Cycling shorts

This article was published in 2002, in Newsletter 43.

The Department for Transport has moved to the next stage of its consultation on bells and lights. It is now seeking feedback on a proposal to require bike shops to make four changes to the way they sell bikes. It has retreated from requiring new bikes to have lights fitted, but bells would be required. An obligation would be placed on bike shops to adjust bikes properly before sale. The full details are at . As the main impact is on cycle shops, we asked Rob Turner of Ben Hayward’s for his reaction. He said: ‘I would obviously support any moves to improve the roadworthiness of cycles, including proper monitoring of cycle workshops. Supplying lights with cycles would be counterproductive, leading to more poorly lit bikes, while surely the Department should consider banning self assembly ‘kit bikes’ (not custom machines built by enthusiasts) rather than encouraging this unsafe practice by supplying inadequate tools. Mandatory bells are, I feel, irrelevant; the debate on mandatory helmets is of greater interest. At least there is consultation and concern.’

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Double yellow lines have helped stop people parking across the cycle track entrance on Regent Terrace – though this driver was not to be dissuaded. The family in the car parked, watched us photograph them, and went shopping.

Ten initial grants have been awarded under the £2 million Cycle Projects Fund grant awards announced earlier this year (see Newsletter 42). Ranging from £500 to £50,000, the grants will help provide lockers, cycle parking and CCTV at various public and private sites; cycle hire in Sunderland, cycle training in the west country; bikes on buses in Cornwall and completing a cycle path in Crediton.

Last month, the Cycle Theft Reduction project visited Shire Hall to put identification on County Council employees’ bikes. Tiny micro-dots that can only be read with an ultra-violet sensor are glued onto the frame, and labels are added so would-be thieves know they are there. The coding system is applied free. Staff and nearby residents were also given advice on security and travel choice.

Since double yellow lines appeared, the junction of Regent Terrace and the cycle route across the corner of Parker’s Piece is less often obstructed by parked cars in the evenings. (We don’t know exactly when the extra yellow paint appeared, but it has certainly helped!)

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Anglia Polytechnic University.

Anglia Polytechnic University has proposed a £7 million expansion and refurbishment scheme aimed to make its East Road campus more user- and cycle-friendly and less dominated by parked cars. The scheme will get rid of 71 per cent of existing car parking, with the 219 existing spaces reduced to just 59. A significant increase in cycle parking is proposed. ‘We are trying to get away from being a campus built round the car park,’ said Jan Mughan, APU’s public relations manager. ‘We’re trying to bring it to life and make people feel welcome. Car parking will be virtually non-existent. Students, staff and visitors will have to walk, cycle or use public transport and park and ride facilities.’ Work will be carried out in three phases over five years with the first phase expected to start in October, pending permission from Cambridge City Council (according to the Cambridge Evening News).

The annual national survey on speeding behaviour updated in June 2002 shows that the situation has only changed a little. The Department for Transport has found that nearly two thirds (65%) of drivers exceed 30 mph urban speed limits at 92 survey sites. Half of those were going at more than 35 mph, the speed at which risk of death in a collision is doubled from 30 mph. More than half of heavy goods vehicles also exceeded urban speed limits.

There is to be a one day cycling and public transport conference in Nottingham on Thursday 19 September, organised by the CTC, Department for Transport, and the Institute of Logistics and Transport. Keynote speaker will be Christian Wolmar, journalist and member of the National Cycling Strategy Board. Jonathan Denby of Anglia Railways is among the speakers.

The Department for Transport has issued guidance on Home Zones following its pilot schemes around the country. Home Zones are residential streets designed to improve local quality of life. They aim to strike a better balance between the needs of drivers and other street users such as pedestrians – especially children and older people – and cyclists. Road space is shared between drivers of motor vehicles and other road users, with the broader needs of residents (like people who walk and cycle, and children) in mind. See Newsletter 18. We hope to review this initiative in more detail in a future issue.

An online questionnaire about cyclists’ attitudes to road narrowings is part of a study being carried out by the Transport Research Laboratory on behalf of the Department for Transport (DfT). The results of the survey with other research findings will be used to provide a report to the DfT and improved guidance for local authorities. All cyclists are invited to complete the survey. Visit .