National Bike Week 12 - 20 June 2004
The next campaign meeting on 12th January will be devoted to working out what programme we wish to follow during National Bike Week. Hopefully there will be a repeat the very successful Pedalling Picnic, travelling by train on the Great Central from Quorn to Leicester and then back to Rothley for a picnic lunch. This is followed by a cycle ride back to Quorn via lanes with tea stop at Stonehurst Farm, Mountsorrel. This was very much down to the work of Ray Clay for the CTC.
This year the Parent/Staff Association (PSA) of Holywell Primary School have expressed an interest in a sponsored ride between Gorse Covert and Shepshed across Garendon Park. An outline plan has been drawn up which still has to be approved by the PSA but they have made it clear that if they are to proceed they will need the assistance of some cyclists. It would probably be a marshalled event with riders leaving during a time window of about an hour and would take place on a weekday evening. We need to agree as to whether the Campaign wishes to promote this event and how we would like to take it forward.
Hopefully you will be able to attend this meeting since you may have other ideas and we will need a team to work together on this project.
Mandatory helmet Bill to be laid before Parliament
Eric Martlew, Labour MP for Carlisle, is to put before the UK Parliament a Bill which would make it illegal for under 16-year olds to cycle without wearing a cycle helmet.
Mr. Martlew is seventh in the list of promoters of Private Members Bills in the new Parliament. He has chosen to use the opportunity in support of the Bicycle Helmet Initiative Trust which is pressing to make cycle helmets mandatory for all cyclists. Other legislatures started with legislation for children as a relatively soft and very emotive issue that is likely to gain maximum public support. It is not yet clear whether Martlew's Bill will apply only to cycling on a public highway or in any place.
(Ed. note:- Since the publication of the newsletter we have received a letter from Amanda Woodard, PR Manager for the Bicycle Helmet Initiative Trust, in which she states that :-
"The Bicycle Helmet Initiative Trust does NOT want to make cycle helmets compulsory for all cyclists.
The trust which is a registered charity, although concerned with the safety of all cyclists, has only ever campaigned to make helmets compulsory for children.")
The Bill could damage the prospects for success of the National Cycling Strategy Board's initiative to encourage cycling to school, and also the Government's new Active Communities project which seeks to double by the end of the decade the number of people taking regular exercise. Everywhere that cycle helmets have been made compulsory, cycle use has fallen dramatically, especially amongst younger people. On 18th December, hours before Martlew's Bill was announced, the Health Survey for England revealed that one-third of children aged between 2 and 15 are overweight or obese, a 50% increase since the mid 1990s. These are the very children that will be targeted by the proposed legislation, making it even less likely that children will be able to avoid being a victim of the worst epidemic in the western world.
It is unclear what parliamentary time will be accorded to the Private Member's Bill. However, it is possible that the Bill might succeed. The signing by over 80 MPs at the end of the last parliament of an EDM calling for mandatory helmets for all cyclists is a bad precedent.
CCN and CTC wish to see helmet wearing remain a matter of choice and will be working hard to counter this Bill which perpetuates the myth that cycling is dangerous. (based on an item on www.cyclenetwork.org.uk)
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