Loughborough & District
Cycle Users' Campaign

Pedal Power

Issue 78
January 2009



What do we want to do in 2009?

The meeting at John Storer House on Monday 12 January at 7-30pm is so that we can agree what events we want to involve ourselves with in the coming year and what (if anything) we do during Bike Week. Please come along to contribute your ideas.

Town centre improvements (?)

Some of the edited comments submitted by Anthony Kay and Tim Birkinshaw.

The plans miss an opportunity to resolve a longstanding difficulty for cyclists, namely finding a suitable route for crossing the town centre from north-east to south-west. Going from south-west to north-east, the route along Wards End, Devonshire Square and Market Place can be used (outside core hours), but the one-way system prevents this being done in the opposite direction. What is needed is for all traffic (apart from service vehicles at certain times) to be removed from Wards End and Devonshire Square, so that cyclists can use these streets in both directions, while the streets are also improved for pedestrians. Traffic for the Granby Street car park would have to go via Browns Lane, Frederick Street and Packe Street / Granby Street.


Cycle access should be allowed along all streets in the pedestrianised area (existing and proposed) at all times, rather than the current restricted periods - although obviously it would not be possible to cycle through Market Place and Cattle Market while the twice-weekly market is on. If cyclists ride sensibly, they can mix with pedestrians in broad spaces like the Market Place and even along narrower streets like Market Street - and those who don't behave sensibly would probably ignore any restrictions on cycling anyway. Whether it is better to lay down a designated lane for cyclists or simply to allow them to use the entire street space is a matter for debate.

Cycle Parking

Cycle parking facilities need to be at least as plentiful as they are currently. Cycle stands should be widely distributed around the town centre. The existing cycle stands are often insufficient on busy days, especially Saturdays. Locations needing more cycle stands can be identified by seeing where cycles are locked to other street furniture, leant against walls, etc.

There are currently two well-used stands, particularly on market days; the cinema and the end of Market Place by the bus shelters. In the proposed layout there are none at the end of Market Place. There need to be at least a dozen there and 4 or 5 more outside the cinema; the 3/6 shown is inadequate. The 15 stands in Granby St car park are far too many for such a remote location. The stands in Devonshire Square are hidden behind car parking and would be better situated by South St/Devonshire Lane. Outside the Town Hall is another good place; there are often bikes against the trees, and in Town Hall passage

Zone 1:-

The proposed cycle lane across Bedford Square is not very useful as currently drawn. It would be more useful if it was clearly connected to Victoria Street, and it would be really useful if two-way cycling was allowed along Wards End.

Reversing traffic flow on Beehive Lane would cause problems for cyclists. Currently, cyclists leaving the town centre towards the south-west can walk along Devonshire Square and then cycle along South Street and Beehive Lane to Southfields Road. This possibility would be removed if traffic flow was reversed on Beehive Lane.

Two-way cycle access for cyclists along Granby Street from the Packe Street junction to Cattle Market would be useful. There is a cycle route from the University and Colleges to the town centre via William Street, and an obvious way to go to the southern part of the town centre is along Caldwell Street and Packe Street.

Zone 3:-

The important issue here is that two-way access for cyclists along the A6 corridor must be maintained at all times (except during the Fair!), whatever the outcome of the trial for bus access. There could also be improvements to the connection into Biggin Street where access is already allowed but this is not at all clear on the ground.

Street Furniture

There are several places where street furniture narrows the through way (especially if it spills over with temporary stalls and fittings as happens at present) which may make sharing more difficult. The current Biggin St is a good example of poor design that looks no better in the proposed scheme.

Going North?

There is now a new half hourly train service between Leeds, Sheffield and Nottingham. This is good news for cyclists since the new Leeds - Nottingham trains are run by Northern and so bicycles go free with no reservations needed.

Road Deaths 2007

Based on an article in CTC Cycle Digest

The Department for Transport’s recently published Road Casualties Great Britain: 2007 reveals that, despite another annual decline, the toll of injuries and deaths remains far too high – 8 people killed a day - and almost wholly a result of motor vehicles. Almost 80% of non-illness deaths among teenagers occur as a result of road collisions (a much higher figure than that for much publicised knife crime).

How Eagled-Eyed Are You?

Transport for London has produced a series of excellent safety videos with a difference, which I think everyone will find a real eye-opener. To test how eagled eyed you are click here.

Who’s Emitted How Much?

Based on an article in CTC Cycle Digest

Official estimates of CO2 emissions for all UK Local Authorities (LAs) and Government Office Regions in 2006 have been published. Overall, 46% of end-user emissions assigned to LA areas were attributed to the industrial and commercial sector, 29% to the domestic sector, and 25% to road transport.

Enforcement of the Speed Limit through Engine Control

Based on an article in CTC Cycle Digest

The University of Leeds study into Intelligent Speed Adaptation (ISA) was finally published in September. ISA can be in three forms, advisory, voluntary or mandatory. The first simply tells the user what the speed limit is at any one time – available on commercial satellite navigation systems. The latter two link up information on the road’s speed limit with control of the engine. The voluntary system includes a manual override for the user.

Results showed that drivers speeded much less, even though they could easily override the system. They also felt that they were safer drivers, committing fewer violations and taking fewer risky manoeuvres. Drivers’ attitudes towards ISA improved as they used it.

The conclusion is that the benefit-to-cost ratio of forcing all vehicles to use mandatory ISA would be a very high 3.2, based solely on reduced casualties – a 42% reduction in fatal collisions from the moment mandatory ISA comes into operation. Disappointingly, the DfT has chosen to follow the ‘voluntary route’ which would save only 10% of fatal collisions and a much lower benefit to cost ratio of 1.9.

"Enormous" UK spending on Cycle Provision

Based on an article in CTC Cycle Digest

Funding for cycle provision really does matter – this year English councils will spend just £1.20 per person on cycling, a fraction of what our European neighbours have spent for decades. London is now spending over £7 per person and is seeing steady growth.

Cyclists Explained

Based on an article in CTC Cycle Digest

New research carried out in Taunton and based on responses from over 400 local cyclists. Key findings included the following:

  • Cyclists use the whole road network, not just ‘cycle routes’.
  • The impact of bad weather on cycling is minimal. In Taunton, where the climate is generally wetter than the rest of the country, the weather discourages people from cycling for an average of just 11 days per year.
  • Traffic congestion was the main reason for an increase in cycling. A desire to improve health or fitness was the second key reason. Other reasons mentioned (by over 5% of respondents) included the cost/difficulty of car parking, a desire to reduce impact on the ‘environment’, and to save money (the cost of petrol was mentioned by many). These findings show that levels of cycling are sensitive to costs associated with car travel as well as the congested state of the road network. But are national policy aims to ‘tackle congestion’ at odds with the desire to get more people cycling?
  • Moving house is a key event that triggers an increase in cycling. Local authorities should consider distributing cycling/sustainable transport literature with area-wide mail outs (e.g. council tax and voting information requests).
  • Respondents cycled an average of 2.4 miles per journey at an average speed of just under 10 mph. Up to a certain level, journey length is probably related more to the size of the built-up area rather than the limitations of cycle travel. Atkins surveys in London, for example, reveal mean cycle trip distances of around 6 miles.
  • Cyclists themselves, rather than ‘stakeholders’, can be used to identify locations most in need of new infrastructure (either cyclespecific or just cycle-friendly). Cyclists are willing to provide primary data and, in Taunton, it proved possible to reach around a third of the town’s adult cyclist population.
  • Cycling can provide an excellent everyday mode of transport for older people. There is such a strong focus on youth in national cycling policy that it is easy to forget that the bike can be a practical transport mode for people right into their retirement years. In Taunton those travelling by bike in their 40s and 50s outnumbered other adult age groups.
  • Cycling caters for a wide range of journey purposes, not just the commuter, school and recreational trips that planners focus on. Facilities are needed to enable these trips e.g. residential cycleparking and plentiful, well located, town-centre parking.

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