RCC Newsletter – 10 December 2012

Once a month, we send out an email update on cycling in the Richmond Borough. If you’d like to sign up for these, contact us here to be first to hear the cycling news that affects you across the borough.

We also post the newsletters here on our website the following week. Read below and enjoy! Previous newsletters can be found here.

Hello!

It’s a special jam packed bumper Christmas edition. Santa rides, more consultations than you can shake a stick at and some good news on the cycle theft front. Hear about the editor of a certain local magazine standing in a muddy field or how a Twickenham resident took the plunge with a career change. There’s an update on the Twickenham town centre changes and to finish off, a video that is guaranteed to make you smile.

Monthly Meeting Tonight
Our next meeting is tonight, Monday 10th December in The Old Ship pub in Richmond at 8pm. We’ll be giving an update on the status of the Twickenham town centre changes, but more importantly, the emphasis will be on celebrating the end of the year and reflecting on all that has happened in the past 12 months. Do come along if you can. Location details online – http://is.gd/eahg52

January’s meeting will be the group’s annual meeting and we’ll be again looking for people to get involved and play a part in making the borough a nicer and safer place to cycle. You can see from the number of consultations this month that we need all the help we can get. Send an email to info@richmondlcc.co.uk if you’re interested and would like to find out more, closer to the date we’ll put up a post on the committee positions available.

Twickenham Cycle Lane Removal
There was a big turn out of cyclists at the council cabinet meeting on 15th November. At that stage, there was still limited specific detail on what the council was actually proposing but there was an indication that the council was softening its position and that cycle lanes would be retained and added. The most enlightening element of the meeting was that Cabinet Chair, Lord True, was genuinely shocked to hear that we were not allowed to discuss infrastructure issues at the council’s Cycling Liaison Group meetings. The council’s Cycling Champion was not in attendance at the cabinet meeting to explain why.

Perhaps prompted by the cabinet meeting, the council invited us sit down with the Principal Transport Planner on 23 November. This was a productive meeting and we came away with the following commitments:
– Any cycle lanes now present will be preserved
– Any bus lanes removed will be replaced by cycle lanes
– Cycle lane width will be in addition to, not part of the motor lane width
– Cycle lanes will be a minimum of 1.5m width
– A push to provide proper crossings for pedestrians and cyclists on the A316 London Road roundabout (a long running campaign issue – http://is.gd/aszjUm)

We emphasised that safety at junctions still needed to be addressed and that we would like to see the firmed-up proposals before the go-ahead is given. We will keep the pressure on the council to stick to these commitments and look for opportunities to further improve the scheme, but it is a vast improvement of where we were at the start of the summer when all cycle lane provision was going to be removed. A big thank you to everyone who turned up at meetings, wrote to their councillors or just contacted us to show your support. We hope we’re on the way to a Twickenham town centre that is a destination, not just a place to drive through.

Richmond Station Road Layout
Many of you have fed back your thoughts on the new Richmond station layout. Back in October 2010, we provided a detailed submission to the consultation, as we felt this was an opportunity to make the station front more appealing to pedestrians and the road layout safer for cyclists (http://is.gd/gb94kK). Sadly, the council opted for the option that prioritised taxis and motor traffic at the expense of pedestrians and cyclists. One of the big changes is a loss of the railings used unofficially for cycle parking in front of the station. While new cycle parking was installed at the back of the station in 2010, it was insufficient for the numbers that were parked in front of the station when we carried out an audit of parking that same year (http://is.gd/xYCM8E)

That same parking at the back of the station was recently commended in the National Cycle Rail Awards and LBRUT press release stating it “recognises our ongoing commitment to cycling in our borough” (http://is.gd/tgyPQN) Make of that what you may. Alongside an article by the Council’s Cycling Champion in the Richmond Magazine stating “Richmond is the cycling capital of the UK” http://is.gd/sjB3BW (not sure what those who live in Cambridge, Bristol or York would say to that) we wonder if the council really understands what it is like to cycle on our streets in rush hour.

Consultations
This month we’ve picked up on two consultations not listed on the council’s Consultation page (http://is.gd/JnijLg)

First one is in Teddington and affects the Broad Street/High Street/Waldegrave Road roundabout. (Map link – http://goo.gl/maps/rFRE6) This is a dangerous roundabout – cyclists made up 88% of injuries at this intersection in the past 5 years, compared to a borough average of 33% (itself unacceptable, given cyclists only make up 5% of journeys in the borough). Deadline 21 December

Second one is on Church Grove, Hampton Wick. (Map link – http://goo.gl/maps/uADwE) The intention is to provide a section of shared use footpath to link this entrance to Bushy Park with Kingston Bridge. Deadline 11 January

For both of these consultations, contact us at info@richmondlcc.co.uk before the deadlines if you are affected. We’ll be putting in submissions for both.

There are two further consultations affecting cyclists that are on the council’s site.

First one is between Richmond and East Sheen on Upper Richmond Road West from the junction of Manor Road to the junction of Clifford Avenue (the South Circular) (Map link – http://goo.gl/maps/F0s05). This is an extremely busy road and an important route for cyclists going from Richmond to central London. The proposals have a number of concerning areas, particularly the introduction of a significant number of pinch points for cyclists at pedestrian crossings. Full details are here – http://is.gd/JfvqTN There is an online tick box survey you can complete – http://is.gd/OAkARq Deadline 28 December

Second one is in St Margarets and relates to improving the street scene. There are no road layout changes, but consideration still should be given to cycling e.g. provision of cycle parking. Full details are here – http://is.gd/nsrikI here is an online survey to complete – http://is.gd/6YWB11 Deadline 31 December

Outside of the borough, the TfL consultation on dangerous junctions continues. This month they are consulting on Bow Roundabout, particularly poignant as local cyclist Brian Dorling died there last year while cycling to work. Details here (deadline 19 December) – http://is.gd/w8Eiqr and some interesting analysis on the proposals – http://is.gd/G4E2ZG
Full details of all 100 locations are available online – http://is.gd/bWOOMO You can sign up for email alerts to be alerted when each consultation starts – http://is.gd/1pV7xX

There were two local consultations affecting our roads last month November, one in Barnes and the other in Whitton. You can read more about them here and thank you to everyone who took the time to respond – http://is.gd/CE71vN

You can see it has been a busy time. Apart from the Hampton Wick consultation, the council did not consult with us directly on any of the above – we’re having to chase around and rely on prompts from those of you who receive a consultation document in the post. It is good to see that council is implementing schemes to improve safety for cyclists, we commend that. Often though, the schemes are poorly designed and/or implemented, because they have not consulted cyclists. We all pay council tax so we all have a vested interest in it being spent effectively. Life would be a lot easier and less money would be wasted if the council would add us as a statutory consultee on schemes affecting cyclists.

Cycle Theft
We heard from British Transport Police Richmond Neighbourhood Policing Team that on 2 November, a member of the public reported three males acting suspiciously around the cycle racks at Twickenham Rail Station. They dispatched two officers who arrested the three. A metal cutter was seized and it appears that they were trying to cut through the lock of a cycle. Since then there has been a massive decrease in cycle incidents at Twickenham Station.

Have a look at the Richmond Police site for details on bike marking events near you – http://is.gd/pcJi9W

The Richmond Magazine and Cycling to School
On a rainy day at the end of November, Richard Nye, editor of The Richmond Magazine, (infamous for this editorial – http://is.gd/IRnBjq) joined us at one of the after school bike clubs run by mobile bike club, The Turning Hub (http://is.gd/KGiiQm). Originally, after his comments, we offered to take him for a cycle on the borough’s roads to experience first hand why there was such a reaction. It turned out though that he didn’t know how to ride a bike (yes, honestly) So instead, we invited him along to see the work we do with schools in the borough to encourage cycling, and to witness some of the challenges to cycling to school in the borough. It was an interesting event, we’ll wait to see the article in the January edition, and hopefully he’ll think twice before coming out with throw away comments. (by the way, we’ve also offered to teach him to cycle, but we’ll wait to see if he takes up that offer!)

Cycling to school is something we feel very strongly about and an area where the council and schools could do a lot more. A recent study showed “Cycling or walking to school increases a child’s ability to concentrate in the classroom” (http://is.gd/Ejqa2k) and “adolescents who cycle are 48% less likely to be overweight as adults” (http://is.gd/Cw0zo3). We would love to have this as the school run in our borough – http://is.gd/M4ZcO2 Given the congestion caused by parents driving kids to school, everyone benefits.

Cycle Safety
Following on from the consultation we reported on earlier this year (http://is.gd/NeWvgy), the London Assembly Cross party report on cycling in London was published – http://is.gd/XRmewo. It is worth a read particularly in the context of our campaigning to get a safe and inviting Twickenham. It comes as Richmond Park MP, Zac Goldsmith, has sponsored an Early Day Motion to “embed cycling into the heart of transport, planning and other relevant policies” (http://is.gd/B5ezl9), we hope that LBRUT will listen.

Two other big news items relating to cycle safety. The Times re-energised their ‘Cities Safe for Cycling’ campaign stating “the task for British cities now be must be to adapt to the bike” http://is.gd/fnfJIR. All of the Times articles can be found here: http://is.gd/4olNvR

The other big news was that NICE issued a report giving guidance to councils to put cycling and walking at the centre of efforts to improve the nation’s health http://is.gd/6BOWWO. You can read the full report here (http://is.gd/bggi3f) but one of the key things we took away, given our constant efforts with the council, was that “pedestrians and cyclists should be considered before other user groups in the design process [not] as an afterthought”

Richmond Park NCN Route 4
We’ve heard frequent reports of the cycle route through the centre of the park not being gritted in icy conditions. We’ve raised this with Royal Parks and they’ve assured us that it is on their gritting schedule, but if you do find that the road hasn’t been gritted, contact them at richmond@royalparks.gsi.gov.uk or by phone to 0300 061 2210 and let us know by email at info@richmondlcc.co.uk.

Rides
No rides in December but things start off again in January with our traditional post turkey jaunt to Box Hill on Sunday 13th January. Details available online – http://is.gd/8pOPtI
If you’d like to help out on any of next year’s rides, send Paul, our Rides Coordinator, an email at rides@richmondlcc.co.uk

Local bike chain Action Bikes are running their charity Santa rides again this year. Turn up, dress up like Santa and raise money for charity. Events in Sheen on 22 December and Whitton on 23 December. http://is.gd/c8VP3x

Better by Bike
Two new posts this month. First off, Twickenham resident Ginnette tells her story of what motivated her to take the plunge and set up her own local cycle tour company, ‘The Merry Pedaller’ – http://is.gd/nO5su5

And, if you’re looking out for a 2nd hand bicycle, we’ve put together a post covering all the options locally. Let us know if we’ve missed any – http://is.gd/k3QmT6

Hampton Outdoor Pool
We work with groups, tourist locations and businesses across the borough to encourage them to recognise the value of attracting customers to come by bicycle. This month, Hampton Pool updated their ‘how to get there’ info page to include cycling, including a nifty route planner – http://is.gd/2TKNDP

Cycling Cinema
Action Bikes in Whitton are running another of their Cycling Cinemas (this time indoors) to raise money for Bike for Africa at St Philip & St James Church in Whitton on Thursday 20th & Friday 21st Dec. More details of the event online – http://is.gd/OgOZ9I You can read more about what they do in our previous post on reusing old bikes – http://is.gd/FxwEOe

Cycling Advent Calendar
As well as this monthly newsletter, we use Twitter and Facebook to give more regular updates on cycling related news across the borough. For a bit of fun, we’re running a cycling related advent calender (you don’t need to have a twitter account to have a look) http://is.gd/ZzVNtq

Maintenance Workshops
Jonathan will be taken a well deserved break over Christmas and New Year and the regular maintenance workshops will restart in February. A big word of thanks to everyone who’s passed on their appreciation for the workshops through the year – http://is.gd/oKpKQW

And Finally…
This film of a four-year-old on a mountain bike is perhaps the best advertisement for cycling we’ve ever seen – http://is.gd/mlSgKq

Thanks for reading and keep cycling. Feel free to pass this email on to anyone who may benefit and don’t hesitate to get in touch through info@richmondlcc.co.uk to help make the borough a nicer and safer place to live and cycle. You can see our list of cycling events in the borough on our online calendar: http://www.richmondlcc.co.uk/category/events and if you’ve missed any of our newsletters, they are all online – http://www.richmondlcc.co.uk/category/newsletters

Enjoy the festive period and here’s to a 2013 filled with lots of cycling!

========
Richmond Cycling Campaign
web – http://www.richmondlcc.co.uk
twitter – http://twitter.com/richmondcycling
facebook – http://facebook.com/richmondcycling