National Bike Week 2004
The two Bike Week rides went well but could have coped with a higher attendance.
The sponsored ride across Garendon run in conjunction with Holywell School attracted some 40 riders which was fewer than we had hoped. We couldn't have asked for better weather and the feedback was that everyone enjoyed themselves. We will review the situation over the coming months and perhaps look at extending the invitation to all the primary schools in Loughborough on a similar basis.
The Pedalling Picnic followed the same format as last year and was again well supported with 35 riders and weather that improved as the day wore on.
Annual Pub Ride - Monday 9th August
Don't miss the annual pub ride on Monday 9 August. Take advantage of one of the remaining "light" evenings before autumn sets in to pedal a few miles to a friendly hostelry for some liquid refreshment and a chat. Hope to see you at the start outside John Storer House at 7-30pm.
Assessing our Highway Authority
The English Regions Cycling Development Team (ERCDT) has sought feedback from all cycling groups in England as to how their highway authority has progressed in the implementation of cycling policy over the last year. Last year ERCDT carried out its own assessment of highway authorities and presented each of them with a report and guidance for future action. This year the authorities are being asked to self-assess their own progress and information from cycling groups will be put alongside this to enable ERCDT to track progress. A report will then go to the regional Government office and may be taken into account when awarding funding. We managed to complete an assessment to meet the deadline of 23rd July 2004.
Full details of the survey can be found at www.nationalcyclingstrategy.org.uk/la_review.html and our submission can be viewed at :- http://homepage.ntlworld.com/john.catt/Assessment/Assessment.htm .
Car costs down
Between 1997 and 2003, the cost of travelling by car in real terms fell 4.8%, by train rose by 3% and by bus rose by 8.2%.
Vehicle speeds in GB: 2003
These latest National Statistics show that the proportion of motorists exceeding the speed limit in 2003 hardly changed from 2002. On 30mph speed limited roads, 58% of cars exceeded that limit compared to 59% in 2002. On 40mph speed limited roads, 27% of cars exceeded the limit with 10% exceeding 45mph, this remained the same as 2002. The number of motorcycles travelling at more than 35mph on 30 mph limit roads has risen from 24% in 2002 to 29%. The survey also showed a rise in the number of HGVs speeding, with 52% of 2 axle HGVs exceeding the limit, with 21% of them by more than 5mph.
(20/05/04 DfT press release)
Company car tax reforms
This evaluation report from the Inland Revenue highlights that the company car tax reform has reduced business mileage by up to 400 million miles per year, and saved business £35M per year. 200,000 tonnes of carbon have been removed from the atmosphere thanks to this reform . The full report is available at : www.inlandrevenue.gov.uk/cars/cct_eval_rep.pdf .
(29/04/04 IR press release).
Death of Bernard Stieler
We were saddened to learn of the death of Bernard (age 87) following a crash in the vicinity of the Epinal Way/Ling Road roundabout when he was riding his bicycle. Details are not yet available.
Bernard was a participant in one of our National Bike Week rides out to Sileby almost ten years ago and he could be seen regularly riding around town on his shopper.
2003 Cycle Casualties
Provisional figures released by the Government show that in absolute numbers cycling fatalities fell by 12% in 2003 compared with 2002, serious injuries fell by 1% and there was a small rise is slight injuries. Cycle traffic fell by about 5%. Overall, the severity ratio was 14.2% and has changed little over the past 5 years. Road casualties in GB, main results 2003.
CHOOSING HEALTH? CHOOSING TO CYCLE.
This is the title of a paper prepared by the National Cycling Strategy Board in response to the Government objective of increasing the amount of exercise undertaken throughout the population.
The Summary recommendations of the NSC Board to the Government are :-
- Government targets for physical activity will only be achieved by helping people to build activity into their daily lives. Cycling is an ideal way for people to do this.
- Changes in the last 50 years in the way we travel have had a profound impact on public health. The dominance of the motor car in transport policy has increased health inequalities notably within road traffic casualties, but also through increased community severance and reductions in physical activity.
- Cycling has the potential to make significant improvements to public health through enabling regular physical activity, reducing air pollution, improving road safety, and improving social cohesion.
- The effective promotion of cycling requires an integrated approach, including: infrastructure provision; changes to land use patterns; cultural changes; fiscal policy; improved traffic law enforcement; provision of information; action to reduce the main disincentives to cycling.
- The NHS and wider health sector must also play a crucial part, including: enabling local partnerships; addressing action to access to healthcare sites; removing other incentives to use sedentary forms of travel; undertaking monitoring and research; emphasising the health-promoting role of all NHS professionals.
- Towns and cities in continental Europe which encourage and reward cycling and walking, and which restrain private motor traffic, are not backwaters, but are among the most civilised and economically prosperous communities in the world. The National Cycling Strategy Board strongly recommends the active encouragement of cycling and walking as a central component of the White Paper.
In a second paper amongst "Potential key goals" it makes the point that:
Cycling can make enormous contributions to public health targets, but only if people are able to cycle regularly, as part of their daily activities. This will only be the case if the roads are perceived to be safe places to cycle. We would therefore like to see cycling integrated into mainstream transport provision, and while we support the development of an off-road network, we would also like to see the encouragement of on-road cycling. It is important that cycling is seen as a central or primary issue in designing and planning integrated transport networks to avoid it being marginalised and seen as being an activity that is undertaken away from the main road network.
We believe that a crucial contribution to public health can be made by the Department for Transport investing seriously in cycling as a priority mode of transport for short journeys. We note the recent report from the Health Select Committee1 which comments that achievement of the National Cycling Strategy targets 'might achieve more in the fight against obesity than any individual measure we recommend within this report.A serious investment in cycling is needed which mirrors that made in cities in continental Europe. Cities such as Copenhagen, Odense and Amsterdam have seen dramatic increases in levels of cycling as a result of:
- A serious commitment to cycling as a viable mode of transport ;
- Re-prioritisation of the transport planning system to favour the bicycle;
- Investment in an infrastructure that offers cyclists the opportunity to reach all major destinations in a safe environment
One of the most important barriers to cycling in the current transport environment is fear, as a result of the high speed and volume of road traffic. We recommend that a far more concerted approach is taken to speed management, with continued support for traffic safety cameras, traffic calming, and 20mph zones. This should be allied to real efforts to reduce the volume of road traffic, through reducing the need to travel. This will achieve multiple benefits through reduced casualties and an improved environment for cycling and walking.
The full papers can be seen at :-