Annual General Meeting

This article was published in 2017, in Newsletter 130.

6 December 2016

Official business

The official business of the AGM followed the presentation and began with the Chair’s report by Robin Heydon who summarised Camcycle’s 2016 achievements, including the new branding, as well as setting out the priorities for 2017 such as the creation of up-to-date policy papers.

Monica Frisch, Acting Treasurer, reported that the finances were in good order and that after a strong effort in 2016 the financial processes had been simplified, a new financial system implemented and the various treasury tasks spread over a financial subgroup.

Sue Edwards reported that Camcycle membership is up from last year and most members are now subscribed at the new rates. The new membership system is helping with this and continues to improve.

Simon Nuttall presented his motion on street cycle parking (see below). The motion was seconded by Al Storer and it was passed by 46 votes.

The election was then held, with the submitted ballot papers being counted while we enjoyed a post-AGM catch-up at the Maypole. We are pleased to announce that the following trustees have been elected for 2017:

Chair – Robin Heydon
Vice Chair – Hester Wells
Treasurer – Chris Howell
Membership Secretary – Sue Edwards
Liaison Officer – Martin Lucas-Smith
Planning Officer – Alistair Storer
Newsletter Editor – Sarah Rodger
Events Officer – Willa McDonald
Recruitment Officer – Tom McKeown
Web Officer – Neil Spenley
Press Officer – Franny Ritchie
General Campaigners – Richard Burgess, Jim Chisholm, Matthew Danish, Monica Frisch

A special welcome to our new trustees Chris Howell (returning to the board after several years’ hiatus), Matthew Danish, Willa McDonald and Franny Ritchie. We also thank outgoing trustees John Hall and Roos Eichenberger for their contributions. You can read more about our trustees on our website

Image as described adjacent

As always we must acknowledge and thank all of our volunteers, members and supporters who have helped us to campaign for more, better and safer cycling in 2016. With your ongoing support we hope to deliver an even more successful 2017.

The presentation

To begin the AGM Brian Deegan, Principal Technical Specialist with Transport for London, gave a lively presentation on ‘Going Dutch in London’.

Brian is responsible for overseeing the design quality of cycling schemes (but not other projects, unfortunately) across London, and as London’s mayor, Sadiq Khan, has just promised £770m for cycling during his (first) term in office, there is a healthy pot of money to spend. Cycling currently has a 19.7% surface mode share (i.e. excluding the tube) in central London, and the largest daily flow yet recorded was 9,614 on London Bridge (with no cycle infrastructure at all), compared to about 7,000 in some parts of Cambridge; however, just 2% of residents cycle to work, compared to 29% in Cambridge, so he admitted that Cambridge also had lessons for London. He chose to talk to us about three topics: mini-Hollands, new planning tools for campaigners and, most importantly, signalised junctions, an area in which London is advanced.

Firstly, mini-Hollands were part of former mayor Boris Johnson’s vision for cycling, and a key lesson has been that political buy-in is crucial, with Waltham Forest’s deputy leader Clyde Loakes becoming a major cycling advocate in the Labour Party. Both route and area strategies are needed -crossing points over main axes change them from barriers into enablers of cycling, while the spaces between the axes were branded as ‘villages’ in Waltham Forest. It’s important to think in terms of ‘a mini-Holland borough’ rather than isolated mini-Holland projects. As part of the political process, consultation techniques include Commonplace, a social media-style website that allows people to comment freely on proposals (the predictable ranting is usually followed by sensible ideas). Trialling was also important (Hackney’s first modal closure happened by accident when they acted to stop kerb crawling, but it was so successful that residents on nearby streets all asked for the same measures) – in Waltham Forest they used planter boxes and Experimental Traffic Regulation Orders to make big sudden changes, which were successful after the initial shock, but now there’s no need and in future they’ll just introduce permanent measures in the normal way.

Secondly, new planning tools include the National Propensity to Cycle Tool (partially developed in Cambridge), Streetmix (for seeing what you can do with the width of your streets), WebCAT (which rates locations by distance from public transport), mesh-density analysis (which does the same for distance from cycle routes – 81% of London’s roads are suitable for Bikeability Level 2 cyclists, but there have to be safe crossings – at £60,000 each – of the unsuitable roads), the London Development Database (for extracting funding from developers), HEAT (Health Economic Assessment Tool, to counter the economic arguments for reducing congestion for motor vehicles) and the London Datastore, which now includes cycle metrics for virtually every street.

Finally, Brian turned to new junction designs since 2012, when his only options were Advanced Stop Lines (for cyclists on the road) or Toucan crossings (for cyclists annoying everyone on shared-use footways). The first Cycle Superhighways used a lot of (unsegregated) blue surfacing in a way that would not be acceptable nowadays, but did also introduce the first lights to protect cyclists from left-turning motor vehicles. After visiting 14 European cities, Brian and his team produced the London Cycling Design Standards, introducing cycle-specific signals, parallel crossings and (soon!) cycle exemptions at red lights. It took a year’s trials at the Transport Research Laboratory to convince the government that cycle-specific lights would work, and another year to convince them about low-level lights and early release. Brian showed us video of good examples at Cambridge Heath Road and Queens Circus, and of a two-stage right turn, with cyclists moving left to wait to make a right turn when the traffic lights change. A simultaneous all-ways phase for pedestrians and cyclists will be installed soon on Lea Bridge Road (in Waltham Forest), again after a one-year debate.

After Brian’s talk, Edward Leigh asked him whether the volume of cyclists on Superhighways can block side roads – Brian said there would be gaps after 30 or 40 seconds owing to signals elsewhere. James Woodburn asked about taxis sitting with engines running, and Brian said that London’s Healthy Streets Vision would be published soon. Martin Lucas-Smith and Rob King both commented that the Superhighways were excellent and felt like real roads for cycles. Colin Rosenstiel said that cyclists had to stop too often at places like Blackfriars Bridge and Parliament Square, but Brian said that there were long clear stretches between the interchanges where cyclists could ride a green wave.

The motion re street cycle parking

This is the motion proposed and explained by Simon Nutall and passed by the AGM. Camcycle resolves to:

  • champion the replacement of on-street car parking with cycle parking where it is clearly needed
  • identify streets where this should and can be achieved
  • work with local councillors to survey demand
  • work with local councillors, where there is sufficient local support, to prepare proposals for funding. For example, from the local highways improvement fund.

Providing secure places to park bicycles is a simple and effective way to encourage cycling by making people on bikes feel welcome. In some areas of Cambridge residents have got used to all the spare street space being allocated to the storage of motor vehicles and very little for bikes. The result has been badly parked bikes cluttering hallways, clinging to drainpipes and other street furniture.

Cycle parking briefly appeared on County plans for Tenison Road, but none made it onto the street.
Image as described adjacent

My motivation for bringing the motion to the AGM was to raise the profile of the issue and to establish it as one of Camcycle’s priorities for the coming year. At the October 2016 monthly meeting, at which a forum was held on what issues the Camcycle should take forward, on-street cycle parking had significant support.

The experience on Thoday Street, where some on-carriageway racks have been installed, is a good example of how the problem can be addressed (see Newsletter 119).

The racks have been in place for almost two years now. Having watched them from our house I’ve noticed them being used by residents up and down the street from several doors away. The racks are always full to overflowing at night and empty out in the morning. During the day more bikes come and go.

The outcome of this initiative was that, despite apparent demand, car parking was not a significant reason to oppose the racks. County councillor Kilian Bourke surveyed the local residents and found that ‘almost 50% of car owners supported the change’. Support was much stronger from the many residents in the street who don’t have the use of a car.

Clear demand: bikes on the footway locked to street furniture.
Image as described adjacent

I have heard bikes being tampered with in the middle of the night and reported that to the police. I’ve also reported several bikes as abandoned. The city council respond usually within a couple of days to tag the bike, and revisit a week later to take the bike away. That is necessary to keep the racks clear enough to meet demand.

What next? Following the success of the Thoday Street scheme a city council committee has requested that Camcycle make suggestions as to where more installations could be considered.

We now need to draw up a list of suitable locations. I have in mind areas similar to the streets of Romsey and Petersfield where typically all of the residents’ parking bays are for motor vehicles, where there is no cycle parking and where badly parked bikes obstruct narrow footways. I should think that applications are more likely to succeed where households do not have a motor vehicle and where bikes are used regularly. Ultimately a city council committee is going to have to make a decision to change a location from a residents car parking bay to a cycle parking bay. That is likely to be outside a resident’s property and so the support of that resident and ideally their neighbours is going to be a significant factor in determining the outcome of the proposal.

So it is now over to you. Do you want the space outside where you live to be added to our list? Could you make a strong case for that? Would you like to help Camcycle draw up a survey of locations? The way to keep up with and contribute to this topic is to follow Cyclescape thread 2876 or send an email to

Roxanne De Beaux, Tim Burford and Simon Nuttall