Loughborough & District
Cycle Users' Campaign

Pedal Power

Issue 76
September 2008



Roundabout Distractions

It may not have come to your attention but Leicestershire County Council has sought planning permission to put up 3 or 4 adverts on just about every roundabout in Loughborough.

Whilst this might be a good way of maximising income for the council, it does not seem to be so sensible in terms of road safety. Roundabouts are notorious for being the most dangerous junctions for cyclists to negotiate. Advertising, by its nature, attracts attention, and it has to be questioned as to whether the additional income earned will justify the risk caused by distracting road users from the task of safely negotiating the junction.

If you wish to register your concerns about this, you can write to Development Control, Charnwood Borough Council, Southfields, Loughborough LE11 2TN or email development.control@charnwood.gov.uk.

Tesco reduce cycle parking

Those members who visit Tesco may have noticed that it is more difficult to find a cycle parking place at times. This is because a rack has been removed to make more room for children's amusements. If you shop at Tesco please fill in a feedback form after your next visit and let Tesco have your thoughts on this.

Towards a Sustainable Transport System

based on an article in the CTC CycleDigest

Following lengthy consultation, the Government has published documents outlining the delayed progress it is making towards a post-2014 transport policy framework. It includes a couple of interesting paragraphs on how the official attitude to safety may be evolving.

  • First, we need to be able to assess the safety implications of options cross- modally. Encouraging people to change how they travel will affect the safety risks they face in some complex ways. We need to be able to identify all these impacts, and to assess them consistently, to make sure that our decisions are informed by a full understanding of how they will affect the overall safety risks faced by transport users.
  • Second, we need to broaden our approach beyond accident-risk to pick up the public health and personal health implications of options. For example, if there is a significant increase in the number of trips made by motorbike, cycle or foot, even with mitigation measures, it is possible that there may be some residual increase in accident-risk. Though this is not an outcome that should be accepted lightly, we need to consider whether it might be more than offset by improved health outcomes from lower levels of exhaust emissions and from improved personal health from increased levels of fitness. We need to work to a position where we can capture the full range of public health costs in our assessment of interventions, for workers, users and wider society.

NHS failing to promote cycling to its own staff

Based on an article in CCN News.

The NHS has been criticised by its own staff cycling organisation for failing to follow Government guidelines on encouraging healthy travel. A recent decision to increase expenses paid to staff cyclists raised the amount to just half of the level currently paid to civil servants and many other workers.

Nationally agreed business mileage rates for NHS staff were revised in July, including the bicycle mileage rate, which is taxable above 20p per mile. This is the rate paid by many employers including the Department of Health. The standard NHS employment contract stipulates a minimum rate of 6.2p which has now been raised - but only to 10p. The 3.8p difference is less than the increases for many categories of car mileage.

The English NHS consists of just over 400 separately governed Trusts and Authorities. Earlier this year a survey found that 22% of these reimburse cyclists 20p or more per mile while 56% pay only the contractually required minimum of 6.2p (now 10p). The remaining 22% of Trusts refuse to pay bicycle mileage to employees in direct contravention of the binding staff contract.

Bike Week dates for 2009

Bike Week next year will take place from 13th to 21st June 2009, so please make a note of this in your diaries. With the continuing support of Nokia, an even bigger event is planned to build on the increasing public interest in cycling. The Bike Week website is at http://www.bikeweek.org.uk and this will carry details of next year's events as they unfold.

CCN metamorphoses into "cyclenation"

CCN is transforming into cyclenation and a new newsletter, with a new name, format and editor, will be produced in Novermber. The CCN website will also be undergoing a makeover with a new URL http://www.cyclenation.org.uk .

Quick Facts:

  • In Britain, under 2% of all journeys are made by bicycle. In the Netherlands the equivalent figure is around 30%.
  • In Britain, most journeys under 2 miles are made by car. In the Netherlands, more journeys under 5 miles are made by bicycle than by any other means.
  • In the Netherlands, older people are also mobile. The over 65s made 24% of their journeys by bicycle.
  • Virtually all Dutch school-children cycle to school.
  • Dutch cities spend around 27 Euros per person per year on new cycling infrastructure (e.g. Assen, 1.8M Euros per year with a 65000 population). The quoted figures do not include maintenance or cycle training which come under different budgets.
  • There is far greater potential for reduction in fossil fuel reliance by encouraging cycling than by subsidising public transport. Cycling has additional fiscal benefits such as reduced fossil fuel dependency and lowered injury rates; and health benefits for society such as an increase in fitness and a reduction in noise and fumes.

For more statistics and information on cycling in the Netherlands click here

Fatalities fall, but how to do better?

Based on an article in CCN News.

The number of road traffic fatalities in Great Britain in 2007 was the lowest since records began in the mid 1920s, at 2,943. In the 1960s, with much less traffic, fatalities were close to 8,000.

The motoring organisations, along with some transport professional bodies, want more investment in road infrastructure to bring casualties down further. They argue that safe road design means self-explaining roads that make errors in reading the road less likely. A report by the Road Safety Foundation says that "'Forgiving roads' provide protection that prevent an everyday mistake becoming fatal".

However the Road Danger Reduction Forum www.rdrf.org is not convinced. This forum "exists to reduce road danger at source by promoting environmentally sustainable transport which will provide equity and accessibility for non-motorised road users. We understand danger in its active sense, i.e the potential to do damage".

An extended quote from a letter linking with the article above makes the point.

"It is entrenched in a “road safety” culture based on ignoring the difference between danger to other road users (basically by the motorized) and danger to others (basically those outside motor vehicles). Even incompetent and/or law breaking motorists deserve safety. They can get it by controls on bad driving (law enforcement and sentencing). So, if the Institute of Advanced Motorists (or should that be the Institute of Incompetent and Careless Motorists?) wants its members to have the “right” to drive without engineering controls , then it should be campaigning for black-boxes on cars to be used to collect evidence after crashes, with deterrent sentencing to back up safer driving – as has been done for years elsewhere in Europe. Or, if they are unwilling to accept that, engineering which automatically prevents them from endangering others (on-board speed governors etc.).

There are all kinds of things which will “save lives”. We could continue with low numbers of “vulnerable road users” – people outside cars - and continue along the increased motorization route. That would increase the massive loss of life due to the environmental and health disbenefits of mass motorization – life years lost from lack of exercise, noxious and greenhouse gas emissions, resources spent on road building etc. Alternatively we can pursue a policy of reducing danger at source, making those responsible for endangering others – individual motorists, vehicle and highway designers, highway authorities – accountable."

The rdrf press release on the government's road safety proposals can be read here.

Cycle farcilities on A6/46 roundabout

based on comments by Roger Hill.

Unfortunately the "improved" facilities at the A6/A46 roundabout are not as much an improvement as might have been hoped.

Coming from Rothley the first thing you come across is a traffic light post almost in the centre of the path. If you are coming the other way the path is about 3 metres wide by the roundabout, but narrows abruptly without warning by the traffic light post. Secondly, the crossing point of the A46 east bound slip road onto the roundabout has moved a few metres and you now pass through a difficult to navigate narrow chicane caused by barriers followed by lamp posts in the middle of the path.

Sixth sense, karma & cultural attitudes in relation to road safety.

by member Sophia Howard.

It is unfortunate that so many people have disproportionately high concerns about cycling being dangerous. The only injuries I have had from cycling were from slipping over on loose gravel at a road junction with no other vehicles involved.

Many people have stories of a sixth sense helping them to avoid accidents. These are from the artist and writer Antony J.F. Bates (1920-1996) in his book "20th Century Dreams, Visions and Experiences" published in the early 1980's

  • Having a heightened sense of caution many seconds before a small van dangerously cut in front of his bicycle;
  • A curious child at the school where he taught saving him from an accident by discovering that the wing nuts on the front wheel of his bicycle had become loose;
  • Waiting at a bus stop and moving back from the kerb due to feeling uncomfortably hot, only to witness two motorcyclists collide just on that spot moments later.

Some cultures attribute road deaths and accidents to karma, a rebound from some misdeed in a previous incarnation. This may be so in some cases, but such beliefs may contribute to apathy in improving road safety where the hazards are primarily practical and physical. So safety policies that have worked in Britain, where very few believe in karma, may not be transferred successfully to countries such as India or Thailand where there is a mainstream belief in karma and reincarnation.

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