Cycle Campaign News April 2014

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From the Editor

Political leadership is of prime importance for improving conditions for cycling in the UK. This was something that MPs recognised in the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group's 'Get Britain Cycling' report but, of course, we need the support of local political leaders too.

Hence CTC's Space for Cycling campaign. It's a good way of impressing local councillors with the strength of feeling that their constituents have about better provision for cycling - so, if you're not yet amongst the thousands of people who have already emailed their local politicians, please take action now.

Cherry Allan
CTC Campaigns

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Space for Cycling inspires cyclists and local councillors alike

The launch of the CTC-led national Space for Cycling campaign just before Easter has already inspired thousands of people to email their local councillors, urging them to make sure that anyone can cycle anywhere, and to seek the funding needed for it.

Councillors from a variety of political parties have responded to say that they’re happy to back the campaign’s goals, and more support is coming in all the time.

Providing ‘Space for Cycling’ benefits everybody in our society, whether or not they choose to cycle themselves. I would urge cross-party support from councillors throughout the country for this campaign.

Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson,
Leader of Portsmouth Council and Vice-Chair of the LGA


Broadcaster and CTC President Jon Snow, who fronted a video for the campaign, says:

“Space for Cycling means creating safe conditions on major roads and junctions, lowering speed limits and reducing through motor traffic on residential streets. Some councils are now showing real enthusiasm for action to make cycling a safe and normal activity which everyone can benefit from.  We now need a really strong show of public support for the long-term planning and funding that this will require.”


Support the campaign!

Apart from emailing local politicians asking them to support Space for Cycling, you can help explain to councils what cyclists actually mean by better conditions by contributing to a directory of both good and infrastructure.  It’s easy – just upload your favourite (or otherwise) examples onto our map.

Watch out too for our councillors' guide to 'Space for Cycling' - this will be published shortly.

The national Space for Cycling campaign is co-ordinated by CTC, in conjunction with the federation of local cycling groups, Cyclenation. It builds on London Cycling Campaign’s Space for Cycling campaign, which is focusing on securing commitments from local candidates in the run-up to the capital’s borough elections in May.

The UK-wide campaign is funded by a generous grant from the cycle industry's Bike Hub fund, run by the Bicycle Association, and by individual donations. You too can donate to support the campaign.

‘Space for Cycling’ messages boosted by national and global reports

  • 2011 Census Analysis - Cycling to Work from the Office for National Statistics has highlighted which authorities are getting it right for cycle commuting - and which ones aren't. London, Brighton, Bristol, Manchester, Newcastle and Sheffield saw substantial increases, while Cambridge deserved a mention with 29% of its working residents cycle-commuting, a higher rate than any other local authority (next on the list is Oxford at 17%).

This is exciting news for these cities, but there are still many places that aren’t doing nearly so well – in 29 local authority areas, less than 1% of working residents cycled to work. Equally, while it’s also good to know that, overall, 90,000 more people in England and Wales were commuting by cycle in 2011 than in 2001, the proportion of working residents who do so seems to be struggling to rise above 2.8%.

CTC has mapped the increase or decrease in cycling according to local authority – check out your own area. We've also looked at the relative changes for different types of transport.

  • The World Health Organisation (WHO)’s new report, 'Unlocking new opportunities'  estimates that cycling has the potential to create at least 76,000 jobs and save 10,000 lives in the pan-European region. All that needs to happen is for major European cities to up their game and follow the example of Copenhagen, where 26% of all city trips are already cycled.

CTC's campaigns briefing on cycling and the economy looks at the subject in more detail.

  • In her annual report on the state of the nation’s health, the Chief Medical Officer Dame Sally Davies says: “I believe that encouraging more people to engage in active travel, such as walking and cycling, is crucial to improving the health of the nation and reducing the prevalence of obesity.”

EU Parliament votes for safer lorry designs

On April 15, The European Parliament voted to change the regulations for the design of lorry cabs to make lorries safer and more fuel efficient, a move which could potentially save hundreds of lives a year.

In the EU, 4,250 people die a year in lorry-related incidents, while in the UK, lorries account for only about 5% of the traffic yet are involved in a fifth of cyclists’ fatalities, and over 50% of cyclists deaths in London.

Although not the only cause of collisions, the typical brick-shaped design of lorry cabs creates ‘blind spots’, particularly dangerous when drivers make manoeuvres. CTC believes that direct vision between drivers and people outside their vehicles is vital, so welcomes the prospect of bigger windscreens. Another feature of the new design is a rounded shape with a 'crumple zone' to prevent cyclists and pedestrians from being knocked under the wheels in the event of a collision.

The EU vote follows lobbying by the European Cyclists' Federation (of which CTC is proud to be a member), as well as Transport for London, the campaign group See Me Save Me, and British Cycling's Chris Boardman. 

The decision will need to be approved by the 28 EU member states before it can become law, with the UK government already voicing reservations. CTC is therefore asking supporters to email the Secretary of State for Transport, Patrick McLoughlin, urging him to back the changes.

  • CTC advocates a range of other measures to reduce the hazards that lorries present to cyclists and pedestrians. These include keeping the vehicles off the busiest roads at the busiest times; distribution strategies that minimise conflict; and maintaining and enforcing safe driving and vehicle standards. These are covered in our campaigns briefing of goods vehicles.

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