Category Archives: PCF

Leader supports Space for Cycling

Eric Booth talks about Freedom to Ride
Eric Booth talks about Freedom to Ride

Portsmouth Cyclists turned out in numbers last night for Portsmouth Cycle Forum’s “Dutch Style, Bristol Fashion” meeting. The room, provided by the University student’s union, was packed with riders keen to hear how cycling is being encouraged across the country. Roger Geffen, campaigns and policy director of the national cycling charity CTC and Eric Booth, chair of Bristol Cycle Campaign travelled to Portsmouth to share their experience.

The evening began with Dr Janet Maxwell, Portsmouth’s new director of public health, explaining the key role cycling has to play in the improvement of public health.  Dr Maxwell, whose previous role was in Bristol said she would make it her aim for cycling rates here in Portsmouth to overtake those in Bristol.

Roger Geffen then introduced the Space for Cycling campaign. This campaign pushes for protected space for cycling on main roads and reduced risk to cycling on minor roads. Roger explained that a key challenge is to fund cycling properly. The UK currently spends about £2 per head on cycling, whereas at least £10 per head annually is required to really improve cycling levels.

Eric Booth then presented Bristol’s Freedom to Ride manifesto. Bristol has already achieved cycling levels of about four times those in Portsmouth, and has demonstrated that every pound it has invested in cycling has delivered benefits worth ten pounds into the local economy. To build on this success Bristol cycle campaign has developed a manifesto based on a map of proposed cycle routes. This has been so successful that the local authority has started to adopt it – committing to spend £16 per head annually on cycling for the next three years.

The speakers were then joined by Portsmouth City Council Leader Gerald Vernon-Jackson for a question and answer session. Councillor Vernon-Jackson met with an enthusiastic response when he promised that if Portsmouth Cycle Forum delivers a vision for cycling along the lines of Bristol’s then he would support it. Cycling has a vital role to play in improving health, reducing road casualties and reducing congestion on our streets.

Lord Mayor Lynne Stagg was on hand to promote her charity bike ride, which takes place on 23rd March starting in Victoria Park. There will be two routes on offer, one of 8 miles and one of 16, and there are several bikes to be won as prizes. All monies raised will go to the Lord Mayor’s charities – full details are on the My Journey Portsmouth website.

Presentations

Road Justice

Road Justice LogoToday a driver received a 12 month ban from driving and a suspended prison sentence for killing a cyclist on a straight road in broad daylight. The court heard that the cyclist would have been clearly visible to the driver for some 11 seconds before the impact but for some reason the driver made no attempt to avoid the cyclist and struck from the rear with fatal consequences. The cyclist was the husband and father of a now devastated family.  Read the news story here.

Contrast this with a case last December, where a cyclist was jailed for 12 months for causing serious injuries to a 12 year old on a pedestrian crossing. Once again, the pilot of the vehicle was inattentive and irresponsible – and undeniably at fault. Except that this time the consequences to the victim were less severe (serious injury rather than death) and the consequences to the perpetrator rather more severe (jail time rather than a driving ban and suspended sentence). Read the news story here.

There are obviously a myriad of differences between these cases, and care must be taken in comparing them. It is also beyond the ken of PCF to say either sentence is wrong on its own merits. We’re certainly not arguing that the cyclist in the second case didn’t deserve severe punishment for his actions.  However, these cases do seem to betray a certain lack of consistency in the justice system and they do seem to back the CTC’s view that the courts do not treat cyclists fairly – either as victims or as offenders.

The CTC’s road justice campaign aims to change this. Have you supported it yet? If not, maybe it’s time you did.

Check out the CTC Road Justice Campaign 

Doing it Dutch style

Cycling in Groningen
Family cycling in Groningen

Portsmouth Cycle Forum Open Meeting, 14th November 2013

Last Thursday Portsmouth Cycle Forum held one of its best attended meetings yet. The venue was the University of Portsmouth Students Union and the theme was to describe how the Dutch method of designing and building cycle routes could be used in Portsmouth.

Portsmouth resident David Brown has great experience of cycling in both the UK and the Netherlands – although as to be expected cycling in Holland is much easier, safer and so more attractive.  David showed a film about the city of Groningen which, like Portsmouth is historically a military town with a network of narrow streets housing about 200,000 people.

The people of Groningen, which has gone on to become one of the most prosperous cities in Europe, radically redesigned their roads in the 1970s using a revolutionary planning approach. The result is that today over 50 per cent of all trips made in Groningen are made by bike – commuting, school trips, shopping and social outings.  The people of Groningen benefit from low air and noise pollution, better health and a pleasant, liveable city.  As a result, cycling is the preferred mode of travel for most people.

David went on to describe how, like us, the Dutch rebuilt their cities around the private car in the aftermath of world war two.  However, by the 1970s many Dutch people were upset about their city squares being given over to car parking, attractive avenues being bulldozed to become multi-lane highways and the high level of death on the roads.  Their demands for change led to the cycle-oriented cities we see today.

The Dutch approach to transport does not aim to actively discourage car use, but it does aim to promote sustainable transport such as the bicycle and public transport.  Their road network is now designed with this in mind with all users of the road considered.  Cyclists and pedestrians are not abandoned to their fate at busy junctions.  Residents are free to use their cars when they need to but the equivalent journey by bike is inevitably shorter and faster.

Councillor Ken Ellcome (Drayton & Farlington, Con) explained the political challenges of adopting such an approach in Portsmouth.  He was joined by Simon Moon and Simon Brownlie from PCC’s Transport and Environment team who generously gave up their time to discuss the practical planning and design issues.

Cllr Ellcome and his officers acknowledged that Portsmouth is already saturated with motor vehicles and any future economic growth could be hamstrung by transport and parking difficulties.  There was lively debate around these issues, with residents calling for the city council to stop living in fear of a public backlash and take leadership to resolve the chronic transport issues that beset the city.

Portsmouth Cycle Forum chair Jon Spencer said “Cycling in Portsmouth benefits everyone.  Every cyclist means one less car on our gridlocked streets. It means less pollution and less danger on the roads as well as bringing health and happiness benefits to the individual cyclist.  The city council needs to show leadership on this issue and create an infrastructure that makes cycling pleasant and attractive. Cycling is one of the few viable transport solutions in a compact city like Portsmouth.

The Dutch transport revolution has created pleasant, liveable cities with thriving local businesses.  Citizens are able to navigate their city safely and without being regularly trapped in the gridlock that so often befalls the people of Portsmouth.  Groningen itself has gone on to become one of the most prosperous cities in Europe.

Open Meeting – September 2013

The Learning Place
The Learning Place

The next PCF open meeting will take place at 7pm on Thursday 12th September at The Learning Place.  We’ll be demonstrating Open Streetmap, the user-generated online mapping tool – this topic was deferred from the last meeting due to the discussion regarding the Fratton Way Tesco.  We’ll also as well as talking about other important cycle-related issues, like the imminent Lord Mayor’s bike ride and the changes to the one way system in Cosham.

 Agenda

  1. Open Street Map
  2. Summer Fair and Lord Mayor’s Bike Ride
  3. Local infrastructure report
  4. AOB

Please do come along – we’ll have access to a computer suite so you can get interactive with cycle mapping! Do come along – food and refreshments will be available.

We’d like to make the session on Open Street Map as interactive as possible – there are computers available to use but if you’d like to bring your own laptop then please do.  It is a powerful tool for creating and distributing free geographic data.  This should prove extremely useful for mapping cycle infrastructure that is rarely featured accurately on standard maps.

The Learning Place is located at 6 Derby Road, North End. Portsmouth PO2 8HH – you can find a map here.

Open Meeting

The next PCF open meeting will take place at 7pm on Thursday 11th July at the Stacey Centre.  A late breaking addition to the agenda of the meeting is that Julian Clarke of Transport Planning Associates will be coming to brief on the proposed development of a new Tesco Store on Fratton Way and the options for rerouting the shared use pedestrian and cycle route (Milton Lane) that runs across the proposed site and past Fratton Park.

 Agenda

  1. Fratton Way Tesco proposal
  2. Open Street Map
  3. Sustrans update
  4. Local infrastructure report
  5. AOB

Please do come along – this is a great opportunity to express the cyclists point of view of the plans for an important new development in the city.

We’d like to make the session on Open Street Map as interactive as possible – if you’d like to bring a laptop then you will be able to try out the site as we go along.  It is a powerful tool for creating and distributing free geographic data.  This should prove extremely useful for mapping cycle infrastructure that is rarely featured accurately on standard maps.

The Stacey Centre is located on Walsall Road in Copnor – you can find a map here.

Bike Week 2013

Bike Week is upon us once again.  There is a full programme of events in Portsmouth:

Bike Week Launch Event

Saturday 15 June, 11am-4pm
Southsea Skate Park, Clarence Esplanade

All activities are FREE:

  • Forest track – an exciting test of skill on a timber track with bends, humps and bumps
  • Obstacle course
  • Bike try outs – including carrying a child on a bike, bike trailers and adaptive cycles
  • BMX displays – on the hour every hour
  • Bike Doctor – checks and basic repairs
  • Smoothie making bike
  • Police security marking and safe locking advice

Ride on the Wild Side

Sunday 16 June, 11am
Cosham Station

The annual Friends Of The Earth led ride, this time around some of the wilder areas of the city.

Famous Figures Ride

Monday 17 June, 5.30pm
Dockyard Gate, The Hard

Guided ride to look at famous figures of Portsmouth.

Mountain Bike Session

Tuesday 18 June, 7pm (for 7.30pm start)
Queen Elizabeth Country Park

Meet at Activity Centre with your bike or there is limited transport available from Portsmouth, call 023 9284 1948 to book a place.

Uni-cycle Ride

Wednesday 19 June, 8am
Eastney swimming baths

Why not try riding to the University? Free bike breakfast for everyone that comes along.

Thomas Ellis Owen Ride

Wednesday 19 June, 5.30pm
Queen Victoria statue, Guildhall Square

Look at the work of the famous Victorian architect with Sue and John Pike.

Bike Doctor

Thursday 20 June, 11am-2pm
Guildhall Square

Free bike check and basic repairs.

Annual Fish and Chip Ride

Friday 21 June, 5.30pm
Kings Theatre, Albert Rd

Portsmouth Cycle Forum’s annual fish and chip ride.

Community Cycle Centre Open Day

Saturday 22 June, 10am-2pm
Stacey Centre, Walsall Road

Basic bike check and repair training session.

Military History Ride

Sunday 23 June, 11am
The Square Tower, Broad Street, Old Portsmouth

A guided ride, with commentary, around interesting military sites in the city.

Spring and Summer Bike Rides

Ride programme - spring summer 2013
Ride programme – spring summer 2013

We have just finalised our programme of rides for the coming few months.  The rides are open to riders of all abilities, young or old, fast or slow.  Each of the rides is guided by an experienced, trained ride leader and will move at the pace of the slowest rider.  These rides are all about seeing the city and its surrounds in a different way and at a relaxed pace.  Why not give them a try?

The first ride  is the Bluebells Ride and Walk on Sunday 12 May. It starts at 10am at The Good Companion pub on Eastern Road. The ride uses cycle paths and country roads to travel up the hill and round the back through Purbrook to bluebell wood for a walk through ancient woodland.

Download the full ride programme here.

Committee Meeting

PCF Committee Meeting
PCF Committee Meeting

The next meeting of the Portsmouth Cycle Forum Committee will be this Friday (12th April 2013).

The proposed agenda for the meeting is linked below.  If there is anything else you think the committee should be discussing then please let us know via our contact page or our facebook group.

If you are interested in what happens at our committee meetings and would like to come and see for yourself then let us know. We’ll try to fit you in if we can.

PCF Committee Agenda 12 April 2013

AGM & Open Meeting Report (updated)

Portsmouth Cycle Forum held its Annual General Meeting last night at Eastney Community Centre in Bransbury Park. The main business of the AGM was to report on the actions and accounts of the cycle forum for the year just gone and to appoint an executive committee charged with directing the actions of the forum for the coming year.

The reports from the chair and treasurer were both accepted without change.

Unfortunately the chair of the forum, John Holland, has decided to step down from the role after many years of unstinting service. Happily, John whill continue to serve on the committee and work to improve the lot of cyclists in the city. Portsmouth Cycle Forum owes John a debt of gratitude for his hard work and wise direction. Very many thanks John.

The committee for the coming year was then elected, the new committee members being:

  • Chair: Jon Spencer
  • Vice Chair: Hilary Reed
  • Treasurer: Roger Inkpen
  • Secretary: Pamela Wilkie
  • Committee members: Chris Cheetham, Mike Dobson, Steve Franklin, John Holland, Joe McGannan, Tim Parker and Jayne Rodgers

The full minutes of the meeting can be read here.

The other business of the meeting covered:

  • Mayor Boris’s recently announced cycle strategy for London (view the presentation);
  • The progress of the Local Sustainable Transport Fund in Portsmouth;
  • A report on our ongoing infrastructure campaings.

The meeting benefitted from the presence of Councillor Jason Fazackarley, the cabinet member for traffic and transportation in Portsmouth. Amongst other things Jason has promised to take a bike tour of Portsmouth with members of PCF to help him understand which roads and junctions don’t work for cyclists. That should happen sometime in May.

Many thanks to everyone who came and I look forward to your support for the coming year.  If you are a member of PCF please don’t forget to renew, and if you are not a member why not consider joining.  The subscription is only £5 and we strive to provide a representative voice for all cyclists in the city.  Payment can be made on-line or cheques (payable to Portsmouth Cycle Forum) can be posted to: Joe McGannan, 27 Thurbern Road, Portsmouth, PO2 0PH.

20’s Plenty, but not for Mr Plod

Pavement cycling, police style
Pavement cycling, police style

In a state of high-dudgeon at the recent PCC and Hampshire Police crackdown on pavement cycling (read the story in The News) PCF decided to contact Hampshire Police to see how they are dealing with the more serious issue of speeding traffic in our crowded streets.  After all, accident statistics tell us that the big killer of pedestrians is the motor car, not the bicycle.  In fact, you have a considerably higher chance of drowning in the bath than you do of being killed by a cyclist.  Therefore we were confident that, with public safety at the heart of everything they do, Hampshire Police would be taking the problem of speeding traffic seriously.

Or not.  It turns out that “It is ACPO policy that forces do not enforce 20mph speed limits”.  That’s  right – despite the fact that the 20mph limit in Portsmouth was put in place by a democratically elected, law making body, and is widely supported, Hampshire Police are not enforcing it.  Despite being public servants they seem to feel it is up to them to cherry pick which laws to enforce.

Clearly public safety is not at the heart of this.  The biggest danger on the streets is not irresponsible cycling.  PCF now plans to contact the new Hampshire Police and Crime Commissioner and ask him to review this as a matter of priority.

Read the full response from Hampshire Police here (it won’t take long)

 

Faster Lorries on Rural Roads – Action Needed!

Say no to faster lorriesThe DfT has opened a consultation on increasing the speed limit for HGV’s on single carriageway roads. This seems to be because many lorries ignore the current limit of 40mph anyway. This apparently gives the firms that do ignore the limit a competitive advantage as they are able to deliver goods more quickly.

If you don’t like the idea of being flattened by high speed hauliers on narrow roads, and perhaps would like to see the current limit better enforced, then please take the time to respond to the consultation.  This can be done online and is linked below.

Campaign issues in Chichester

ChiCycle, the Chichester cycle campaign group, have alerted us to the following issues affecting cyclists who use routes to and through Chichester:

Emperor Way

The potential imminent closure of the Emperor Way Cycle and Footpath near the Fishbourne Roman Palace. This is a permissive path and there is a very real fear that the path will be closed in December.

We hope to show the Trustees, when they come for a meeting on Wednesday 24th October, that the path is well used and loved.  If you can please come to the Palace from 6.30 pm. ChiCycle are hoping to arrange a free BBQ.

We know that many cyclists are confident enough to use the A259 but please do support this campaign as some people are not so brave with main roads.

Fishbourne Pedestrian Level Crossing

Pedestrian Level Crossing in Fishbourne
Pedestrian Level Crossing in Fishbourne

The current pedestrian level crossing between Fishbourne Road and Westgate is to be replaced with a bridge. A bridge over the railway at Fishbourne will, we fear, put people off cycling or alternatively encourage cyclists to take the riskier road which is a slipway to the A27.

The planning Application no is 12/03640/FUL. You can log on Chichester District Council website to register views.

There are issues of width (2.00 metres) meaning that cycling may well be banned on the bridge. The extra length involved is 240 metres and the hairpin bends are very tight for trailers.  There is no designated cycling path on the bridge although this was one of the criteria that Network Rail was asked to consider in order to accommodate cyclists in the Planning Statement.  Cyclists and pedestrians will have to cross each other’s paths – please see attached plan.

Please can you ensure that all members of your group with tandems, trailers, tag-a-longs etc contact[email protected] with the measurements as the planners are thinking they may need to make the bends larger to accomodate all users.

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!

Cycle Forum AGM

We will be holding our annual general meeting 4th March where elections will be held for the officers and committee members for 2010/11. If you’d like to join the committee then please follow the link below.

The formal business will form only a small part of the evening and we will have a full agenda including an update on cycle theft from Hampshire Constabulary. The meeting will take place in Room 1 on the 3rd floor of Portsmouth Guildhall starting at 7pm.

Note too that subscriptions for the coming year are due on 1 April!

More details on the AGM and subscriptions

Letter to members from the Treasurer

Vote for a Logo!

Logo Montage
Logo Montage

Entries for the PCF logo competition have now closed  and voting has opened!

We are looking for a new logo that helps us to attract new members, in particular younger members.  To do this we need a strong, instantly recognisable visual symbol that shows we are a modern, forward thinking organisation that is willing to embrace new ideas.  We would like it to be appreciated by current members of the forum but that is not its primary purpose.

More guidance on what we need from a logo is here.

To vote for your favourite logo follow this link.

A PCF Logo

Ric Robinson Logo
The Proposed Logo

Another issue that was discussed at the open meeting on the 14th January was a proposed PCF logo. This logo was produced for us for free by a professional graphic artist. The aim was to create a logo that enables instant recognition and would resonate with younger (potential) cyclists. It is fair to say that the result is a strong design that divided opinion.

As some members were so strongly opposed to the new logo we felt it a good idea to give all members the opportunity to propose a design and then choose a favourite. If you’d like to have your say on the PCF logo then follow this link.