Monthly Archives: January 2013

Road Safety – Not a priority in South Yorkshire #GetBritainCycling

Today in the Get Britain Cycling inquiry on Safety, the MET police said

 

South Yorkshire Police

South Yorkshire Police

How about locally in South Yorkshire? Well recently at the Police and Crime Panel Shaun Wright, the new Police and Crime Commissioner said

Whilst the remit of road safety fell under the remit of the Police and Crime Commissioner, unless there was a particular road safety issue, traffic policing would not be high on the list of priorities as some other issues.

Source: Police and Crime Panel Minutes 23rd November 2012

I’m not surprised based on my experience of the behavior of the local police.

Gritting/clearing of icy cycle paths – The twitter perspective

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For the past week I’ve not been cycling to work, I’ve been using the tram. I cycled in on Monday but the cycle path alongside the dual carriageway was icy so I used the road. It wasn’t much fun. Many cycle paths in Sheffield are still not cleared/gritted, even the ones adjacent to trunk roads. The cycle path is still covered in ice.

How about the rest of the country? Here are some perspectives from Twitter.

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The police try to justify parking on mandatory contraflow lanes

I’ve just had a talking to by a police officer for taking photo’s of a police van parked in the contraflow cycle lane on Castle Street.

He wasn’t too keen on me doing this, he said that I was very conspicuous and perhaps putting myself in danger, he understood that I was there because of the taxis. I was stood outside the police station, scoping out current behavior, not taking photos, there are still plenty of taxis parking illegally, I saw 4 in a 15 minute window, I started taking photos when the police van turned up. He said that the police have to park in this location to drop officers off at the station, I asked about their car park, he said that the vehicles could not fit because of low clearance.

I said that cyclists had been given assurances at Council Meetings by police representatives that they understood it was dangerous and a hazard for cyclists if vehicles were parked in the contraflow lane.

He said that the city centre was busy and if they had to park in normal spaces they’d never be able to get anything done.

This police officer was trying to justify the parking in this location… We have a long way to go in making Sheffield a good place to cycle if this is the attitude shown by South Yorkshire Police 🙁

Pictures/conversation at 12:28 today.

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Road Bottlenecks Parliament Discussion – Cycling as a solution?

The following is taken from a parliamentary question on 17th Jan 2013. My take on this is that there is huge investment in reducing bottlenecks on the road network, however none of this money is targeted towards behavior change to reduce the level of traffic.

The LSTF is often hailed as the solution and the biggest investment for years in cycling, this may be true but is only part of the truth, many LSTF schemes only have a small cycling strand with many very loosely related local pet projects included (especially in South Yorkshire… watch this space!)

Thanks Ian Austin for raising cycling in this debate! Skip to 09:50:40 in the video below to see the discussion.

 

Source Hansard and TheyWorkForYou

6. Nicola Blackwood (Oxford West and Abingdon) (Con): What progress he has made on reducing bottlenecks in the road network. [137497]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport (Stephen Hammond): In the 2010 spending review, the Government committed £168 million for small schemes on the strategic road network. In the 2011 autumn statement, we introduced a new pinch point fund of £217 million to address the hot spots on the network. We have committed £188 million of that to deliver 65 schemes so far. In the 2012 autumn statement, that was increased to £317 million for the strategic road network, and a new £170 million pinch point fund was established for local authorities.

Nicola Blackwood: I thank the Minister for his answer, but the A34 in my constituency is still plagued by congestion and accidents. That causes daily misery for commuters on a personal level, and it also has a debilitating effect on the local economy. If the work force are stuck in gridlocked traffic, they are simply not being productive. Will the Minister come to Oxford West and Abingdon to meet local community and business leaders to hear their concerns at first hand?

Stephen Hammond: Like my hon. Friend, I recognise that the A34 is an important, busy and strategic route. We are developing route-based strategies as a key mechanism to inform what is needed on such routes. As she says, the ability to work with the local economic partnership and to look at the benefits to the local economy are key assessment criteria. I look forward to visiting her constituency.

Ian Austin (Dudley North) (Lab): The House, and the whole country, will agree that one of the ways of reducing bottlenecks on the roads is to get more people on to bikes. When Ministers in the Department for Transport and the Department for Communities and Local Government consider new road schemes and other major urban developments, why cannot they agree to British Cycling’s request that the impact on cyclists should be considered at the outset of all such schemes, rather than being treated as an add-on later? If that were to happen, we could avoid problems such as those at Bow roundabout and Vauxhall Cross, which have had to be put right later at enormous cost.

Stephen Hammond: I am aware that the hon. Gentleman is a keen cyclist and vice-chairman of the all-party parliamentary group on cycling—

Ian Austin: Co-chair.

Stephen Hammond: I am sorry—co-chairman of the group. I look forward to seeing its report, which I am sure will cover a number of those issues. He will be aware that we have committed a local sustainable transport fund of £650 million, and a number of the schemes being developed under that have exactly the cycling element that he is asking for.

What is being done to reduce the number of cyclist injuries on the roads?

rsz_p1050782The following is taken from a written answer on 15th January 2013 in the House of Commons, source is here

Stephen Hammond is a Conservative MP for Wimbledon and is Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government

Rushanara Ali: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps he is taking to reduce the number of cyclists seriously injured on roads. [136631]

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Stephen Hammond: The Government takes the safety of cyclists very seriously. In 2012 the Government announced a £15 million fund to improve safety for cyclists outside London, by tackling dangerous junctions. This was in addition to the £15 million fund awarded to Transport for London in March for the same purpose. Furthermore, part of the recently announced £20 million in cycle funding will go towards tackling dangerous junctions.

We have provided £600 million through the Local Sustainable Transport Fund to support local authorities in their use of transport to lever growth and cut carbon at the local level. The majority of the 96 projects have a cycling element. This year, we have committed £11 million for Bikeability training to help a new generation of cyclists gain the skills and knowledge they need to cycle safely and competently on today’s roads. This funding will help more than 275,000 school children to access training.

We have also made it easier for councils to put in place 20 mph zones and limits, and to install Trixi mirrors to improve the visibility of cyclists at junctions. Last September I launched the ‘THINK CYCLIST!’ campaign, which offers advice to drivers and cyclists on how to stay safe on the road.

A commitment to cycle audits in Sheffield

In Sheffield we’ve seen a number of transport schemes that have not adequately taken cyclists requirements into account. The council conduct Road Safety Audits on most highway schemes but these do not have a specific section where cyclists needs are considered.

Sheffield Council have committed in many places over the years to conducting cycle audits for highways projects however this has never been implemented and none have ever been done.

The DFT have published guidance on how to integrate cycle audits into the normal RSA process (already in use in Sheffield), and I beleive Sheffield council should use this guidance.

So, my question to the council. When will you implement cycle audits for all highways improvement schemes as promised?

Council 4th April 2007, the following motion passed:

(ix)    requiring all transport schemes over £50,000 in value to undergo a Cycle Audit to ensure the needs of cycle users are considered;

Sheffield Cycling Action Plan July 2006:

Action Point 10: All transport schemes over £50,000 in value will undergo a Cycle Audit to ensure that the needs of cycle users are considered.

South Yorkshire Cycle Action Plan April 2011:

 

6.22 … In addition, we will undertake a cycle audit of all highways improvement schemes to ensure they improve the safety and convenience of cycling.

The standard of brand new cycling infrastructure in Sheffield

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Sheffield City Council has in the past given cyclists assurances that they will design new infrastructure for cycling in line with best advice.

At a full council meeting on 4th April 2007 the following motion was passed.

x) requiring the design of cycle routes and facilities to be in accordance with advice and recommendations contained within the Draft Local Transport Plan.

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