Loughborough & District
Cycle Users' Campaign

Pedal Power

Issue 70
September 2007



Local Cycle Facilities being improved

Leicestershire County Council, which is now responsible for most of the cycle routes in Loughborough, is now in the process of refurbishing the Woodbrook path and other cycling facilities around the town. In addition Ray Clay has been advised that a shared use footway/cycleway is to be introduced on the north side of Epinal Way between Warwick Way and Knightthorpe Road. This will be included in a scheme proposed for the Knightthorpe Road junction.

The Park Road junction at Tesco is being assessed as part of a Local Safety Scheme and local cyclists are to be consulted.

Signage of the cycle routes in Loughborough is being reviewed and a working party from the Charnwood Cycle User Group will be liaising with officers from the county on this.

Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics

The Department for Transport recently published figures showing the number of deaths per billion kilometres travelled. This makes it appear that walking and cycling are 17 and 14 times riskier than taking a car. However if you try basing the figures on hours of exposure, by applying an assumed speed, the risk looks a lot lower. Walking then comes in slightly higher than the car and cycling has just over twice the risk (with about one death for every 2 million hours of riding).

Source: DfT Deaths per bn.
av. speed kph
Deaths per bn.
hours travelled
Motorcycle 113809040
Walking 495 245
Bicycle 3815 570
Car 2.8 75 210
Train 0.475 30
Bus0.350 15

If the proportion of time non car owners spend on much safer public transport is taken into account, the overall "travel" risk is probably lower than for those who use a car to go everywhere.

In Town Without My Car - Saturday 22 September

Members are assisting with this event which will involve a display on various tranport options on the charity stall in Market Square plus a new bus on display at the Derby Square end of Market Street. There should also be a cycle repair van nearby.

From the Spring Conference 2007 - Derby
based on a report from the Derby Cycle Campaign

Dr John Stubbs, from the Department of Geography at Derby University, discussed some of the key issues involved in attempts to effect modal shift from car to bicycle.

He concluded that trying to increase cycling in the context of ever rising and unconstrained car usage is a Sisyphean task, for as fast as cycling schemes may be implemented the attractiveness of the motor vehicle beckons (speed, economy, comfort) and effectively nullifies the attempt to promote cycling. The current Government plans to relax planning legislation to hasten the construction of more roads and peripheral urban development does not bode well for the long term future of cycling (or walking and public transport).

He concludes, on the basis that achieving improved community health and a better urban environment, together with a modal shift from car usage are the main objectives, that campaigning must focus firmly on advocating robust transport demand management policies. Just implementing cycle promotion schemes alone, while necessary, is unlikely to be sufficient to secure the future for tomorrow's cyclists.

For Dr Stubbs' annotated slide presentation, 'Facing the Challenges' click here for the PowerPoint versions and here for a word file.

Unfit for Purpose: How Car Use Fuels Climate Change and Obesity
base on an articles in CTC newsnet

This report from the Institute for European Environmental Policy claims to show that the main cause of obesity is falling activity levels - and the biggest culprit is not less time spent at the gym or playing sport, but simply walking around less.

The researchers found that since the mid-Seventies the proportion of households without a car has halved, from 41 per cent to 19 per cent. At the same time the average time an adult spends walking has fallen from 87 hours to 67 hours a year, while time spent driving has risen from 91 to 151 hours. Based on these figures, the report calculates that the average adult burns 26 fewer calories a day - leading to an average weight gain of 2lb 11oz each year. See http://www.ieep.eu/publications/publications.php?pub=68392

Coincidentally the National Heart Forum has issued a new report. Building Health showing that the layout of towns, cities and buildings influences the amount of exercise which people take in their daily lives. The report recommends changing transport policies in which ‘the car is king’, and locating housing, shops and services to encourage walking and cycling. It looks in detail at what can be done to reverse the current trend towards an urban environment that discourages physical activity and instead create communities that emphasise quality of life. See http://www.heartforum.org.uk/Publications_NHFreports_Pub_BuildHealth.aspx

Cycle facilities encourage cycling but don’t improve safety
based on an article in CTC newsnet

Three Danish researchers have published what is probably the largest ever study of the safety impacts of cycle facilities. Based on analysis of 8,500 cyclist collisions, 1,500 traffic counts and 1,000 interviews, the researchers found that cycle facilities do indeed encourage more people to cycle and make cyclists feel safer; yet the reality is that they actually reduce cyclists’ safety, with improvements in cyclists’ safety between junctions being outweighed by increased risk at or near junctions. The executive summary in English is available at www.trafitec.dk/publikauk.htm.

The researchers conclude that well-designed cycle facilities do have their place (the health benefits of extra cycling far outweigh the increased injury risk ). However, nobody should assume that it is necessarily safer for cyclists to use them – if anything, this research rather suggests the opposite. If this report had come out 6 months earlier, it might have made it a lot easier to convince the government that the use of cycle facilities should not be specifically recommended in the Highway Code.

Cycling on the up
based on an article in CTC newsnet

The British population cycled a total of 4.6bn kilometres in 2006, compared with 4.4bn km the previous year, according to Government figures http://tinyurl.com/2gam6e . The 5% increase takes cycle use to its highest level since 1992. It remains to be seen whether this is merely a statistical blip (statistics on cycle use are notoriously unreliable), a function of last summer’s hot weather, or a sign of a real trend towards increased cycle use.

Connect2 at Watermead Country Park

The Connect2 Project aims to create new pedestrian and cycle links through Watermead Country Park connecting the Soar valley communities of Birstall, Syston, Thurmaston and Cossington to each other and to Leicester.

It is part of a package of projects being presented by Sustrans to compete for the £50M from the Big Lottery Fund through an ITV show due to be broadcast in December. If successful the Watermead project would receive £700K and release further funding from local organisations including Leicestershire County Coucil bringing the total to £1M+. Further information can be found at http://tinyurl.com/2ronzw .

Bike Week 2008 will be 14-22 June.

Following a competitive pitch process the Bike Week Steering Group has selected Limelight Sports and Forster as its new events and communications agencies for 2008. Limelight Sports will be handling event coordination, while Forster will lead on brand development, marketing and communications.

10 Downing Street Petition on Road Safety

20 people on average are killed weekly by work-related road crashes (UK Government statistics). Employers often cause or contribute to these deaths by excluding driving from their Health & Safety arrangements.

There is now a petition on the Number 10 website stating "We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to 'Reduce Work-Related Road Risks'". If you wish to support this the petition can be found at http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/petitionforkaren .

Dutch Cycling goes from strength to strength
based on an a Guardian article

The distance that the Dutch cover on their bicycles every day has increased by nearly 10 percent in the past five years, according to the country's Central Bureau for Statistics. Every man, woman and child in the Netherlands cycled an average of 1 mile per person per day in 2006 - more than 8.7 billion miles in all.

The Dutch Cycling Union (ENFB) thinks it's tied to increasing traffic congestion and the difficulty of finding parking places in city centres. ``What you see is that it's in the cities and busiest areas that the use of bikes has increased the most,'' said spokesperson Miriam van Bree. She said that cities were increasingly promoting bicycle use as a way of meeting pollution and energy-use reduction targets.

Another factor may be that in 2002, the Transportation Ministry introduced a tax deduction of up to 950 euro for bikes purchased for use in commuting to work.

According to a new EU report Attitudes on issues related to EU Transport Policy - Analytical report, 2007, "Non motorized transportation is the most popular in the Netherlands, where 46% of citizens name walking or cycling as their primary mode of daily mobility.

Cycle sales in the Netherlands rose by 9% in 2006 and 2007 looks even better.

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