This year’s AGM will take place at 7-30pm on Monday 11th March 2019 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.
Leicester Cycling Campaign Group have sent an open invitation to all cyclists in the vicinity to attend talks following the formal business of their AGM at Leicester Secular Hall on Saturday 30th March at 11am (AGM 10-11am). The urban design engineer Brian Deegan has agreed to give a talk and they are hoping to get a couple of people carrying out cycling-related research at the local universities to speak about their work.
Brian has been working with Leicester City Council to draw up a Healthy Streets design guide. His skills have also been applied to the major restructuring of London Road, the main A6 where it passes Leicester Railway Station, which is now well under way. He will talk on his work in Leicester and elsewhere and the plan is to look at progress on the ground on the way to lunch afterwards, weather permitting.
The aim is to finish by 1pm, with a safari before lunch in a local eating house for those able to stay (pay your own way).
Loughborough University has invited Professor David Bishop, an internationally acknowledged expert on the adaptations to training, and four other academics to talk about cycling performance on Thursday, 28 March 2019 17:30 – 20:00 . It should be a very interesting couple of hours and pre-registration for a place is essential because the symposium will attract a large audience. Go to bit.ly/cycling-science if you are interested.
Fionnula from Dublin received a response to her letter (see “Oh to see ourselves as others see us” Pedal Power January 2019) from Customer Services at Leicestershire County Council. It included:-
In the past there has been a team that dealt solely with cycling and providing and improving cycling facilities. Unfortunately with reorganisations and a need to reduce spending this team does not now exist so there is no cycling officer per se. I have been cycling for many years also and have over time seen a vast improvement in cycling facilities in Leicester and although these could be improved further they are significantly better than they used to be.
Taking each of the points you have raised into consideration.
Points 1&2 Shared use cycle ways are a cost effective way of allowing cyclists to cycle without having to be in live traffic and the issues this entails. They should be used where the width of the footway is enough to accommodate all users although this hasn’t always been the case. This does put an onus on cyclists to be mindful of other users and unfortunately they need to slow down and give way at road crossings. It is up to the cyclists to weigh up the pros and cons of using the road and being in traffic but it does give them the option.
Point 3, the junction is as at is and like most junctions it is shaped as a T. There are crossing facilities for pedestrians so you do have the option to dismount and use these to cross during the pedestrian phase.
Point 4 the crossing is staggered as it works on two legs for each side so pedestrians need to wait again in the central refuge for the lights to change before crossing. The stagger ensures people do this. It also ensures they turn to face oncoming traffic. If I’ve got the right crossing which is just south of the Park Road roundabout with Epinal Way then this is a pedestrian crossing and the width between the barrier will generally be less.
Point 5 Driver behaviour and awareness is something that is difficult to counter as it relies on the drivers taking note. There are usually markings on the road to show where the cycle lane finishes and goes onto the road. I should say that because of the university there is a larger proportion of people who do cycle in Loughborough.
Point 6 where the path from the canal goes up to Belton Road there are steps which are for pedestrians, this is not intended for use by cyclists as part of a route although cyclists can use it. Unfortunately separate funding for improvements to cycle routes and for new cycle routes does not exist from County Council budgets so we wouldn’t consider making improvements here.
Any improvements are usually identified as part of a new development and the developer would fund them as part of the planning agreement.
Regarding the gravel, cyclists like all road user need to be aware that they can encounter hazards such as loose gravel and to cycle with due caution.
Point 7 Park Road and Forest Road are not classified as cycle routes at this point and so they wouldn’t be signed as such. The cycle route, route 2, begins at the junction of Browns Lane and Forest Road and although some of this is on road it is signed.
It is difficult to compare cycling in Dublin, a city, with a town like Loughborough. The population of Dublin is 10 times that of Loughborough so any improvements to cycling facilities would have a higher usage and there is more of a demand for such facilities.
Your passion for cycling is appreciated along with your desire to improve cycling facilities in Loughborough, I have cycled in Loughborough quite a bit myself and for where I was going the cycling facilities were of benefit. However the County Council needs to be realistic with what it can achieve and there are no current plans for a review of the cycle routes in Loughborough.
Councils should develop and maintain routes that give priority to pedestrians, cyclists and those using public transport over motorised vehicles, NICE [the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence] has stated in a draft quality standard.
The body calls on planners to develop policies and initiatives to ensure “safe, convenient, inclusive access” for pedestrians, cyclists, and public transport passengers with priority over motorised vehicles such as cars, motorbikes and mopeds.
NICE believes that authorities can encourage people to be more active in their day-to-day lives by providing safe, convenient, active travel that is accessible for everyone, including older people and those with limited mobility.
Other statements in the draft quality standard include:
Professor Gillian Leng, deputy chief executive and director of health and social care at NICE, said: “As a society we are facing a looming Type 2 diabetes crisis, which is in part caused by people not exercising enough. We need more people to change their lifestyle and to take more exercise.
“People can feel less safe when they walk or cycle compared with when they drive. We’ve got to change this."
“So asking planners to prioritise pedestrians, cyclists and those who use public transport when roads are built or upgraded can ensure they are safe, attractive and designed to encourage people to get out from behind their wheel.”
The court case following the death of Chris Boardman’s mother has concluded. Liam Rosney had pleaded guilty in December to causing death by careless driving, and was sentenced to 30 weeks in prison and is disqualified from driving for 18 and a half months.
Speaking to the press prior to the sentencing Chris questioned how taking a life can be treated as carelessness. He said, "our legal system thinks that's OK, and it's wrong.”
No family should have to go through what the Boardmans’ have, only for an avoidable situation to be dismissed as mere carelessness. Cycling UK and the campaign groups will continue to lobby for a wider review of road traffic offences and sentencing, that will address the failings of careless and dangerous driving offences.
In other aspects of our lives, high safety standards are expected where there are inherent risks (e.g. rail and air travel, in the workplace or on construction sites), and the law creates strong obligations to avoid or minimise hazards. Although driving a motorised vehicle on a public road also presents a risk to others, the cultural attitude to that risk is different. There, lapses of concentration are regularly dismissed as ‘accidents’ or ‘carelessness’ rather than something that is avoidable, reflecting the attitude that an absence of care and the resultant collisions are inevitable.
The legal framework should instead make it clearer that it is unacceptable to endanger other road users, and that road crime is real crime.
Pothole compensation claims are costing councils 25 times more in payouts for cyclists than for motorists, an investigation by Cycling UK has found. While potholes can be an inconvenience for motorists, they are more likely to cause injury, and even death, for cyclists.