Shorts

Metrobikes, environmentally friendly cycle taxis, were launched in London at the end of April. They hope to emulate the success of their counterparts in Germany, where Velotaxi operate 80 pedal powered pedicabs in Berlin alone. The bikes can carry two passengers comfortably and they have hydraulic suspension. The average cost of a short journey in a Metrobike is around £3-£5 per person.

Volunteer helpers needed! Cycle Security Coding events are held on the last Saturday of each month from 10 am to 2 pm at Park Street Cycle Park and occasionally at other times and other locations. Fitting security kits is a simple job which takes only a few minutes to learn. If you would like to help please contact Simon Nuttall at Parkside Police Station phone (01223) 823478.

A new Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 2002 came into force on 31 January. There are two changes that should especially benefit cyclists.

  • Advanced stop lines are now fully enforceable. A motor vehicle crossing the first line when the signal is not showing green (unless it’s gone to amber and stopping would cause a collision) will be deemed to have jumped the lights; the driver can be fined or have penalty points imposed.
  • Also a cyclist using a road-side cycle track now has legal right of way for the first time over traffic leaving or entering a side road where give-way markings are placed on either side of the cycle track crossing the side road.

The new regulations are available at www.legislation.hmso.gov.uk/si/si2002/20023113.htm.

Transport Trends: 2002 edition shows that since 1980 there has been a 73% growth in road traffic. The price of petrol rose by 12%, bus fares by 31%, rail fares by 37% whilst the average disposable income rose 80%, making transport more affordable, especially cars. Walking has fallen by about a third, and distance cycled by about 14% (but see article ‘National cycling statistics corrected‘). www.transtat.dft.gov.uk/tables/2002/tt

Australian research shows injury to be more likely when gardening than when cycling. Researchers from the Central Queensland University in Rockhampton surveyed 1,337 people for a report on sport and recreation injuries. One in six respondents had required medical treatment in this period, with 5% of gardeners having suffered injury warranting attention compared to 3.9% of cyclists. (Sydney Morning Herald, 17 January 2003).

Construction work on an accident remedial scheme on Mitcham’s Corner is nearing completion, with an assortment of traffic signals and a number of pavement cycleways. The new lights are expected to be switched on on 16 June. Since we last reported on this scheme we have discovered that cyclists heading east along Chesterton Road will be offered a pavement route after all, though it will run behind rather than in front of the houses at the eastern end. When the scheme is completed, cyclists heading from Victoria Avenue to Milton Road, from Chesterton Road west to Victoria Avenue and from Chesterton Road west to Chesterton Road east will have a pavement alternative to the long and circuitous road route. The northern section of the gyratory should have been closed to all traffic (including cyclists) for construction work and a long-overdue resurfacing between 27 and 30 May by the time you read this.

Two traffic calming schemes

A traffic calming scheme for the Alpha Road area between Chesterton Road and Victoria Road has been approved following a period of consultation. This will introduce pinch points with speed cushions on Hertford Street, Alpha Road and Carlyle Road and raised tables at most of the junctions. We are concerned that the pinch points on Hertford Street and Alpha Road may cause cyclists heading uphill on these relatively steep streets to lose their momentum if a motorist coming the other way forces them to stop.

A traffic calming scheme has also been approved for the Alex Wood Road area in Arbury. It uses raised tables and mini-roundabouts to reduce traffic speed and removes parking to improve visibility. The absence of carriageway narrowing, pavement build-outs or central islands makes this a cycle-friendly scheme we can warmly support.