Loughborough & District
Cycle Users' Campaign

Pedal Power

Issue 150
January 2021


Campaign for inter Village Cycle Routes

A member of the Leicester Cycling Campaign Group, Rachael Bob, is trying to establish if there are other parents in Leicestershire who would like to campaign together for safe protected routes between Leicestershire villages/areas to allow children to visit their friends independently -reducing car dependency. In a fairly flat county where children live typically within 5 miles of each other in their school catchment areas, this should be the vision to break car dependency, live healthier lives and create better cycling for all. She would like to start lobbying the county council and is looking for like minded parents to do this with.

If you know anyone who would be interested in this please, ask them to contact Rachael via info@lccg.org.uk or their Facebook page.

Threat of Traffic Congestion

The latest Government figures show that motor traffic on Britain’s roads is back up to 100% of pre-pandemic levels, despite 28% of employees continuing to work remotely.

With over half of drivers saying having access to a car is more important now than before the pandemic, the research from the University of Westminster predicts that up to 2.7 million more people, who had previously commuted by public transport, could switch to travelling by car, causing gridlock in many UK towns and cities.

While councils in England have been allocated a further £175m from the Active Travel Fund announced in May, to create more safe space for cycling and walking, increased car congestion has resulted in vociferous cries about new cycle lanes and low traffic neighbourhoods causing gridlock and bankrupting local businesses.

But research by the Department for Transport indicates that, beneath the noisy outrage, 78% of people support traffic reduction in their local area, and 65% are in favour of reallocating road space for cycling and walking.

E-bike subsidies may get people to cycle

The Government is drafting plans to cut the cost of e-bikes by up to a third, along the lines of the current system subsidising electric cars. The full details are due to be published in the spring, following trials over the winter. Electric assist bikes overcome the perception that cycling is hard work. With c.70% of journeys under five miles being driven, e-bikes could provide an alternative to households that currently rely on two or more cars.

Urgent case for more walking and cycling

In response to inaccurate and misleading objections raised to some emergency projects, resulting in the removal of schemes to the detriment of the local communities, the Walking and Cycling Alliance has set out the case as to why we need more active travel measures, and addresses some of the criticisms made.

It makes some key points about walking and cycling being vital for people to cope with not only a global pandemic but obesity, inactivity, air quality, climate change and traffic congestion.

  1. £10-£12bn cost of obesity to the NHS by 2030 In the UK. Current cost is around £6bn;
  2. Up to 36,000 deaths every year linked to air pollution in UK;
  3. 33% of UK CO2 emissions are accounted for by road transport;
  4. £6.9bn cost to drivers of congestion in UK cities every year;
  5. 115 hours lost on average by road users in congestion every year in the UK;
  6. Only 2% of all trips in GB are cycled (19% in Denmark and 26% in the Netherlands);
  7. 68% of residents in 12 major urban areas support building more cycle lanes even when this would mean less room for other road traffic.

Active Travel budget for England slashed by 15%

The November Spending Review shows the Government failing to meet its own commitments and objectives for funding cycling and walking, with the wider funding package completely at odds with the Government de-carbonisation strategy. The Chancellor announced a 15% cut in funding for cycling and walking for 2021/22, with spending reduced to just £257m.

The move will leave councils struggling to invest in planned cycling and walking networks, and raises serious questions as to how the Government will meet its £2bn spending commitment by 2025.

Blasts from the Past

Stop the Slaughter.

From the CTC Gazette of November 1933

Wednesday November 22nd, will mark the commencement of a campaign which we hope will go on with increasing strength and determination until it is crowned with success. The C.T.C. is uniting with the Pedestrians' Association, a body of growing importance and influence, to organise a big public demonstration against the scandalous state of affairs on our roads.

For months past the motoring interests, conscious of the rising public feeling against the daily butchery, have been seeking to divert attention to the alleged iniquities of cyclists, and have scattered their propaganda broadcast through professional publicity agents. Cyclists, they urge, should be more severely disciplined. They should be compelled to carry rear lamps, to ride in single file at the extreme edge of the road, to pay a tax and carry a number-plate, to keep off the "motor roads" altogether (all new roads constructed at the public expense are now " motor roads") and generally to be kept in their place.

Well, we have had enough of this. We are now going to carry the war into the enemy's camp, and we shall not cease until something is done to make British roads safe for law-abiding British citizens. We are not content to see thousands of our fellow road users killed and tens of thousands maimed every year; and the purpose of our meeting on November 22nd, in the comfortable and capacious lecture hall at the Friends' House, Euston Road, London, is to put the case for humanity as against that for selfishness, brutality and speed-worship.

We are fortunate in having such a great humanitarian as Viscount Cecil in the chair, and a successful meeting is assured. But every corner of the hall should be filled on an occasion of this kind. "Two Million Casualties” is the text : two million killed and injured on our roads since the Great War. Many of these victims were cyclists, and in our campaign to stop the slaughter we desire to rally every cyclist in the country to our banner.

Referring to the never-ending tale of crashes, smashes, killing and maiming, followed by the almost inevitable whitewashing of the culprits, the outspoken little Quarterly News Letter of the Pedestrians' Association says:

"Why is this state of affairs allowed to continue? Is it that on this important question affecting the life and welfare of every citizen public policy is being dictated by private financial and commercial interests? Any measure of reasonable restriction is met by the reply that employment in the motoring manufacturing and transport industries would be affected. But have those interested in the motoring industry paused to consider the large number of potential buyers who have refrained from getting cars because of the daily record of death and injury, and of the many thousands more who have given up motoring in recent years because, as one prominent man put it recently.

I do not think it is any longer fair to my wife and family to expose them to such risks'? Have those interested in motoring reflected that if the accident rate were substantially reduced insurance rates would be reduced and motoring made cheaper? Is it financially to their interests to assume that their main clientele is represented by the young man who wants to get a kick out of a sports car ?

“Experience abundantly proves that cars capable of going at speeds far beyond what can be considered as reasonably safe for any highway are being driven in increasing numbers by people whose lack of skill or recklessness makes them a danger to the public. The individual road user, whether motorist, cyclist or pedestrian, cannot ensure his own safety by his own care, but is at the mercy of every fool or criminal at the wheel. Every parent of a young family dreads the day when it is necessary to send his children to school to face the hazards of the crossings and the menace of the skidding car on the footwalk, and whenever there is delay in the child's return there is acute anxiety and dread of a policeman's call with a summons to hospital or mortuary. Why should lives be lost, homes ruined, immense mental and physical torture inflicted and the peace of mind of the whole nation destroyed ? Is it because the Government considers that it is more important to pander to the selfish lust of speed of a few than to discharge its primary duty of safeguarding the lives of all citizens?"

An Old Chestnut

Extract from the CTC Gazette of May 1956

In a letter to The Times on April 17, a Mr H. R. Oliver of Guildford advocated compulsory third-party insurance of cyclists because " a motorist who swerves to avoid a cyclist and collides with a third party should be in a position to claim against the offending cyclist". He then went on to say “ As this would necessitate the registering of bicycles the Government might well spread the motor tax burden by introducing a small yearly tax".

The fallacy of such arguments was exposed in the reply by the secretary of the C.T.C, who said :

“The risk that any motorist (or other road user) may suffer injury or damage justly attributable to a cyclist is much smaller than Mr H. R. Oliver seems to think. It is so small that, for more than thirty years, the Cyclists' Touring Club has insured its members, young and old, against it entirely free of charge, and has recently extended the cover to include liability anywhere in the world.”

“The insurance of cyclists does not necessitate the registering of bicycles, as Mr Oliver suggests. It is against the offending cyclist that he would make his claim, and not against whatever cycle he happened to be riding. In any case our own cycle-insurance scheme operates quite successfully on the basis of cycle frame numbers, which are not so easily removable as are car registration plates. Perhaps, however, Mr Oliver's interest in cycle registration arises from his apparent wish to see what he calls a 'tax burden' imposed on cyclists as a whole. If so, few readers will think he has made out a good case, even if they assume that a good case for such an imposition could in fact be made out."

The second paragraph of that letter was not published.

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