Loughborough & District
Cycle Users' Campaign

Pedal Power
Issue 121
March 2016


AGM Location Change

John Storer House are not hiring rooms unless users have public liability insurance. As this would exceed the cost of room hire, we will be holiding the AGM at the Toby Carvery, Forest Road, Loughborough, LE11 3HU at 7-30pm on Monday 14th March 2016. Hope to see you there.

Pedestrianised Market Place

The Planning Inspector has ruled in favour of the proposal to eliminate buses and cyclists (between 10am & 4pm) from the Market Place. Looking at the comments on cycling the County Council stated:
It is accepted that cyclists will, on almost all occasions, do enough to ensure that they do not collide with pedestrians. However, there is a perception that pedestrians and cyclists do not mix. Cyclists will not be travelling at walking pace and will have to weave in and out of pedestrians. Given that the pedestrianised area is open there will be no carriageway or pavement and pedestrians will be moving across the area. If cycling was permitted in the central area then it would not be possible to prevent cyclists from entering other pedestrianised areas.

The Campaign and the CTC had made the case that allowing cyclists access at all times would not be problematic and this was consistent with the comments of the County Council in respect of an Experimental Traffic Regulation Order (ETRO) that is being put on Bell Street in Wigston. The Council's Statement of Effect includes:
…. the TRO proposals will seek to;

  • Stop all motor vehicles using part of Bell Street, Wigston at any time. Cyclists will still be able to use Bell Street and Emergency vehicles will have access at all times.
  • Prohibit waiting and loading at all times on part of Bell Street, Wigston to ensure that the route is safe and reliable for all users, including cyclists and pedestrians.
  • The scheme is being proposed in the interest of highway safety, local amenity and economic viability.

The Hinkley walking and cycling scheme, proposed by the County, includes in its statement of reasons:

  • Creating shared use footways/cycleways on existing footways - where necessary widening footways within the highway boundary.
  • Providing cycle parking at community facilities such as local shops and schools.
…....the proposals aim to simplify vehicle movements at this location and improve route continuity for pedestrians and cyclists …...

However the Inspector's report concluded on Cycling:

150. The Movement Order prohibits cycling between 10 am and 4 pm, outside of these times there will be unfettered access through the section of Swan Street which has been pedestrianised. Given that access was previously available along the former A6 the Movement Order restricts access and introduces a disbenefit in relation to cycling. However, there will be no restrictions between 4 pm and 10 am when cyclists will be able to use a route free from vehicular traffic other than those vehicles gaining access. In my view this amounts to a significant benefit and provides a safe route with little vehicular traffic. It is of note [28] that in the period 2000 to 2005 three quarters of casualties on the section of the A6 now pedestrianised were pedestrians and cyclists.

151. Between 10 am and 4 pm, although cycling will be prohibited, cyclists will be able to walk through the pedestrianised area. This section is 90 metres in length and, whilst this may increase journey times, there is nothing to suggest that this amounts to any significant increase. I note that some cyclists with disabilities may not be able to walk through the pedestrianised area and again this amounts to a disbenefit for some cyclists.

152. I note the concerns of the Council [45], however, they may wish to consider the evidence from LDCUC [120-124] which suggests that any risk is low and can be minimised by appropriate management. The Council may wish to examine whether any improvements can be made in respect of cycling provision. [Ed.our emphasis].

It is to be hoped that the Council will review the provision made for cycling across the whole pedestrianised area. If cycling is to be seen as a viable option by a much larger proportion of the population, safe direct routes are essential. Cycle access to the pedestrianised area of Leicester has proved successful, so why not Loughborough?

How 'localism' hasn't worked for cycling

(edited blog by Roger Geffen of the CTC)

The House of Lords debate (10/2/16) on the promotion of cycling as a safe form of transport was led by Lord Young of Cookham, formerly Sir George Young MP, otherwise known as 'The Bicycling Baronet' (although his elevation to the Lords has prompted a change of nickname to 'The Pedalling Peer').

Opening the debate, Lord Young recalled his first parliamentary speech on cycling back in 1975. He then went on to suggest a "modest shopping list" of pro-cycling measures for the minister to consider, much of which echoed the "cyclists' charter" he had proposed 41 years earlier.

The next speaker, Lord Berkeley, who is also Secretary of the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group (APPCG), noted that, in 1982, David Howell MP (then the Secretary of State for Transport) issued a Statement on Cycling Policy. It said: "The Government very much welcomes the revived interest in cycling, which can bring benefits to the community in terms of reduced congestion, pollution and energy costs". It expressed the "hope that the growing recognition of cyclists' needs will lead to more widespread action to improve facilities which in turn will encourage more people to cycle".

However it then passed responsibility for finding the funding to local councils, explaining that "The amount of cycling varies from county to county, and expenditure priorities must remain a matter for local decision".

Eleven years later in 1993, the House of Lords held a similar debate in which the Conservative Peer Lord Colwyn referred to this 1982 policy statement. He asked: "What happened in the intervening years? I regret to say that little changed."

We then had a 1996 National Cycling Strategy (NCS), with ambitious targets to double cycle use by 2002 and redouble it by 2012. However the NCS was quietly dropped in 2004 when cycle use had failed to shift - unsurprisingly, given that no funding had been allocated to it.

It was replaced that year (2004) with Walking and Cycling: an Action Plan. Again, plenty of fine words, no funding, no progress. The same fate befell the Government's Active Travel Strategy drawn up during the last months of the Labour Government in 2010.

What all four statements, plans or strategies had in common was the argument that cycling was essentially a local matter, hence it was up to local councils to find the funding - and that is what has consistently failed to happen. And my fear is that, despite strong backing from the public, businesses and MPs of all parties, the Government's forthcoming Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy (CWIS) looks set to go the same way.

The Chancellor's Autumn Statement last November provided just £0.3bn for cycling over the next five years, compared with £15bn for road-building. This amounts to just £1.39 per person annually, a derisory figure compared with the minimum of £10 per person, rising to £20 per person, called for in the Get Britain Cycling report - not to mention the £12.50 per person which Transport for London is committed to, and the £24 per person invested annually by the Dutch.

Admittedly George Osborne's £1.39 is only the central Government contribution: there will doubtless be some additional funding from local sources. However it also intended to cover walking as well as cycling. In short, national Government has finally given us the "long-term funding commitment" we've long been calling for - and it's tiny.

The Department for Transport conservatively estimates that investment in cycling yields "very good" value for money, delivering at least £5 of benefits for every £1 spent (a Department for Health study put this benefit-to-cost ratio at £13:1). This is far better than most road schemes.

The Supreme Court has ordered the Government to take immediate action on air pollution, while the continued growth in transport-related CO2 emissions also threatens our ability to meet our legal commitments on climate change. Surely it is time we cut spending that would worsen congestion, pollution, road danger, physical inactivity and climate change, and invested in a hugely cost-effective solution to these problems instead!

Some Good News

Cycle use in London highest since records began

  • Cycle use grew by 10% last year in the capital, and the forecast is for a 12% rise over the previous financial year;
  • Last year was a record for London's cycle hire scheme, with 10,023,987 journeys made - up 5% on 2012 (the previous highest year) and 25% on 2013;
  • Over 170,000 journeys are now being made each day in the congestion charging zone, equivalent to the number of people cycling each day to work or educational institutions in the City of Copenhagen;
  • Bicycles now make up around 16% of traffic in Central London, rising to around a quarter or even half of all journeys on some routes during peak hours.

Map of car ownership levels

The National Travel Survey shows that, overall, 24% of households in England do not have access to a car or a van. This map, by produced Imactivate, which is based on 2011 Census data and drills down to electoral wards, shows that in some inner city areas, households with no car available rise to over 50%, and some well beyond.

The Map can be viewed at https://goo.gl/xIm0nq .

Where to Cycle

With longer days and warmer weather in prospect you may be keen to get on your cycle and explore further afield.

You may find the blog “Two Wheels and a Camera” giving details of East Midlands (mainly off-road) rides which link to the rail network of interest. Your bike goes for free on the train and fares are sometimes surprisingly inexpensive if you book ahead and have one of the many Railcards. However you do need to check out restrictions that can normally be found on the train operator's website.

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