Loughborough & District
Cycle Users' Campaign

Pedal Power
Issue 129
July 2017


Cycle User Survey

Campaign member Stephen Watson would like to find out about who cycles in Loughborough, what problems they encounter, and what they would like to see changed. He has therefore set up an online survey that can be accessed at https://goo.gl/forms/GEmaI3KCuRCC0Oi03. He says “It would be great if you could:

  1. Fill it in!
  2. Give feedback on where it needs to be improved;
  3. Tell others to fill it in.

Cycling is over-hyped?

Alex Morton (who helped draft the Conservative 2015 manifesto) writing in conservativehome ( goo.gl/nsjP2d ) asserts that:

“The rise of cycling, particularly within Conservative circles, has been over-hyped (you might even call it post-truth). It is true that the number of miles cycled has risen by 34 per cent since 2000. But as the graph below shows, this increase has been from a very low number to another low number.

The number of miles travelled per person by car as passenger or driver stood at 5,150 compared to 53 miles by bicycle – around one per cent. Even this rise is basically due to a doubling of cycling in London (though it still only makes up a fraction of London miles travelled).”

His argument is that :

“The Government should continue to put car use at the heart of transport policy. The £1 billion a year spending on roads announced recently was good news – but needs context, and to be part of a consistent narrative. Along with home ownership, the automobile is a great promoter of freedom and a better life. Like home ownership, it is desired by most people, but derided by some political and policy commentators. Conservatives must loudly champion the car – while helping fix its downsides”

Ed. It would seem that a section of the Conservative party want to pursue what they consider to be a populist agenda, ignoring the facts that:

  • a majority of the population would like to cycle if they felt it was safe;
  • in Europe many countries have achieved high levels of cycling, reducing the cost of living for their populations;
  • however they are powered, cars use irreplaceable resources in both their construction and use;
  • As a country we need to promote active travel if we are to have a healthy population and avoid the collapse of the NHS through the unnecessary demands placed upon it by obesity, heart disease etc. often caused by a lack of exercise.

The Derby Cycle Network Quality Map

The Derby Cycling Group have produced a map, in the style of the London Tube Map, which shows schematically the links from one location to another. It gives a rating of quality of the current cycle links in Derby based on a 5 point scale (red=bad, blue=good).

The latest version of the map together with further details can be found on their website at goo.gl/9rJM1P .

Facebook Presence

If you are on Facebook you can now find our new Facebook Page at goo.gl/gtPvJv . Please take a look and give it a “Like”.

Road Works Website for Leicestershire

A website https://leicestershire.roadworks.org/ is now available showing details of roadworks in the county. Clicking on the scale buttons reveals more detail not shown at higher levels.

Cycling and the Justice System

The All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group (APPCG) has produced its report on the workings of the justice system, in particular the quality of police investigation and the court system.

In summary it concludes that:

  • The justice system is failing to protect cyclists, both by allowing dangerous and inconsiderate driving to go unchecked, and by letting down the victims of road crashes.
  • Cyclists are too often the victims, but in a few cases they are also the perpetrators of road crime. Stronger legal grounding for a hierarchy of road users, in which children, pedestrians and people with disabilities take the highest priority, followed by cyclists, and finally drivers of vehicles, would help make the roads safer for everyone.

The APPCG sets out fourteen recommendations for how the justice system can be improved. It believes that hundreds of thousands of crimes - committed by a small minority of road users are going unrecorded by the police each year, resulting in a feeling of lawlessness and aggression that is deterring many people from cycling.

It also states that “Of our recommendations, one stands out as a priority: there has been a collapse in the number of drivers disqualified from driving. The licence to drive is a privilege, not a right.

The full report can be found at goo.gl/QZ9Dvu .

Leicestershire Police confirm close pass operation

Leicestershire Police are launching their own version of the close-pass operation first run by West Midlands Police (see goo.gl/ibq7Tx ). Undercover cycling officers equipped with body-worn cameras will film motorists who fail to allow enough space when overtaking and the culprits will be flagged down by colleagues. The force has also taken delivery of one of Cycling UK’s close pass mats to aid with driver education.

Any drivers who aren’t stopped at the scene will be traced from the vehicle's registration and any who are proven to persistently overtake too closely could face prosecution for dangerous driving.

Inspector Paul Crewe, who is overseeing the campaign, said: "We will be out on rural and urban roads but won't be announcing the locations beforehand”.

"The best outcome will be that we don't have to stop anybody because the motorists have left enough space – recommended at one and a half metres."

The force also says that it is currently considering the most effective way that members of the public can report incidents of dangerous driving or unsafe overtaking.

‘Car dooring' driver convicted

Based on an article on the Cycling UK website

Farook Yusuf Bhikhu was convicted of the offence of ‘car-dooring’ at Loughborough Magistrates Court on Monday, 5 June, bringing the end to criminal proceedings related to the death of cyclist Sam Boulton.

Mr Bhikhu was handed a £955 fine, broken down as £300 for the offence, a £30 victim surcharge and £625 court costs. This is to be paid in £20 weekly instalments.

Local school teacher Sam Boulton was cycling along London Road in Leicester on 27 July 2016. At around 1.20pm, Ms Chapple, the passenger in a private hire car, opened the door as her driver, Mr Bhikhu, parked on double yellow lines outside Leicester train station. The resulting collision knocked Sam from his bicycle and into a Citroen van being driven in the outside lane.

Sam sustained fatal injuries and tragically died later that day, on his 26th birthday.

While Ms Chapple pleaded guilty at the time of the initial hearing at Leicester Magistrates Court in March earlier this year, and was handed a £150 fine, Mr Bhikhu pleaded not guilty.

‘Car-dooring’ is a criminal offence for which both the person in charge of the vehicle at the time, and the person opening the door are potentially culpable. The offence is only punishable with a fine of up to £1,000.

Cycling UK wants to see more public awareness on the dangers of car-dooring. They could be significantly reduced through simple techniques such as the 'Dutch Reach'*.

Jeff Boulton, father of Sam, said:

"It's heartbreaking that an offence which has ended a life and caused untold trauma for my family be treated so lightly under current legislation. Car-dooring must be taken more seriously, and the only way to do that is to change the law. Only then will we see people taking the time to think before they act.

"Until we have an appropriate offence in law, I call on the Government to start investigating how they can better educate and train drivers about the dangers of car-dooring and the techniques that can prevent it from happening."

Cycling UK believes the current offence of ‘car-dooring’, which can have serious and life-changing consequences, is trivialised as a minor offence. In light of Sam Boulton's tragic death, the campaigning charity has continued to press Government to introduce a new offence of causing serious injury or death by car-dooring, with tougher penalties.

Duncan Dollimore, Cycling UK’s Senior Road Safety and Legal Campaigns officer said:

“How many Sam Boultons have to die before Government takes note, and stops treating avoidable deaths as 'accidents'? A maximum £1,000 fine is derisory, and trivialises these preventable tragedies.

“Cycling UK wants to see Government introduce a new offence of causing serious injury or death by car-dooring, with tougher penalties. It is not right or just that tragic cases, such as Sam's, see inadequate penalties handed down.”

* The Dutch Reach is a method of opening a car door for a driver (or passenger) where you use your far hand rather than the near hand. In the UK, if you are the driver, you would look to open their door with your left hand, not your right. As you reach across your chest, your body naturally turns, making it easier not just to check your mirrors for oncoming traffic (including cyclists), but also places you in a position to actually see the traffic. If it’s safe to do so, you can then open your door, and as you’re reaching across your body, you can ensure the door only opens partially, and not to its full extent.

It’s taught in the Netherlands during your driving instruction, and has been helping to save lives over there for close to fifty years. A demonstration can be viewed at goo.gl/qaAuFc.

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