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Cycle lanes 'can’t come at catastrophic cost to traffic flow' says MP; Reduction in policing behind increase in road deaths; Manchester council accused of ‘flushing filtered neighbourhood plans down toilet’; Mail froths about speed cameras + more

Today's live blog with Alex Bowden (daytime) and Simon MacMichael (evening)...
16 July 2020, 15:34
The Stray (CC licensed by Neil Turner via Flickr)
Harrogate swaps land with Duchy of Lancaster to allow bike path on the Stray

Harrogate park, the Stray, has had a mixed relationship with cycling.

Last year huge crowds, heavy flooding and heavy goods vehicles used for the UCI Road World Championships resulted in significant damage.

However, it looks like it’s now going to be a key part of Harrogate's cycling network plans.

Yorkshire Live reports that North Yorkshire County Council secured more than £3m of funding to build the two-way Otley Road Cycle Route in 2017, only to suffer a setback after it failed to reach an agreement about a strip of the Stray that formed part of the plans.

The Duchy of Lancaster, which manages the Stray, has now agreed to exchange land with Harrogate so that the project can get underway.

There are three options where land could become part of the Stray: near St James Drive, Arthurs Avenue and Wetherby Road.

“The cycle path will be on both sides of Otley Road but the issue is on the northern side,” explained Councillor Don Mackenzie. “The verges are Stray land. We need to replace it with land that is acceptable to the Duchy.

“The land near the hospital is our preferred option. It is continuous with the cycle route and if the other two options were to become Stray land, residents living there would have a fair bit of restrictions if perhaps they wanted to make a little entrance to their driveway.”

Mackenzie said designs for the majority of the cycle route had been completed and that he was hopeful a large part of it would be completed by the end of the year.

16 July 2020, 14:52
Cycle lanes “can’t come at a catastrophic cost to traffic flow” says Crispin Blunt MP

They were talking pop-up cycle lanes on the World at One this lunchtime.

Crispin Blunt MP – who helped force the removal of a pop-up lane in Reigate after just three days – paid lip service to the importance of new cycle lanes, before confidently asserting that they ,“can’t come at a catastrophic cost to existing traffic flow; nor should they come at a catastrophic cost to the business of a town centre.”

Chris Boardman was on too, talking about the one on the A56 in Manchester. (There’s a bit more about that one further down the page.)

There’s been talk about the A56 lane being binned, but it’s actually just a short stretch south of Sale that’s been abandoned.

Boardman pointed out that most of it is still up and in use.

“This isn’t actually a cycle lane at the moment,” he said. “It’s an alternative to public transport.”

He highlighted the fact that one third of households in Greater Manchester don’t have access to a car.

“On a normal day, there’s 320,000 people who travel around three miles to get to work, to shops etc,” he said. “200,000 of them – if we are to obey all the social distancing measures – either have to find another way to get to work or they don’t get to travel.

“So right now this is actually about social justice and giving people an alternative – a safe alternative – to public transport for the moment by reallocating road space for them.”

Pop-up bike lanes a necessary form of social justice says Chris Boardman

16 July 2020, 13:37
Police went to arrest thief for stealing a bike… and found over 100 more at his house

Police are urging Bedfordshire bike theft victims to get in touch after they went to arrest someone and found 100 bikes at his property.

The force says it has been dealing with “an overwhelming number of calls” since posting about this.

See anything you recognise?

Sky News reports that a 41-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of handling stolen goods. He has been released pending an ongoing investigation.

PC Jade Kilbey, investigating, said: “This was a proactive arrest carried out off the back of intelligence provided by a member of the public who had been a victim of bike theft. The number of bicycles we have recovered is significant and it would be great to be able to reunite some of them with their rightful owners.

“We would urge anyone who has had their pedal cycle stolen within the Bedford area in recent weeks to get in contact with the make, model, colour and serial number of their bike, along with any other distinguishing features."

If you want to submit a report, you need to email jade.kilbey [at] with the subject 'Bedford Bike Theft 40/35795/20'.

16 July 2020, 12:18
Motorbikes (copyright Simon MacMichael)
Reduction in policing behind increase in road deaths

Spending cuts combined with a lack of recognition of the importance of roads policing has resulted in a rise in road deaths, according to a report by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC).

The Guardian reports that a steady decline in deaths in road traffic collisions up until 2013 has since been rising. Deaths were up from 1,541 deaths in 2013 to 1,624 in 2018.

The inspector of constabulary, Matt Parr, said: “Our inspection suggests that roads policing, despite the number of road deaths plateauing and likely to increase, is seen as less of a priority than it should be.

“We found that almost half of local crime plans didn’t include reference to roads policing. This, along with an unclear national strategy, is doing little to help reduce the number of deaths and life-changing accidents which occur on our roads.

“Spending on roads policing has been cut by 34% resulting in fewer officers dealing with offences that cause road deaths. However, there is a clear, and pressing, need for government, police and crime commissioners, chief officers, and the College of Policing to recognise the importance of roads policing in reducing death on the roads.

“We have made recommendations to help the police improve the effectiveness of roads policing in England and Wales. In doing so, we are clear, roads policing is not optional.”

The Department for Transport launched a consultation on roads policing earlier this week.

16 July 2020, 11:10
Want a bike, but struggling to find a retailer with stock?

Cyclescheme have got some advice.

Try your local bike shop and smaller retailers etc.

16 July 2020, 10:59
Levenshulme residents accuse Manchester council of ‘flushing plans down the toilet’

Regarding the ‘pausing’ of the Levenshulme filtered neighbourhood project (see below), some local residents seem to be very unhappy with the way the council’s run the project.

16 July 2020, 10:56
Visualisation of a residential street in Levenshulme (TfGM).png
Levenshulme filtered neighbourhood project ‘paused’ by Manchester City Council

In 2019, we reported how Levenshulme was bidding for £3.5m of funding to turn a one-mile area into the most cycle-friendly part of Greater Manchester.

Earlier this week, Manchester City Council withdrew its involvement with the Levenshulme Bee Network, which was running the project.

“We do not know what that means for the future of the Active Neighbourhood or the project areas that sit within it, including school streets, play streets, cycle parking, parklets and of course the filtered neighbourhood,” Levenshulme Bee Network said in a statement.

The MEN reports that there have been local concerns about communication and updates ahead of a six-month trial that was due to begin this month.

Executive Member for the Environment, Planning and Transport, Councillor Angeliki Stogia, said: "We remain fully committed to the Active Neighbourhood project for Levenshulme and Burnage.

"We are taking a fresh look at this scheme, which has the potential to provide road safety, health and air quality benefits by encouraging active travel in the area.

"We know that many residents are excited by the scheme, while others have concerns or need more information so they can let us know what they think. More than a thousand people have already given their views online and face to face.

"However, others still have comments and questions, so we are pausing the project to continue getting the views of the community, so that the proposals have the widest possible engagement before we move to a trial in the coming months.

"We will be working with the design team to build on the engagement and all the work that has taken place to date, to ensure that this is accessible by the whole community.

"The comments received in the coming months will influence the proposals and no permanent changes to road layouts will be made until after the final design has been agreed.

"We're excited to move to the next phase of this project and we want to work with all members of the community to deliver the best possible outcome for Levenshulme and Burnage."

16 July 2020, 10:27
Government urged to make NHS more bike-friendly

This letter to the Secretary of State says the NHS should consider:

  • Significantly increasing the quantity and quality of secure cycle storage across the NHS as a matter of urgency
  • Offering a payment for cycling to work to cover servicing and maintenance
  • Embedding a walking and cycling culture throughout the NHS

It reasons: “Action should be taken now to enable active travel to, from, and around the NHS. This will mitigate the pressure on NHS car parking and on the transport system more generally – as well as having significant environmental, health and social benefits.”

16 July 2020, 10:01
Evans Cycles Store Front
Evans Cycles moves its Birmingham store to the House of Fraser building

Evans Cycles has opened a new 12,000 square foot store in the House of Fraser building in Birmingham. (Evans and House of Fraser are both owned by Sports Direct Group.)

The new shop replaces the one at Birmingham New Street Station.

Strict safety measures have been introduced, including limiting how many customers can enter at any given time, marking out ‘two metre zones’ throughout the shop floor and eradicating touch points within the payment process.

Matthew Atkinson, Head of Retail at Evans Cycles, said: “We are hugely excited to announce the opening of our new Birmingham store within the heart of the City. Working closely with the team at House of Fraser we now provide a vital facility for the Midland’s growing number of cyclists, which is easily accessible and helps customers combine their shopping trips.

“We have also invested in a substantial refurbishment, giving shoppers an excellent in-store experience as well as access to a wide range of the quality products. Our large workshop, along with our 24 hour service guarantee, will keep our customers riding throughout the year and help more cyclists within the region to Enjoy the Ride.”

16 July 2020, 09:29
Got time for a cycling-themed Chris Grayling diss?

Cyclist-dooring former Transport Secretary Chris “Failing” Grayling – who once said that those on bikes aren’t road users – is getting a bit of stick this morning after failing to become intelligence chair, despite being Boris Johnson’s pick.

16 July 2020, 09:02
Trafford cyclists take to the A56 and ask for cycle lane to be made permanent

Last month Trafford Council removed a stretch of pop-up cycle lane installed on the A56 following complaints from drivers about congestion.

Trafford council’s executive member for the environment, Stephen Adshead, said the plan had ‘always been’ for the pop-up lanes, brought in under lockdown, to be temporary.

He said a major review of what remains of the cycle lane will be carried out, “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.”

Because the last thing you’d want is to have your measures to reduce motor traffic still around when motor traffic increases.

The MEN reports that at the weekend, about 100 cyclists took to the pop-up lane to show support.

More are expected when they repeat the exercise on Saturday July 25.

Organiser Ruth Hannan wrote to the council afterwards to say: “I appreciate that there will be push back from this – people don’t like change – but this is something that I hope our new Labour council will do differently to their predecessors. Be brave, be bold. Even those who complain will benefit from the reduction in cars.”

In response to her message, Adshead repeated his comments about complaints from drivers, residents, local businesses and bus companies and confirmed there would be a review next month.

16 July 2020, 08:43
Reaction to Daily Mail speed camera headline
16 July 2020, 08:39
Daily Mail froths about speed cameras

The Mail Online tends to favour longer headlines. It's gone with: "Speed cameras ARE being used to fleece drivers: Watchdog reveals how locations are chosen in 'good hunting grounds' for making money rather than preventing accidents - so is YOUR yellow box among those raking in the most cash?"

So basically the story's about how they put speed cameras in areas where people are speeding quite a lot.

16 July 2020, 08:35
Jeremy Vine has a dig at Lancashire Road Police

The Lancashire Road Policing Twitter account came in for a barrage of criticism earlier this week after it used a photo of the aftermath of a collision to advocate the use of cycle helmets.

They have since said that the driver involved wasn't to blame, adding: “We don't always imply that a cyclist collided with a car but in this case, that's what happened.”

Doesn’t look to be a tweet that people are going to forget about any time soon though.

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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