Residents to get new decision-making powers in England cycling ‘revolution’

A cyclist passes a rental bike on the pavement. £2bn will be spent on cycling and walking across a five year period, under new plans.

A cyclist passes a rental bike on the pavement. £2bn will be spent on cycling and walking across a five year period, under new plans. Photograph: Richard Baker/In Pictures/Getty Images

 

Residents will get powers to banish through-traffic from local streets and councils will be prevented from building substandard cycle lanes under what Downing Street has billed as a revolution for cycling and walking in England.

The plans will see the creation of a watchdog to ensure new cycle and walking routes are up to standard, intended to act as a transport equivalent of the schools inspectorate, Ofsted.

Active Travel England, to be led by a yet-to-be-appointed commissioner for walking and cycling, will refuse to fund paint-only bike lanes – without physical barriers or protection from cars – or routes where cyclists and pedestrians have to share space. It could also cut budgets in other areas for highways departments which fail to deliver on active transport.

Local people will be given a chance to choose whether residential side streets should be closed to through motor traffic to make them safer for pedestrians and cyclists, under plans to be put out for consultation.

Another proposal could see some main roads, for example in cities, kept as through-routes for pedestrians, cyclists and buses, with other motor traffic allowed access only.

Also on the table are grants to help people with the cost of electric-assist bikes, which can encourage cycling, particularly on longer or more hilly commutes. However, these tend to be more expensive than traditional bikes, often costing well over £1,000. It has not yet been specified how much assistance might be offered.

Following Monday’s announcement of a new strategy to combat obesity, the push for more active travel is a parallel strand of Downing Street efforts to improve public health, an issue highlighted by worse coronavirus outcomes faced by many people with chronic conditions connected to weight and inactive living, such as type 2 diabetes.

More active travel will also relieve pressure on the roads and on public transport, where capacity has been cut due to social distancing measures. Since May, people have been urged to walk or cycle to work or elsewhere when possible.

The proposals include the provision of more cycle racks in city and town centres to encourage people to arrive by bike.

The proposals include the provision of more cycle racks in city and town centres to encourage people to arrive by bike. Photograph: Maureen McLean/Rex/Shutterstock

 

He said: “From helping people get fit and healthy and lowering their risk of illness, to improving air quality and cutting congestion, cycling and walking have a huge role to play in tackling some of the biggest health and environmental challenges that we face.”

The plans were welcomed by campaigners, who nonetheless warned that their effectiveness would depend on proper implementation and necessary funding. Chris Boardman, the former cycling champion who is now policy adviser to British Cycling, said the plans showed “the level of ambition required to transform the country”.

He added: “Many will focus on the health benefits of more people getting around by bike or on foot, but we know that these are changes which reap dividends in all walks of life, not least the quality of the air we breathe, the congestion on our roads and the economic benefit for shops, cafes and bars.”

Matt Mallinder, director of influence and engagement at the campaign group Cycling UK, said the plan was “a truly comprehensive and far-reaching set of measures”, but warned about the levels of funding.

“To truly shift gears so that everyone can feel the transformative benefits of cycling the £2bn of funding already announced will not be enough,” he said. “However, with a forthcoming spending review, now’s the time for the chancellor to invest in the future and make the prime minister’s vision of a golden age of cycling come true.”

The new standards for cycling and walking routes will be fully spelled out in updated official guidance to be published on Tuesday. The proposals include more cycle racks at stations and other transport hubs, as well as in town and city centres, and for protected bike hangars allowing safe storage for people who cannot keep a bike at home.

Others cover areas such as strengthening the Highway Code to protect pedestrians and cyclists, giving councils new powers to tackle traffic offences and pilot schemes for local authorities to give contracts in areas such as waste disposal to cycle freight companies.

A New Chair for Cycle Seahaven

 

Andy (Gus) Lock has been co-opted onto the committee and unanimously voted to the role of temporary Chairperson, under Section 7.C of the club constitution:

7.C. Composition etc
c If an Officer or Committee member retires or resigns from the Committee before the next AGM then the Committee may co-opt a Club member to sit as that Officer or Committee Member with full voting rights, until the next AGM. The post must then be put for election as in rule 6e.

Andy has previously served on the committee for eight years and held the position of founding Chair for three years.

On behalf of the members, the committee welcome Andy back!

A warm welcome too, to Dave Sutton and Sarah Winser who are rejoining the committee as Road and MTB Ride Leader co-ordinators.

The road to nowhere is going somewhere!

Ride Leader Andy (Gus) Lock has provided the following information:

The path between Halfords, Newhaven and the bird screen on the Ouse Estuary Trail (aka: road to nowhere) has been re-routed onto a new tarmac shared path. From the Halfords end, cyclists and pedestrians keep to the right of the road to pick up the newly surfaced shared path.  Coming from the Seaford end you keep left and stay on the tarmac surfaced path, rather than cut across the grass. 

Keep right on the shared path…

The road to nowhere from Halfords, Newhaven

The road to nowhere from Halfords, Newhaven – keep right!

 

Carry on the surfaced path…

Road to nowhere from Seaford

Road to nowhere from Seaford – keep on the surfaced path!

 

Thanks Gus!

 

Featured image: Photo by Paul Chessare from FreeImages

Cycle Seahaven Jersey Design 2020

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Cycling at a safe distance and a suggestion from a local resident (bottom of page)

What is a safe distance when running, biking and walking during COVID-19 times? It is further than the typical 1–2 meter as prescribed in different countries!

 

countries walking, biking and jogging are welcome activities in these times of COVID-19. However, it is important to note that you need to avoid each other’s slipstream when doing these activities. This comes out of the result of a study by the KU Leuven (Belgium) and TU Eindhoven (Netherlands). (1)(2)(3)(4)

The typical social distancing rule which many countries apply between 1–2 meters seems effective when you are standing still inside or even outside with low wind. But when you go for a walk, run or bike ride you better be more careful. When someone during a run breathes, sneezes or coughs, those particles stay behind in the air. The person running behind you in the so-called slip-stream goes through this cloud of droplets.

The researchers came to this conclusion by simulating the occurrence of saliva particles of persons during movement (walking and running) and this from different positions (next to each other, diagonally behind each other and directly behind each other). Normally this type of modelling is used to improve the performance level of athletes as staying in each other air-stream is very effective. But when looking at COVID-19 the recommendation is to stay out of the slipstream according to the research.

The results of the test are made visible in a number of animations and visuals. The cloud of droplets left behind by a person is clearly visible. “People who sneeze or cough spread droplets with a bigger force, but also people who just breathe will leave particles behind”. The red dots on the image represent the biggest particles. These create the highest chance of contamination but also fall down faster. “But when running through that cloud they still can land on your clothing” according to Professor Bert Blocken.

 

Out of the simulations, it appears that social distancing plays less of a role for 2 people in a low wind environment when running/walking next to each other. The droplets land behind the duo. When you are positioned diagonally behind each other the risk is also smaller to catch the droplets of the lead runner. The risk of contamination is the biggest when people are just behind each other, in each other’s slipstream.

On the basis of these results the scientist advises that for walking the distance of people moving in the same direction in 1 line should be at least 4–5 meter, for running and slow biking it should be 10 meters and for hard biking at least 20 meters. Also, when passing someone it is advised to already be in different lane at a considerable distance e.g. 20 meters for biking.

This is definitely information I will be taking into account and it also puts in perspective the closing of busy parks etc. Perhaps the better way is just running in the street, on your own or at least with sufficient distance. Stay safe…

And a connected post from a Seaford resident:

Hi Cycle Seahaven – as a cyclist, I know none of us like ‘rules’ being applied and people worked hard to earn permission to cycle on the seafront at Seaford. Do you think, during this Corona crisis, cyclists should (or could) be encouraged to cycle on the road? As they overtake pedestrians on the path, the 2m gap is breached – when they also say hello as they pass (an otherwise lovely thing to do) they are effectively sending vapour particles straight onto the person they’re greeting. Maybe I’m being overly cautious but if we’re going to stop the spread we might as well do our best. If cyclists were on the now nearly empty road instead,  distance would be maintained and everyone could enjoy the space. What do you think? Aiming to be constructive for the safety of the greater community. Thanks for accepting the intended spirit of the message (it’s not a moan)!! 🙂

Cycling UK offers free membership to NHS staff

Cycling UK is offering free membership to NHS staff “in recognition of the significant contribution” that they “are making in keeping the UK safe” during the coronavirus pandemic.

Please pass the news on to anyone you know who could benefit

NHS workers who are riding bikes to get to work during the crisis will be eligible for three months’ free membership of the national cyclists’ charity, including being able to access uts third party insurance and legal advice.

The offer can be accessed through the charity’s website(link is external), and Cycling UK is urging cyclists to spread the word to people they know who work within the NHS so that as many people as possible can benefit from the initiative.

Cycling UK chief executive Paul Tuohy said: “Last night along with the rest of the nation, I cheered and clapped for our NHS heroes from my doorstep.

“These brave men and women are putting their lives on the line for us every time they go to work and deserve everyone’s support and respect.

“That’s why today, we’ve made Cycling UK membership available to every NHS worker who is cycling to work.

“Hopefully they will never need to use the insurance and legal advice that comes with it, but just as they’ve got our back in case the worst happens, Cycling UK wants to make sure everyone in the NHS who needs it is looked after too – it’s the least we can do.”

The sign-up page on the Cycling UK website(link is external) also has a dedicated advice page containing articles and videos that will be useful for any NHS staff taking up cycling for the first time.

Resources include cycle safety tips, a journey planner, and advice on basic maintenance and secure bike locking.

The charity has also set up a page on Just Giving(link is external) for donations to be made to help it keep NHS key workers moving as part of the fight against COVID-19.

Tuohy said: “Cycling UK couldn’t make this offer to the nation’s real heroes if it wasn’t for ongoing support of our 68,000 members,

“But by opening up our membership to those who need it most, it is likely to impact our finances.

“I’m appealing to our members and the wider cycling community who can afford it to make a small donation, so we can keep on helping those who need it the most.”

Cycling UK added that any NHS workers who already have membership will have it extended by three months when it expires.

Other organisations in the cycling community that are supporting NHS workers in getting to work include Brompton Bike Hire, which yesterday unveiled plans to make another 1,000 bikes available to hospital staff.

> Brompton Bike Hire in fund raising drive to make more bikes for NHS workers – here’s how you can help

British Cycling are launching a daily activity to keep kids moving during school shutdown (Covid 19 compliant)

British Cycling has today (Wednesday 25 March) launched a daily activity calendar to keep kids moving and help them to develop new skills, as millions across Britain adjust to life out of school.

The first activity, taking place at 11:00 tomorrow (Thursday 26 March), is Fingers and Thumbs, and the full calendar of activities can be found below. The full suite of games and activities can be accessed at any time here and participants can use this page to get the most out of the activities.

Using British Cycling’s HSBC UK Ready Set Ride games and activities, the daily activities will be shared through our YouTube, Facebook and Twitter channels at 11:00 each day, until Friday 24 April. They are suitable for children from as young as 18 months to eight years old, and many can be done without a bike – making them perfect for indoor play.

Launched alongside the Youth Sport Trust as a tool to help parents introduce pedalling to playtime, HSBC UK Ready Set Ride is split into three stages (Prepare 2 Ride, Balance and Pedals) which provide families with all they need to support children to start cycling.

The initiative was first launched following research by YouGov which showed that a third (33%) of all children cannot ride a bike.

British Cycling Chief Executive, Julie Harrington, said:

“The coming weeks and months are clearly going to be a challenge for parents and kids alike, but through our daily activities I really hope that we can help families to have fun and stay active together.

“While it’s true that the fabric of our sport – from elite racing to kids coaching – faces a period of unprecedented difficulty, I’m absolutely determined to ensure that we use the tools we do have at our disposal to make a difference wherever we can.”

Ali Oliver, Chief Executive of the Youth Sport Trust, said: 

“It is vital that we all take personal responsibility during these unprecedented times and play our part in helping to mitigate the impact on children of losing organised sport and activity both inside and outside of school.

“At a home level, it’s a really important moment to help parents manage children with lots of energy. Get them active for 20 minutes every couple of hours. Make sure they get their 60 active minutes a day. Being active is going to reduce their chances of being unwell. It will help them with remote learning. It will improve their concentration and it will make them feel better. It will help make being in the home a more pleasant and positive experience for everybody in the family.”

Luke Harper, Head of British Cycling Partnership at HSBC UK, said:

“The HSBC UK Ready Set Ride activities are perfect for indoor playtime or in the garden, and you don’t even need a bike to get started.

“The initiative is free to use for all, and is a tried and tested way to get your kids up and running on two wheels.”

Calendar of activities:

Once again the full suite of games and activities can be accessed at any time here and participants can use this page to get the most out of the activities.

Thursday 26th March Fingers and Thumbs
Friday 27th March Steady as You Go
Monday 30th March Swipe and Swap
Tuesday 31st March Jump
Wednesday 1st April Step it Up
Thursday 2nd April Twist and Pass
Friday 3rd April Stamp and Slide
Monday 6th April Wibble Wobble
Tuesday 7th April Scoot, Stride and Glide
Wednesday 8th April Speed it Up, Slow it Down
Thursday 9th April Box the Lot
Friday 10th April Criss Cross
Monday 13th April Dot to Dot
Tuesday 14th April I Spy
Wednesday 15th April Limbo
Thursday 16th April Pedal and Glide
Friday 17th April Zig Zags
Monday 20th April Corner Explorer
Tuesday 21st April Pedal and Limbo
Wednesday 22nd April Foot Down
Thursday 23rd April Ups and Downs
Friday 24th April Wave and Go, Figure it Out

Warning that cycling could be banned if people don’t ride responsibly this weekend

‘Make sure bikes continue to be seen to be part of the solution to this crisis’ – Chris Boardman

British Cycling has warned that the ‘privilege’ of riding a bike could be removed if people fail to observe instructions on social distancing this weekend.

In an open letter(link is external) published on Friday night, British Cycling CEO Julie Harrington said it was “heartening” that the Government had so far protected people’s right to ride a bike, but warned that this must not be taken for granted.

Government advice on staying at home currently lists as an exception, “one form of exercise a day, for example, a run, walk, or cycle – alone or with members of your household.”

It goes on to say that, “even when doing these activities, you should be minimising time spent outside of the home and ensuring you are 2 metres apart from anyone outside of your household.”

Despite this, some have undertaken group rides or arranged to meet friends midway through a ride. Others have used their daily ride to cover great distances, arguing that the guidelines don’t specify a time limit.

Daily exercise rules: current cycling dos and don’ts

Harrington said: “People on bikes were not the only culprits in last weekend’s mass dash to the outdoors but, despite strong guidance from ourselves and others, too many chose to ignore the Prime Minister’s instructions on social distancing, continuing to ride in groups and meet in cafes for a mid-ride chat.

“This isn’t just irresponsible, it is putting people’s lives at risk. A repeat of that this weekend risks further Government measures to take away the privilege of riding a bike for all of us and now more than ever, it is not one we can afford to lose.”

Greater Manchester’s cycling commissioner, Chris Boardman, urged people to, “make sure bikes continue to be a part of the solution to this crisis, and are seen to be part of the solution.”  

After highlighting key workers’ use of bikes for essential journeys, he said: “For the rest of us, [bikes] are a way to go and get supplies, take essential exercise and, crucially, give us a mental break each day, helping us ensure prolonged isolation is actually sustainable.

“But for bikes to remain a force for good and help us get through this, this is how it’s got to work: only ride alone or with people that you live with and stay at least two metres away from anybody that you meet. Do not, under any circumstances, ride in a group.

“As per government instructions, only go out once [to exercise] each day. And finally, be sensible. Only ride on routes that you know well and that are well within your ability.”

He advised people to, “obey these rules as if your life, and the lives of others, depend on it – because they do.”

Ripe’s Winged Wheel: Good News

The CTC Winged Wheel plaque, which used to be on the old Lamb Inn at Ripe, has been restored and is now mounted on the wall at the front of the Ripe Village Stores. The above photo was taken by a lone cyclist who was passing through Ripe on Wednesday afternoon: Dave Sutton.

It’s almost two years ago when I took a picture of the derelict pub and posted an entry to the blog about the Winged Wheel. These cast-iron plaques, two feet in diameter, were issued by the CTC about 120 years ago to approved inns and hotels. The Lamb was clearly an approved inn so it’s seems apt that it should be transferred to the Village Stores opposite which has a superb cyclist friendly café inside. The plaque has been restored by members of the East Sussex CTC.

The café is, of course, closed during the Coronavirus outbreak but I’m sure that when the restrictions are lifted plenty of cyclists will be visiting the café as soon as it reopens. I know that the café proprietor is intending to have a ‘Winged Wheel’ event one Sunday at which local cycling clubs will be invited. We’ll certainly be there.