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Here’s what we did this summer…

Written by: Ian Saunders, PCF Chair

It’s been a busy few months for us on the committee as a number of large scale projects start to turn corners and lurch into the view of deadlines during the autumn.

Quite a lot of time was taken to respond to the planning application for the Southsea Sea Defence works. We have responded to previous consultations but this time there were actual designs with technical drawings to which we could respond. Lots of them…

Although we recognise the need to improve our sea defences we are disappointed that the designers have not committed to a genuinely safe cycle route along the seafront.

Portsmouth City Council’s Seafront Masterplan (a separate planning document) envisages a continuous cycle route from Gosport ferry to Hayling ferry. The coastal defences do not cover this length in full, but where they do, we expect them to provide a route fit for purpose.

The plans show some very modest improvements on what we have today, but some of the planned sections make cycling more hazardous, or less enjoyable, with little separation between bikes and cars. The designers have also failed to do anything about the existing problem faced by cyclists of having to switch sides at several points along the seafront.

Our thanks go to Roger Inkpen for compiling all the comments into a cohesive document which has been cited by others responding to the application as well, which you can read hereherehere

At the same time as this seafront defences application went live, we were asked by the Council to be a part of the consultation for a new safety scheme along Goldsmith Avenue as part of a wider east / west active travel corridor. The aim of the Goldsmith Avenue scheme is to add protection to the existing cycle lanes in the form of cycle lane defenders and wands between Fratton Way roundabout and Fratton Bridge roundabout. One of the two Francis Avenue junctions would be closed to motor vehicles, and an informal pedestrian crossing added to aid movement between Lidl and the bus stop on the opposite side of the road.

This road has a poor road safety record, and is perceived as a barrier to east-west cycling in the south of the city for commuters, school children and others. The on road painted cycle lane is constantly parked over by local businesses, forcing people riding further into the carriageway and into the path of a high flow of motorised traffic.

We were pleased to see proposals that physically segregate cyclists from motor vehicles in some areas, but we do appreciate that this route is constrained for space due to the railway line and private properties on each side. We see the proposals as an opportunity to improve on the current layout, but remain concerned that there is not enough sufficient width through the entire length of the scheme to maintain separation from traffic throughout. The proposal to include defenders and wands however means that a precedent could be set, as could lead to installation at other sites in the city.

Committee member Mike Dobson has been our representative on the PCC Air Quality Steering Group; set up to investigate and assess how the city might be able to meet air quality targets ahead of a clean air zone being imposed by Government combined government departments DEFRA and the DfT – known as the Joint Air Quality Unit, or JAQU.

The Council has chosen a band B charging zone which includes buses, taxis and trucks but not light goods vehicles and private cars.

Since launching our ‘A City To Share’ strategy in 2014, we have made it clear that to reduce congestion and improve air quality, cycling, walking and public transport improvements are required to offer residents, workers and visitors to the city a true alternative to travel. If we could reduce the number of internal car journeys on Portsea Island itself, that would go a long way to improving the situation for everyone. But we need the correct infrastructure and investment to make these alternative options attractive enough for people to switch modes.

Part of that infrastructure would be a network of safe, consistent and connected cycle lanes. The next two projects aim to develop and quantify exactly that:

The Local Cycle and Walking Infrastructure Plan (LCWIP) – LCWIPs, which came in under the Government’s Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy (CWIS), are defined as a “new, strategic approach to identifying cycling and walking improvements required at the local level”. Planning policies, it says, should “provide for high quality walking and cycling networks and supporting facilities such as cycle parking.”

PCC are currently developing their LCWIP and we have been involved in assessing the 10 route audits across the city as defined by their consultants WSP. Whilst the audits are in themselves a useful tool for the state of the current network, we feel as if too many of the suggested improvements focus on bringing up to standard what is already there rather than being more ambitious and showcasing what may be possible if there was some fundamental re-designing of road space in favour of cycling (and walking).

We’d like to see more suggestions of roads being closed to through-traffic to make it easier and quicker to cycle, rather than drive around the city; re-imagining cycle lanes as purpose built tracks by removing a second lane of traffic at junctions, and seeing a widespread roll-out of cycle specific phasing of controlled traffic signals to enable cycles to get away from a stop line in advance of the quicker, more powerful motor vehicles. If there is no stick for drivers to stop driving, why would they go for the carrot?

Those of you that attended our 2018 Annual General Meeting will have contributed to the start of our Pompey Tube Map of cycle routes. You can see it hereherehere.

This mapping exercise was an opportunity to see where members wanted to cycle, which routes they took, and to rank the general standard of the route. Interestingly the tube map did look very similar to the refined data of the LCWIP routes identified by other more scientific means collating data such as leisure, shopping, work and education centres compared to population neighbourhood centres.

We are currently breathing life into the Tube map and turning it into a ‘Big Map” using GIS mapping technology. We will then then overlay other data such as the LCWIP identified routes, the position of cycle counters in the city, as well as the existing infrastructure and PCC ‘Quieter Route’ network. Our thanks go to committee members Jon Riding and Tim Pickering for doing the number crunching on this project.

As well as these major projects, we continue with the day-to-day of cycle campaigning – identifying and reporting issues, watching out for forthcoming road maintenance projects and planning applications, and networking with councillors and officers alike to continue to push the message about needing safer cycle routes, better secure bicycle parking and continuing to raise awareness of our presence and what we do with the public and non-members.

We could do more, but we need help. Having lost around four members of the committee over the last 18 months, we are starting to hit the limit of what can be achieved from those still able to contribute some time to the cause.

We are particularly looking for local area champions who can be a point of contact for the committee who can advise or keep an eye on issues and projects around them. The Hilsea / Copnor / Fratton areas are of great interest to us as we do not currently have committee members living in those areas.

Other roles we are looking to fill are events organiser, website copywriter and communications Officer as all these have been restricted by the other work we have been under taking over the last few months. Even if you can give a few hours of your spare time every month, it can make a difference.

So now you’ve seen what we’ve been up to – if you’re interested in helping us out to create ‘A City to Share’, get in touch at [email protected]

Cyclenation News: Women and Cycling – ECF website article

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Interesting article on the ECF website about women and cycling...

Why is that that some countries see more women cycling than men? How did the world view the first women that ‘dared’ cycle ? And did you know that early medical journals opposed women cycling on the grounds that it would harm their sexual health? Professor John Pucher explains why women are the key to more cycling.

Give it a read…

Originally posted at http://www.cyclenation.org.uk/news.php#602.

Cyclenation News: Bikeability and helmet choice

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Building on our recent seminar, we are also interested in how many Local Authority organised schemes offer a helmet choice.

This is taken from the Health and Safety policy guidance for Bikeability cycle training….

  • It is recommended that children wear cycle helmets during training. If helmets are worn, instructors may need to adjust them to obtain a better fit.
  • Adults may decide for themselves whether or not to wear a helmet, but instructorsshould explain the benefits and state that the Road Safety Unit recommends that they wear one.

Does you local authority insist on helmet wearing for their bikeability courses? or do they offer a choice?

Take a look at the national website and see if you can find an image that doesn’t show cyclists with helmets on…..

Originally posted at http://www.cyclenation.org.uk/news.php#601.

Cyclenation News: Fear of cycling – some thoughts

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Dave Horten’s article about the fear of cycling is worth a read and sharing with those who support the view that wearing helmets should be compulsory. It has a good reference list too with some good further reading and evidence.

Its also relevant for arguing, like Spokes, against insiting that people wear them to participate in ride events.

Give it a read and let us know what you think…….

Originally posted at http://www.cyclenation.org.uk/news.php#600.

Cyclenation News: 42% of London Greenway users are women

Cyclenation LogoPublic Service Review: Transport – Issue 29

The routes of change

24 May 2012

If more people in the UK are to embrace cycling, a concerted effort needs to be made to make our roads safer, says Sustrans Chief Executive Malcolm Shepherd…

he also goes on to say……..

The greenway network has led to an increase in groups who tend not to cycle, for example 42% of journeys on London Greenways are made by women, while working-age men tend to dominate those cycling on road.

The entrire article can be read on the Public Service Review website

Originally posted at http://www.cyclenation.org.uk/news.php#598.

Cyclenation News: Spokes challenges events that require helmets

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Edinburgh and Lothians cycle campaign Spokes has announced that it is to stop publicising cycling events that require participants to wear a helmet. It calls upon other organisations concerned about public health to do the same.

Frustrated at what it sees as the “creeping growth of semi-compulsion” as some charity bike rides insist upon helmets for all or younger riders, Spokes believes that the organisers are failing to take account of the evidence against helmet compulsion. It also believes that the requirement to use a helmet reinforces the false perception that cycling is an inherently dangerous activity, and is calling upon government-funded bodies such as Cycling Scotland to cease using images in promotional material that only show cyclists wearing helmets.

Spokes says that the best way to improve the safety of cyclists is to encourage more people to get riding, something that it claims is being undermined by there being too much emphasis on using a helmet.

“Helmet advertisers, promoters and government agencies bombard us with the benefits but, disgracefully, we are never told of the risks – although there is evidence on both sides, and crashes and injuries occur as a result of the risks of helmets”, says Spokes. “Compulsion, or one-sided promotion, is very wrong – even more so as they put people off the healthy choice of getting about by bike.”

In a news report about Spokes’ action in the Scotsman newspaper, a spokeman for the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents also argues against helmet compulsion, saying “We do not believe it is practical to make the use of cycle helmets mandatory.”

Spokes laudable and brave initiative is supported by Cyclenation, which urges other groups to consider whether to follow suit. Cyclenation would also like to gauge the scale of the problem so if any public ride in your area requires helmet use, please let us know the details.

Originally posted at http://www.cyclenation.org.uk/news.php#597.

Cyclenation News: Growing Cycling Participation conference

Cyclenation LogoGrowing Cycling Participation and Closing the Gender Gap – Dublin

22nd June 2012

Three years into the National Cycle Policy Framework (NCPF), this conference will assess its progress in bringing positive change to cycling in Ireland. It will emphasise the necessity of focusing on women and young people to achieve the target of 10% cycling participation by 2020. Papers will be presented from Irish and European perspectives with new initiatives and ideas. It will provide essential guidelines for officials, professionals and practitioners. 

 

For more info go to http://www.dublincycling.ie/conference2012

Originally posted at http://www.cyclenation.org.uk/news.php#596.

Cyclenation News: Who’s your +1 – Summer of Cycling 2012

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You love cycling, so share the fun

Get a ‘saddle-shy friend’ on a bike this summer.

Together, we can double cycling.

Who’s your +1?

Make your pledge at ; www.summerofcycling.net   could we use the logo for the link?

All the cycling organisations as well as others such as the train operating companies, NHS Brompton etc agreed on summer of cycling with the message of bring along a friend.

Originally posted at http://www.cyclenation.org.uk/news.php#592.

Cyclenation News: LCC big bike ride

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London Cycle campaign urging everyone to join them for the Big BIke Ride

The Big Ride is on Saturday 28 April and is a fun event with a serious message, calling on London’s mayoral candidates to make the capital’s streets as safe and inviting for cycling as they are in Holland.

  • Come on bike, foot, skates or rollerblades
  • Dress yourself up and your bike in red & white campaign colours
  • Make some noise: drums, whistles, cowbells, sound systems, etc

Ride details

  • 11am assemble Park Lane (Upper Brook St)
  • 12 noon ride departs
  • The route is from Piccadilly Circus, Trafalagar Sq, Parliament Sq
  • 2pm Victoria Embankment (finish)

Originally posted at http://www.cyclenation.org.uk/news.php#591.

Cyclenation News: Times cyclesafe map

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You can plot bad spots here!

The Times have an online map where you can plot all the bad spots for cycling in your area.

They are working with Cyclestreets and are planning to come up with an analysis of all the places pinpointed and are offering to share this info with local groups.

They are also using it to approach local authorities to see is they are prepared to sign up to the cyclesafe campaign.

So go online and map your horrors!

Originally posted at http://www.cyclenation.org.uk/news.php#589.

Cyclenation News: Justin Greening says ‘no thanx’

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Transcription of Justine Greening’s Reply to Andre Curtis’ offer to meet and discuss ‘cycling issues’

Dear Andre,

Thank you for your letter of Wednesday 19 October 2011 suggesting a meeting to discuss cycling issues.

The Government is committed to support sustainable travel, including walking and cycling, as set out in the Coalition agreement. We have made available £560m over the next 4 years for projects under the local sustainable transport fund and have committed to support Bikeability cycle training for the remainder of this parliament.

As you know, we have also created a national Cycling Forum, chaired by Norman Baker MP. Thank you for your involvement in this forum, and I hope you will continue to contribute in the future. I believe the group will play and important role in bringing all interested parties together to discuss real action towards our shared goal of promoting cycling as a safe, healthy and green travel choice.

I assure you I will keep touch with Norman Baker on relevant issues from this group and I wish you luck on your on-going work.

Best wishes

 

Justine Greening

So that’ll be a ‘No thanks’ then?

Originally posted at http://www.cyclenation.org.uk/news.php#584.

Cyclenation News: reply from Justine Greening

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Andre has had a reply declining his invitation to meet and talk about cycling with Justine Greening

It says the governement is committed to supporting sustainable travelincluding walking and cycling blah, blah, blah and seems to suggest that all cycling issues will be sorted through the LSTF!

Wow, what will we do when its all been sorted in the next 4 years?

Nevermind we can still have our say through the National Cycling Forum, although the experience of government or local government cycling fora is often that they are talking shops to keep the real campaigning quiet!

Originally posted at http://www.cyclenation.org.uk/news.php#580.