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Meeting with the Leader of PCC

Cllr Donna Jones

Cllr Donna Jones

On Wednesday 25th June members of the Portsmouth Cycle Forum Committee met with the new leader of Portsmouth City Council, Cllr Donna Jones, and her cabinet member for Traffic & Transportation Cllr Ken Ellcome.

The purpose of the meeting was to ask PCC to develop a strategy for cycling, both to address immediate issues, like the shocking casualty rates on our roads, and a long term plan to develop cycling in the city.  We presented them with copies of the Copenhagen cycle strategy as an example.

Attendees from Portsmouth Cycle Forum were Jon Spencer (chair), John Holland (vice chair), Rich Boakes and Tom Hart (committee members).

Points & Actions Arising

  • Donna Jones seemed very taken by the Copenhagen Strategy brochure and was keen that PCC should have a Cycling Strategy. Also, that this should be meaningful, not window dressing. She hoped Ken Ellcome would agree.
  • She said she intended meeting the mayor of Bristol at a forthcoming conference, to discuss Bristol’s experience. She said it was a subject she knew little about. Action: Cllr Donna Jones.
  • Ken Ellcome said he would add it (cycling strategy) to his to-do list (along with 30,000 other items).
  • Ken Ellcome noted the electoral position of car owners and the perceived intransigent nature of the Portsmouth road network.
  • He did, however, say he was pushing through a cycle lane on the north side of Havant Rd.
  • He also said he was happy to consider quick-win cycling safety suggestions from PCF, provided these were not expensive. Action: PCF, if we wish.
  • We discussed last Strategy doc (to 2010) and we offered to review this and suggest to Ken parts that could be included again. This was welcomed. Action: PCF.
  • We also agreed to provide details of Waltham Forest, Hackney and other London boroughs that were forward-thinking on cycling. Action: PCF.

Observations and Conclusions

  • Donna Jones is clearly interested in launching a new Cycling Strategy
  • At same time, she seemed serious in agreeing that it needed to be a credible piece of work
  • Ken Ellcome, as he said, has a lot of competing interests clamouring for his attention, plus taking actions on cyclists’ behalf is guaranteed to give him a headache from motor vehicle users.
  • So, our lobbying and use of the Press, needs to be continuous and high-profile, to keep councillors focused on addressing the Cycling Safety agenda.
  • Overall, a good meeting, with initial positioning achieved.

5 comments to Meeting with the Leader of PCC

  • Kevan Chippindall-Higgin

    As a candidate in the last election, I am broadly in favour of the PCF’s proposals save the suggestion for Goldsmith Avenue which I feel would not work well.

    However, many cyclists do some very silly things on the roads and I would like to suggest that where there are marked cycle lanes, it be illegal for cyclists not to use them correctly. Therefore, riding on the highway rather than on a marked cycle way be punishable by a fixed penalty. There is no point in the council spending money on cycle paths in order to reduce the danger to cyclists if they ignore them!

    I am also awaiting a response to road markings for the very few roads that are one way but allow cyclists to cycle both ways. I feel that this is a good idea but the markings must be clearer.

    • Mark Poingdestre

      All groups of road users do silly things on the roads and mis-use the priveledge they have been afforded. However the group that presents by far the most risk to others is of course the motorist.

      It would be great if we all used our influence to make the roads safer for everyone through proper enforcement of existing laws that is proportionate to the risk presented. We must refrain from making generalisations about other groups of road users based on the behavour of an irresponsible minority. There are in fact many drivers that respect the law at all times and drive with consideration for others.

      thankfully attitudes that minimize the danger presented by cars and lorries on our roads and blame the victims of dangerous driving are becoming unacceptible. Unfortunately the level of inner city traffic enforcement is woefully inadequate and out of step with this change in public attitude.

      I’m looking for leadership from politicians that can look at the evidence and do the right thing.

  • Susan Cottrell

    re “taking actions on cyclists’ behalf is guaranteed to give him [Ken Ellcome]a headache from motor vehicle users” . . .

    perhaps we need to be given the figures for deaths and life-changing injuries to cyclists, pedestrians and vehicle passengers/drivers in Portsmouth?

    We might need to compare them, too?

    Is Ken Ellcome hinting that lost votes from an inconvenienced electorate takes precedence over death & serious injury?

    • Good points Susan. I think people do often prioritise the speed & convenience of their own commutes over the safety of others. I think it is one of the missions of Portsmouth Cycle Forum to change that. We have been focussing a lot on the casualty rates on our streets recently and will continue that discussion at our next open meeting on 10th July (http://www.pompeybug.co.uk/2014/06/open-meeting-safer-cycling-in-portsmouth/) – please come along, we’re expecting Cllr Ellcome to be there.

      It’s sad that at the moment any action by PCC to slow or reduce traffic will be met by the most vociferous opposition – people will organise themselves, protest, institute campaigns. However, when a child dies most people outside of their immediate circles just say “oh, that’s sad” and move on. That attitude has to change.

  • Paul Doust

    Just to respond to the suggestion that cyclist not using a cycle path should be fined. If I’m cycling at 20+ mph on the road and there’s a shared pedestrian/cycle path that I could use I think it’s insane to suggest I should use the shared path. There are different types of cyclist and they have different needs. This link sums it up quite nicely: http://www.forbes.com/sites/michelinemaynard/2013/08/27/whos-out-there-on-the-roads-the-4-types-of-cyclists/