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Complaints about misleading newspaper photos of cyclists during lockdown dismissed; Man angry about imaginary cycle lane; The value of 'removing driver frustration'; Tayside Police (finally!) trial close pass scheme + more

Today's live blog with Alex Bowden (daytime) and Simon MacMichael (evening)...
07 July 2020, 15:18
IPSO dismisses complaints about misleading photos of cyclists during lockdown

Press watchdog the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO) has dismissed complaints about misleading photographs of cyclists during the coronavirus lockdown.

Images were published in the Mail Online and the Mirror that appeared to show groups of cyclists huddled closely together in London’s Regent’s Park.

The newspapers suggested cyclists were flouting strict social distancing rules, but the photos were taken with a long lens that foreshortens the shot and gives a false impression of proximity.

The Times then did the same with photos of cyclists on Box Hill.

Cycling UK lodged a complaint, but IPSO responded to say it wouldn't investigate as the complaint did not fall into an area covered by the editor's code of practice.

A subsequent appeal against that decision was also dismissed.

Cycling UK’s head of campaigns, Duncan Dollimore said: “That left us with no option but to write directly to IPSO’s chief executive to express our frustration that supposedly reputable national newspapers can get away with using misleading, inaccurate and potentially damaging images without fear of censure.

“We’ve seen many more people riding bikes since the lockdown which demonstrates there is a clear appetite for people to cycle more given the right environment of safer roads, less traffic and better infrastructure.

“What we don’t want to see is national newspapers demonising people on bikes and making it wrongly appear as if they are somehow acting above the law.

“It’s clear there’s been a manifest failure by IPSO to even consider the evidence and merits of the complaint made, let alone undertake a proper investigation.”

Last month IPSO also rejected complaints about a Rod Liddle column in The Sunday Times where he wrote that he found it “tempting” to “tie piano wire at neck height across the road” to target cyclists.

The regulator said that the article did not infringe the Editors’ Code of Practice.

07 July 2020, 15:06
Brittany Ferries (temporarily) bans bikes because of coronavirus crisis

After hearing about this one, Cycling UK have looked into it.

Because of the need to adhere to guidelines on social distancing, Brittany Ferries has had to drastically reduce the number of people who can travel at one time.

Boarding and disembarkation procedures have had to be simplified too.

If you follow the link, Cycling UK give you a couple of other options if you’re looking to get to the continent with your bike.

07 July 2020, 14:35
Medal Rides
Bike Bath Sportive replaced by Bike Bath 2020 Medal Rides

Due to restrictions around Covid-19, the 9th Bike Bath sportive, which was originally scheduled for July 5, is being replaced by the Bike Bath 2020 Medal Rides.

Seventeen routes are available, covering short, medium, long or extra-long distances across Somerset, Wiltshire and Gloucestershire – with the option to start at any point on the route.

Riders will receive route details following registration and can navigate via the new Iconic Events App. They will also receive route notes including local highlights and indications of facilities such as rest rooms, shops, and refreshment opportunities for each route.

Event Manager at Iconic Cycling Events, Jacko Jackson, said that while they were disappointed not to be able to deliver Bike Bath this year, they’d really enjoyed looking back at past routes and adapting them for this year’s Medal Rides.

“We have outlined a three-month window for riders to complete their chosen Bike Bath Medal Rides to ensure that multiple groups of riders will not to be out on the roads at the same time, but we do hope the rides can play a significant role in attracting visitors to the region’s fantastic shops, pubs and cafes this summer.

“Riders will be encouraged to tour Bath at their own pace and make small detours to visit local towns such as Devizes, Tetbury, Stroud and Frome and take in historic landmarks. With this in mind, if you run a café, shop or pub that you’d be keen to advertise is open to our community of cyclists, do get in touch.”

Riders will have the option to celebrate their ride by signing up for a 2020 medal or one from the year of the chosen route – allowing many Bike Bath regular riders to complete their collection.

The Medal Rides will run until September 30.

Full details here.

07 July 2020, 14:18
Video shows huge leap in Edinburgh hire bike usage during coronavirus crisis

Edinburgh data scientist Benedek Rozemberczki has posted this marvellous video which highlights the huge surge in usage of the city’s Just Eat bikes during the lockdown period.

The bikes have GPS trackers which collect anonymous data about where they’re taken.

The map shows rides taken since the scheme was launched in September 2018.

07 July 2020, 14:09
2020 Tour de France sticker album

Last year Panini did a Tour de France sticker album to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the maillot jaune.

Presumably it went well because they’re doing another this year.

07 July 2020, 13:25
Brave Twitter user offers Brian Moore cycling advice

Back when he played rugby union for England, Brian Moore's nickname was Pitbull.

He has maintained his reputation since he retired.

07 July 2020, 13:02
Man angry about imaginary cycle lane
07 July 2020, 12:25
Today's Paris video

When she was campaigning for reelection, Mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo promised a bike lane on every street in the French capital.

During lockdown, she called for the building of 400 miles of “corona cycleways” to help people get around without using public transport.

Videos of the transformation have been cropping up frequently on social media.

Here's another.

07 July 2020, 12:19
How are the UK’s pop-up bike lanes being received?

We're acutely aware that we're hearing a lot more about the bad ones than the good ones.

Like this one, for example.

It would be good to hear a few more success stories.

07 July 2020, 12:16
Cyclists: Stay awesome

Great stickers.

Yours for a quid.

07 July 2020, 11:18
Indian driver said he’d take cyclist he hit to hospital but instead dumped him in the road to die

This is one of the grimmest road traffic collision stories we’ve seen.

The Tribune reports that on February 20, 2004, Kamaljit Singh drove into a cyclist in Chandigarh in the north of India.

When a crowd gathered, he put the injured man in his car and said he’d take him to a hospital. However, he instead threw him in the road elsewhere in the city, where he was found dead two days later.

A police officer saw the collision and said Singh had been driving “in a rash and negligent manner.”

This week a court ruled that he had committed culpable homicide not amounting to murder without an intention to cause death but with the knowledge that it was likely to cause death and sentenced him to two years in prison.

It’s not entirely clear what happened in the intervening years beyond a reference to his having “evaded arrest.”

07 July 2020, 10:23
Massive bike theft from bike hub at Frimley Lodge Park in Surrey

Frimley Bike Hub, a hire centre set in Frimley Lodge Park in Surrey, has had almost all of its bikes stolen.

Thieves broke in between Sunday evening and Monday morning, taking about £20,000 worth of bikes, many of which have barely been used.

07 July 2020, 10:09
Video: Awful cycle lane in Kingston
07 July 2020, 09:28
The reduction-in-frustration windfall
07 July 2020, 09:22
Timperley Cycle Lane (via WalkRideAlty on Twitter)
Pop-up lane on Manchester’s A56 will probably be removed when the schools go back

Technically it’s just a ‘review’ in August, but Trafford council has recently been strongly emphasising that the A56 cycle lanes were always intended to be temporary and they have of course already removed a huge great stretch following complaints from motorists.

A Trafford council spokesperson told the MEN: “We took the bold decision to create a temporary cycle lane on the A56 in line with government advice on social distancing and the restricted use of public transport, and made it clear we would keep this under review.

“While we are constantly monitoring the situation it makes sense for the next major review of the temporary cycle lane to take place at the end of the summer when more people will be returning to work following the easing of lockdown and all children are scheduled to be back in school.

“It will be at that time that decisions will be taken as to the future of this temporary cycle lane which will take into account traffic data and a wide range of views and we are not going to prejudge those decisions at this stage.”

07 July 2020, 08:49
west midlands police.jpg
Tayside Police (finally!) trial close pass scheme after rise in cycling during lockdown

Back in 2017, we reported on a Tayside police officer who delivered a close pass of a cyclist on a blind bend.

When we spoke to the force about the incident and asked why it did not run a close pass operation based on that pioneered by West Midlands Police, a spokesperson told us that, “in light of our collision and road casualty profile we do not consider an operation of this nature to be a high priority at this time.”

It was later reported that an enquiry had been carried out into the close pass. The force said that the officer responsible had been identified and given “appropriate advice.”

Campaigners have long been unhappy about the reluctance to carry out a lose pass operation and in 2019, Dundee councillors called for police to tackle dangerous overtaking. Police again refused.

Chief Superintendent Todd claimed: “There aren’t drivers driving close enough to cause the cyclists to have an accident.”

Todd went on to say that targeting cyclists – such as those running red lights – would have more benefit than targeting drivers “that aren’t causing any accidents.”

Now – finally! – The Courier reports Operation Close Pass is set to be introduced in Dundee, Perth and Kinross and Angus.

Neil Lumsden, Police Scotland’s north road policing area commander explained: “Since lockdown we have seen a modal shift towards more active travel. This includes an increase in the number of people using our roads for cycling.

“As part of our response to this change, road policing officers across the north will be conducting Operation Close Pass checks in areas including Dundee, Perth and Kinross and Angus.

“This preventative approach allows for positive engagement and an opportunity to educate and increase driver awareness about the need to give cyclists plenty of space.”

07 July 2020, 08:29
Reigate temporary cycle lane (picture via Christian Froggatt on Twitter).PNG
Tory MP helps force removal of pop-up cycle lane in Reigate after just three days

A pop-up cycle lane in Reigate that was installed at the weekend has been removed following pressure from the Surrey town’s Tory MP.

Crispin Blunt said he was “appalled at the predicted traffic chaos,” and described it as a “nonsensical cycle scheme.”

Full story here.

07 July 2020, 08:26
The A9 (via StreetView)
Scottish Government got consultants to put a monetary value on “removing driver frustration” after A9 dualling project cost-benefit analysis didn’t pan out how it wanted

The Scottish Government is looking to dual 80 miles of single carriageway on the A9 trunk road between Perth and Inverness.

Is it worth it?

Spice Spotlight reports that analysis of the project set the direct benefits – journey time savings, lower vehicle operating costs and road safety benefits – against the negative environmental impacts.

The expected return is 78p in benefits for every pound spent by the Scottish Government.

You don’t need especially strong aptitude for maths to know that’s not good.

But no matter because the Government then asked consultants to put a monetary value on “removing driver frustration”.

The value of removing driver frustration is assessed as £430m (which is £86m more than the value given to collision reduction).

This little extra means the project would return £1.12 for every pound spent.

You can find information about the method in a paper here.

Alex has written for more cricket publications than the rest of the team combined. Despite the apparent evidence of this picture, he doesn't especially like cake.

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