign, I became alerted to the need for cycle campaigning in Loughborough by the 1991 Local Plan. Of particular concern to me was the proposed inner relief road, with its big scary roundabouts cutting right across my newly established commute to work at the Brush. A small indication that, even back then, we cycle campaigners were following rather than initiating a trend was given by council officers' defensive response to our criticisms. The road now proposed, they told us, was a much watered down version of that which had been on the table in the 1970's, which would have created a 'necklace' around the town. I was immediately put in mind of one of Winnie Mandela's. Now the actual real-life 2014 manifestation incorporates not one single scary roundabout, and is liberally endowed with cycle lanes and advanced stop lines. If that's not something to celebrate among ourselves, I don't know what is!

For me, the biggest indication that the war was being won was when David Cameron became the cycle-commuting Leader of the Opposition at Westminster. An aspiring Conservative Prime Minister simply cannot afford to be seen doing anything remotely freaky. His pedalling persona illustrated with unequivocal clarity that green transport was no longer the exclusive preserve of the eco-warrior but a legitimate concern for the normal young dad. Of course, since actually becoming Prime Minister he has had to resort to the official car for very real security reasons, but I spotted a recent interview in which he revealed that he missed his bike. Cycling is not just a statement; it is a joy too.

Ironically this tangible progress has caused problems for our Campaign. The threat of losing something they have hitherto taken for granted (such as travelling relatively safely to work) is far better at galvanising people into action than the prospect of a better life in future. If the British authorities and the remainder of the British public are gradually embracing cycling to an ever-greater extent, why not just sit back and enjoy the ride? Sadly, the Devil is still much in evidence in the detail, and the advisory role played by a group such as ours, to both the authorities and the general public, is crucial in ensuring that when we get to Utopia and look for the cycle racks, we will find them to be of a good design.

Over recent years, the largest part of the burden for keeping L&DCUC up and running has fallen on John Catt. As his wife I can say this with authority, and also that he is the antithesis of a megalomaniac or control freak, so he would be very grateful to any members minded to come forward and relieve him of some of this burden, or alternatively to expand our operations by contributing something new.

Ariadne Tampion

HS2 Cycle Route

The Department for Transport (DfT) has commissioned a Feasibility Study into potential demand for cycling along a route that broadly follows the HS2 corridor. It will look into how to create a new national cycleway, by linking or upgrading existing cycle infrastructure or rights in a corridor 3 miles either side of the proposed HS2 railway route.

The primary objectives of this linear cycleway would be to:

  • provide cycling infrastructure fit for 8 to 80 year to serve both leisure and utility cyclists together with walkers, by providing links to local stations, urban centres, countryside and tourist attractions.
  • consider the option of a mainly traffic free route attractive to non-confident cyclists that would enhance local cycle networks and create a flagship route attractive to tourism that would link with conventional rail and the new HS2 stations.
  • consider specific improvements to cycle infrastructure in communities along the route.

Nottingham Pedals campaigner Hugh McClintock will be representing local campaign groups on a working party making proposals on this.

Tackling Physical Inactivity - A Coordinated Approach

(All-Party Commission on Physical Activity)

The UK faces an epidemic of physical inactivity. Over the last half century we have simply stopped moving—in schools, work places, urban areas - and in how we get between them. In all human history, we have never been so inactive. This slow down in activity has seen significant consequences to our health and economy.

Over half of adults in the UK do not meet the guidelines for daily physical activity. An even smaller percentage of children reach the guideline levels set for young people. Physical inactivity leads to around 37,000 premature deaths a year – A number that is more than all deaths from murder, suicide and accidents combined. Lack of physical activity is estimated to double the rate of absenteeism at work, and is estimated to cost the UK economy billions every year.

The top recommendation from the Commission is for the reallocation of transport investment, providing long-term continuity of dedicated funding for walking and cycling as regular daily transport.

“Government spending on transport is skewed towards road building. Active transport, including walking, cycling, and public transport is essential to instilling physical activity back into our daily lives.

The Chief Medical Officer for England called for a doubling of walking and an eight-fold increase in cycling. A study by public health economists found that within 20 years this increase would lead to savings of roughly £17 billion (in 2010 prices) for the NHS in England and Wales.

Reallocating transport investment to focus on active travel would increase the health of the nation and produce significant economic benefits. The 2013 Welsh Active Travel Bill demonstrates how this can become national policy. The recommendations from the Get Britain Cycling report offer a more detailed road map to encouraging active transport.

Existing and planned new developments and infrastructure should be ‘health-checked’ to ensure that walking, cycling, active recreation and other forms of physical activity are prioritised.

The choice to walk and cycle is strongly influenced by the urban setting, for example in terms of available infrastructure, aesthetics and perceived safety. Developers should be challenged to innovate and demonstrate consideration for, and the integration of, physical activity into their plans, for example through the existing Design and Access Statement. We need a National Planning Framework that reflects the importance of physical activity.”

The report can be downloaded from http://goo.gl/lTZJNU .

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