All posts by Roger Inkpen

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.

 

A welcome to 2017

A happy new year to our members and subscribers. So what will 2017 bring the cyclists of Portsmouth?

As a result of winning some Government funding, the new Quiet Routes that PCC have been working on since last summer should soon be released.  PCC hope that by identifying 20mph roads, a network of routes can be created that are quieter and safer for those less confident cyclists to travel around the city.  This is a welcome initiative assuming that the routes are advertised and easy to follow once on your bike.

In conjunction with this work, an audit of all the cycling infrastructure routes and facilities has been undertaken by PCC, identifying the existing lanes, paths and parking that exist in the city.  This information – together with the quiet routes initiative – will form the basis for a new Cycling map for Portsmouth.  We will be studying this in great detail to identify the gaps in provision and work to improve areas that we believe do not serve cyclists to the extent that they should.

To that end, three of our committee members are attending the Cycling UK workshop day in London in late January to learn more about the computerized cycling tools that were demonstrated to us by Roger Geffen at our open meeting in November.  Our intention is to ask our paid-up members at our AGM in March to then identify areas in Portsmouth that can be targeted for future development.

However, most of the traffic congestion is down to the sheer numbers of vehicles on the road. To make a real improvement in congestion, pollution and journey times for everyone, the city needs to get people out of their cars, and reduce the barriers that stop people using a bike to travel around.

We need to identify and push to develop the routes that commuters might like to use.  Ideally, these should be fast, consistent, road-quality cycle lanes that are segregated from both road traffic and pedestrians with priority boxes at junctions and specific phasing on the traffic light system to aid safe resumption of one’s journey. The new lane is Goldsmiths Avenue appears to already have made a difference to traffic flows in the area for both vehicles and bikes.  There’s no reason why having set a precedent there that other roads that have double yellow lining should not also be similarly marked with cycle lanes.

Copnor Road has space at the northern end to install segregated cycle lanes similar to those created recently in Brighton.  With some extra shared path they could link up to the pedestrian bridge across the A27 into the Highbury estate and onto Cosham, encouraging those to the north of the city to cycle to work in the way that the Southampton Road and Langstone Harbour paths do from the west and east.

The perception of cycling in Portsmouth is that it is dangerous, and the official figures only back this up this impression.  For the fourth year in the last five, Portsmouth ranks as the most dangerous city in the UK for cycling casualties. Ours is twice the rate of the London Borough of Waltham Forest, which has a similar population density to Portsmouth. Islington has a population density three times that of Portsmouth, and yet the cycle casualty rate is slightly lower.

The improvements in London with the installation of cycle lanes and mini-Holland schemes, the latest of which recently opened just the other end of the A3 in Portsmouth Road, Kingston-Upon Thames, proves that if the infrastructure is invested in, it is used and improves participation.  A year on from its opening, and Waltham Forest’s much opposed mini-Holland scheme has seen traffic levels in 12 key roads in the “village” area of Walthamstow fall by 56 per cent, or 10,000 fewer vehicles a day.  The most vocal business owner opponent of the scheme, has now opened up a coffee shop in his building.

These improvements are within the scope of Portsmouth City Council.  However, as the cycling community, we need to build the pressure to improve things in our favour.  Imagine Mini-Holland schemes during business hours around Cosham High Street, Albert Road or Palmerston Road – the latterly is effectively already installed – making the areas more pleasant to negotiate whether on foot, public transport or bike.

The re-development of the island’s flood defences over the next decade gives us the opportunity to create a true coastline leisure cycle trail to allow exploration of areas visitors may never discover.

Work on the western side next to Hilsea Lake from the Mounbatten Centre to Portsbridge Roundabout will start this spring, necessitating the closure of the much-used shared coastal path.  Work is due to take three years, and there are plans to install a temporary cycle lane along Northern Parade.  We are asking the council whether they are aware just how well used that path is.  Not everyone will be confident enough to rode on a busy road, and so this appears to be an ideal opportunity to trial a segregated route on what is one of the wider roads on the island. And if it proves to be popular, why should it not remain installed after the work adding to the cycle infrastructure in the city?

With no local elections in the city due in 2017, the pull of the ballot box to appeal to voters has disappeared and some experimental schemes could be trialed, monitored and evaluated to see whether they work. Who knows, perhaps they may even lead to a reduction in the casualty figures?

But we can only do so much as a committee of volunteers.  As much as we lobby, badger, cajole and complain at councilors and officers, we need help to keep the issues at the forefront of their minds in every transport and planning decision they take.

And it is with the creation of that bigger voice where you, the regular cyclist comes in.  We need your support.  We’d like you engaged in the process.

Bring to the attention of the council officers poor road surfaces or junctions that endanger cyclists.  Enlist the support and lobby your ward councilors directly to improve our facilities and infrastructure.

In the event of an accident, ensure it is reported to the police, as official casualty figures are an important way to maintain the pressure on the local politicians to develop space for cycling.

Encourage the next generation getting on their bikes wanting to emulate Mark Cavendish or Lizzie Armitstead to use the roads safely and confidently, to be seen, and to respect other road users and pedestrians.

And please consider supporting or becoming a member of Portsmouth Cycle Forum.

I look forward to seeing you at one, or more, of our 2017 events or out on the road enjoying the freedom cycling can give you.

Tailwinds to all….

 

Ian Saunders

Acting Chair, PCF

January 2017

Boxing Day Bike Ride

After all the bingeing on turkey and telly, what better excuse for getting away from the family for a few hours! We take the scenic route around Portsea Island, staying as close to the water line as we can. Meet in Guildhall Square, 10.30 on Monday 26 Dec. If there are any cafes/snack bars open, we’ll pop in for a bite/drink. Some rough surfaces, but fine for most bikes.boxing day
Read more at https://www.goskyride.com/Search/Details?eventid=90048#uGSewMWbXCuVEsOQ.99

October 2016 – what a month!

Our interim Chair, Ian Saunders writes: as October comes to a close, it’s been quite a month for the cyclist in Portsmouth.

On the positive side of the equation we had a successful Pedal Portsmouth Glow ride last weekend on the closed roads along the seafront while the Great South Run was using the space. The Petersfield to Queen Elizabeth Country Park cycle track has finally been completed, and Ned Boulting’s one man show ‘Bikeology’ came to the New Theatre Royal to discover his thoughts on cycling culture and cyclists and experiences of the Tour De France over the last 15 years he has worked on it.

There has also been some new infrastructure ‘installed’ along the east bound Havant Road, although depending on who you speak to and their previous experiences, the addition of paint is either a positive or a negative in terms of giving space and creating awareness of cycling. And that’s just the cyclists!

However it is all overshadowed by the release of the cycling casualty figures for the UK, and Portsmouth’s place at the top of table of the worst cities to for cycle safety. Jon Spencer has outlined the salient points on our website here and although the figure of 888 per million of population is down from 2014, it is not coming down fast enough. Therefore we are now writing all PCC councilors and the city’s MPs to get them to commit to halving the accident rate by 2020 as was outlined in our City to Share strategy presented to them two years ago.

Amongst the recent news stories about cycle casualties, traffic congestion, and new infrastructure being planned and installed, we’ve seen comments from the Council Leader and her head of Traffic and transport, but not the cabinet post holder for the department. Six months into his tenure, we are yet to hear publically of Councillor Fleming’s plans on how to combat congestion and pollution in the city, other than increasing the fees for the third parking permit at an address.

A good place to start might be our next Open Meeting on Thursday 17th November, and he would also be able to hear Cycling UK’s Campaigns and Policy Director Roger Geffen MBE talk about the second phase of their national Space for Cycling Campaign which will call on councils to commit to planning high-quality cycle networks, and to finding the funding these will require. Perhaps then we can start to reduce the unnecessary accidents on our roads.

And related to that final point, the clocks go back this weekend (October 29th), so the mornings and evenings will be darker and he days will (probably) be duller and greyer as we arrive in winter. Please ensure that you use your lights while cycling and ensure you are seen.

Ride Round Gosport

Only minutes away on the ferry, but you can find some lovely quiet lanes and great views across the harbour.  Flat, mostly quiet roads and cycle tracks.  Meet 10am at Gosport ferry, The Hard.  Ferry with bike £4.60 return.  We will have a couple of stops – including a cafe stop – bring snacks and drinks to keep you going!
Gosport ferry 2

Solent Deal – an environmentalist’s perspective

At the invitation of Clare Seek (Portsmouth Green Drinks coordinator), John Holland attended a meeting organised by environmental campaigners in Southampton with the purpose of getting more info on the Solent Deal and to discuss the implications for this on the environment, and talk about how they might like to respond to the consultation from that perspective.

Simon Letts (leader of Southampton City Council) gave a the history on devolution of power in the UK, and then some background into how we have arrived with current proposals to devolve certain powers from central Government to the combined authority encompassing Portsmouth, Southampton and the Isle of Wight.

It would seem that, despite the mask of negotiation and public consultation, the Solent authorities will be offered an “off the peg” deal – much the same as is being offered to other applicants.
Hampshire County Council is not a partner to the deal; instead they are promoting an alternative structure. The non-unitary authorities (Havant, Fareham, Eastleigh, East Hants) are not partners either at this time since they are not eligible to join (yet).

On transport there is enthusiasm to introduce London-style bus franchising to reintroduce some kind of coordination between the bus operators plus the building of a Light Rapid Transit network linking the key centres. Cycling, walking and cycling, alas, receive very little (if any) focus.

The authorities have a very strong focus on economic growth and we feel this sells our region short. For example there is no mention of having a happy healthy people, along with clean soil, water and air. The Local Enterprise Partnership has a seat at the decision table, and that is a pretty undemocratic body. And a small point is that the document doesn’t allow for anyway in which the mayor can be removed during their 4 year term, which seems to be a strange omission.

Seafront Cycleway Survey

 

A message from one of our members:

I am an MSc student at the University of Portsmouth.  I would be grateful if you could take the time to complete this survey which is part of my dissertation.  The aim is to find out how effective the seafront cycleway east of South Parade Pier is in encouraging cycling, and how it would affect users if it was not there.

The survey should not take more than 10 minutes.  I would be grateful if you could pass it on to anyone else who might be interested.

Thanks, Roger Inkpen

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSesCOdeWo_W6hOrLzGKyKCG-fS_y-Z_gAX1Cp3IHfCnP5CTbA/viewform

All change at Kings Road roundabout?

As a response to meetings with the Portsmouth Cycle Forum and others traffic engineers have remodelled the Kings Road roundabout in Southsea. Unfortunately instead of being extensively changed to make it a safer roundabout for cyclists, pedestrians and motorists the roundabout has instead had minimal change at maximum cost.

Jon Spencer, Cycle Forum Chair, attended the meeting with Portsmouth City Council traffic officers. ‘I’m really disappointed with what has happened at Kings Road roundabout. In the meeting we talked about a complete overhaul of the roundabout including soft separators between the car and cycle lanes and making it the first Dutch style roundabout in the city. The layout now is hardly any different from what was there before and actually has some more dangerous features like the cycle lanes rejoining the main highway at right angles to the traffic.’

The Kings Road roundabout has one of the highest cycle accident rates in Portsmouth and this redesign will do little if anything to reduce that rate.

Portsmouth Cycle Forum is also pushing for a commitment from the council to be honoured that they are consulted on the future lay outs of other dangerous roundabouts in the city which are currently under review. This is as part of our campaign to halve cycle injury statistics by 2020

 

AGM 2016 Brainstorming exercise

After the formal business of our AGM we had a brainstorming exercise to get ideas on how Portsmouth City Council could implement the City to Share.  This covered the topics of Equality, Leisure, Planning, Safety and Transport.  Here are the scans of everyone’s ideas:

C2S Equality1 C2S Leisure1  C2S Leisure2 C2S Leisure3 C2S Planning1 C2S Planning2 C2S Safety1 C2S Safety2 C2S Safety3 C2S Transport2 C2S Transport1

2016 Annual General Meeting

On the 21 April we had our AGM.  These are the minutes:

  1. Welcome and introduction by the Chairman.

Jon Spencer welcomed everyone to the Annual General meeting.

  1. Minutes of Annual General Meeting of 20 March 2015: They were approved without dissent.
  2. Matters arising from last AGM: None.
  3. Chairman’s Report 2016:  Jon highlighted the highs and lows of the year and thanked those who had given their support, time and financial contribution. The full text is published here:

Chair Report 1516

5. Treasurer’s report and accounts:

Roger presented the detailed accounts of the Forum.  Thanks to the increase in annual subscriptions from £5 to £10 last year we are on a much sounder financial footing, although there was a fall in members from 66 to 60.  This is being addressed by regular reminders for those who need to renew.  The report can be found on the website. The meeting approved the report without dissent.

PCF Accounts report 15-16

6. Elections:

Jon has been Chair for 3 years and is finding the commitment too much to bear.  He stood down and asked if there were any nominations for a replacement.  None was forthcoming so Jon has agreed to stay as interim Chair for 3 months.  He urged members to think about candidates and we will need an EGM to elect a new Chair.  Jon also asked for nominations for vice-chair and secretary.  Jon also explained a little about the roles.  No nominations were forthcoming and so both will need to be chosen at the EGM.  Roger was only candidate for Treasurer and was willing to continue.  Other roles for committee members were explained.

Chairman: Jon Spencer will continue for 3 months as interim.  Replacement to be decided at EGM.

Vice-chairman: to be decided at EGM.

Secretary: to be decided at EGM.

Treasurer: Roger Inkpen was the only nomination. He was elected nem.com.

Notice: an EGM will need to be held by mid-July.          

7. Committee members: A communications officer is needed to co-ordinate posts for the website, Facebook, Twitter and chase stories for newsletters. Jon Riding agreed to take this role.  Roger will continue organising rides.  The following were sole nominations and were elected nem.com. en bloc:

Joe McGannan John Holland
Mike Dobson Phil Kirkham
Tom Hart Nicola Waight
Jon Riding Jacek Kopecky
Matthew Winnington Ian Saunders

8. Close: The Chair thanked all for attending.

The AGM closed at 7.45pm.  This was followed by an exercise to follow-up the City to Share cycle strategy.  Feedback from this will be uploaded to the website.

Treasurer’s Report and Accounts 2014-15

Introduction

These are the accounts for Portsmouth Cycle Forum, financial year ending 28 February 2015.

Portsmouth Cycle Forum Accounts

Income: Our regular income relies solely on subscriptions from paid-up members, with occasional one-off donations.

Members: Thanks to a much higher profile Facebook page, regular newsletters and media publicity, our paid membership grew from 36 to 66.

Costs: We try to keep our costs to a minimum, and we are grateful to the University of Portsmouth and the Southsea Coffee Co for free use of their facilities. On other occasions, such as this one, we have to pay for hall hire. Even with the free venues, hall hire is one of our greatest expenses. The City2Share strategy document was our single largest expense, although this was mostly covered by a crowd-funding appeal. We also have costs for printing posters and running the website. This means we have broken even this year, after two years of deficits.

Subscriptions: Subscriptions have not changed from £5 since we started, but with increased costs the committee agreed to raise the subs to £10 per year. Renewals can be made by cheque, cash or through Paypal via the Pompeybug website.

Income

Subs/donations 651.20
Paypal income (net) 12.67

Total Income 663.87

Expenditure

Printing 327.83
Website 45.94
Hall hire 90.00
Subscriptions to CTC/CN 140.00
Travel (speaker) 45.00
Sundries 11.00

Total Expenditure 659.77

2014-15 surplus £4.10

Assets
Bank 193
Paypal 73

Current Assets £266 (from £262 in March 2014)

Roger Inkpen
Treasurer, Portsmouth Cycle Forum 12 March 2015

Sustrans National Cycle Network Update

If you live in the Portsmouth and Havant area you now have a choice of safe, well-marked cycle routes to Southsea and Hayling seafronts or up to the South Downs.  Roger Inkpen is a local ranger for Sustrans – the charity creating a national cycle network.  He says: “all of these routes follow cycle tracks, quiet city streets and country lanes, and are suitable for all types of riders – young, old, occasional or serious cyclist.  There are over 50 miles of routes marked out, all within a mile of where people live.
 
“The routes are all marked with Sustrans signs, fixed to existing signposts and fence posts.  Just follow the national cycle network number to your destination!”
 
If you would like to find more about cycle routes or volunteering with Sustrans visit www.sustrans.org.uk and click on ‘Get Involved’.

Sustrans routes SEHants
NCN2, NCN22 and NCN222 are now complete. More work is needed on NCN236.

Our Cycling Manifesto

With local elections approaching we dusted off our Cycling Manifesto we sent out to councillors at the last elections in 2012.  Last time we only sent it to existing councillors with limited response, but this time we’ve updated it and sent it out to every candidate in every council ward – that’s 77 in all!  We also gave them a bit more time to respond and we’ll update you on this nearer the election.

 

CYCLING MANIFESTO FOR PORTSMOUTH

Dear Councillor/Candidate

We seek your support for our Manifesto for better everyday cycling facilities in Portsmouth, for all ages, residents, workers and visitors.

Please would you be kind enough to let us know before the election what actions you would take to help Portsmouth Cycle Forum to achieve its goals.

We believe that the following would help to bring this about in Portsmouth:

  • Creation of a Strategic Green Cycle Network.
    • Corridors into the city centre.
    • Full signage of cycle routes.
  • Improved safety measures for cyclists in Portsmouth and Southsea.
    • Expanded use of cycling ‘contra flow’ systems.
    • Permitting cycling in Palmerston Road, Guildhall Walk and Commercial Road precincts outside business hours.
    • Expanding safe bike routes to schools.
  • Creation of liveable neighbourhoods.
    • Making local streets safer for walking and cycling.
    • A Cycling Charter.
  • Integration of bikes with public transport.
    • Promotion of ‘cycle & ride’ schemes.
    • Secure cycle parking at Rail and Bus stations.
  • Encourage cycling throughout Portsmouth.
    • Promote new activities i.e. cycling film festival, guided rides and events, adult cycle training.

We hope that you personally will send us a brief message of support for our Portsmouth Cycling Manifesto before the election on Thursday 15 May. Please do contact us if you have any queries at all.

Yours sincerely

Jon Spencer, Chair

Portsmouth Cycle Forum

 

Contact us: manifesto@pompeybug.co.uk

Treasurer’s Report and Accounts 2013-14

Introduction

These are the accounts for Portsmouth Cycle Forum, financial year ending 28 February 2014.

Accounts

Income:  Our regular income solely relies on subscriptions from paid-up members, with occasional one-off donations.

Members:  There has been a decrease in paid membership for this year – down to 36 from 39 the previous year.

Costs: Without a regular ‘free’ venue at the Guildhall we now have costs for holding meetings.  We are grateful to Mario and the University of Portsmouth Students Union for the use of their meeting room free of charge for our last two meetings.  Previously in the last year we made use of free community spaces but these were poorly attended.  The UPSU room was not available today and we have a £50 charge for the hire of this hall.  Other regular costs are for printing, website hosting and subscriptions for national cycling bodies.

Subscriptions:   For the next year membership subscriptions will remain at £5 (with no fee for concessions).  Renewals can be made by cheque, cash or through Paypal via the Pompeybug website.

Important Note:  We need to make a serious effort to convert subscribers on our mailing list to paid-up members.  If we are to make use of central locations we need to increase the number of membership subscriptions and donations to offset the costs.  Additional income will allow the Forum to expand its activities through promotion.

Income

Subscriptions 2013-14                  149.68

Total Income                               149.68

Expenditure

Printing                                       148.70

Website                                       121.64

Hall hire                                        10.00

Subscriptions to CTC/CN               80.00

Total Expenditure                        360.34

2013-14 deficit                           £210.66

Assets

Bank                                            202

Paypal                                           60

Current Assets                          £262               (from £411 in March 2013)

 

Roger Inkpen

Treasurer, Portsmouth Cycle Forum 20 March 2014

Northern Road Bridge

Northern Road Bridge
Northern Road Bridge

If you’ve been hibernating over winter (and why not!) you might have missed the work on Northern Road Bridge in Cosham. Nobody is questioning the need to replace an ageing bridge over the railway line, but it is vital cyclists’ needs are considered when road works are being planned.

When we found out the road over the bridge would be open for buses, taxis and minicabs, with cyclists having to get off and walk with pedestrians, we queried this with Portsmouth City Council. The project team have been very willing to discuss our suggestions, including monitoring traffic flow to see if cycling could be allowed. They’ve also said they will consult with us on the best layout for the permanent cycle lane markings.

We’ve also discussed allowing two-way cycling in Cosham High Street, which has been turned into a one-way system. This is ‘temporary’ but we need to make sure that if it does become permanent then cyclists needs are catered for, avoiding making life difficult for those wanting to travel the ‘wrong’ way. Portsmouth City Council have committed to meet with PCF and discuss the future of the temporary one way system before the bridge works are completed.   We’ll keep you up-to-date with any news.

Portsmouth Cycle Forum at St Mary’s May Fayre

On the Bank holiday Monday Portsmouth Cycle Forum members Chris, Jayne, John, Pam and Roger went along to the popular May Fayre at St Mary’s Church in Fratton. It was wet all morning but we kept warm and dry at our stand inside! We spoke to loads of people – some committed cyclists, others lapsed; as well as non-cyclists.

It was a great opportunity to give information to experienced cyclists as well as encouragement to others, explain more about what we do as a Forum and talk about the Community Cycle Centre at Stacey Centre.

Our next event is at the Summer Fair in Victoria Park on 19 May. Come along – all support welcome!

The Times Cities safe for Cycling campaign

The Times has launched a public campaign and 8-point manifesto calling for cities to be made fit for cyclists:
Portsmouth Cycle Forum (PCF) calls on our MPs, city councillors and council officers to take note of the Cities safe for Cycling campaign launched by The Times. We welcome the positive response from the Department of Transport and ask them to put together policies and strategies to implement this 8-point plan, as listed below. As the voice for cyclists in Portsmouth, the Cycle Forum would like to assist our authorities and elected representatives, so we would like your comments.

1. Lorries entering a city centre should be required by law to fit sensors, audible turning alarms, extra mirrors and safety bars to stop cyclists being thrown under the wheels.

  • PCF: this would be a central government responsibility, but it is up to local leaders to influence national policy to take account of local needs.

2. The 500 most dangerous road junctions must be identified, redesigned or fitted with priority traffic lights for cyclists and Trixi mirrors that allow lorry drivers to see cyclists on their near-side.

  • PCF: we are sure our members and supporters could find a large number of such locations. The Forum will press Portsmouth City Council to identify and remedy the priorities.

3. A national audit of cycling to find out how many people cycle in Britain and how cyclists are killed or injured should be held to underpin effective cycle safety.

  • PCF: again, this is a national policy but PCC could undertake such a task locally.

4. Two per cent of the Highways Agency budget should be earmarked for next generation cycle routes, providing £100 million a year towards world-class cycling infrastructure. Each year cities should be graded on the quality of cycling provision.

  • PCF: we support this although motorists may need to be reminded that such a budget would be taken from general taxation, not just ‘road taxes’.

5. The training of cyclists and drivers must improve and cycle safety should become a core part of the driving test.

  • PCF: more cyclists training is welcome, but should not be seen as a necessity. The government is improving the driving test to take more account of cyclists.

6. 20mph should become the default speed limit in residential areas where there are no cycle lanes.

  • PCF: this has of course been implemented in Portsmouth, although it still requires policing.

7. Businesses should be invited to sponsor cycleways and cycling super-highways, mirroring the Barclays-backed bicycle hire scheme in London.

  • PCF: this may be worth exploring, but is probably not realistic in the current economic climate.

8. Every city, even those without an elected mayor, should appoint a cycling commissioner to push home reforms.

  • PCF: the city council has a councillor appointed as ‘cycling champion’ for some years, but this has not been successful. However we would welcome a new initiative to appoint a councillor genuinely interested in promoting cycling.