CTC Cycle Digest 2009 - Issue 58
CycleDigest is a publication of the CTC Charitable Trust (Registered Charity No. 1104324). The Trust is the charity arm of CTC, the UK‟s largest
cycling membership organisation with 70,000 members and affiliates.
Views expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect those of the editor or the policies of CTC. Material from the CycleDigest may be reproduced in any form
for the purposes of campaigning and in the promotion of bicycle use, provided the source is acknowledged.
Published by CTC, Parklands, Railton Road, Guildford, Surrey, GU2 9JX
Editor: Cherry Allan • Tel: 0844 736 8450 • Fax: 0844 736 8454 •
‘Safety in Numbers’: CTC’s New Road Safety Campaign
CTC President and broadcaster Jon Snow has launched CTC‟s
„Safety in Numbers‟ campaign, which calls on the Government to aim
for more as well as safer cycling as it starts consulting on a new Road Safety Strategy for the coming decade.
CTC‟s campaign is based on evidence that cycling gets safer the
more cyclists there are. Hence more and safer cycling are entirely complementary aims, which also benefit our health and that of our streets, communities and the environment.
CTC was pleased to see that the Government‟s draft Road Safety
Strategy (RSS) has already endorsed one of CTC‟s main demands –
that the new targets commit to halving the risks of cycling measured as a risk of injury per 100 million kms. A target based on exposure rather than absolute numbers of casualties will signal to local authorities that they can encourage more cycling without fear that this could be contrary to their targets to reduce casualty numbers.
However, the RSS lacks detail on how to achieve these targets, although it contains welcome proposals for more 20 mph zones and limits. CTC believes that the best way is simply to double cycle use, a target we called for in our New Vision for Cycling
(www.ctc.org.uk/newvision). This in turn will require national and local government to tackle the fears that deter people from cycling: speeding traffic, irresponsible driving, hostile roads and junctions, and lorries.
A Parliamentary Early Day Motion (EDM No. 1431) has also been tabled by Gwyn Prosser MP in support of the „Safety in Numbers‟
goal, and CTC urges all cyclists to email their MPs asking them to sign it. You can do this in a couple of minutes via the web-link below.
Launching CTC‟s Safety in Numbers brochure in Parliament, Jon
Snow said: “My own experiences as a regular cyclist tell me that
London‟s streets have started getting a lot safer, thanks to the growth
in cycling over the past decade. We all know that more cycling is good not just for our own health but also for our communities and the environment. I hope decision-makers throughout the country will now
heed CTC‟s message that more cycling will improve road safety too.”
The Safety in Numbers brochure, supporting evidence and a link to the EDM are all at: www.ctc.org.uk/safetyinnumbers .
For paper copies of the brochure, call 0844 736 8450.
For the Government‟s draft Road Safety Strategy, see:
‘Fill That Hole’ Re-launches!
CTC‟s www.fillthathole.org.uk/ website has been re-launched with new features to make it even easier to report potholes and other road defects, plus it allows individuals to report back on whether the problem has been fixed. Cyclists who have been injured because of a road defect will also be able to answer an online questionnaire that will go to CTC‟s lawyers, who will advise on the suitability of
making a claim for compensation.
The Welsh Assembly Government has announced that Cardiff is the first Sustainable Travel Town in Wales. Over the next two years, the Assembly and Cardiff Council will spend ?28.5m on various measures, including free bicycle hire, free bus travel within the city centre, and a new walking and cycling bridge.
http://wales.gov.uk / > news >11/3/2009
New Cycling Targets for Wales, Scotland and Ireland The last few months have seen the adoption of ambitious new targets to increase cycle use in Wales, Scotland and the Irish Republic. CTC‟s Roger Geffen Reports...
The first to be adopted was Wales's Walking and Cycling Action Plan, which aims to treble the proportion of children cycling to school and the proportion of adults for whom cycling is the main mode for travelling to work, by 2013 (compared with levels in 2006 and 2007 respectively) - a tall order! After its long gestation over several years, we are pleased that the enthusiasm of transport and environment ministers Ieuan Wyn Jones AM and Jane Davidson AM have led to the Plan's successful launch in February. Its actions focus on promoting travel behaviour change and cycle-friendly planning and design, integrating cycling with health and other policy objectives, and good monitoring to record success and learn from experience.
http://new.wales.gov.uk/ > (search for title)
Meanwhile the Irish Republic has adopted Ireland‟s first National Cycle
Policy Framework. It sets itself the challenging target of raising cycle use to 10% of trips by 2020, reversing a steep decline over the past two decades (from 7% of trips in 1986 to just 2% in 2006). It puts forward admirable proposals covering everything from cycle-friendly planning („hard
measures‟), to awareness-raising activities and incentives („soft measures‟,
including cycle training), as well as legislative changes. Crucially it promises to revoke the regulations that force cyclists to use pavement cycle tracks where provided, and to consider making 30 kmh the default speed limit for residential streets. www.transport.ie/pressReleasesList.aspx > 20/4/09
The Scottish Government has now begun consultation on a draft
Cycling Action Plan for Scotland (CAPS). Like the Irish Policy, its ambitious target (which had been announced beforehand by Minister Stewart Stevenson MSP) is for 10% of trips to be made by cycling by 2020. CTC has provided input into developing the strategy, and is pleased with its commitments on cycle planning and design, the focus on awareness-raising and promotional activities (e.g. cycle training), and particularly the suggestion to consider how the law might be changed to make it easier for cyclists to gain compensation from drivers who hit them. www.cyclingactionplanforscotland.org/
With a Road Safety Strategy for Scotland also awaited, we hope both documents will follow the Whitehall Government's lead in setting rate-based targets to reduce the risk of cycle casualties per mile travelled. CTC will be responding to the CAPS consultation, which closes on 31st July, and the Plan is expected to be adopted in the autumn.
Can we now hope that the Whitehall Government will overcome its
fears of setting targets for increasing cycle use, and decide it's time for the growth of cycling seen in London and elsewhere to become
For further news from Scotland, see Page 5
From the Editor
I would say this (wouldn‟t I?), but I think my colleagues in the Campaigns Department here at CTC are doing cycling a major favour by pointing out the power of the „safety
in numbers‟ effect (see front page). Putting graphs, tables and pie charts aside for
the moment (bringing back my schooldays a bit there), my daily cycling commute personally tells me that this theory is backed up in practice. There‟s something really
good about numerous cyclists riding alongside me or gathering at the lights in a reassuring bunch. It feels like a statement and it‟s – well, for want of a better word,
„cosy‟. „Cosiness in Numbers‟? Good thing that I wasn‟t asked to
name the campaign, but do you know what I mean? Cherry.email@example.com
Local Transport Plan 3 Guidance – the View from CTC
CTC has responded to the draft guidance for the next round of Local Transport Plans (LTPs). The guidance continues the theme of handing ever greater control from Government to local authorities. This is, of course, a good thing for those local authorities who are performing well. However, CTC‟s response has suggested that
there are several key areas where the Department for Transport must ensure minimum standards from councils. CTC is concerned that cycling, which many local authorities treat as a marginal transport mode, will fall further by the wayside if the Department does not provide more solid support, especially in the form of up-skilling local authority officers and contractors to deliver cycling schemes and integrate cycling into wider projects.
In the response to the guidance CTC has also raised concerns that the monitoring regime for LTPs in general, and especially for cycling, is weak. Instead of allowing local authorities to do what they want and adopt their own targets and measuring systems, the Department must ensure that minimum standards for monitoring are
developed. Cycling England is currently developing a more robust mechanism for monitoring use in the Cycling Towns but there is little sign that other local authorities will voluntarily meet this standard.
CTC will be producing a guide to improving cycling in the next round of the LTPs later this year.
For CTC‟s response see:
Bike Club is CTC‟s new ?2.5m Cycling England-funded project to develop new
cycling clubs and cycling opportunities in after-school and youth club settings. Working in partnership with UK Youth, the leading national youth charity, and ContinYou, the experts in extended services provision, the CTC Charitable Trust will be employing 10 staff across England to deliver the project over the next two and a half years. By the time you read this, recruitment will be well under way and we hope that the first staff will take up their posts during June, with a formal launch scheduled for early July. For more information on Bike Club, where the projects will be based and what the team will be doing, please see www.ctc.org.uk/bikeclub .
School Travel Report
The House of Commons Transport Committee has published a report following its inquiry into school travel. While cycling and walking receive pronounced backing and there are calls for more funding for them, school buses aren‟t viewed with quite such favour. The report also says that there is no single „magic bullet‟ solution for school travel and that the education, health and transport departments must work more closely together. www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm/cmtran.htm
Over 200,000 more school children in England will be given the chance to take Bikeability training this year thanks to ?10m of Government funding. ?5.4m will go to local authorities to provide the training; ?4m to the Youth Sport Trust for instruction through the School Sports Partnerships; and ?500,000 for bursary grants to help fund 1,600 new trainers. www.bikeability.org.uk/
Trainers Ready to Train in Wales
The first 40 of 110 National Standards Cycle Instructors in Wales are now qualified to train children to National Standards.
Gwenda Owen, CTC‟s Cycle Training Development Officer for Wales, said: “The National Standards give parents and children the confidence to make their daily journeys by bike under real conditions. These instructors will lead the way to more children cycling making them healthier and happier, with fewer cars on the school run in Cardiff.”
Working with CTC and the Sports Council, the ?250,000 funding over three years will be used to get the National Standards adopted across Wales alongside Bikeability (see above). www.ctc.org.uk/wales
School Cycle Train
A 'School Cycle Train' run by Sustrans Volunteer Ranger Mark Kiehlmann at St Matthew's Primary School in Bishopbriggs, East Dunbartonshire has won a Cycle
Friendly School accreditation from Cycling Scotland. Mark will also be running a
CTC-style Bike Club there over the summer. The headteacher is now buying himself
a bicycle so that he can join in and will be including pupil work on Sustrans‟s canal path maintenance schemes as part of the school's 'Curriculum for Excellence'.
News in Brief
; ?Ms for new research centre
A centre to undertake long and short-term research into sustainable transport is to be set up with ?7.75m from the
Department for Transport, the Economic and Social Research Council, and the
www.dft.gov.uk Scottish Government.
> press release 5/3/09
; Hire bikes for Oxford
Oxfordshire County Council is planning an 18-month pilot hire-bike scheme for Oxford, starting in 2010. Cabinet members have agreed to form a steering group with partner organisations. www.oxfordshire.gov.uk/ > news >
; New framework for sustainable tourism The Department for Culture, Media and Sport has launched a new sustainable tourism framework for England. It includes challenges aimed at helping the industry minimise its environmental and transport impacts.
; Company doubles commuter cycling Latest research from the National Business Travel Network, part of the Government‟s ACT on CO2 campaign,
shows that 63% of the employees they surveyed in Great Britain said they would take up a work travel plan if their organisation offered one. A good example is global engineering company Arup, which has more than halved the number of lone car drivers amongst employees at its Bristol offices (down from 38% to 17%), whilst more than doubling walking and cycling levels (16% up to 34%; and 9% to 23% respectively). www.nbtn.org.uk
News from Scotland
By Peter Hayman, CTC Scotland
; Dreams on Wheels
The fact that cycle campaigning is becoming increasingly holistic these days was
well illustrated recently by the inspirational conference Cycling for a Change. Hosted
by the Scottish Government, it took advantage of the Danish Dreams on Wheels (DoW) exhibition in Edinburgh to learn more about the evolution of their cycling culture. Danish urban planning guru Jan Gehl led by showing the success gained by making places people-friendly - and counting cyclists as people. As well as the compelling health benefit analysis that only Denmark, Holland and China have large enough samples to establish, we were shown how the Danish town of Odense turned cycle-friendly with small incremental improvements and a lot of education. View presentations at www.chooseanotherway.com > Let‟s go > General
Designing Streets Back home, Designing Streets, a Scottish version of Manual for Streets, has completed its consultation with mostly supportive responses and will be issued in the autumn. It recognises the “domination by motor vehicles” in
the “movement function of streets” and calls for “the benefits that flow from...a higher
priority to pedestrians and cyclists”. Its recommendations follow Scottish Planning
Policy SPP3 and SPP17 on housing and transport
Smarter Choices, Smarter Places The Scottish Government's seven
Smarter Choices, Smarter Places projects concentrate on a wider active travel agenda than the English Cycling Towns (:www.cyclingengland.org.uk). Baseline monitoring and background work, including many cycling schemes, is under way and now being followed with public launches of the various projects. These will run over the next two years. www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Transport/sustainable-transport
MTB News The Scottish MTB Strategic Framework implementation, which also included a wide range of stakeholders, has now moved to the setting up of a Scottish Mountain Bike Development Consortium to oversee the progress of all aspects of MTB activity in Scotland.
20 mph Latest
Residents in Fishergate in York are strongly backing the introduction of 20 mph speed limits on seven local streets. The response rate to a consultation was 49%, of which 70.5% voted in favour. We understand that the scheme will not involve the installation of humps. Local councillor Andy D'Agorne said, "As part of being a national 'cycling city' York intends to develop more widespread 20 mph areas to create residential streets that favour walking and cycling. This is an excellent start on that process."
Message from local resident Anna Semlyen, who campaigned for the scheme: “I‟m
now looking for 20's plenty champions across York. The next targeted street is Newlands Drive off Boroughbridge Road where a petition is under way. If you too would like support with a 20's plenty petition in York, please contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org or 01904 654355 or see www.20splentyforus.org.uk ”
20 mph limits have been given the go-ahead for almost all residential minor roads in Oxford, plus some sections of the main A roads and the B road network where there are busy shopping areas. Cllr Ian Hudspeth said the decision was made on the basis “…that a reduction in speed will reduce the number and severity of accidents, encourage walking and cycling and generally improve the environment for pedestrians.” www.oxfordshire.gov.uk > news > 23/4/09
Islington in London has agreed to set ?1m aside from this year‟s capital budget to
introduce 20 mph limits. This is largely thanks to the persistence - and bargaining power - of Councillor Katie Dawson, who has been trying to get such a scheme approved for almost three years. www.islington.gov.uk/
20 mph speed limits are being introduced to three areas of Norwich, with the emphasis on education and enforcement, rather than on physical traffic calming. The new limits will be monitored and in September councillors will decide whether or not to extend them to all residential streets in the City Council area. www.norwich.gov.uk
The Transport Committee of the London Assembly has published a report examining the current and potential use of 20 mph speed limits in London. It also looks at implementation and enforcement issues. In conclusion it backs the expansion of borough-wide trials of 20 mph limits for residential streets, and calls on the Mayor to put more money into the measure
Download the report, Braking point: 20 mph speed limits in London, from www.london.gov.uk/assembly/reports/transport/braking-point-20mph.pdf
Bike Parking Victory for London Cyclists
London Cycling Campaign (LCC) is celebrating the ditching of a proposed law that would have allowed council contractors to remove without notice bicycles chained to railings even if they were not an obstruction or abandoned. LCC played a crucial role in the defeat of the legislation, drafted as part of the London Local Authorities and Transport for London Bill. Speaking before the Lords‟
committee which made the decision, LCC‟s Ralph Smyth said, "Because of the lack
of clarity as to where you could or could not park your bicycle, this aspect of the Bill would have a chilling effect on people‟s desire to cycle." For more see
FEATURE: An Uphill Struggle?
Neil Guthrie from the consultancy Atkins looks at understanding
and planning for the impact of topography on cycling
Hilliness has long been regarded as one of the most influential factors in the take-up of utility cycling in urban areas. One of the first major studies to observe this was by Waldman in 1977 who said, “hilliness
and the rate of accidents were found to be the two most important
factors in determining the levels of cycling”. In the mid 1990s, the DfT‟s
Cycling in Great Britain (1996) commented, “Cycling is many times
more popular in the flattest areas of Great Britain than elsewhere. Although it is obvious that it is easier to cycle in flat areas, the extent of the differences is surprising, and has policy implications.”
Continental design guidance also flags up the impact of hilliness, e.g. the Danish Collection of Cycle Concepts (2000) which notes that hills are the most important factor in determining the number of cyclists: “a
small hill does not affect mode choice, but ridges and higher hills of just
50m have large impacts”.
Most recently, in an extensive research project to update Waldman‟s
work, Parkin (2007), concluded that “hilliness was found to be, by far,
the most significant determiner of the proportion that cycled to work in a district.”
Whilst other factors including land use, relative attractiveness of motorised modes, and specific cycling initiatives, do have an impact on levels of cycling, hilliness is clearly the largest single determinant. However, there is no agreed way of measuring it, so Atkins has evaluated and added to the various techniques in use:
• Contours per kilometre: this involves measuring the length of the road network and dividing it by the number of contours it crosses (first used by Waldman in 1977). The main advantage is that it provides an average level of hilliness across the entire road network. The disadvantage is that it ignores the distribution of hilly areas: steepest hills could be in town centres (with a large impact on cycling) or the outskirts (very little impact).
The table below compares „contours per kilometre‟ ratings with levels
of cycle commuting in several towns highlighting the relationship between hilliness and the level of cycling.
Settlement 10m Cycle Verbal description of hilliness
per kilometre (2001)
Oxford 0.7 14.9% Largely flat (CPK rating of less than
1.0); cycling likely to be easier than Cambridge 0.8 25.9%
walking. People of all ages able to York 0.9 12.0%
make local trips by bike.
Taunton 1.5 8.6% Relatively few (or gentle) gradients
(CPK of 1.0-1.9); sufficiently flat for
most people to cycle
Brighton 2.3 2.7% Quite hilly (2.0-2.9); some parts of the
town are likely to be suitable for cycling, Yeovil 2.9 6.2%
depending on the distribution of the hills
(e.g. Yeovil has a very large, cycle-
friendly employer on the flatter side of
Crewkerne 4.3 1.2% Very hilly (over 4.0); topography
prevents cycling becoming a mass
mode. Only the very energetic (or
those with no alternative) would cycle
frequently for local trips. However,
there may be specific routes worth
providing which follow contours and link
• Difference in height between the highest and lowest point: this
measure is easy to calculate but is quite crude (relative to other techniques) and only useful when the height difference is small e.g. 20m.
• Percentage of town within a 10m height difference of the centre (developed by Atkins for its Somerset market town assessments): this highlights the parts of a town from which residents can cycle to the centre with relatively little effort. It overcomes some shortcomings of other techniques e.g. when the outskirts are flat but the town centre approach is hilly.
• The slope on each kilometre square: this (adopted by Parkin) uses
data from the „Countryside Information System‟ available for each
kilometre square of the UK. It is readily available without the need for time-consuming calculations, although it relates to the general topography of a district and not specifically to the route network.
What should those involved with the promotion and provision of cycling do? The most important advice is simply to take hills seriously! Although hilly terrain can attract recreational cyclists in rural areas, particularly those on mountain bikes, it acts as a powerful deterrent to urban utility cycling.
Calculations should be made to identify settlements with the most cycle-friendly topography. Once this is done, maps can be used to highlight areas within settlements where the topography would enable cycling to flourish. Atkins has found that a combination of the hilliness assessments provides the clearest picture of the impact of topography, and has used this approach in its assessment of Somerset market towns.
Hilly towns need not be ignored, however. Opportunities should be sought to make use of features such as tunnels, cuttings, embankments and bridges, and key routes through hilly urban areas that follow contours can sometimes be identified. Other measures to consider include the promotion of electric bikes (which make hill-climbing much easier) and folding bikes (which can be carried on public transport).
Neil Guthrie is Senior Consultant, Cycling Policy and Research, Atkins / email@example.com
OFFROAD AND RIGHTS OF WAY Update from Colin Palmer,
CTC’s Offroad Advisor
Coastal Access Goes to the Lords The Marine Bill currently moving
through Parliament has provisions to create a footpath around the English coast. Unfortunately, though, while Ministers see opportunities for cyclists and equestrians as desirable, the current proposals are weak. DEFRA, and the government agency Natural England (who are steering the Bill), propose that cycle access should be by voluntary means through discussions with landowners. As this was exactly the same process that was embedded in the recent open access CRoW Act, CTC through the Rights of Way Committee asked a parliamentary question
to ascertain how much access cyclists had gained through this voluntary process. Answer: “None”. CTC therefore supported amendments put forward by the
Bridleways Association to strengthen the provisions of the Bill for cycle and equestrian access, but any new access will inevitably rely heavily on the efforts of local cyclists.
Cycle Access on Towpaths Currently, cyclists only have permission to use half of the 2,200 mile canal towpath network. Following two years of preliminary discussion, British Waterways has agreed to review towpath policy, and CTC is working with other cycling organisations, including Sustrans and British Cycling, to propose ways of increasing and improving cycling provision. The process was recently hotly debated by boating, angling and walking groups under the guidance of British Waterways, which confirmed that a variety of strong views, particularly from boaters, may be difficult to reconcile.
Natural England’s RoWIP Awards The 2000 CRoW Act required all
local authorities to produce a Rights of Way Improvement Plan (RoWIP) by mid 2008 to assess rights of way provision and look at improvements for walking, cycling and horse riding. Around 65% met the 2008 deadline and Natural England assessed the plans in a number of categories including „Cycling‟, and „Integration with LTPs‟. It was
noted that the rights of way network, in combination with other access such as cycle tracks, green space and permissive routes have a key role to play, but one that has been overlooked in the past with many authorities regarding rights of way as purely for recreational walking and riding. East Sussex was considered to have the „Best
Cycling‟ category in the country out of a shortlist of Derby, Leicester, Tyne and Wear,
Staffordshire, and Sheffield. Nottingham City Council was awarded „Best Integration
with Local Transport Plans‟ out of a shortlist of Cambridgeshire,
Durham, Hertfordshire, Leicester, Merseyside, Oxfordshire, Slough, Warrington, Darlington, and Redcar & Cleveland.
Bridleway Success in Northumberland National Park Bridleway 4 near
Bellingham is a popular route for both walkers and cyclists - but cyclists have been forced to lift their bikes over an awkward and illegal stile in a high stone wall. Both cyclists and equestrians asked Northumberland National Park on
numerous occasions to remove it, but with no success until a letter requesting a formal reply resulted in moves by the landowner to downgrade the route to footpath. This was subsequently thrown out by the Park due to lack of evidence - a decision that was appealed by the landowner and has yet to be heard. Finally, the Byways & Bridleways Trust served a s130a notice on the council, which led to a date for a Magistrates Court hearing. Faced with this, the council finally succumbed and in February the stile was replaced by a gate. Congratulations to CTC‟s local
representative David Roberts for his work on this problem. David now has his sights set on another case - an application to stop up the important link Healey Byway 15.
Horses not for Bath to Bristol Cycle Path Bath and North East
Somerset Council has decided not to allow horses on the Bath to Bristol Cycle Path or part of the Norton Radstock Greenway. This follows an extensive trial and objections from various groups, including Bath Cycling Club represented by Nigel Sherwen. The Club‟s main argument focused on the view that the routes don‟t meet
accepted design guidance for multi-use, rather than on a blanket objection to sharing space with horses. www.bathnes.gov.uk/ > Enterprise and Economic
Development Scrutiny Panel > Minutes > 10/3/09