Our Campaign Vision
Our visits to local groups highlighted some priority issues.
This refers to pedestrian refuges that have become more prevalent on the roads around the UK. They do have the positive benefit of making it easier for pedestrians and cyclists to cross busy roads. However, if the road is not wide enough for a vehicle to pass a cycle they can be dangerous. Sometime by-passes for cycles are included but often these aren’t very successful. National Standards training suggests that you should ‘take the lane’ and make it impossible for vehicles to pass you - not all cyclists will feel confident enough to do this.
The solutions to this problem can be complex and adopting this theme could make us seem anti-pedestrian and so we don’t think it’s suitable for the kind of campaign we want to run.
This is something that was very important to our members but we felt this is already well covered by the 20's Plenty campaign and we recommend that members get involved and use the resources on their website to campaign for this. This is a local campaign that can rally many different local groups with diverse agendas and we recommend working with others on this one.
Road maintenance relating to road safety
A high quality street environment benefits all road users. The situation around the UK varies - with a variety of agencies responsible for street maintenance and increasing out-sourcing, The CTC have a very useful campaign and reporting mechanism in fill that hole and fix my street is also a really good resource for reporting local problems.
Having a presence at local festivals and events is crucial to growing your campaign group and can be a lot of fun. We don’t think we need to tell local groups that - you’re doing it really well already!
Two Way Cycle Access in All Streets
The DfT document, ‘signing the way’ proposed a simplification of the procedure for achieving this, based on widespread use on the Continent and a successful trial in London. The principle is that one-way streets should always allow for two-way cycling, just as they do two-way walking, unless there is a substantial reason not to e.g. the width of the road (although this is often a red herring as the narrow road would have been no different for cycles when it was two way), access route for HGVs, or a tram route, speed and volume traffic, but this can be mitigated by the introduction of 20mph. It emerged that this was a current change that meant these now cheap and simple measures could be used to greatly improve permeability and increase the attractiveness of the local cycling network in any place.
Specific local campaign: Two Way Cycle Access in All Streets
We decided on this as a current and topical campaign theme because the “Signing the Way” paper was published by the DfT on October 2011 and this document heralds a change that will allow local authorities much greater freedom to implement these sort of beneficial changes simply and cheaply.
The document stated “English local authorities will be able to place the combined sign "no entry except cycles" where they consider appropriate”. This replaced the previous guidance that resulted in a lot of over engineering. At the moment, councils outside London still have to ask permission from the DfT to use the ‘except cycle’s plate and ‘cycles in contraflow sign’. From 2014 they will be able to do this without permission. The pilots in London have been very successful, with no noticeable increase in casualties and definite benefits for cyclists for the full report www.tfl.gov.uk/assets/downloads/businessandpartners/no-entry-except-cycles-signing-review.pdf
So what can you do?
1. Start by looking at the cycling network locally and Identify the streets that are suitable for contra-flow cycling (Cyclescape could be useful for this) – changing streets in an identified network can make more sense to councillors and officers. CycleSheffield’s researcher – Matt Turner, has devised a way of querying out the data on one-way streets from Open Street Map – get in touch with him via his blog if you would like help with this.
2. If they’re not suitable because the speed is too high, get together with your local 20’s plenty group to press for a speed reduction (as part of an overall reduction in traffic speeds in the area)
3. Make sure your local council officers and councillors are aware of the changes. We often find that campaigners are more aware of DfT changes than local officers.
4. Submit your list in to your local council and ask them to let your have their timescale for making these changes.
5. Book a meeting to review the list with officers and councillors
6. Be ready with the arguments to answer opposition – the traffic flows are too heavy, the speeds are too high, the road is too narrow, there are too many parked cars, drivers won’t be expecting bikes, its dangerous, what about side roads.
7. Take opportunities to make representation at decision meetings where TROs for one-way streets are approved and put your case
8. Keep on at them until they do it!
We will be producing a questions and answers sheet on two-way cycling in one-way streets very soon to ensure that you have all the answers.
Once groups have seen some success with this, we’ll start looking at some of the other issues on our list and how we can campaign on them. Of course we’re not suggesting that you should drop all your other campaign priorities - but given the recent changes this should be easy to achieve. If you focus on this you could have some major successes to celebrate and report. Good luck and let us know how you get on!