Loughborough & District
Cycle Users' Campaign

Pedal Power

Issue 58
September 2005



Bobbies on Bikes – based on a report in the Loughborough Echo

Police community support officers in Mountsorrel, Birstall and Castle Donington have been provided with bicycles using a £5,000 grant from the Home Office. Chief Supt. Geoff Feavyour, north area commander is quoted as saying “Bikes have proven to be a positive form of transport and the local community has welcomed the new equipment. They give PCSOs flexibility to cover their villages more effectively while being accessible to the public. We are keen to increase our visibility in our villages and rural areas, but cars are expensive to run and can be a barrier between officers and the community. These bikes offer the ideal compromise”.

Bike recipient PCSO Chris Fielden who helps police Mountsorrel, said “The new mountain bikes are great because they mean we can get out and about. It benefits the communities we work in and they love seeing us out and about. The bikes enable us to get personal with both criminals and communities. Anyone who sees us out or about should feel free to stop us and have a chat so we can get to know as many people as possible in the communities we work in.”

Charnwood Cycle Consultative Group

The Group has been dealing with several issues lately and one matter that is receiving close attention is the proposed further development of the Tesco site in Shelthorpe. A decision on the application had been deferred by Charnwood Borough Council and Tesco are preparing a new plan which will detail the proposed cycling facilities, one of the proposals being the provision of a cycle track on Park Road and another being works within the site with cycle parking for 22 bicycles. (Ed. Will this be sufficient?) Whilst the Group supports the general proposals for cycle facilities, there are many points of detail on which members have concerns, in particular the elimination of 90° turns.

Cycling England have invited Leicestershire County Council (at very short notice) to bid for inclusion in its recently announced Cycling Demonstration Project. The project will extend to 5 towns and will run for 3 years. It would look to show that with appropriate funding a significant growth in cycle trips can be generated. After much hard work by both LCC and CBC staff, a bid had been submitted within the deadline.

On Your Bike with Nationwide – by Sophia Howard

This summer I attended the A.G.M. of the Nationwide Building Society held on Thursday 21 July 2005 in Birmingham at the International Convention Centre in Broad Street.

The 2005 Review stated that the Nationwide Building Society had been working to make a positive impact on society and the environment :-

“We have promoted car sharing, cycling and walking amongst our employees and this spring we are launching a transport awareness compaign focussing on the benefits of not using a car”.

When it came to the Question and Answer session, I asked if any of the directors had used a bicycle for a work-related journey so as to set a good example to staff. One of the Board members, Stuart Bernau, the Commercial and Treasury Director, replied that he had cycled the 18 mile journey from his home to the Nationwide HQ office in Swindon. He added that Swindon was not an ideal area for cycling because it was “too spread out”.

US obesity rises, UK not far behind – from CCN News

According to research, the rate of obesity in the USA is climbing faster than ever before. 119 million Americans are now overweight or obese, some 64.5% of the adult population. In 10 states, more than 25 per cent of adults are now obese despite campaigns to alert people to the dangers of poor nutrition and too little exercise. According to Dr Ian Campbell, chairman of the UK National Obesity Forum, the UK is only 7 years behind the US and also experiencing year-on-year rises. He said, "In this country, the government is working very hard to try and develop a strategy for obesity but at the moment very little practically is being done."
Main report: http://healthyamericans.org/
BBC report: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/4183086.stm

Cycle use down or static – from CCN News

There is conflicting information about cycle use in 2004 from two Government sources. According to Road Traffic Great Britain (RTGB), cycle use fell from 4.5 to 3.9 bkm compared with 2003. Provisional data for the first 6 months of 2005 suggests a further fall of more than 10% compared with the same period in 2004, although a small increase compared with the second half of that year. RTGB is thought to underestimate the absolute level of cycling but has proved a good indicator of trends from year to year.

The National Travel Survey (NTS), on the other hand, suggests that cycle use overall rose a little in 2004, albeit insignificantly. Given the known strong growth in London, this may also indicate a fall elsewhere. 1 in 7 people said they cycled last year, on average cycling just 36 miles in 15 journeys. Even the more optimistic National Travel Survey figures have changed little since the beginning of the millennium and remain lower than during the 1990s.

A three year review of Local Transport Plan policies is not optimistic about cycling meeting targets for growth. The interim report says that despite increasing levels of capital expenditure in cycling schemes, evidence suggests only a small increase in the number of cycling trips undertaken. Cycling probably represents the area where LTPs have delivered least. For those people who do cycle at least one journey per week, the NTS finds that cycling accounts for a quarter of all their trips. On average they make 6 trips per week, travelling a total of 14 miles, and spending just under 2 hours in the saddle. By comparison, the average motorcyclist makes 8 trips per week, travelling 90 miles in over 3hours.

GPs to remain neutral on helmets – from CCN News

After conducting its own literature review of the evidence for and against the wearing of cycle helmets, the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) has decided that the results of research are ambiguous and that there is insufficient evidence for the College to take a stand one way or the other. Its position will therefore remain neutral with no plans for a further review.

Several other medical professional bodies favour a helmet law. However, so far as is known the RCGP decision and the former BMA position not to support helmet compulsion were the only ones made after a comprehensive review of the evidence. The subsequent BMA decision to support compulsion was the direct result of lobbying without consideration of the wider evidence.

CfIT neglects cycling – from CCN News

The Commission for Integrated Transport has published a detailed reponse to the Defra consultation on Transport and Climate Change. However, the role that cycling could play in combating climate change has been almost overlooked in the response, which is concerned mainly with motor vehicle efficiency, technological changes and public transport.

In the 61 page document, the word 'cycling' appears only three times. The longest reference reads: "Cycling and walking can only account for a small proportion of total travel but they can play a vital role in reducing the need for short car journeys. These are neglected modes in policy and they require empirical assessments to provide robust harder figures to support claims of value for money."

It is difficult to be optimistic that Defra will look more favourably on the 'neglected modes' when CfIT, as its advisor, itself neglects them to such a degree, and seems to have such a limited perception of their potential.

Travel awareness grows – from CCN News

Research for the Scottish Executive suggests that public awareness of travel initiatives may be increasing. Particular improvement is seen for issues related to congestion charging and climate change. The Executive's 'Choose Another Way' campaign appears to have been successful in getting many people to think about how they travel.

Although the high levels of car dependence have not changed, most people use more than one transport mode at different times. Supermarket shopping is the most car dependent journey type. 55% of car users say they would like to reduce their car use but there are no practical alternatives, whilst 37% say they are not interested in driving less. However, only 11% of car drivers indicated that they could not practically use a bus, train, walk or cycle for any of their journeys.

More than three-quarters of respondents agreed that people should be encouraged to walk, cycle or use public transport more, just 4% disagreeing. The people most likely to cycle are 'car sceptics' or 'aspiring environmentalists', who would also most favour restrictions on car use. These two groups comprise 34% of the population, suggesting significant potential for modal shift.

Trailer Bike needs good home

John Catt and Ariadne Tampion have a trailer bike that Isobel has now out grown. They would like it to go to a good home where it will be used. If any members (or their friends) are interested please get in touch. Tel. 01509 211468.

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