20mph limit for Leicestershire?
In October Leicester became the 4th British population centre to adopt 20 mph as a default limit for residential streets. This means that over three quarters of a million people now live in towns which have committed to 20 mph for residential streets. The motion, supported by Conservative and Labour councillors, was proposed by the Green Party.
The Government’s Transport Committee has also given its support for increased use of 20mph limits. The latest Road Safety Report from the Committee calls for "Ending the Scandal of Complacency" associated with road casualties. It notes that whilst the UK had a good international record up to the year 2000, this has been tarnished by lack of progress since then, with road accidents remaining the largest single cause of death for people between the ages of 5 and 35.
The report, 'Ending the Scandal of Complacency: Road Safety beyond 2010' (which can be found at http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200708/cmselect/cmtran/460/46002.htm), points out that setting a default speed limit of 20 mph has minimal cost. It also recognises the need to differentiate between casualty reduction and danger reduction.
Surely there is no reason why Leicestershire should not adopt this measure for all residential roads and narrow country lanes?
Politicians are very concerned about the number of young people being killed and injured due to the criminal use of knives, but this problem is minor when compared to the number of young people killed and injured on our roads. For evidence of this, visit the BBC website showing maps "of the way we die" at http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2008/10/map_of_the_week_how_will_you_d.html.
"Improvements" in Loughborough town centre
Charnwood Borough Council is preparing a scheme for improvements to Bedford Square, Wards End, Devonshire Square, Cattlemarket, Market St and Market Place. This will show how roadways and footways would be modified, street furniture and cycle provision improved etc.
A manned exhibition will be held from 10th to 13th December in the former William Brown offices on Market Street between 10am and 3pm.
East Midlands Cyclists' Forum
This informal network of local cycle campaigners (whether working in local groups, as CTC Right to Ride reps or on their own) in the East Midlands, was started early in 2006, on the initiative of John Stubbs, Chair of the Derby Cycling Group, with the intention of providing mutual support and to help coordinate lobbying of issues at regional level. It now has its own web page at http://www.pedals.org.uk/east_midlands_cyclists_forum.
Charnwood Borough Council are currently consulting about the redevelopment of Loughborough's Eastern Gateway and you can find details of the proposals at http://www.charnwood.gov.uk/pages/eastern_gateway_consultation_november_2008. Comments can be submitted by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by phoning 01509 634720.
Areas of concern are the proposal for cycle/pedestrian pavement sharing, no easy immediate access to bicycle parking from the new houses and a proposal to use "wheel bender" cycle parking in the street furniture.
Commuters use bicycles 'to save cash, not planet'
Based on an article in ACT Travelwise
Commuters are more likely to switch from cars to make financial savings rather than protect the environment, according to a Northern Ireland Travelwise survey. Of those surveyed by Travelwise NI, 74% said saving money was the biggest incentive while 10% cited green issues.
The Travelwise survey found that 55% of commuters who drive to work have cut back on the number of miles they drive due to the increased cost of petrol, with 44% spending an extra £10 to £20 per week and a further 31% spending an extra £20-£50 per week.
When asked what put people off swapping the car for public transport, cycling, car-sharing or walking, 9% said cost of public transport, 15% said convenience, 12% said weather conditions were a deterrent with 47% saying that they were just 'set in their ways'.
Cycle Infrastructure Design
The new version of Cycle Infrastructure Design, Local Transport Note 2/08 has just been published by DfT and can be downloaded from http://www.dft.gov.uk/pgr/roads/tpm/ltnotes/ltn208.pdf. This reiterates the Hierarchy of Provision which is in order of priority:
- Traffic reduction;
- Speed reduction;
- Junction treatment, hazard site treatment, traffic management;
- Redistribution of the carriageway (bus lanes, widened nearside lanes, cycle lanes etc);
- Segregated cycle tracks constructed by reallocation of carriageway space, cycle tracks away from roads;
- Conversion of footways/footpaths to unsegregated shared-use cycle tracks alongside the carriageway.
As member Roger Hill says: "It makes interesting reading. I hope it will be used by Traffic Engineers, not just 'Cherry Picked' ".
Lincoln-Boston Waterway Rail RouteEast
The official opening of the whole 53km Lincoln-Boston Waterway Rail route, developed by Sustrans as part of National Cycle Network Route 1, in cooperation with the Lincolnshire Waterways Partnership and the East Midlands Development Agency, has now been fixed for Saturday 25th April 2009.
It is being called 'The Longest Party' and follows the successive smaller-scale and local celebration events to mark the completion of different sections of the route. It will include mass rides from end to end of what should be an excellent route, 32km on the former Boston to Lincoln railway line that followed near the River Witham, and 21km on country lanes, with lots of interesting sculptures etc.
For more information email: email@example.com or see http://www.sustrans.org.uk/default.asp?county=1091092128093.
Why don't more ladies ride bicycles?
Despite the gold medal winning success of British female cyclists in Beijing, research commissioned by Cycling England reveals that many women are missing out on the benefits of regular cycling due to concerns about post-cycling appearance.
Men are still three times more likely to cycle than women. The survey suggests that the perceived effect of cycling on appearance, together with a lack of confidence in cycling on the road, is behind this gender imbalance. Two thirds (64%) of women say they never cycle and just 2% cycle every day.
- 58% wouldn’t want to arrive at work sweaty
- 50% would be worried about getting wet in the rain
- 38% wouldn’t want to have to carry a change of clothes
- 38% say there is nowhere to shower at work
- 27% would be concerned about ‘helmet hair’
- 19% wouldn’t want colleagues to see them without make-up or stepping out of the office shower.
Safety concerns are also a factor: 53% of women say that safety is an issue and 42% say they lack the confidence and skills to cycle on the road.
When it comes to female cycling, the UK is behind mainland Europe where male and female cycling rates are broadly equal. Cycling England now has a number of initiatives in place to inspire and encourage more women and girls to take up cycling.
Cycling in the Gutter is the Safest Place to Ride
based on an extract from the bi-weekly newsletter to National Standard cycle instructors of the CTC by Frances Chaloner
I still see far too many cyclists riding very close to the kerb in busy traffic, which goes against all the guidelines of the National Standards and is definitely not the safest place to be on a bike as the main riding position.
In order to see, be seen and communicate effectively with other road users, keeping well out from the kerb is a good place to be on a bike. The cyclist taking the primary position (the middle of the lane) encourages drivers to behave in a safe manner.
The cyclist who rides well out:
- is more visible to other road users
- has a better view of what is going on all around them
- is able to make their intent much clearer to other road users
- discourages drivers from cutting them up at side roads and junctions
- discourages drivers from overtaking too closely (see http://tinyurl.com/5o5nxz).
- avoids riding in debris that gathers in the gutter such as leaves, glass, nails, thorns etc.
- keeps well away from slippery drain grates
- does not undertake vehicles waiting to turn left
Cycle Maintenance Courses
Bikes4All are continuing to run training courses in bicycle maintenance and wheel building in Leicester. For details see http://bikes4all.org.uk/content/view/36/47/ or telephone 0116 246 0048 (ext 2).
Mince Pie Run
Loughborough CTC will once again be holding their Mince Pie Run at Belton Village Hall on Sunday 21st December. This event attracts hundreds of cyclists from all around the area. All cyclists are welcome.