This year’s AGM will take place at 7-30pm on Monday 12th March 2018 at the Toby Carvery, Forest Road, Loughborough, LE11 3HU. Please try and attend as we have had difficulty in achieving a quorum in previous years.
Proposal for Town Centre to be opened up to Cyclists
Leicestershire County Council has proposed the introduction of a new Pedestrian & Cycle Zone in Loughborough Town Centre. The changes are being proposed to make the restrictions in Loughborough Town Centre easier to understand and to reduce sign clutter so improving the attractiveness of the area. It is proposed to combine the existing pedestrian zones on Market Street, Cattle Market, Market Place, Swan Street & Biggin Street into a single zone covering the whole area and with the same restrictions throughout. The zone will become a combined 24 hour Pedestrian & Cycle Zone. Full details of the proposal can be found here .
The proposal is open to consultation and comments can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org or via this online comment form. The consultation closes on 14th March 2018.ACTION - We have long campaigned for the town centre to be made permeable for cyclists on non market days. Please register your support for this proposal and encourage your friends and anyone else sympathetic to cycling to do so.
Creating better streets
Coincidentally the Chartered Institution of Highways & Transportation has just published its study “Creating better streets: Inclusive and accessible places” which can be downloaded here .
This is a review of the issue of shared space and how it is being designed, implemented and installed across England and provides a series of recommendations to Government and industry on how this complex issue can be further improved and developed. The review’s recommendations are aimed at making our highways inclusive, safer and a positive part of the public realm and community around them.
Included in the report is the statement that “The designs of pedestrian-prioritised streets have meant that they are useable by cyclists without requiring any dedicated facilities. Again, the review has been mindful of research carried out by TRL which showed that conflicts between pedestrians and cyclists in fully pedestrianised streets are rare, with cyclists slowing and eventually dismounting as pedestrian volumes increase”.
Traffic removal: initiatives to improve the nation's health
A recent University Transport Study Group conference at University College London examined how the related problems of air pollution and congestion impact negatively on key risks to the public's health: namely cardiovascular disease, lung cancer and respiratory diseases, along with rising obesity levels brought about by the lack of physical activity due to car-dominated lifestyles and road safety fears.
A recurring message was that technological improvements (including electric vehicles) and the blunt instrument of Clean Air Zones are unlikely to solve the problem. In many places, the volume of traffic will have to be reduced if the worst impacts on human health are to be averted.
The obvious remedy is traffic removal and Dr Steve Melia, Senior Lecturer in Transport and Planning, Centre for Transport and Society, University of the West of England has set up a website dedicated to exploring this option.
Those of us who cycle in Leicester may find this hard to believe, but Leicester is cited as an example of this policy and features in a video showing the improvements made to the city environment.
Darley Park Multi User Path Approved
Derby Cycling Group have succeeded with their campaign to build a 3m wide multi-user path alongside the river in Darley Park. This is great news for active travel in Derby and will assist those with mobility issues, certain disabilities, families with small children and buggies plus this will be a really important link in Derby’s cycle network. It adds to the overall permeability of this part of North Derby for cycle transport, and will create an obvious route for the start of the Derwent Valley Cycleway as that is developed in the future.
A major point that Derby Cycling Group made in mitigation of the objections to a path shared by pedestrians and cyclists is that there already exists such a path all along the river from Elvaston to Darley Park. This sharing of the path is nothing new, it is just an extension to a path which is already safely shared every day by hundreds and hundreds of people on foot and on bikes.
Main barrier to active school travel is fear
A School Travel Survey of Parents by Sustrans and Scottish Parent Teacher Council has unsurprisingly shown that the main barriers to active travel for children as perceived by their parents were:
- it isn't safe (practical, e.g. traffic) (42.4%)
- lack of cycle routes (29.0%)
- it's too far to walk (22.1%).
20mph limits reduce death and injuries
A holistic and sophisticated evaluation of the roll-out of 20 mph speed limits across the city of Bristol found:
- Statistically significant reductions in average traffic speeds of 2.7mph, a larger reduction than seen in previous evaluations in other cities;
- A drop in the number of fatal, serious and slight injuries from road traffic collisions, equating to estimated cost savings of over £15 million per year;
- Despite majority support for the limits, people are still concerned about other drivers’ compliance and behaviour;
- Walking and cycling across Bristol has increased, both among children travelling to school and adults travelling to work.
The authors conclude that Bristol is a model for other UK towns and cities to follow.
Cycle networks save lives
According to a new study, 167 European cities between them could prevent over 10,000 premature deaths a year if they reached a 24.7% cycling mode share. To make their assessment, the researchers modelled the association between cycling network length and cycling mode share, and estimated the health impacts of expanding the networks by different amounts.
Their ‘all-streets scenario’ produced the greatest benefits for London with 1,210 premature deaths avoidable annually, followed by Rome (433); Barcelona (248); Vienna (146); Zurich (58); and Antwerp (7). See website.
Young people losing interest in owning cars?
Academics looking at why car ownership has dropped so markedly amongst young people over the last 25 years have concluded that it’s mostly to do with sweeping changes to socio-economic conditions and living circumstances, e.g. the rise in lower paid and less secure jobs, a decline in home ownership and more going into higher education.
Driving licenses among young people peaked in 1992/4, with 48% of 17-20 year olds and 75% of 21- 29 year olds holding a driving licence. By 2014, driving licence holding had fallen to 29% of 17-20 year olds and 63% of 21- 29 year olds.
Between 1995-99 and 2010-14 there was a 36% drop in the number of car driver trips per person made by people aged 17-29, with a fall of 44% for men and 26% for women. The difference in the amount of car driving between young women and young men became negligible by 2010 -14. Young people generally travel less now, with the total number of trips per person made by young men falling by 28 % between 1995-99 and 2010-14, whilst the number of trips made by young women fell by 24%.
There has been a small increase in the number of trips per person on public transport. The number of walking trips per person has fallen whilst the number of cycling trips per person has remained broadly constant. More details here.
Cycling fights Alzheimer’s disease
Can exercise improve cognitive symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease (AD)? A study by Gregory A Panza et al concludes that it can help.
These researchers in the USA who carried out a meta-analysis of evidence concluded that: “… exercise training may delay the decline in cognitive function that occurs in individuals who are at risk of or have AD, with aerobic exercise possibly having the most favorable effect.”
Cycling is, of course, an aerobic exercise.
Published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. More details here.
Cycle mileage up
The Department for Transport (DfT) has just published its round-up of walking and cycling statistics for 2016, England.
- Only 2% of all trips were cycled in 2016, the same proportion as it’s been for years;
- However, the average person said they clocked up more cycle miles over the year, and rode further per trip compared to a decade ago (53 miles (+26%) / 3.5 miles (+50%) respectively);
- According to GB traffic counts, total miles cycled in GB has gone up by 23% since 2006 (although 2016’s 3.5 billion miles pales beside 1949’s 15 billion).