Issue 39 July 2002
YOUR MP NEEDS YOUR HELP
Andy Reed is quoted in the Echo as backing calls for tougher measures to be taken against car drivers who cause death in Britain - " I know drivers always moan about people being anti-car, but if 3000 people were killed each year by something else they would call for action.
It is time to get tough with motorists who speed, who drink and drive or drive dangerously. I know too many people who have died in their cars or as pedestrians to let this go on.
I have been moved by constituents who have raised this issue with me when they have lost their loved ones. I have lost too many family and friends as well to the car.
I have taken this up with my ministerial colleagues and would urge local people, the local media and other organisations to push this issue as a matter of priority."
Andy has also been in touch on the Safeway Parking issue. I quote from his letter of 26 June.
"As you are aware, I am very concerned about transport policy in general as well as the environmental impact of what is actually happening at a local level. Could you let me know if there was any tangible result from your letter to Safeway - and whether there is anything useful I could do to assist your campaign? Grassroots action is an essential contribution to the aim of improving both the environment and our transport system." See below for an update on the Safeway saga.
From this and conversations I have had with Andy, it is apparent that whilst he can lead to some extent, he cannot move too far away from mainstream opinion if he is to be electable. Consequently he relies on groups such as ourselves to help move public opinion so that he can work with the grain rather than against it. Hence our letters to the local press and other actions we take in promoting cycling help him in making it practical for him to support the policies we advocate. So we need to keep the letters and the media debate going.
SAFEWAY CYCLE PARKING - THE SAGA CONTINUES
A response was received from David Webster, the Chairman of Safeways, dated 7 June following our letter of complaint as reported last month. It read as follows :-
"Thank you again for your letter of 3rd May. I appreciate your taking the time to highlight the difficulty cyclists face when using our Loughborough store and certainly I can fully understand the reluctance to leave a bike unsecured.
Having now obtained a quotation for the replacement of the existing concrete slabs with steel posts, the work has been authorised and twelve bicycle stands will be in place shortly."
Unfortunately they installed "wheel bender" stands and Ray Clay has been in touch again and we are hopeful that these will be replaced with Sheffield stands. If not we may need to take up Andy Reed's offer of assistance.
WHAT? SITTING DOWN AGAIN?
If you were at Picnic In The Park you will remember the glorious hot sunny weather. We've only had it in short bursts this year so far, but that weekend was the best. The relocation of the Campaign stand from under a tree to open space beside the bandstand saw me fretting and overworking the tube of sunblock, but on balance I think it was a better location and our selection of cycles certainly attracted interest. John had made some tiny cards (about half-credit card size) simply publicising the Campaign web site, from which he has put links to many specialist cycle equipment suppliers. We managed to hand out a large number of these. If any members would like a supply to keep for handing out, please let John know.
The most encouraging thing I found about Picnic In The Park was the number of queries we had from young families looking for suitable ways to convey the children by pedal power. For it's undoubtedly true that habits acquired early are easiest to maintain throughout life. The much-quoted Jesuit priest famously said: "Give me a child before the age of seven and I will make him a Roman Catholic for life." John has been reading some research on the Internet (email him if you want the details) which confirms that what goes for Roman Catholicism does just as well for car dependency. That's not to say that as adults some people don't 'see the light' in one way or another. But most of us just get on with business as usual. So the more children who grow up from an early age familiar with modes of transport other than the family car, the easier a sustainable future will be for us all.
National Bike Week struck luckier with the weather than in some years, but I for one was disappointed with the advance publicity and the fact that the magic formula for boosting numbers at the cyclists' breakfast has yet to be found. The Pedalling Picnic on the Great Central Railway, however, was very much a success, numbers being respectable and taking the form of a great variety of cycles and cyclists. OK, everybody there cycles regularly in some way, but hey, thirteen miles probably is just a bit too ambitious if you've only just dug your bike out from the back of the shed after twenty years. Big thanks are due to Ray Clay who organised it and to the Great Central who did us proud, even recycling the locomotive headboard from the CTC Birthday Rides a few years ago. I very much hope this is one which can be run every year from now on so that it becomes a local tradition and attracts numbers which everybody can be proud of.
I'd like to end my 'Chair's piece' by putting in a plug for the Campaign's annual pub social on 12th August. We're planning to revisit last year's venue of the Kings Arms at Hathern. It's cycle-path all the way (albeit of rather dubious quality) and even though Billy Bear's will be closed by the time we get there, the children's outdoor playground is pretty good. And don't forget the annual inspection ride around Loughborough cycle ways on 8th July. Meet outside JSH at 7:30pm for both rides (or go directly to Hathern in August and meet the rest of us there).
The next CCN/CTC cycle planning conference will take place in Liverpool on Saturday 2nd November 2002. Please see the CCN Website or contact John Catt for details.
Road Deaths and Injuries - 2001 (from CCN News)
Provisional figures for 2001 show that cyclists fatalities rose by 9%, from 127 to 138. But serious and minor injuries fell, from 2,643 to 2,541 (-4%) and 17,842 to 16,415 (-7%) respectively. Cycle mileage during the period is estimated to have fallen by 4%. The rise in fatalities has been much influenced by statistics from Greater London, where cyclist deaths rose 50% last year, from 14 to 21.
Road vs Rail fatalities (from CCN News)
A Parliamentary Question reveals the difference in how rail and road deaths are seen by the media and society. The Potter Bar rail crash on May 10th killed 7 people, which received a lot of attention. There were also 16 road deaths that day, which did not.
HA vulnerable user programme (from CCN News)
The Highways Agency (HA) is progressing a programme to improve conditions for vulnerable road users (pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders) in crossing trunk roads in England. Locations where trunk roads form essential links in routes are also being considered.
In September 2000 the HA published Encouraging Sustainable Travel, as a precursor to improving conditions. Subsequently the agency's managers were instructed to survey crossing points during 2001 - 2. This survey has now been completed and will be developed into a national programme of improvements, to be published by 31st March 2003. An Improvements Programme will be implemented over the following 5 years. It is likely to encompass up to 15,000 works locations.
The HA says that it intends to involve users through consultation over the coming months. In autumn 2002 there will be liaison meetings to achieve consensus. Project leader, Roger Wright, says that he is fully aware of the need for high standards if alternative facilities are to give a practical advantage over current arrangements.
A sting in the tail may be the banning of cyclists from some trunk roads, as is currently proposed in Wales. The HA is under Government instruction to maximise use of its roads and the removal of cyclists could be hard to resist if so extensive a programme of alternative facilities has been implemented.
Encouraging Sustainable Travel: obtainable from