news

Calls for bike industry to lobby govt to avoid post-pandemic congestion crisis; Cops urge cyclists to wear high-vis; Road Worlds organisers pay £35k for Stray repair bill; Event companies could face court; Cav's homemade turbo + more on the live blog

It's Friday! Jack Sexty is here to provide your lead live blog coverage today with other members of the team chipping in intermittently.....

SUMMARY

01 May 2020, 15:37
Bicycle Association calls on bike industry to lobby government and councils to avoid post-lockdown congestion crisis
London traffic jam (licensed CC BY 2.0 by Garry Knight on Flickr)

The Bicycle Association - a trade industry body for the UK cycle industry that counts Giant, Specialized and Evans Cycles amongst its members - have created a template letter for its members to send to local authorities and MPs to act. This is in order to prevent car numbers from going up when people return to work, who could be weary of using public transport and might not feel safe enough to use often inadequate cycling infrastructure to commute on congested roads.

The BA said: “It looks like we’ll soon be moving to a new phase in the UK response to coronavirus. Before we do, there’s a short window of opportunity to set in place a step-change to more cycle-friendly towns and cities.

“Local authorities should be implementing ‘emergency infrastructure’ for cycling and walking: for safety against the virus – so we can social distance (cycling in particular will be a necessity to avoid crowding public transport); for safety on the road: so cyclists – particularly new and returning cyclists – feel that cycling is a safe option; and longer term for a cleaner, healthier ‘new normal’ transport environment.

“Numerous countries and cities worldwide are already moving fast on this, but in the UK very few local authorities have acted. The BA and other cycling organisations are urgently lobbying Government to show leadership and to encourage local authorities to implement such emergency infrastructure changes, but the official response so far is that this is primarily an issue for local authorities.”

It comes after Cycling UK created a tool for the public to ask councils for cycling space during the lockdown, while numerous authorities are now building 'pop-up' cycling infrastructure that many hope will lead to permanent changes post-lockdown. Last week, Leicester City Council created a 'key worker corridor' for people cycling to work at the East Midlands city's royal infirmary, and Lambeth became the first council in England to publish an emergency transport plan.  

01 May 2020, 15:32
Warwickshire Police also share advice for cyclists recommending high-vis and

The advice contains nine bullet-pointed recommendations for cyclists and just four for drivers, with some sections worded slightly differently to the advice from North Yorkshire Police, which has received criticism on social media. 

Inspector Jem Mountford said “During week ending 24 April there were two serious collisions involving cyclists and cars in the county. In both cases the cyclists were hospitalised with serious injuries. Whilst these collisions are still being investigated it has prompted the Roads Policing Team to urge the public to please stay alert to traffic – even if you think the roads are quieter – and to take extra care around other road users whether you are a driver, cyclist, walker, motorcyclist or horse rider.”

01 May 2020, 14:36
Police in Scotland searching for 'raging' Land Rover driver who assaulted cyclist and drove off
Police Scotland (via Twitter)

The Daily Record report that police are 'frantically' searching for a driver who pulled over and launched a vicious asault on a cyclist he almost crashed into. 

The man - described as between 45-55 with a heavy build and driving a silver Land Rover Discovery - only stopped the assault when the victim's partner got involved at around 5.30pm last Saturday.

A Police Scotland spokesperson said: "If you have any information that could assist our investigation, in particular if you were driving on the A9 or A822 around that time and have dashcam footage, please call 101 or speak with any police officer."

01 May 2020, 13:27
North Yorkshire Police urge cyclists to wear high-vis and stick to cycle paths in response to rising crashes

An article on Minster FM's website is facing a social media backlash over advice issued by North Yorkshire Police following a rise in collisions involving cyclists since the lockdown. 

The article states that incidents involving cyclists in the county have risen from 20% to 27% compared to 2019 figures for the same period; road.cc also recently reported that countrywide, cyclist fatalities have doubled since lockdown began on 23rd March. 

While noting that the rise has coincided with an increase in excessive traffic speeds recorded by North Yorkshire Police, they have decided to urge 'drivers and cyclists to share the road'. 

The advice for cyclists includes minimising the time spent away from home and exercising once per day, and they suggest using cycle paths instead of roads of cycling with children. They also advise: "Make it easier for vehicles to pass you safely by filtering down to single file". 

Although it's not a legal requirement, they also recommend wearing "protective clothing that makes you visible", adding: "focus on your surroundings at all times and communicate with other road users with hand signals when turning."

North Yorkshire Police Sergeant Kirsten Aldridge added: “We’ve seen a lot more cyclists using our roads recently, from young families and novices to experienced riders.

"The number of collisions involving cyclists has also sadly risen during this time.

"But if drivers and cyclists remember to share the road and stick to the rules this weekend, their risk of being involved in a serious crash can be significantly reduced.”

The comments haven't been received too well by some on social media... 

01 May 2020, 14:12
Beijing traffic levels not a promising sight for those who hope for change after lockdown

As China emerges from lockdown, it's reported that traffic levels have pretty much returned to normal in the capital. Do you think we see any of the small plus sides - namely less motor traffic and less pollution - continuing post-lockdown, or will we slip straight back to our old ways?

01 May 2020, 14:28
Spektrum - a new 'sustainable performance eyewear brand', launches in the UK
spektrum eyewear.PNG

The Swedes' initial range consists of the Blankster, Kall, Anjan and Blank models, all designed to protect against the elements and made using "sustainably sourced materials from renewable, plant-based sources." 

The frames are made using a bio-based Grilamid material made from castor oil, said to be environmentally-friendly while also being light and flexible: "a reliable partner to face the great outdoors", so say Spektrum. 

The Kall and Anjan are priced at £85 and the Blankster and Blank shades (reminds us of that thing Terry Wogan and Les Dawson hosted typing that) are priced at £135 - find out more on the Spektrum website

01 May 2020, 13:58
Scicon launches washable protective masks
scicon uk flag ppe mask.PNG

Formely a bike storage brand, Scicon have turned their hand to sunglasses and apparel in recent years... and in response to the pandemic, they've switched up production again by launching a range of protective gear, starting with 150 euro protective goggle and mask sets last month. 

The latest from the Italians are reusable unisex respirators, costing €49 for plain versions and €65 in special national flag editions. They come in packs of five, and are available now on the Scicon website

01 May 2020, 12:34
Driver who left cyclist with fractured elbow given five points because more could have made it 'difficult or impossible for him to secure work'
Justice (Lonpicman, Wikimedia Commons)

Doncaster Free Press reports that 48-year-old John Copley failed to slow down as he drove his BMW down a narrow road in Thorpe, Doncaster on 24th September 2018, causing him to hit a cyclist which left the complainent with a fractured elbow. 

The defence told Sheffield Crown Court that Copley accepted he was driving too close to the cyclist, but stated that six penalty points would make it difficult or impossible for him to work as a HGV driver - Copley is currently out of work as his company is experiencing difficulties due to the pandemic. 

Judge Rachael Harrison obliged, fining Copley £120 and giving him five penalty points. 

01 May 2020, 12:45
Another candidate for the best cycling lockdown video
 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Priya’s Roubaix. The Hell of Balwyn North. Part 1. For all of you who are missing the spring classics, here’s a holiday lockdown video my daughter Priya has made for a year 7 school project. Using only what she could find around the house, she’s produced this stop motion film of her little sister’s Roubaix race adventure. It took her 4 days of story boarding, prop making, rehearsals, filming and editing, getting the whole family involved. We’re really proud of her efforts to stick with this slow film making process, working through the problems and finding ways to get the effects she wanted. Special thanks go to @mwkeenan the voice of Australian cycling for adding his brilliant commentary to the video!! . #lockdown #stayathome #parisroubaix #hellofthenorth #cobbles #cycling #ridelikeagirl #springclassics #notbeachroad #stopmotionfilm #homepro #crossiscoming #madewithimovie #hoorayforpave

A post shared by Craig Simons (@donwhippet) on

After Craig Simmons spotted Shio Chuan Quek’s classy stop motion video on our live blog yesterday, he got in touch to make us aware of another instant classic created by his 13-year-old daughter. This one takes us through the action from 'The Hell of Balwyn North'... like the Hell of the North, but an Australian suburb. 

Craig told road.cc: "Using only what she could find around the house, she’s produced this stop motion film of her little sister’s Spring Classic Roubaix race adventure.
It took her 4 days of story boarding, prop making, rehearsals, filming and editing, getting the whole family involved.

"We’re really proud of her efforts to stick with this slow film making process, working through the problems and finding ways to get the effects she wanted.

"Special thanks go to Matt Keenan the voice of Australian cycling for adding his brilliant commentary to the video."

A huge chapeau to Craig's daughter for spreading some cheer to those who missed their Paris-Roubaix fix this year... oh and there's more! Here are the podium presentations... 

01 May 2020, 13:20
Could e-bikes be about to get even more eco-friendly? Researchers develop rechargeable graphene batteries
graphene battery - via Adobe Stock photos

In partnership with Trinity College Dublin, Graphene Flagship claim to have produced rechargeable batteries and energy storage devices that are non-toxic because of their graphene construction - full story over on eBikeTips

01 May 2020, 13:18
Our news editor Simon explains how he managed to crack riding every day in April for the first time, in very strange circumstances of course...
01 May 2020, 10:55
A spokesperson said the force had received complaints of people cycling quickly or in a dangerous manner.
01 May 2020, 09:53
2019 Road World Championships organisers have agreed to pay £35k towards repair work for Harrogate's Stray
Harrogate Worlds 2019 fan zone mud (credit Simon MacMichael)

After guardians of The Stray say it was left with "atrocious damage" due to flooding in the 2019 Road World Championships' Fan Zone, arguments have rumbled on over who will foot the bill; and now the organisers Yorkshire 2019 have agreed to pay £35,500 towards repair costs. This is on top of a £95,000 boost from the council for upgrades. 

Yorkshire 2019 was set up by the government specifically for the event and is now being dissolved, and chairman Chris Piling said the organisation is glad to contribute to the costs of restoring The Stray, commenting: "328 million people all over the world saw the beauty of Harrogate and the amazing world class sport that happened here in the most challenging of Yorkshire weather conditions.

"The impact of the weather was beyond everyone’s expectations and as the company now formally closes, we are pleased to make a significant financial contribution to help the council restore the Stray for the benefit of the local community, and for the many visitors that research shows will be inspired to come to Harrogate for many years to come.”

Depsite the complaints, a council-commissioned study said the Worlds gave a  £17.8m boost to the local economy; although the Harrogate Advertiser quotes a study from Ernst and Young that said this didn't take into account losses by businesses that were affected by road closures and lower town centre footfall while the championships were taking place. 

01 May 2020, 09:40
More vehicles on British roads than ever, as numbers surpass 40 million for the first time
Ford Transit Van - via wikimedia commons

Of course this won't be the case during lockdown, but before all this started if you felt like you were sharing the road with an increasing number of motorists you'd be correct... as Motorparc data has revealed that the number of vehicles registered for use on British roads is now over 40 million. 

As of 2019 there are more than 35 million cars, 4.5 million vans and over 600,000 trucks in use in the UK, representing a 1% increase on the previous year. Of particular note is the 4.5 million vans, which is double what it was ten years ago; a number that wasn't expected to be reached until 2021. 

01 May 2020, 08:57
Movistar reveal winners of their 'Design our jersey' competition... and it certainly stands out
movistar design our jersey winner 2020.PNG

Movistar will wear the psychedelic kit for their first post-lockdown outing on the UCI World Tour, after fans were asked to design their own jersey from a blank canvas before voting for thier favourite. This one - by Loris Gobbi - won with 587 votes from 3,069 in total, and after the riders have dazzled their competitors in them they will all be signed by every team member and auctioned off for charity. 

It's a good job the current world champion doesn't ride for Movistar this year, as that would have been one hell of a clash... 

01 May 2020, 08:18
Martin Lewis Money Show: Director of Consumer Protection says that events companies not providing refunds could be taken to court
martin lewis miney show screenshot.PNG

We had hundreds of you get in touch with us about cycling events not offering refunds for events that have now been cancelled due to coronavirus - and George Lusty - the Director of Consumer Protection from the Competition and Markets Authority - appeared on the Martin Lewis Money Show last night to say that under their regulations, consumers 'should get a refund if no good or service has been provided.'

The Authority say they are prepared to take companies to court if they're not providing refunds, and will be dealing with weddings and events, travel accommodation and nurseries first... with sportives such as the Vélo series - of which most of the emails we received were regarding - would presumably fall under the 'events' category. 

Where companies are offering vouchers, Lewis recommended those who can afford to should take the option to protect struggling businesses; but Lusty stated that offer can't be to the exclusion of a cash refund, saying: "If that’s what the customer wants it needs to be an option. 

"We're prepared to take businesses to court if we need to, but we’re hoping businesses will do the right thing."

Lusty continued: “If a term of a contract is unfair and included terms such as ‘non-refundable’, then the term that is deemed unfair can’t override a consumer’s rights and it will be struck out, particularly if no services are provided.

"Even though we can’t follow up every case, we’re prepared to act."

The subject of deferrals for entries wasn't quite broached; however the Competition and Markets Authority's stance makes it quite clear that offers of partial refunds and/or vouchers can be challenged in court. 

If you’re finding a refund hard to come by going direct, Lewis recommends a ’chargeback’, where your bank asks the company’s bank for the refund instead. 

01 May 2020, 08:14
Mark Cavendish shows us how to make a DIY infant turbo trainer for a budding... Mark Cavendish

Cav took to social media yesterday to tell us that his two-year-old is already cycling-mad, and now he's given us the instructions to make your own mini turbo if you're raising a future world champion.

01 May 2020, 08:06
You can now unlock CeramicSpeed pulley wheels on Zwift for some e-marginal gains
zwift ceramicspeed

Everyone's favourite watt-saving pulley wheels that cost as much as a bike in real life are now available as an upgrade to your avatar's bike on Zwift, simply by enrolling and completing Zwift's CeramicSpeed mission between 1st-31st May. 

The CeramicSpeed OSPW will be fitted to all bikes in their garage for 'increased efficiency' whether competing in the challenge events or during free-riding, and those who have upgraded will actually get real-time savings when riding a MTB, TT or road ride... a permitted helping hand, if you will. 

Zwifters will need to ride 40km on MTB, 80km on TT and 120km on a road bike to unlock the OSPW System, and completing the mission will also unlock some exclusive CeramicSpeed apparel. The brand are also giving away an OSPW system to two riders who complete the mission in the real world - more info here

After cobbling together a few hundred quid during his student days off the back of a hard winter selling hats (long story), Jack bought his first road bike at the age of 20 and has been hooked ever since. He was Staff Writer at 220 Triathlon magazine for two years before joining road.cc in 2017, and reports on all things tech as well as editing the road.cc live blog. He is also the news editor of our electric-powered sister site eBikeTips. Jack's preferred events are time trials, sportives, triathlons and pogo sticking (the latter being another long story), and on Sunday afternoons he can often be found on an M5 service station indulging in his favourite post-race meal of 20 chicken nuggets, a sausage roll, caramel shortbread and a large strawberry milkshake. 

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