Peter Walker is our guest on the 20th September!

https _cdn.evbuc.com_images_48019320_67378900689_1_originalWe’re delighted to announce that our guest speaker at our Open Meeting on the 20th September is Peter Walker. His book Bike Nation: How Cycling Can Save the World takes us on a journey around the world, exploring the varying attitudes to cycling on our highways.

Visit the shining examples of Amsterdam and Copenhagen, where cycling culture is an intrinsic part of the approach of politicians and officials. How have these cities made provision for cyclists and what are the extraordinary benefits?

And then take to the less welcoming roads of Britain, USA and Australia, where cycling can still be a terrifying experience. What are the tragic mistakes being made when planning and developing cities, and how do these mistakes lead to aggression towards the cycling community?

Peter is Political Correspondent for the Guardian. In 2009 he set up the Guardian Bike Blog which has published dozens of writers and has quickly become a primary destination for cycling debate. In 2014 he was named by BikeBizmagazine as one of the 50 most influential people in UK cycling, and in 2016 he was shortlisted in the Specialist Writer category at the Cycling Media Awards.

Greater Manchester Walking and Cycling Commissioner and former professional cyclist Chris Boardman says “Peter Walker has written the book I wanted to write”

We expect this event to be popular, so make sure you put your name down ASAP!

And you may want to buy Peter’s book before the event!

The Open Meeting is on the 20th September at the Richmond Building, University of Portsmouth starting at 7pm

Please get you tickets here.

All change, again!

The news that the Liberal Democrats will be running Portsmouth City Council again from May 2018 means that PCF will be looking to work with its fourth Traffic and Transportation cabinet member in as many years.

Councillor Lynne Stagg will take up the reins for a second time, and having been Lib Dems’ spokesperson for the portfolio prior to the recent election, she will hopefully be up to speed with a number of the pressing issues, which of course includes those concerning cycling in the city. She has previously pushed for safer cycle routes in Baffins and Milton.

At this point the PCF committee would like to thank Councillor Simon Bosher for all his work in the ten months since taking over the role a week before Tim Atkins’ fatal accident on the Eastern Road last June. He has been approachable, pro-active in developing schemes and dealing with issues as well as giving the departmental officers the aim to identify and develop schemes for future cycle infrastructure and planning. He also accepted an invitation to come out on a ride with us last summer and was open enough to accept that there were a range of issues facing cyclists in the city and set about trying to address some of them.

The most obvious example of this being the relocated lamp posts and signage on the Hope Street cycle lane (the main one between the ferry port and the city centre). These lamp posts were on a blind corner, close to fast traffic which was only exacerbated on a dark evening by the brightness of oncoming car headlights facing anyone cycling southbound. We had campaigned for many years to have these obstacles removed from the middle of the cycle lane and had repeatedly been told it could not be done. Another example was the creation of a cycle lane on Farlington Avenue to allow cycles to filter past the traffic islands installed to control vehicle speeds towards the top of the road. It’s so much easier not having to re-start pedalling while trying to go uphill!

It is for these reasons that we hope he might retain responsibility for the area in opposition. We will want to see him on the bike hire scheme that he instigated when its launched in the summer and to ensure that the commitment to improving cycling conditions in the city is maintained. Cllr Bosher has been an extremely effective T&T post holder and we wish him well. We hope Cllr Stagg will build on what he has started and work across party lines to deliver the best possible outcomes for cyclists in the city.

So what we can expect from the new administration? Well to start with it was their motion to full council last October that initiated the spending commitment of a guaranteed 10% of annual LTP funding. The motion included the request that the council “Develops a strategy to implement in full Portsmouth Cycle Forum’s ‘A City to Share‘; such strategy to include a costed network of safe, accessible and direct routes that link places and people”, a commitment that was repeated in their 2018 local election manifesto, and so we look forward to working with them to achieve that, especially as it will cost more than the funding currently guaranteed. Perhaps they could follow the example of other councils who are promoting the health benefits of active travel by using some of the public health budget to help get infrastructure built?

This year’s LTP transport schemes already include a number of cycling related safety and infrastructure improvements to be rolled out, and it will not be long until the list for 2019/2020 is starting to be developed so we hope that they will build upon the current progress in order to create the network required to enable those currently apprehensive about cycling to try it for themselves.

If they should start to flag on their commitments, then Labour will soon let them know. They also pledged to implement our ‘A City To Share’ Strategy in their 2018 local election manifesto and with group leader Stephen Morgan MP also sitting on the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group in Westminster and having recently come on a ride with us around his constituency, there is also a strong will on their part to build on the recent successes in the city ahead of the 2019 elections.

In our recent 2018 AGM report to members, I wondered that when we look back at 2017 in five or ten years time, will we remember it as the year that things finally started to change for cyclists in Portsmouth, or that it was just another false dawn? There is now a direction of travel for cycling in the city which all three main parties generally agree upon. Whether this is because of the need to reduce congestion in the city, improve air quality, increase the level of physical activity of citizens or to just make it a safer place to ride on two wheels, I feel positive that improvements will arrive whoever is running the show.

The next couple of years has the makings of a landmark point for cycling in the city. We need to support those who are assisting us to achieve our aims, question the means of getting there and be critical of those who put up barriers or deflect our course. We all want a City to Share, as do the rest of Portsmouth. Even if they don’t realise it!

Written by: Ian Saunders (Chair)

Vote Bike

Local elections are almost upon us and one third of the council seats are up for grabs. Now’s your chance to press your local candidates to commit to making cycling safer if they win on Thurs May 3rd.

We’re asking candidates to sign up to deliver “A City to Share” (check it out) – our vision is that Portsmouth becomes the pre-eminent cycling city of the UK and is:

A city fit for the future: a healthy, safe, sustainable, prosperous city that people want to live in, to work in and to visit.

A city where we share spaces, co-operate with each other and treat one another with courtesy and respect

On Saturday 21 April we invited local candidates to join us for a bike ride and picnic and talk about what they will do to make our city a better place.

Despite some recent local improvements, Portsmouth is still the most dangerous place in the country to cycle, after London – this has to change before more people will feel safe enough to ride.

At our picnic, Tom Guha, infrastructure campaigner with Cycling UK reminded us just how important the physical environment is for making cycling safe and attractive. He spoke to our members and the candidates about the tragically avoidable death of Tim Atkins who died last year after a collision with another cyclist on a poor stretch of cycle path which saw him fall into the Eastern Road and the path of an oncoming van. Everyone was cycling and driving as they should have been, but the terrible sight lines at this location meant the two cyclists had no chance of seeing the other coming. Since Tim’s death, the junction has been improved and political cross party agreement was made to invest more in cycle infrastructure.

Candidates from Labour, Conservative and Lib Dem parties came along and pledged to do more if they are elected.

Councillor Bosher, current conservative transport portfolio holder and standing again in Drayton and Farlington ward committed to “continue with [investing] over 30% of LTP [local transport plan funding] in cycling; introduce early release lighting at junctions..and…introduce mandatory cycle lanes” (i.e. ones where you can’t park you car, not even for a couple of minutes)

Ben Dowling, lib dem councillor standing again in Milton ward pledged to “work with Portsmouth Cycle Forum to implement “A City to Share” as far as is possible.”

Tom Coles, labour candidate for Fratton promised to “work towards implementing … A City to Share” and “work on further safe routes.”

Elections will be held on Thurs 3rd May so now’s the time to drop your candidates a line, a letter, an email, a tweet; whatever you like, just let them know how you feel and what improvements you’d like to see! Find your candidates here #acitytoshare #votebike #spaceforcycling

Join us for our first big ride of the year! – Sat 21 April

This coming Saturday, 21 April, local residents are set to pedal their way across Portsmouth to the Watkins and Faux Cafe on Southsea Seafront, where candidates in the forthcoming council elections have also been invited to discuss those issues about cycling in the city, and they will be encouraged to give their pledges to improve the city’s cycling facilities.

The event is led by the Portsmouth Cycle Forum and is one of twelve events taking place ahead of the local elections as part of Cycling UK’s ‘Vote Bike’ campaign.

Building on the momentum of last year, in which Portsmouth City Council passed a motion to ring-fence a minimum proportion of its annual Local Travel Plan funding to invest in cycle infrastructure in support of the Forum’s ‘A City to Share’ strategy the event hopes to get support for the plans from all council candidates.

Tom Guha, Cycling UK’s Infrastructure Campaigner said: “Last year, Portsmouth council got behind our vision of a happier, healthier and more active city. With a third of the council’s seats potentially about to change hands, it is critical that all incoming candidates buy into that vision and do what they can to accelerate it”.

Ian Saunders, Chair of the Cycle Forum said: “Portsmouth already has one of the country’s highest rates of cycling – but it remains a comparatively dangerous place to do so. Our vision is of city where everyone feels safe to cycle – and it is fantastic to see so many council candidates already backing us.”

After arriving at Watkins and Faux café at Southsea Tennis Club by 2pm, there will be a short presentation before attendees will be able to chat to candidates, PCF and Cycling UK reps and have a picnic. So, alongside your sarnies, you’ll also get a chance to ask that burning question to prospective new councillors like “why does the cycle lane near my house just stop” or “how can you make Copnor Road safe for my children to cycle to school” etc, etc.

The ride is open to all, riding on quiet or traffic free routes, and can be picked up from following points, or you can arrive directly at Watkins & Faux in time for the 2pm start.

  • 12:30 depart from Farlington Marshes, then roughly every fifteen minutes at the next spots, but arrive early; in case we do too – we’ll have hungry pic-nickers so we won’t wait about…
  • Portsmouth Watersports Centre
  • Goals / Tangiers Road Junction on Eastern Road
  • Bransbury Park Car Park
  • Coffee Cup – Eastney Esplanade

The ‘PCF Big Bike Picnic Ride’ Facebook Event is available to register for the ride to ensure that there are enough ride leaders for the number of people attending.

EXEC UPDATE: 09:03:18

Another lively exec meeting this evening. There’s always a load to cram in at the meeting before an AGM – don’t forget that’s THIS THURSDAY (15th) at Richmond Building on Burnaby Road.

The contents of this month’s exec meeting included a chat about PCC’s new “Near Miss Reporting Tool”- we’ve been asking for this for ages so it’s great to see it’s been soft-launched ready for everyone to contribute to. You can find it here.  PCC will use this data to build up a picture of areas of the city where cyclists have experienced a near miss – that is; have been annoyed or scared by behaviour of another road user,  or the road layout, or a defect etc. This will help them direct their resources to where they are needed most.

We also had a long debate about membership and fees. We’re going to make quite a drastic proposal at the AGM so be there to find out about these changes and what it means for the development of the Forum.

Tube Map update: The Tube Map our members created last AGM (that was a whole year ago already!) has now been completed and will be launched this Thursday at this year’s AGM. The map shows where existing infrastructure is good, bad and ugly. PCC has already shown interest in working with us to turn bad (red) tube routes into good ones (blue) to turn the map blue – very fitting for Pompey!

Finally, we decided on the boundaries of the new Warden posts we’d like to add to our committee – these are based on electoral ward boundaries and are as follows:

  1. Paulsgrove and Cosham
  2. Drayton & Farlington, and Copnor
  3. Baffins and Milton
  4. Hilsea, Nelson and Fratton
  5. Charles Dickens, St. Thomas and St. Jude
  6. Central Southsea and Eastney & Craneswater

These warden committee members would be champions of their area, providing key local knowledge on issues and routes, and helping to establish links with local elected members and other groups.  They’d be invited to the exec meetings once a month too.  Interested? Get in touch, or come to the AGM. Did I mention, it’s this Thursday in Richmond Building on Burnaby Road at 19:00!!!

See you there.

Exec update: 09:02:18

Phew! Just finished another Friday night Exec meeting with so much content we overran again. Here’s a flavour of this month’s hot topics, and what’s coming up at our Open Meeting on 15th February and our Annual General Meeting (AGM) on March 15th.

EXEC UPDATE:  After lots of activity on our Facebook page over the last couple of weeks, the Stamshaw Road and Twyford Avenue cycle lanes made it to “matters arising”. These two lanes are a key concern for members as they’re squeezed between a heavy flow of traffic and the dreaded dooring zone. We’re planning to discuss with with PCC and push for a redesign.  Other locations discussed included Francis Avenue, Fratton Road Roundabout and Holbrook Road Roundabout where PCC has asked for our input on proposed schemes.

We also heard about PCC’s new “near miss” reporting tool which will be going live later this year – this is a really positive step to help cyclists report spots where they’ve been scared or annoyed by the behaviour of other road users, or perhaps even the layout of the road, and we hope it will help to identify locations for future safety improvement schemes. We’ll be providing PCC with feedback on a beta version.

With elections for local councillors coming up in May this year we have started planning a Big Bike Picnic to be held on 21 April where members can come along with their friends and families and discuss their cycling woes and dreams with the candidates to help shape the future of cycling in the city (and decide who’s most likely to help us get there!)

OPEN MEETING: Our next open meeting on Feb 15th will focus on our response to the City Centre Road proposal application and, as usual,  Council Officers will be on hand from 6.15pm for their Cycle Surgery where you can raise site specific issues with them on a 1:1 basis.  TAKE NOTE – Park Road/Anglesea Junction is closed for railway bridge repairs so you’ll need to take a different route to get to Richmond Building this month.

ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING: The AGM is fast approaching (March 15th) and as always, we’re on the look out for new committee members – we have some new posts opening up including “wardens” for 6 different areas of the city (on the island – north east/north west/south east/south west AND off the island east and west). The wardens would be our “go-to” people for local knowledge and having discussions with councillors. Could it be you?

Finally, Jon Riding will be presenting our cycling tube map which is a result of efforts by attendees at last year’s AGM. We’ve already started using this tube map to share our concerns and ideas for improvements with PCC.

 

 

City Centre Road Scheme

Portsmouth City Council has just finished consulting on a new road layout for the city centre, which could see some drastic changes. The proposed design has been finalised and submitted for approval by the planning committee. Portsmouth Cycle Forum has objected to the plans for a number of reasons.

The design seems to be overwhelmingly focussed on easing the flow of motor traffic; with the convenience, safety and benefit of pedestrians and cyclists coming a distant second. Despite the extensive redesign of the road network it delivers very little for non-motorised road users. Pedestrians and cyclists will continue to compete for the tiny strips of left-over space on the edge of multi-lane highways.

The opportunity to improve the Market Way & Hope Street shared use path, beside the dockyard wall has been foregone. There will be some very minor width improvements but these will not occur where they are desperately needed near the blind bends. Worse, a crossing point will be added, creating hazards with lamp columns and the potential for collision with stationary pedestrians and cyclists as they wait to cross. It also seems likely that the lamp posts, which we fought so hard to get moved, will be moved back. In our view this path is one of the worst cycle facilities in the country and, unless something is done to improve these plans, that will remain the case for the foreseeable future

There will be some improvements to access to and across the northern parts of the city centre, but the opportunity for major benefits to cyclists is currently being lost. We are calling on councillors to reject this application and ask for a better plan, which delivers against Portsmouth City Council’s obligations to pedestrians and cyclists.

You can read the full text of our objection here. Note that, should the plans be approved there is no funding in place at present to immediately implement the scheme. Any planning approval will improve PCC’s chances of winning funding from central government though, so it is important that we do all we can to make sure that only the right design gets approved.

Watershed moment as Portsmouth Council back Space for Cycling

UPDATE on Portsmouth City Council motion to support City to Share:  (from Cycling UK)

On Tuesday 17 October 2017, Portsmouth Council passed a motion to support the Space for Cycling campaign which commits the council to plan a comprehensive network of high quality cycleways and allocates a minimum of 10% of the local transport budget to ensure cycle routes are built.

For more info, please follow this link.

 

URGENT: Support Safer Cycling in Portsmouth

Portsmouth City Council motion to support City to Share: Tuesday 17 October.

Portsmouth City Council will be considering a motion to support City to Share on Tuesday at their full council meeting.  City to Share is the Portsmouth Cycle Forum document inspired by Leader of the Council Donna Jones’ challenge for us to produce a cycle strategy for the city.

We hope you also support this campaign so we can make Portsmouth a safer place for cycling for all of us now, and for future generations. We need to show how important this is an issue within the city. A properly designed and funded network of cycle routes throughout the city will help to cut congestion and pollution, improve journey times and personal health as it encourages those who believe the city is too unsafe for cycling to switch their preferred method of transport.

We’re calling for Portsmouth City Council to commit to a small percentage of the transport budget devoted to cycling infrastructure, increasing over the years to £20 per head.

The simplest way to do this is to show your councillors how much support there is. Cycling UK has produced a simple online webpage to allow you to send an email to your local councillors. This just needs some basic details about you to find your councillors.

Please follow this link.

We helped Cycling UK with the wording of the email so it has our support.  You can of course add your own words.

Pedal Portsmouth Glow Ride 2017

You can register here.

Bring your hi-vis, glow-in-the-dark accessorise and lights, and take part in our bigger and brighter Pedal Portsmouth Glow Ride on Southsea seafront on Saturday 14 October from 6.30pm – 7.30pm – registration from 5.30pm.

It’s a fun, free family event, celebrating safe night-time cycling, on a 3km traffic free route along the seafront. If you are one of the best-lit cyclists, you could win a prize.

The ride starts on Eastney Esplanade near Canoe Lake and will be open for an hour from 6.30pm – 7.30pm, allowing cyclists of all ages and abilities to enjoy cycling round the course at their own pace while lighting up the night. Make sure you sign up to be part of the spectacle!

The registration desk will be open from 5.30pm. Sign-in will be quicker if you’ve already given us your details online so register now. There will be free glow drawstring bags and goodies for participants. Bike Doctor will be there from 5.30pm so if you need your brakes tightened, saddle adjusted or a quick check over get there early.

Please remember that it is illegal to cycle on a public road after dark without lights and reflectors. Anyone without lights could be issued with a £30 fine. You can get good-quality lights and cycle gear from the council at almost cost price. Just ask at reception at the Civic Offices, Guildhall Square.

[courtesy of Portsmouth City Council]

Open Meeting – 21 September

We have our next open meeting on Thursday 21 September at the Richmond Building, University of Portsmouth.

At our last meeting in June we mourned and paid tribute to Tim Atkins. He was killed after being knocked off his bike on the Eastern Road cycle path. We have been pressing Portsmouth City Council to do something about the blind spots and pinch points for years and now our – and your – voices are being heard.

At the meeting we will hear from Cllr Simon Bosher, the city transport portfolio holder.  He will be presenting the plans for the changes to the Eastern Road.  These will be going out to consultation around the same time with a number of ‘roadshows’ taking place at the end of the month.

At our last meeting before the general election we were expecting the then MP for Portsmouth South, Flick Drummond to speak about her work in Parliament.  Now she has some free time and will be with us to talk about the work of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Cycling, of which she was a member. There will be time for questions after her talk.

We start at 7pm, so please arrive 10-15 minutes earlier.

The meeting will take place on Thursday 21 September at 7.00pm in Lecture Theatre 2 of the Richmond Building of the University of Portsmouth.  We start at 7.00pm, so please arrive 10-15 minutes earlier.

PCC Cycle Surgery

As discussed at our June meeting, we have arranged a ‘surgery’ with one of the active travel and road safety team at the city council.  There is the opportunity to discuss particular issues you have with cycling in the city.  There is time for 4 slots before this meeting, and we hope to have some more in November. To make sure of your slot please find more information and booking form here.

Open Meeting Report June 2017

Following the remembrance event in Guildhall Square, approximately 70 attendees cycled to the previously arranged regular open meeting at the University of Portsmouth Richmond Building as a show of support for their fellow cyclists in the city, led by PCF ride leaders.

Just as we were about to start, the late arrival of Portsmouth South’s new MP meant a swift re-arranging of the agenda, with Stephen Morgan addressing the room in what was his first visit back to the city since taking up his seat at Westminster at the start of the week.  He had rushed back south after his swearing in earlier that day, and we were happy to be his first appointment back.

He described how as a non-driver, he cycles around the city, is only too aware of the issues that confront those on two wheels on a daily basis.  At the start of the General Election campaign he announced his support for The City to Share strategy: https://stephenjmorgan.org/2017/04/27/citys-cycling-plan-backed/

Although it is only early days of his term, he took several questions that were mostly about local issues that highlight the dangers of cycling in Portsmouth, announced his intention to join the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group and will join our open meetings as often as he is able to.

We are very grateful to him for making the effort to get back for the evening and we look forward to working with him to improve the infrastructure, safety and perception of cycling in Portsmouth.

The first of our speakers for the evening was Darren Ord, the Traffic Inspector for the Eastern region of the Hampshire and Thames Valley Joint roads operation.  He is also leading the ‘Close Pass Initiative’ which made the headlines of the Portsmouth News in April:

http://www.portsmouth.co.uk/news/crime/watch-undercover-police-cyclists-capture-portsmouth-drivers-overtaking-too-close-1-7906436

Darren, who is a keen cyclist himself, explained they picked up on the Close Pass initiative following the success and publicity around operations carried out in the West Midlands. It targets vehicles that passed too close to cyclists – actually policemen in a number of cyclist attires.  It was felt that car drivers who do not cycle don’t usually look out for cyclists so may not see them.

So far 4 deployments across the Eastern region since April with 36 motorists have been spoken to and educated as to how and why they need to give space for cycling.  They are keen to encourage the education aspect of the initiative, but those not wishing to take advice will be asked to attend a driver awareness course or be issued with a fine, much like those drivers caught speeding.

Asked whether the next step of this approach would be to accept videos from the public that show potential transgressions as a number of forces now do, Darren said that there were future plans to improve ‘third party reporting’ from helmet-cams which is not perfect at the moment. We hope to see this be rolled out in due course though.

Twitter users can follow @HantsPolRoads for more information and to find out what future operations are being carried out.

We then received an update from Portsmouth City Council Active Travel officers on the current and new projects that are taking place.

The new network of Quieter routes has recently been launched and these consist of 10 routes (five north / south & five east /west) across the city that aims to target those less confident cyclists to navigate their way around the city, mainly using the 20mph residential road network.

It’s not a finished product, not every 20mph road is safer than 30mph roads, but the selected routes have been casualty-checked to ensure they run along the statistically safer roads. PCC are aware that there are issues, however some of these could not be addressed with the initial funding package. The scheme has now attracted further funding that can be used to make actual infrastructure improvements.

The current year of the Local Transport Plan has funding for the following projects:

  •      A2047 – Fratton / Kingston / London Rd improvements: 12 junctions get lines and surfacing, or raised tables and surfacing
  •      Bypassing gyratory at the north end of London Rd, to route cyclists across the foot/cycle bridge over the motorway at Peronne Road
  •      Stubbington Ave and London Rd Roundabout: slow traffic down, improve sight lines by increasing carriageway deflection

As part of the question and answer session at the end of the presentations, inevitably there were questions about the recent events that highlighted the dangers of cycling in the city.  It was explained the specific incidents could not be discussed as they were currently under investigation. However as a general rule, after every fatality, there is a meeting to discuss possible improvements to the location, and once the ongoing investigation is finished, there will be a requirement to explain how and what is going to happen to ensure the situation does not happen again.

We would like to thank all our speakers for attending, especially at an emotional time for many cyclists in the city.

The PCF open meetings in the autumn take place on Thursday 21st September and Thursday 16th November at 7.00pm.  Full details will be circulated once we have them confirmed.  To ensure you receive these please sign up to our email bulletins here: http://www.pompeybug.co.uk/newsletters/

Ian Saunders

Chair, Portsmouth Cycle Forum

The Darkest Hour is Just Before the Dawn

On Thursday 15th June 2017, over 200 cyclists gathered in the Guildhall Square in Portsmouth to remember one of our own, Tim Atkins who was killed on his way home from work on a sunny, bright and dry Friday evening when he collided with another cyclist on the Eastern Road cycle path and fell into the road in front of a moving vehicle.  It was a tragic accident for which none of the parties involved were to blame.

Tim’s sister Joanna wrote some moving words, read out on her behalf describing Tim’s “larger than life personality, his huge heart and infectious laugh” asking for immediate action to be taken to make the junction safe for all.

The incident took place on one of the busiest cycle routes in the city, the main cycle path onto and out of the city on the eastern side of the island.  It has proved to be inadequate and unfit for purpose, and so as well as remembering Tim, and also Andy Reeve who was seriously injured in an accident on the Fratton Bridge Roundabout 24 hours before Tim’s accident, also on his way home in similar weather conditions, the Portsmouth Cycle Forum also called for action to be taken by Portsmouth City Council to do better to protect cyclists across the city.  To act to reduce the persistently high cycle casualties that embarrass a city in which cycling is not only highly suitable, but a necessity given congestion and pollution levels.

We know cycling can be made safe, attractive and accessible to all even in crowded cities like Portsmouth. We know that if this is done then more people will choose to get around by bike, reducing the strain on our roads and benefiting us all. This incident has to be seen as the trigger point to do much better.  It’s a line in the sand, a point of no return.

It needs political, cross-party will to commit to long-term thinking, planning and funding to embed a culture where cycling is seen as just another method to travel around a densely populated city.  To create space for cycling, a city to share and to reduce the needless casualties that occur too frequently and scare those that might be encouraged to take it up to put their bikes back into storage.

However we need the everyday cyclists of this city not to let this go as well. To hold your elected representatives and the council officers to account to make sure they deliver. To report problems. To expect and demand better. To help us to improve the city.

You can see the whole of the 17 minute event via the Portsmouth News Facebook live video on their Facebook page here.

You can sign up to receive our email bulletins here.

Ian Saunders
Chair
Portsmouth Cycle Forum

June Open Meeting

Our next open meeting will be on the Thursday 15 June.

Highways police officers will tell us about their recent Close Pass operation – see below.  And we’ll hear from PCC on the quieter bike routes which are being rolled out around the city.

The meeting will take place on Thursday 15 June at 7.00pm in Lecture Theatre 2 of the Richmond Building of the University of Portsmouth.  Please arrive from 6.45pm, so we can start on time.

Death in the Afternoon

It is with the greatest sadness that we have to report the death of one cyclist and injuries to two more in the last two days. On Thursday evening a cyclist was hit by a driver on Fratton bridge roundabout and had to be airlifted to hospital in Southampton, where his condition is reported as ‘critical but stable’. Worse was to come on Friday, as two cyclists collided on the Eastern Road cycle path, apparently causing one to fall into the busy traffic where he lost his life and the other to fall into the hedge that narrows the path.

We have long campaigned for improvements to cycle safety in Portsmouth, but sadly our worst fears have come true. The sites of both accidents are well known problem sites and both have been discussed with officers at Portsmouth City Council, but sadly no meaningful action had been taken at either site to prevent the tragic events of the last two days.

The Eastern Road cycle path is one of the most important cycle routes in the city but it has a number of serious safety problems. In some stretches – including the area of Friday’s accident – it is too narrow for two cyclists to pass each other safely. This is compounded by a blind bend next to the entrance to the Harvester pub. This section of the route is shared use meaning it is intended to take both cyclists and pedestrians in both directions, yet it is too narrow in places even for pedestrians to pass each other comfortably. The high hedge on one side and fast traffic on the other mean there is no room for error at all.

There are parallels here with another important route in and out of the city, on Hope Street in the city centre. It is surely only a matter of time before a similar incident takes place there. As with the Eastern Road, the Hope Street path is narrow, carries two way cyclists and pedestrians, has an impenetrable barrier (the dockyard wall in this case) on one side, has fast traffic a kerb-width away on the other side, has a dangerous blind bend and is frequently obstructed by lamp columns and sign-posts.

We have been warning Portsmouth City Council about the state of the Eastern Rd and Hope Street paths since our Strategic Cycle Routes report of 2009. The part of the Eastern Road path where Friday’s tragic accident took place has been discussed with council officers this year, after members of the forum reported head on collisions and near misses with other cyclists there. The site is at the junction of two of the council’s recently launched ‘Quieter Routes’ which are supposed to offer safe routes to less confident cyclists.

The accident on Thursday took place on Fratton bridge roundabout, where the cyclist was hit by a car entering the roundabout. This roundabout has four two-lane entry points, the design creates a high traffic density, with vans and lorries creating multiple blind spots. In such situations drivers looking right for gaps in fast-moving motor traffic then accelerating onto the roundabout find it easy to miss cyclists ahead, the cyclist remaining unseen until impact. On a roundabout like this serious collisions are a certainty, it’s just a question of when and how often.

PCC has worked on Fratton bridge roundabout recently but no change was made to the dangerous layout, which was highlighted by us in 2014. The roundabout lacks safe, attractive alternative routes for cyclists in all directions, meaning that in some cases cyclists are forced to use the main carriageway. This roundabout is also on one of the new ‘Quieter Routes’, although that route uses the toucan crossing that exists on the northern leg of the roundabout.

These two incidents indicate the hazards cyclists can face on the roads of Portsmouth. The weather on both evenings was perfect and all three cyclists caught up in the horrible events should have been able to expect a pleasant and safe journey.

Portsmouth remains the most dangerous place to cycle in England, excepting a few parts of London. This has been the case for the last five years at least but there has been little meaningful action from Portsmouth City Council, in spite of our efforts. There has been almost no investment in safe cycle infrastructure, with the budget the council had being spent on ‘soft measures’ (meaning activities and events to encourage people to cycle) and signage. It is time for that to change. Urgently.

2017 Election Hustings

In case you’ve missed there’s a General Election on 8 June!  This is your chance to interview the candidates.

parliament-palace

We have arranged an election hustings meeting on Thursday 25 May.  We’ve invited all parties standing in Portsmouth North and South constituencies to attend to give a brief presentation on their parties’ policies on cycling and active travel and their personal aims to promote these should they be elected.

There will a chance to ask questions of the candidates so have some thoughtful and original questions ready!

The meeting will take place on Thursday 25 May at 7.00pm in Lecture Theatre 2 of the Richmond Building of the University of Portsmouth.

We need to make full use of the time available so please arrive for 6.45 to find a seat. Start time is 7.00pm for 2 hours.

If you are not already a member, please join us: follow this link to pay your £10 subscription.

 

Portsmouth Cycle Forum Open Meeting 27 April – POSTPONEMENT

Portsmouth Cycle Forum Open Meeting POSTPONEMENT

Apologies for the short notice. Due to the general election announcement our speaker for the meeting on Thursday 27 April has had to withdraw. We have tried to find a replacement but this was not possible in time.

However, because of the election we plan to hold a meeting in late May for party candidates to give their positions on cycling. We’ll send out a confirmation of this in the next couple of weeks.

Portsmouth Cycle Forum AGM

On the 16th March we will be holding our AGM. This meeting is only open to members, however you may join or renew on the door. The cost is a bargain £10 for the whole year. You can also join on the website here.

Once the business of officers reports and electing the new committee is over, we are intending to use the local knowledge of the members present  to create a new ‘tube map’ of Portsea’s cycle infrastructure. For background reading on ‘tube maps’ please see this article on the Cycling UK website.

Once complete, we intend to present this to Portsmouth City Council to give them some ideas on prioritising updates to the network.

One of the key purposes of the AGM is to elect a committee to govern the cycle forum’s activities. We’d love to see some new faces on our committee this year to energise our campaigning.

The following committee posts will be up for election – you can put yourself forward for one of them either by letting us know in advance by email (you can reply to this one) or by coming along and volunteering on the night.

  • Chair – the chair provides leadership to ensure the committee functions effectively.
  • Vice Chair – the vice chair supports the chair, and is an ideal role for an aspiring chair!
  • Hon Secretary – the honorary secretary is responsible for the smooth running of the forum – making sure that meetings are planned and delivered effectively. This is not an admin job – it’s about making sure the forum’s operations keep running smoothly.
  • Treasurer – keeps us solvent.
  • Membership Secretary – recruiting and keeping track of members.
  • Communications Manager – managing our communications our members and supporters via email, web, social media and media.
  • Rides and Events Manager – manage our programme of rides and our attendance at events / fayre’s and so on.
  • Committee member (up to 6) – an ‘ordinary’ (although no-one’s ordinary) member of our committee, helping to decide how the forum runs and taking a share of the actions to deliver its business.

As well as the standard business of the AGM we discuss how the cycle forum is run and the focus of our campaigns. This is YOUR chance to have a say in how the forum is run.

The meeting will take place on Thursday 16th March at 7.00pm in Lecture Theatre 2 of the Richmond Building of the University of Portsmouth.

Open Meeting – The Cycling Revolution in Leicester

We have a guest speaker from Leicester at our next open meeting on Thursday 26th January.

Jan from British Cycling will be telling us about the work they have been doing to transform the city for cycling. As the UK’s first Environment City, Leicester’s city council has plans to quadruple cycling levels by 2024.  This is being done by a number of programmes, including spending hundreds of thousands of pounds on new infrastructure.

GV of the new bike path / cycle route on Newarke Street in Leicester city centre PICTURE WILL JOHNSTON
GV of the new bike path / cycle route on Newarke Street in Leicester city centre
PICTURE WILL JOHNSTON

So could this be the reason behind Leicester City’s recent successes?!

The meeting will take place on Thursday 26 January at 7.00pm in Lecture Theatre 2 of the Richmond Building of the University of Portsmouth.