Loughborough & District
Cycle Users' Campaign

Pedal Power

Issue 85
March 2010

www.ldcuc.org.uk

Report on University Parking and Entrances

based on a report from Swampedbycars - http://swampedbycars.blogspot.com

This report to Charnwood Borough Council can be read on the web site under 'committee papers' http://tiny.cc/tV6Uw.

In summary:

  • An outright ban on student cars was not supported. However, the University and College are asked to urge campus users not to bring their cars to Loughborough, except those with exceptional need;
  • The University to maintain a register of all staff and student cars and their own security services to police streets adjoining the campus;
  • That car registration details be shared with CBC to enforce Section 106 parking controls on accommodation;
  • Provide a new shuttle bus service for the interior of the campus;
  • New student accommodation both on and off campus to be subject to 'no car' agreements and S106 contributions to be made to facilitate public transport, cycling and walking schemes;
  • The efforts of the University, Students Union and College, to encourage wider use of cycling, is recognised and attention is drawn to other successful schemes run by Nottingham, Leeds and Sustrans;
  • The Borough Council to use its position to improve bus provision, frequency and capacity, including more attractive price structures;
  • The new Local Travel Plan to seek the enhancement of public transport, walking and cycling;
  • More effective use, and strengthening, of Green Travel Plans, targets, monitoring, publication of performance;
  • The University is asked to extend the use of 'no car agreements' for its accommodation, both on and off campus; to follow the example of the William Morris Hall agreement;
  • No action to close university entrances on Ashleigh Drive and Spinney Hill Drive;
  • The University is asked to close overnight access from Coniston Crescent (10.30pm to 6.00am);
  • University to investigate noise nuisance in this area;
  • University to provide more 'pay and display' parking for non-permit holders for short-term and evening parking, particularly for the Library;
  • The Loughborough Campus Liaison Group invited to include a standing item on the monitoring of these recommendations (subject to endorsement by Cabinet).

Whilst not going as far as campaign members might have wished, the panel, under the able leadership of Jill Vincent, has come up with some very sensible recommendations.

Portsmouth Cyclenation/ CTC Spring Conference 2010

This event will be taking place on Saturday 17th April 2010 under the title “Future Cycling Cities” and will focus in particular on the Portsmouth city wide 20mph speed limit. Details at http://conference.pompeybug.co.uk.

Ladies' cycling day – Tuesday 16 March

This event takes place at Queens Hall, University of Leicester between 10am-4pm and is being organised by Cyclemagic and the University of Leicester. It includes:

  • Different bikes to try, including Cyclemagic's vintage varieties;
  • Advice on clothing and new designs;
  • Dr. Bike sessions;
  • Go-ride sessions.

Any men wishing to attend need to be escorted by 2 ladies. Further information - www.velobelle.blogspot.com

Qualify as a Ride Leader

Leicester-Shire and Rutland Sport and the Active Together project are challenged with getting more people involved with sport and to increase the physical activity levels of adults (aged 16+) in Leicestershire. A team of 15 Physical Activity Development Officers ( PADOs ) are working across the county (3 in Charnwood) and hope to coordinate a series of leisure rides during 2010. To deliver these rides a team of leaders are needed.

They are therefore running a free two day course that will qualify participants to lead rides independently, for candidates from Leicestershire who can deliver activities in partnership with Active Together. The course fees will be funded through the Active Together training programme. It is a British Cycling Level 2 Ride Leader Course and will be held at Loughborough University Saturday 15 and Sunday 16 May 2010.

Active Together will be responsible for coordinating and delivering rides and leaders may receive payment for leading rides too. Affiliation to British Cycling (required) may also be funded by Active Together. Qualification is also dependent on having obtained a recognised first aid qualification (this could also be funded by Active Together) and is subject to child protection criminal record checks.

If you would like to attend the course or would like futher details, please contact Andrew Watson at Leicester-Shire & Rutland Sport, SportPark, 3 Oakwood Drive, Loughborough, Leics, LE11 3QF. Telephone M: 07944 703419 T: 01509 564872 Email: A.Watson4@lboro.ac.uk www.lrsport.org.uk.

Government Office for the East Midlands - Sustrans

There was a joint GOEM/Sustrans event on 23rd November 2009 in Nottingham on “Sustainable Travel Choices” and the presentations are now available at http://tr.im/Q7zT.

Some of the points made at the event were:

  • People need to be convinced of the need to change;
  • Strong leadership needed to drive through change and give it a higher profile;
  • Provide high quality, clear and believable information on alternative transport modes;
  • Use financial penalties to encourage people to switch modes;
  • Improve integration/links to encourage the use of more sustainable travel;
  • Use the health benefits of alternative methods of travel to encourage people to switch.

Nottingham Conference Success

Nottingham Pedals hosted a very successful conference based on the theme of Cycle campaigners working in partnership. Professor John Whitelegg showed how a city like Nottingham could achieve 30% of trips by bicycle by the year 2030. For copies of the presentations go to http://www.cyclenation.org.uk/resources/papers.php.

Vote Bike!

With the general election approaching, CTC is launching the Vote Bike campaign to get the word out about cycling to prospective parliamentary candidates (PPCs). CTC’s new online campaigning tool makes it easy for cyclists to send emails to their PPCs, asking them to express their support for CTC’s Vote Bike manifesto. The site will show how PPCs have responded and any comments they’ve supplied, so Vote Bike can help you find out about your candidates’ support for cycling. See www.ctc.org.uk/votebike.

Helmets

Based on a report in CTC Cycle Digest

The authors of a recent government commissioned report have rightly identified the shortcomings in previous research into the effectiveness of cycle helmets, but have then overlooked equally serious problems in their own work. They have also failed to discuss the adverse effects of telling cyclists to wear helmets, such as deterring people from taking up cycling, and the many ways in which helmet-wearing might actually increase the likelihood of cyclists being involved in collisions in the first place. The flaws, in summary, are as follows.

The report:

  • concludes that “cycle helmets should be effective at reducing the risk of head injury”, despite the failure to present any ‘real world’ evidence that helmets have a safety benefit, either for cycling in general or for particular types of cyclist or injury;
  • notes that it has omitted any consideration of “whether cycle helmets reduce the frequency and severity of injury in the event of a collision … either through behaviour changes in the rider or in other road users”. Yet the omission of this key issue in the debate is in no way reflected in the report’s conclusions;
  • claims that “a specialist biomechanical assessment of over 100 police forensic cyclist fatality reports predicted that between 10 and 16% of the fatalities could have been prevented if they had worn an appropriate cycle helmet.” In fact this prediction rests entirely on arbitrary assumptions about the effectiveness of helmets, based on biomechanical speculation – indeed the report notes that “there was no specific evidence to support these estimates”;
  • fails to meet the requirements of the study brief, to provide a comparison of “the net benefits in terms of injury reduction … versus any disbenefits associated with changing patterns of cycling”, nor does it deliver “clear guidelines with respect to the relative benefits and disbenefits of changes to helmet wearing”;
  • fails to assess the risks of cycling in comparison with other activities, or to consider whether helmets are appropriate to those risks. Hence it provides no evidence to help determine whether cycling is an activity carrying particularly high risks of head injury such as to justify the promotion of helmets; 
  • fails to provide any cost-effectiveness assessment of helmet policy options – again in breach of the study brief. This in turn makes it impossible to compare the cost-effectiveness of helmet promotion with other policy options for improving cyclists’ safety, such as 20 mph speed limits or cycle training.

 

In response, CTC has produced its own simplified cost-benefit assessment. Even using the report’s own questionable assumptions about the effectiveness of helmets, we still estimate that a law making helmets compulsory for cyclists would result in a net increase of 253 premature deaths, at a net economic cost of between £304 & 415m per year, as well as around £180m annually for the remaining cyclists to purchase and replace helmets. This is similar to the $400m cost of helmet compulsion for the UK as estimated in a study by de Jong (Evaluating the Health Benefit of Mandatory Bicycle Helmet Laws, Macquarie University, 2009 - Working Paper http://ssrn.com/abstract=1368064 ).

In short, the report represents yet another failure to provide “a comprehensive review of the effectiveness of cycle helmets”.

The potential for cycle helmets to prevent injury – a review of the evidence is downloadable from www.trl.co.uk .

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