Loughborough & District
Cycle Users' Campaign

b>Pedal Power

Issue 44
May 2003



A.G.M Results
The AGM took place at 7.30 on 10th March. The chart below shows the people elected at the AGM.

Job Person Job Person
Chair Ariadne Tampion Secretary Tim Birkinshaw
Treasurer David Bentley Membership Sec. John Catt
Publicity Officer Stephen Coleman Newsletter Editor Sophie Catt
Children's Officer Sophie Catt

Committee: Clive Davis, Ruth Youngs, Roger Hill, Anthony Kay.

Hi from the new Newsletter Editor

I am called Sophie Catt, I am 9 years old and I am the new Newsletter Editor. I am already the Campaign's Children's officer. I will try to keep both jobs filled.

Promoting Cycling as Transport for the Young

At the meeting it was discussed as to why children are not learning how to cycle properly. It was agreed that since many of their parents have never cycled as adults, they are unable to provide either an example or help. This leads to children just cycling in their gardens and on the pavement. It was agreed that getting more parents to cycle would mean more children cycling and in addition educating children about cycling might also make parents aware of the importance and advantages of cycling.

It was decided that fun rides could be held for children to promote cycling and Sophie Catt would endeavour to produce a small pull-out childrens' newsletter for children in the Campaign together with a small booklet for children to go with the membership form.

Gardening is Riskier than Cycling!

Australian research shows injury to be more likely when gardening than when cycling.

Researchers from the Central Queensland University in Rockhampton surveyed 1,337 people for a report on sport and recreation injuries. One in six respondents had required medical treatment in this period, with 5% of gardeners having suffered injury warranting attention compared to 3.9% of cyclists.

Sydney Morning Herald, 17th January 2003

This year's programme

BMJ urges more GPs to get on their bikes

In an article in the British Medical Joumal's career supplement in mid February a GP argued that cycling makes you happier and healthier, and is a shining example to patients. "As congestion charges hit central London, there seems no better time for those affected to start cycling to work. But how practical is it for doctors (and GPs in particular) to opt for their bikes over their cars?"

The question was answered by Maidstone GP John Green. "A working lifetime exhorting patients from your comfortable swivel chair to take control of their health and fitness, while you fail to do so, is unlikely to be satisfying." said Dr. Green. He listed GP's usual objections to cycling, and attempted to overcome them.

Read Full Report

Childrens' Help Please

Jokes, puzzles and any thing you would like to be featured in the children's newsletter. For the children's news letter I need children to send me their comments on cycling, Book reviews, to: Children's News Letter, 32 Bramcote Road, Loughborough, Leics. LE11 2SA or e-mail them to: sophie.catt@ldcuc.org.uk.

Obesity in Children Debate

Dr Howard Stoate MP, in a Westminster Hall debate, raised the issue of obesity. In the UK, 10% of children are now obese, double that of 10 years ago. Lengthy debate was held about the rise being due to changes in eating habits and reduced activity levels: a third of 2 - 7year olds do not undertake the minimum recommended weekly exercise levels, and two thirds of 15 year old girls are physically inactive. Less than 5% of children now walk or cycle to school, compared to 80%, 20 years ago.

Parents safety fears must be overcome to raise these levels, and it must be easier and more attractive for children and parents to walk or cycle to school. Mr David Lammy MP, Health minister, acknowledged the obesity problem and highlighted work underway to encourage rises in activity levels. These include safer routes to schools, travel plans, and funding to encourage walking and cycling to school.

(22/01/03 HofC 125-134WH).

Cycling on footpaths/without lights

Several cycling PQ's from Mr Cox MP, asking what policies are being used to deter adults from cycling on footpaths. Bob Ainsworth MP, Home Office minister replied that "cycling inconsiderately or irresponsibly on public footpaths is a criminal offence". Such an offence is viewed seriously when likely to cause danger, and appropriate action may be a £30 fixed penalty notice which can be issued by both police officers and community support officers (CSO).To help with enforcement of this, metropolitan police have funding to recruit 500 additional CSO's. In 2001, 2 prosecutions were made against cyclists without lights and 11 against cyclists riding on pavements in London.

(8/01/03 HofC 258W).

Cycle Storage on Trains

Dr Cable MP Lib Dem shadow Trade & Industry minister, asked when transport ministers last met the SRA to discuss cycle storage on trains. David Jamieson DfT minister replied that Transport ministers and other department ministers meet SRA executives regularly to discuss a range of issues. He reiterated that the SRA 'continues to encourage' secure cycle storage at train stations and also carriage on trains 'where this is feasible', and that train operators are encouraged to tailor their bicycle provision to demand.

(16/01/03 HofC 700-1W).

Helmets and brain injury

A paper by Bill Curnow challenges the interpretation of scientific evidence about the causes of serious injury to the brain. Drawing upon extensive medical evidence, the author suggests that angular (rotational) acceleration is the main cause of brain injury, especially as a result of road crashes. Diffuse axonal injury (DAI) – a consequence of angular rotation – is the cause of the most serious injuries and long-term disability. Cycle helmets are designed and tested only to minimise focal injuries. There is no evidence that they reduce rotational injuries.

Curnow goes on to criticise the conclusions of a metaanalysis of cycle helmet research undertaken for the Australian Government. This is relevant to the UK as the same research was used as the basis for the recent DfT helmets review. Pro-helmet road safety interests have been quick to criticise Curnow but without reference to the detail of his analysis. Some doctors, on the other hand, believe that the work has merit and deserves closer evaluation.

The efficacy of bicycle helmets against brain injury, W.J. Curnow,

Recycling Bicycles

Many bikes are thrown away or lie rusting in garages in the UK, while people in Less Developed Countries are without transport apart from their feet. Walking can take up to 4 hours per day (e.g. collecting water, walking to field or town), lowering work / productive time. The Charity Re~Cycle's mission is to collect and ship second hand bicycles and parts to LDCs. With the help of their partners they teach local people the skills of how to repair and maintain them, to improve their lives in a sustainable manner.

ABC (Action for a Better Charnwood) would like to support the charity and think that the Waste Site at Sileby could be a potential collection site for bicycles as some of it is under cover. They wonder if there might be a campaign member, or anyone else anyone is aware of, who might be prepared to take on the project.


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