This article was published in 2010, in Newsletter 90.
Councillors actively support discrimination against cycle parking
A group of us sat through an extremely depressing Transport Area Joint Committee meeting in April at which Councillors were debating provision of new cycle parking. Cycle parking is in extremely short supply all around the city, but particularly in residential areas. As a result, cycle theft is above 10% of recorded crime across the whole County, an incredibly high figure.
Much of the discussion focussed on whether to provide cycle parking for public use outside a private establishment that was short of parking. In the end, they decided not to, to our frustration. At no point in the discussion did any Councillor point out the (to us) obvious point that provision of car parking outside private establishments is totally commonplace all around the city.
There was also discussion about cycle stands spoiling the street environment in a conservation area. But the fact that there are cars parked end-to-end was not even mentioned!
Another set of cycle parking was blocked on the basis that it would result in people looking through a resident’s front window. But this is equally ridiculous: someone in a parked car do exactly the same.
This discrimination against cycle parking in favour of car parking has got to stop. The Councillors on this Committee cannot call themselves cycle-friendly if they cannot agree to basic provision of cycle parking.
Helmet issues again
The County’s attempt to introduce their own legislation on helmet wearing, rather than following the national situation set out in the Highway Code, is utterly deplorable. Their latest moves, outlined by Simon Nuttall later in this Newsletter, drive a stake through efforts to promote cycling. The County’s usual insistence that every photograph of a cyclist in their publicity has to show her or him wearing a helmet is already actively undermining efforts to make cycling appear the normal and generally safe activity it is.
The Cycling Campaign has no formal policy on helmet choice issues, though one is being drawn up. But it was clear at the monthly meeting that the consensus within the Campaign is very strongly against compulsion and that people should make up their own minds, reading the evidence both for and against if they have doubts.
The County needs to get out of its bunker and discover that, in the real world, many people choose not to wear helmets, and many others choose to do so. It must stop discriminating against those who – quite legally – choose not to do so.
Thank you, Clare!
Lastly, I would like to take this opportunity to thank our outgoing Treasurer, Clare Macrae, for the very many years of hard work she has given the Campaign. She has left our new Treasurer with a hard act to follow, and left the accounts in a very sound state in readiness for charitable status.
Martin Lucas-Smith, Co-ordinator