Leicestershire County Coucil has conceded defeat in most of its applications for planning permission to keep advertising signs on roundabouts throughout the County. It is planning to remove the adverts as the contracts expire and relying on District Council not enforcing immediate removal.
Charnwood Borough Council's planning committee, we are pleased to report, turned down 15 out of 16 applications and some of the signs in Loughborough have already been taken down.
The one exception is at the Hathern end of Loughborough, where advertising is to be retained on the A6/Warwick Way roundabout. Member Michael Forrest has begun to wonder if the County Council has something against cyclists from Hathern, bearing in mind the problems they have had with the cycle facilities in the village.
It would seem that this has been made an exception since it is light controlled.
Michael has written to Charnwood Council pointing out that it is a naive assumption that cyclists are going "to use the labyrinthian route controlled by the numerous push-buttons to travel a few yards". "Real people do not behave as they fondly imagine, with the implicit threat that you will use the time and energy wasting facility I have devised for you to speed the driver on his way, or suffer the consequences, up to and including death. Cyclists are legally entitled to use the road at all times". "It is dangerous folly to permit any advertising signs on any roundabout, least of all one as busy as this one".
National Travel Survey shows cycling increase
Cycling trip numbers remain the same at 16 per person per year, but distance has jumped up from 42 miles per person in 2008 to 46 in 2009. That is more than the 1995/97 average. That means the average trip has increased from 2.4 to 2.8 miles.
It is pleasing to note that while cycling is increasing, car use is steadily falling. Expenditure on new cars is down by 13% in three years, while sales of bikes have soared by 25% over the same period.
The upward trend has been most marked in the south of England , with 8% of inner London residents and one in 25 workers in the South East and South West now saying they cycle to work.
EAST MIDLANDS CYCLISTS' FORUM NOTTINGHAM SATURDAY 2 OCTOBER 2010, (10.30-16.00)
This meeting, hosted by Nottingham Pedals, is mainly intended to be a gathering of cycle campaigners but is open to anyone else in the region interested in the promotion of cycling. It will be held at the Globe Pub, on the corner of Rye Hill Street and London Road, The Meadows, Nottingham NG2 3BQ (just north of Trent Bridge).
The programme will include presentations from Helen Ross, Senior Public Health Manager for the East Midlands on campaigning to promote health and cycling in the East Midlands and from Matthew Easter, Sustrans Regional Director for the East Midlands, on Sustrans' role in the region. After lunch those attending will be invited to join a ride around Nottingham's "Big Track".
There is a meeting fee of £5 per person to cover the cost of tea or coffee on arrival (10.30) and a light buffet lunch. If you would like to attend you can find more details and book online, using PayPal, at www.pedals.org.uk.
Advanced Stop Lines
(A letter from Michael Forrest 24/8/10)
We are all used to drivers simply ignoring them, but yesterday I tried to use the one at the Bridge Street lights, to find it totally blocked by - a Police car. The driver was in animated conversation with his companion.
At home, I called the police, to be told, somewhat rudely, after a long discussion with superiors, that no offence had been committed, no law fobade it, they could ignore it with impunity "it was only a courtesy".
Now the Highway Code (rule 178) quite clearly and specifically prohibits such conduct. [Ed. "Motorists, including motorcyclists, MUST stop at the first white line reached if the lights are amber or red and should avoid blocking the way or encroaching on the marked area at other times, e.g. if the junction ahead is blocked.] I later quoted this to the police, who continued to argue until given a copy of the Highway Code when they accepted the offence.
I have made no formal complaint, but left it with the subdued and now co-operative junior to bring the matter to the attention of the superior of the driver concerned.
If nothing else, it might alert the police to the abuse by so many drivers of these stop lines and we may one day become a society which welcomes and lauds the cyclist, rather than treating them as vermin who obstruct the speeding drivers and object to being killed or maimed.
Having said that, it is a brave and foolhardy cyclist who cycles across two lines of traffic at traffic lights in order to position himself for a right turn, with drivers revving engines and eyes only for the lights changing to green. (I say 'himself' for no female would be foolish enough to attempt such a manoeuvre).
Loughborough's Magic Roundabout
Leicestershire County Council are proposing to mark a dedicated green cycle lane around the Alan Moss Road/Epinal Way roundabout as part of an £87,000 package of safety measures designed by the County Council.
A first for Leicestershire, it is based on an idea which has been proven to work in York where over four years, accidents fell by 80% and vehicle speeds also reduced. The County's officers believe that such lanes designed for on-road cyclists would boost safety by:
- giving clearer guidance to cyclists
- drawing drivers' attention to cyclists negotiating the roundabout
- completing a missing link in the town's cycle network
We are concerned that the geometry of this roundabout is very different to that of York and would discourage cyclists from adopting the recommended and safest behaviour by travelling in the appropriate lane, as would any other vehicle properly negotiating the roundabout. Going around the outside of the roundabout is normally regarded as the most hazardous option, since drivers will often assume that the cyclist will turn left at the next junction rather than carry on round.
In initial discussions with officers they have said that they believe such a lane would be the safest option. Their survey of the site indicates that most cyclists go around the outside. They don't believe that these cyclists can be induced to change this habit and so wish to make it safer for them by putting in the lane.
We have expressed our continuing reservations about this experiment, but have suggested that, if they are to proceed, then the lane needs to be much wider (2 metres +), marked with give way lines and there should be prominent notices on all the entry roads indicating that cars should give way to cyclists. The officers will be considering these and other suggestions for minor changes.
Ucycle Bike Hire
Nottingham University has set up a new cycle hire scheme which may provide an example that other universities, including Loughborough, may follow.
Ucycle Nottingham, Nottingham Trent University and the University of Nottingham have launched "Bikes for Students" which makes good quality bikes available to hire for the academic year. All bikes are ready to ride, and come complete with lights, lock, mudguards, rack and servicing. The package also includes a free mini tool, an inner tube, a 10% discount voucher to use at Evans Cycles.com, access to a free maintenance class run by Evans, and free RideWise cycle training.
All students can hire a bike no matter whether new or existing, undergraduate or postgraduate, full-time or part-time, Home, EU or International. There are over 400 bikes which are to be loaned on a first come first served basis. The first 50 bikes were hired at a discounted rate of £35, the standard hire fee being £49. A refundable £100 deposit is required. Hirers are expected to look after the bike, ensuring it is maintained in good condition.
Further details can be found at www.sustrans.org.uk