Cycling shorts

This article was published in 2003, in Newsletter 51.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has published free guidance on work-related road safety aimed at any employer, manager or supervisor with staff who drive or ride a motorcycle or bicycle at work. Driving at work – Managing work-related road safety, as its title suggests, is not specific to cycling, but its principles for good business practice apply to all who travel for work.

The Department for Transport and Department for Education and Skills have been trying to encourage cycling (and walking) to school with some new handbooks this autumn. Travelling to School: a good practice guide and Travelling to School: an action plan are intended to complement each other, and may be useful to campaigners as well as to schools themselves.

TRL, formerly the Transport Research Laboratory, has published four new reports. TRL462: Cycle track crossings of minor roads, TRL549: Drivers’ perceptions of cyclists, TRL585: Capacity Implications of Advanced Stop Lines for Cyclists, and TRL578: Cycle helmet wearing in 2002 may help our county council engineers and councillors. We may be able to publish a review of these, but for now, here’s a taste of the second: ‘There are a number of [places] where cyclists experience problems as a result of driver behaviour. These include narrow lanes… where drivers may be tempted or pressurised to overtake cyclists without sufficient space.’

Heart Forum says the National Heart Foundation would like the new Government helmet campaign to be withdrawn because it could lead to declines in cycling by implying that it is highly dangerous. More money should be spent instead on encouraging cycling by calming traffic and making roads safer.

The London borough of Hackney increased its modal share of cycling to work by more than Cambridge, according to the 1991 and 2001 census data. Hackney increased cycling from 4.03% to 6.83% while Cambridge came second in the country with an increase from 26.06% to 28.34%. Central London separately reports a 15% rise in cycling since the introduction of the congestion charge this year.

2002’s national road casualty statistics were published recently. Pedal cyclist casualties fell by 11% compared with 2001. The number of cyclists killed or seriously injured fell by almost 9% overall, and the number of fatalities fell by 6%. Pedal cyclist casualty rates (‘per hundred million vehicle kilometres’) also fell and are now at the lowest for more than ten years.

The City of London Police recently sent out a press release which recommended using two good quality bike locks. Most cyclists have either a D-lock or a cable lock; they recommend using one of each. The extra tools and increased time needed to overcome two locks help to deter thieves.