Category Archives: Events

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

A Time to Remember, A Time to Act

Last week two terrible incidents occurred that highlight the dangers faced by cyclists on our roads. On Thursday 1st June a cyclist was seriously injured on Fratton Bridge and remains in a coma. On Friday 2nd June a cyclist, Tim Atkins, was killed after falling into traffic on the Eastern Road after a collision with another cyclist.

Next Thursday we will be holding an act of remembrance for Tim Atkins and a call for action, a call for the city council to finally take strong action to address the safety problems that affect all cyclists across our city. Tim’s family are devastated, but they want to prevent such a terrible thing happening to another family so it’s with their support that we are holding this event.

We are calling for anyone who cycles or who cares about the safety of cyclists to gather in Guildhall Square from 5:30pm on Thursday 15th June. Starting at 6pm we will remember Tim and then call for action from the city council. We have invited council leaders and politicians of all parties to attend and answer our call. We will then cycle the short distance from the Guildhall to Richmond Building for our open meeting where we will be hearing from council officers and the police about some key cycle safety initiatives.

This event will be a respectful act of remembrance and a resolute, peaceful call for action. Please add strength to our message by coming along to the Guildhall next Thursday to pay your respects to a fellow cyclist, show your support to his family and to add strength to our call for action. We call for all cyclists, commuters and racers, shoppers and tourists, tricyclists and tandemists to come and let the city council hear our call for safer streets and A City to Share.

The time for action is long overdue, we need you to come along and make sure our voice is heard. Tim was a father, a brother, a son, a partner. Someone who loved and was loved. We cannot tolerate his needless loss and we could not bear for this to happen again. We demand action now to make our streets safe for all cyclists.

Tim’s sister, Joanna, wrote this about her brother:

Tim Atkins, a devoted family man, a son with a heart of gold, a brother, uncle, father, partner and friend to everyone.
Someone who would do anything for anyone, if he knew you for years or hours… it didn’t matter, Tim would come to the rescue and help you, always putting your needs before his own.
Tim could turn his hand to anything, a avid upcyler of pallets to make just about anything you could think of, a sci-fi writer, a computer whizz, it’s probably quicker to to list what he couldn’t do than the extensive list of skills and qualities he has. ex-pub landlord with a cracking sense of humour, love for life and an even greater love for his daughter, who was his world.
His passion for all of the above was above and beyond that of anyone else I know.
Our family and everyone that knew Tim will miss him beyond belief, for me personally, his ‘lil sis’, this has left a huge hole in my heart and the life of myself, his nieces and nephews, I will never get over this tragedy that could so easily have been prevented, taking the life of my loving brother.

See you on Thursday. Please help us promote this by sharing this article or by sharing this Facebook event.

June Open Meeting

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

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

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

Open Meeting – The Cycling Revolution in Leicester

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

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

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

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

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

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

Open Meeting – Making Space for Cycling (UK)

Our next open meeting will take place at 7pm on Thursday 17th November.  The venue will once again be LT2 in Richmond Building at the University of Portsmouth. We’ll be joined by Roger Geffen MBE, Policy Director of Cycling UK. Many of you may remember Roger, who last joined us in January 2014 to talk to us about CTC’s national campaigns. CTC has since transformed the more campaign focussed Cycling UK.

Cycling UK is preparing for a second phase of its national Space for Cycling campaign, in partnership with local campaign groups.  It aims to create better places for everyone, by enabling people of all ages and abilities to cycle for any local journey.  As well as enabling members of the public to call on councils to commit to planning high-quality cycle networks – and to finding the funding these will require – we are also creating a Space for Cycling toolkit.  This will support local campaign groups and councils to work constructively together on planning local cycle networks and prioritising schemes, using a suite of IT tools and crowd-sourced data. This will strengthen the hand of local campaigners – as local authorities seek their support for their funding proposals – while boosting their credibility, their visibility in the local media, and their supporter base.

This should be a really interesting meeting and a great chance for us to engage with Cycling UK’s national campaigns and to use them locally to help us make cycling work for Portsmouth. Put the date in your diaries.

Open Meeting – Thursday 22nd September

We have an open meeting on Thursday. We’ll be discussing the new Solent Deal to devolve transport and other powers from central government to a new Solent Authority. It’ll have money to spend and we want to make sure some it goes into cycling! We’ll also be talking about our Pompey Pothole project to record poor roads and updating you on what has happens since our last meeting. The meeting is at the university Richmond building off Queen St, starting 7pm.

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.

Election Meeting

Election time is nearing, with a councillor up for election in each of the 14 wards across the city on the 5th May. We’ve invited the representatives of each party to speak at our next meeting and we’ll be asking them to commit to halving the rate of cycling casualties on Portsmouth’s Roads by 2020. We’ll be inviting every candidate in the election to come along too and we’ll be writing to them individually to ask them for their support.

The main focus of the meeting will be to give you a chance to ask questions of our politicians about their plans and views on cycling.

The meeting will take place in Lecture Theatre 3, Richmond Building of the University of Portsmouth at 7pm on the 28th April.

Please let us know if you are planning on coming to this meeting by booking a place here. The meeting is free and open to all but it is REALLY helpful for us to know how many people are coming.

Click here to attend this meeting

Open Meeting Report

Lecture Theatre 2, Richmond Building, University of Portsmouth, 7pm Thursday 11th February.

Marcus Jones: TRL Trials of innovative cycling improvements

Transport for London commissioned the Transport Research Laboratory (TRL)  to undertake a range of off-street trials of innovative cycling improvements.

Marcus Jones, from TRL gave a comprehensive presentation of these trials which included detailed research into the reactions of the 6000 volunteer participants to the various road layouts trialled, including different styles of roundabouts and cyclist/traffic separation technologies. Based on analysis of the trials, decisions will be made as to whether or not they can be introduced on-street, subject to Department for Transport approval.

Further information here.

Nicola Waight: Vision Zero

Relating to TRL’s research, above, Nicola Waight presented a short video on Vision Zero: a multi-national road traffic safety project that aims to achieve a highway system with no fatalities or serious injuries in road traffic.

Vision Zero started in Sweden and was approved by their parliament in October 1997. It has since been adopted by cities worldwide. Its key idea is that transport systems traditionally place responsibility for safety on road users. The Vision Zero Initiative puts this responsibility on system design.

There followed a discussion about the applicability of this approach to Portsmouth with its country-leading cyclist casualty rate. Following the lead from Portsmouth South’s MP, Flick Drummond, Ken Ellcome, Portsmouth Councillor with responsibility for Transport, endorsed PCF’s City to Share target of reducing Portsmouth’s 2014 cyclist casualty rate by half, by 2020. Councillor Ellcome mentioned the cycle path to be introduced on the north side of Goldsmiths Avenue as an example of the Council’s commitment to improve the safety of cyclists in the city.

Bernie Topham, COO, University of Portsmouth

Bernie presented on the University’s ambition to promote more sustainable travel options for the c.22,000 staff and students of the University. One aspect seen as an enabler for greater use of cycles was the provision of on-street parking in residential areas of the city, particularly around Albert Rd where there is a high density of student housing.

Download Slides – February Meeting

Stretch Yourself with the Cathedral Challenge

Portsmouth CTC are organising a series of week-end rides for people new to group riding or who haven’t cycled for a while. They start after Easter with short ‘get to know you’ rides that include a free bike check and progress through longer distances, tackling a series of challenges along the way:

  • Bronze: Havant to Portsmouth cathedral and back
  • Silver: Chichester cathedral and back via the South Downs National Park
  • Gold: Winchester cathedral and back

All rides are led by CTC-accredited ride leaders and supported by experienced riders. They start from The Spring Centre in Havant or Bidbury Park in Bedhampton.

The Cathedral Challenge page provides more information including some inspirational stories from some of our members who have achieved far more on a bike than they thought possible.

There’s no need for sponsorship, and there’s no fee to join any of the rides. The only cost is one-year’s subscription to CTC if people join more than three rides.

The event is inspired by Bristol CTC’s very successful ‘Get Gorge-ous’ rides.

Open Meeting: Modern Cycle Infrastructure At Last?

Anyone who’s travelled in Europe will have come across a whole variety of features on the road designed to help cyclists, things that are alien to us here in Britain. Segregation at junctions, protected lanes on roundabouts, low level traffic lights, bus stop bypasses to name  a few. Maybe you’ve seen them and wondered why they are not in common use here too.

The good news is that all of these things have been on trial at the Transport Research Lab in Berkshire and as a result may be coming to the UK at last.

At our next public meeting we’ll be hearing from Marcus Jones from the Transport Research Lab about the outcome of those trials and what’s being done to follow them up.

Anyone who’s been to one of our meetings before will know that we’re very concerned about safety on our roads. Portsmouth’s record for cycle safety is fairly dismal and we’re pushing the council to commit to tackling it. At the meeting we’ll be finding out the Vision Zero initiative. It can be summarised in one sentence: No loss of life is acceptable. The Swedish Government and some major US cities have signed up for Vision Zero – could Portsmouth do the same?

We’ll also be hearing from the Chief Operating Officer of the University of Portsmouth about how the 22,000 or so staff and students of the University get around and what is being done to help them get onto their bikes.

The meeting will be in Lecture Theatre 2, Richmond Building, University of Portsmouth at 7pm on Thursday 11th February. We really hope to see you there.

Add the meeting to your calendar

Find the meeting on facebook

Open Meeting Report

It was standing room only for latecomers to the Portsmouth Cycle Forum open meeting on Thursday 12th November. To cope with the demand we’d already upgraded from our regular meeting place to a 70-seat lecture theatre in the University and even this was barely enough as 80 people packed the room. Eager guests had come to hear Dr Rachel Aldred speak about her studies into cyclists’ Near Misses and our own Eric de Greef to talk about making the school-run bike-friendly.

Rachel Aldred briefs on the Near Miss project
Rachel Aldred briefs on the Near Miss project

Historically police and local authorities have used data on deaths and serious injuries to inform them about improving safety and reducing danger on our roads. Dr Aldred’s work highlights the importance of near misses and close shaves in influencing perception of danger by surveying cyclists of all abilities making all kinds of journey. Survey respondents complete a diary for one day and detail every time they come close to different levels of risk and danger. Over 1500 diarists detailed nearly 4000 incidents in 2014.

Official statistics show there is a very low chance of even minor injury to regular cyclists – once every 20 years; but analysis of cycling diaries showed an average of one ‘very scary’ incident every week, and the feeling of being abused or harassed a couple of times a month, with lesser near misses likely to happen on a daily basis.

Dr Aldred has a small team and a huge quantity of data from the 2015 survey which was completed last month. She is collaborating with police and local authorities to use this data to influence both the design of infrastructure and the education of road users. Find out more about the Near Miss Project here.

Eric de Greef talks about the school run
Eric de Greef talks about the school run

Eric de Greef had the task of following Rachel Aldred and delivered an excellent talk about the work Cycle Forum volunteers have been doing to get more children cycling to school. They have been working with schools and council officers to understand the barriers to cycling, so that ways can be developed to make the school run more bike friendly. This is no easy task but it is an essential one – getting kids on bikes builds activity into their day and gives them independence. This will help foster a healthier, more confident generation.

Other items included and appeal for a bit more diversity on the committee – at the moment we are very white and predominantly male. We’d love more women to get involved in our committee and people from different ethnic backgrounds. If you’re interested please get in touch.

We are very proud of our open meetings and put a lot of effort into creating a friendly forum where there can be a grown-up debate about transport issues without petty party politics, name calling or intimidation. We hope you enjoy them – if you do and you haven’t yet joined the cycle forum, please consider doing that. It only costs £10 and we depend on subscriptions to survive – click here to make it happen.

Thanks to everyone who came and helped make this meeting such a success.

Open Meeting with Dr Rachel Aldred

Update: we have had to move the meeting to a larger room due to popular demand! The meeting will now take place in Lecture Theatre 3 on the Ground Floor of Richmond Building, University of Portsmouth.

Fantastic News! We’re pleased to announce we’ll have a very special guest speaker at our open meeting on Thursday 12 November. Dr Rachel Aldred, senior lecturer in transport at Westminster University, will join us to talk about the Near Miss Project. Dr Aldred is one of the UK’s pre-eminent experts on  cycling and has been behind much of the work that has created such a solid base of evidence about the benefits of cycling. In fact we drew on her research frequently whilst drafting A City to Share.

Rachel Aldred wins Total Women's Cycling Cycling Initiative of the Year for the Near Miss Project
Rachel Aldred wins Total Women’s Cycling Cycling Initiative of the Year for the Near Miss Project

Dr Aldred is in great demand to talk about her work so we’re very lucky to get her for the evening. Her research looks at those ‘close shaves’ which don’t result in injury, but very much affect cyclists’ behaviour and may give a clue as to where actual injuries may occur in the future.

We’ll also be hearing about the work of the team we set up to look at why so few children cycle to school and what can be done to get more children cycling.

So make sure you get down to Lecture Theatre 3, Ground Floor, Richmond Building, University of Portsmouth by 6.45 to get a seat! The meeting starts at 7pm, and we’ll also be talking about the latest accident figures and how to get more women and children cycling. Don’t forget: 6.45pm on Thursday 12 November.

We’re expecting a big turnout for this meeting, so please let us know if you plan to come – click here to drop us an email.

Pedal Portsmouth

Southsea Seafront
Southsea Seafront

Southsea Seafront will become a traffic-free paradise for cycling and walking on Sunday 27th September. The Pedal Portsmouth event is the culmination of a whole series of rides that have been developed by Portsmouth City Council in partnership with British Cycling and Portsmouth Cycle Forum.

The idea for a closed-roads event came from the leader of Portsmouth City Council, councillor Donna Jones in her enthusiastic response to the launch of ‘A City to Share’, Portsmouth Cycle Forum’s community developed cycling strategy for the city.

A four mile stretch of the seafront will be closed to traffic between 11am and 3pm on the 27th September. This will give people of all ages and abilities the freedom to enjoy the seafront, its amenities and their bikes. It will be the perfect opportunity to discover, or rediscover, the joy of cycling.

So, get yourself down to the seafront on Sunday 27th. Bring your bike and bring your family – everyone will be able to enjoy the read in safety. Just remember it is a relaxed, social event so there’s no need for speed. Stop for a coffee or an ice cream and enjoy the day.

Let as many people know about it as you can. Make sure this is a success for PCC and for all the businesses in the area. Who knows, it might mean it happens regularly in the future.

See a map of the traffic-free roads here.

Portsmouth’s gearing up for a summer of cycling

Facebook Image Portsmouth

Portsmouth residents are being urged to get on their bikes and take part in free guided rides throughout the summer as part of the council’s partnership with British Cycling and Sky.

Starting on Sunday 14 June a total of 20 Sky Ride Local rides will be held, which will see trained British Cycling ride leaders guide groups across distances from three miles up to more adventurous 30 mile routes.

The Sky Ride Local events are part of a national campaign to get more people cycling for fun and fitness, and offer a fantastic range of themed guided bike rides taking place throughout the summer months.

The rides will explore different themes from city streets and parklife to waterway and woodland and the opening ride is an easy going four mile ride from Mountbatten to Cosham park.

Portsmouth is the ideal city to discover by bike, so now’s the time to pump up tyres, oil gears and check brakes.

Stewart Kellett, British Cycling’s Director of Recreation and Partnerships, said: “What better way to get some exercise, get outdoors and see your area in a new way than to join some of the themed Sky Ride Local bike rides taking place in and around Portsmouth this summer.

“The rides begin on 14 June, so there’s no time like the present to get your bike out. Whether you want to build your cycling confidence or already comfortable on a bike and looking for a challenge, now’s the time to register your free place on a Sky Ride Local bike ride in Portsmouth.”

Cllr Donna Jones, Leader of Portsmouth City Council said: “It’s essential to encourage residents to feel comfortable riding in the city. Cycling is on the increase and Portsmouth is an ideal place to enjoy on your bike. We particularly want to encourage families and children of all ages.

“SKY Ride Local and planned improvements for the road network demonstrate a commitment to cycling.

“The guided rides are a perfect opportunity for families and individuals of all abilities to cycle varying distances, you can choose a ride to suit your comfort factor.

“I’m looking forward to seeing many more residents enjoying the city and beyond by bike.”

Open Meeting: Election Time

Vote BikeOur next meeting takes place on Thursday 23rd April at 6:45pm, once again in Room 0.08 of the University of Portsmouth Park Building, behind the Guildhall (map). It will be only two weeks before polling day the focus will be on the forthcoming local and national elections.

We’ve invited all local candidates in the election along. We’ve sent them all a letter asking if they will support our City to Share document to create a safer, cleaner and more attractive city, and a local and national commitment to £10 per head on cycling each year.  We’ll be posting their responses on this site as they come in and giving our analysis at the meeting. There will be plenty of time for questions.

In the Ministerial Spotlight

Robert Goodwill MP and Conservative Candidate Flick Drummond pose with a copy of A City to Share
Robert Goodwill MP and Conservative Candidate Flick Drummond pose with a copy of A City to Share

Last Thursday Robert Goodwill MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport, visited Portsmouth. The visit was prompted by a letter from Cllr Donna Jones, the leader of PCC, which was in turn prompted by engagement from Portsmouth Cycle Forum in a meeting following the launch of our cycling strategy, A City to Share.

The purpose of the Minister’s visit was to find out about the cycling initiatives taking places in Portsmouth and to discuss the measures needed to increase cycling levels. The Minister said that the momentum in the cities enjoying Cycle Ambition grant funding was such that fund could be diverted now to others, such as Portsmouth.

Cllr Jones mentioned the possibility of a Sky-Ride in 2016 but Sky’s sponsorship ends in that year.

Portsmouth Cycle Forum Vice-Chair John Holland was able to give a brief overview of A City to Share and the minister took a copy with him. He nodded in the right places and he mentioned the Government’s aim to increase cycle spending to £10 a head (with no date for achieving that though). Feedback is that the Minister is impressed with the strategy.

Following the meeting John Holland was joined by more members of the Forum to accompany the ministerial throng to The Hub in Winston Churchill Avenue. The Minister then took a “photo opportunity” bike ride along the seafront cycle route which was joined by Flick Drummond, Conservative parliamentary candidate for Portsmouth South. An ITV cameraman was in attendance.