Cycling in snow and ice

PCC’s Flagship magazine has proudly declared that “our goal is to ensure all transport routes in and out of the city are clear.” The detail is on the PCC website.

We have asked PCC for reassurance that ‘all transport routes’ includes cycle routes such as the four Sustrans National Cycle Network routes in Portsmouth (NCNs 2, 22, 222 and 236) are included in gritting plans to keep transport routes open. Regrettably, they’re not. Even though the highway authority (PCC) has a statutory duty under the Highways Act to ‘provide for the safe movement of people and goods’, there is no policy to keep cycle routes clear of snow and ice.

The consequences of not gritting cycle routes are potentially grave:
• Ice and snow make cycling more difficult and potentially hazardous.
• Cyclists compelled to use icy main roads will avoid gutters filled with ice or snow. Riding towards the centre of the lane is likely to slow motor traffic and increase congestion and driver frustration.
• Congestion is likely to increase because not maintaining the cycle network at all times in all weathers will increase the likelihood that cyclists who are car owners will feel obliged to drive.
• Not maintaining cycle routes could be seen as discriminating against those who do not have access to cars or can’t afford taxis, and would reinforce the undesirable belief that the only safe way to get around our congested city is by motor vehicle.
• Failing to maintain cycle access all year round hinders active and sustainable travel and will increase the city’s already illegally high levels of air pollution.

The options available to cyclists are therefore:
• Use the main cycle routes with extreme caution because they will not be gritted
• Use the main roads because cycle routes will not be gritted
• Don’t cycle

The Met Office has excellent information about cycling in ice and snow provided by Cycling UK. As a minimum:
1. Let out some air – grip is improved by increasing contact with the road. Letting a little air out from your tyres can make a real difference.
2. Slow it down – icy conditions and narrow cycle tyres at speed can be a recipe for disaster. if in doubt about conditions, take it easy.
3. Keep out of the gutter after rain and following a freeze, the sides of roads can be treacherous.
4. Chill out – if you do hit some ice or a similarly slippery surface, sudden steering movements and sharp braking can see you go from the vertical to the horizontal in record time. Relax and ride it out or, if it’s an extended stretch, consider walking the distance
5. Stay seen – low winter sun and the longer nights can make visibility both for you and other road users all the harder. Ensure you have good front and rear lights. During the day watch out for that low sun both for own visibilty and the possibility that drivers may not see you.
6. Dress appropriately – layers are best for trapping in warm air and can help you regulate your temperature while riding. Keep hands, feet and head protected as these will suffer more in the cold.
7. Consider alternatives – think about changing your route or the time of your journey to avoid icy conditions.
If weather conditions are extreme, consider whether cycling is a safe option.

So wrap up warm and take care out there!

February Open Meeting

Our next meeting is Thursday 21 February at 7.00pm in Lecture Theatre 2 of the Richmond Building of the University of Portsmouth.  Please arrive for 6.45 pm so we can start on time.

Our guest speaker for this meeting will be Dr Jason Horsley, Joint Director of Public Health for Southamton and Portsmouth

Can you help us respond to planning applications in your area?

2019-01-15 11_15_25-City Centre Road Network - PCF Exec - Google Drive

Every month there are around five or six planning applications that we feel require a response from Portsmouth Cycle Forum to make sure that people riding bikes are considered when new developments happen where we are riding.

Responding to a planning application can seem daunting – but really it’s easier than it can first seem and a good chance to see democracy at work close up, and to make improvements to the area you live, city-wide and/or on your doorstep!

We’ve put together a handy guide to help you respond. If you’d like to get involved, email us at [email protected]

Check out the guidance on its new campaign page.

November open meeting!

Our next meeting is Thursday 15 November at 7.00pm in Lecture Theatre 2 of the Richmond Building of the University of Portsmouth.  Please arrive for 6.45 pm so we can start on time.

We are trying to vary the format of our open meetings and this month we have two guest speakers talking about local cycling issues.

Free membership (but don’t forget to sign up!)

At our March AGM we agreed to trial a year’s free membership for anyone wishing to join PCF. In a time of tight budgets nationwide this might seem counterintuitive but, hold tight, we have some logic to this…

We had over 1,000 people signed up our facebook group but only around 40 paid up members so, when we’re telling the council that we have member support for what we’re saying – our voice was only technically 40 strong. By making membership free and inviting all 1,000 facebook users (and anyone else!) to join up we can make our voice louder and ensure that we speak on behalf of a wider group of cyclists across the city.

We feel that volume is more important than our bank balance, particularly as our costs have reduced in recent years thanks to free room hire and low web hosting costs. When we need funds, we plan to crow dfund, which worked very successfully when “A City to Share” was launched. Don’t worry though – cake will still be available in exchange for donations at our meetings! We’re also entirely open to anyone wishing to make one-off, or monthly donations online.

Handily, this move also tied in well with the timescale for GDPR – the new data protection regulations, so we’ve put everything together with a neat and tidy bow.

To join, and help us comply with GDPR in one fell swoop, click here.

PCF Awarded ‘Outstanding Campaigning Group’

We are really delighted to announce that Portsmouth Cycle Forum’s hard work has been recognised with an award from the national cycling charity Cycling UK. We have been awarded the title of ‘Outstanding Campaigning Group’ in the charity’s 2018 Volunteer of the Year Awards.

The award particularly recognises the exceptional effort that we put in to respond to the tragic death of Tim Atkins on the Eastern Road cycle path last year. This has seen the council make some substantial commitments to improve the city’s paths and streets for cyclists. We are looking forward to working with councillors and officers to support them in seeing these commitments through to real changes.

The past year also finally saw the City Council formally adopt a cycling strategy based on the ‘A City to Share’ document that was launched in 2014. This strategy development was entirely developed by community volunteers, led by Portsmouth Cycle Forum and supported by Portsmouth Friends of the Earth. Its recognition at full council this year comes after four years of hard work by the committee and other volunteers. It is the only community-developed cycle strategy we are aware of to have been formally adopted by a local authority.

This year has also seen members of the committee giving up time to engage with the city and developers on numerous issues. These include the ongoing battle to provide space for cyclists whilst the Tipner sea defences are replaced; supporting PCC in the launch of their pilot Near Miss reporting tool; engaging with the planning team at PCC to get cycling properly included in the plans for the city centre roads and commenting on numerous planning applications and traffic regulation orders.

Ian Saunders, our Chair, has led a real team effort to deliver on all this and deserves special thanks – supporting and organising numerous meetings and acting as the focal point of our work. Many thanks to Ian and to all of the committee and volunteers. There is a great deal of work still to be done and we hope this award will act as a catalyst for further change.

If you’d like to read what Cycling UK and Portsmouth News had to say, here are the links:

Peter Walker was 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.

Coastal Defences Update

From the Southsea Coastal Scheme team

New consultation dates announced for summer 2018

Following our engagement events at the end of last year, we are going to be out and about across the city in July holding a new series of consultation events on our emerging designs. These will be held at:

EASTNEY COMMUNITY CENTRE: 4 July, 1pm-7pm

CANOE LAKE TENNIS PAVILION: 6 July, 1.30pm- 7.30pm

ASPEX GALLERY: 10 July, 1pm-7pm

ANCHORAGE PARK COMMUNITY CENTRE: 11 July, 3pm-7pm

ST JUDE’S CHURCH: 12 July, 1pm-7pm

COSHAM COMMUNITY CENTRE: 16 July, 3pm-7pm

ROYAL NAVAL CLUB & ROYAL ALBERT YACHT CLUB: 17 July, 1pm-7pm

FRATTON COMMUNITY CENTRE: 20 July, 1pm-7pm

We’ll be asking you for your help with some big decisions, which include how some of the seafront roads could be used in the future and how the new defences could look near South Parade Pier. You’ll also be able to sign-up to workshops where you can interrogate the emerging designs with the help of experts, who will explain the opportunities and constraints in each area. 3D visualisations and animations will help you imagine what the emerging designs could look like on the seafront.

Running alongside our consultation will be the beginning of a review of Portsmouth City Council’s seafront masterplan. This strategy is known as a ‘supplementary planning document’, which is intended to guide improvements to this area of the city. Staff from the council’s planning team will be on hand to tell you more and get your feedback at all of the consultation venues. This approach will ensure that all the opportunities that are created by the construction of the new sea defences can be realised in the future. We look forward to seeing you there!

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