Sustrans campaign to get cycling and walking added to Infrastructure Bill

I had had an email from Sustrans in association with other cycling groups :

The Infrastructure Bill has proposed a five year investment plan for strategic roads whilst rail already has such a plan in place. However, there is no similar framework in place for cycling and walking.

 We would like MPs to back an amendment to the Infrastructure Bill to guarantee long-term ambition and funding for cycling and walking, including local road maintenance.

We are now at a critical stage as MPs will get the chance to propose amendments and debate the need for such a proposal in December and January.

 We need your help. Please write to your MP and ask them to support an amendment to the Infrastructure Bill.

Write to you MP now

Both our local MPs should be sympathetic but having constituents letters helps their backbones !

Richmond Cycling Infrastructure Issues – by Theme and Ward

Cyclescape is a handy online tool for cataloging issues with cycling infrastructure, born out of work at Cambridge Cycling Campaign.  It’s killer feature is being able to easily log an issue on a map – so you can all see exactly where the issue is under discussion. Richmond Cycling Campaign (along with other groups nationwide) are making increasing use of this tool – but because its used to log issues all over the country it can be a little bit hard to find specific items.

All cyclescape posts in the Richmond borough area are reviewed by RCC committee members and categorised by applying a set of “tags” – or labels, depending on the type of issue.   This article provides some shortcuts to issues grouped according to themes that are important to RCC.

Themes – click through the links below to see lists of issues logged so far:

Council wards – we also tag by electoral ward; this will enable us to highlight all the issues in an particular area with the councillors who represent that ward.  The wards are shown below and a complete list of councillors by ward is maintained by LBRUT.

Issues by ward can be accessed by the links below.  Note that some wards do not have any issues logged so far; whilst others have plenty!

East of the river:

Centre of the Borough:

South West of the Borough:

Finally, for further information on how we do this a detailed guide to how RCC use CycleScape is available here…. and if, like me, you are never quite sure what electoral ward is where – this handy zoomable map shows the boundaries of all wards in London:  http://ukdataexplorer.com/census/london/

Twickenham – we had one step forward, now it’s two steps back.


Current view of Twickenham filmed by local cyclist Mathieu

They’re starting the detailed designs for Twickenham, and it’s not good news.

We’ve tried hard to engage the council, and to push the focus that both LCC and the Mayor’s Office are giving to ‘Going Dutch’. A previous meeting seemed to indicate that things were really starting to look positive, but the new plans (PDF here) are very disappointing indeed. Advisory cycle lanes that share the width of the nearside motor vehicle lane and disappear where they’re needed most. At junctions, where most collisions occur, those on bicycles have to fend for themselves, great if you’re trying to cycle to school with your children. And the newly located bus stops, aside from inconveniencing those who visit Twickenham by bus, add new dangers along Cross Deep.

Spot the cycle lane - now you see it, now you don't (click for full drawing)

In the week that saw the first death in London on a hire bike, Richmond Council is again offering us a design based on the discredited and dangerous facilities that bloggers like Twowheelsgood and Citycyclists are directly linking with the continuing maiming and death of cyclists in our city. A painted line will do nothing to protect you from an impatient lorry driver.

Cycling *is* a safe thing to do, and our borough is a pretty safe place to do it, as well. But we know from report after report that the people who aren’t already using a bicycle have probably chosen not to get on a bicycle because they perceive it to be unsafe. And the new Twickenham plan isn’t going to help.

We’ve written to the council to tell them how concerned we are (you can see the full text at the bottom of this post). Perhaps Richmond can win its Mini-Holland bid, because there’s indications that Twickenham might be partially fixed with that, but we can’t risk it: right now the borough is bidding to spend £8m of TfL’s cash on the new Twickenham, but it’s neutral at best for cycling. We think Twickenham is somewhere that should welcome families and visitors by bicycle, whether they’ve come from nearby, or from the station, or are just popping in to get a loaf of bread or a coffee.

The Cycling Liaison Group meets this Thursday – the meeting is open to everyone so join us to ask the council why they’re giving so little priority to persuading people that cycling is a pleasant attraction option for getting around our area.

If you’re planning to come, drop us a note at campaign@richmondlcc.co.uk if you need any more info.

 

Dear Richmond,

Thank you for sending us the detailed plans for Twickenham.

Unfortunately, it is very hard to see how RCC can offer any endorsement for the plans as they stand. As you know, we were very pleased to see Andrew Gilligan and Boris Johnson bring together a real commitment to cycling for everyone. We believe that getting on a bicycle can – and should – be the most obvious travel choice for the majority of journeys in our borough. We also believe that to get people to consider cycling as a transport choice it needs to be safe and feel safe. Survey after survey tells us that people who don’t cycle equate sharing the road with HGVs and buses with a very visceral feeling of danger.

You’ll have seen recently that the local police are finally enforcing the cycle lane across the bridge by the station: the ongoing issues here are a perfect demonstration of why cycling needs its own space in the new Twivckenham, and yet the nearest concession to any new space comprises a couple of advanced stop lines.

These plans give little confidence or succour to mums and dads who want to cycle with their children to school, or indeed anywhere else in Twickenham. Instead they combine all the features which make cycling in the United Kingdom a specialist contact sport. They include;  incomplete routes; junctions that require a cyclist to force her way into the main traffic flow; conflict-inducing pinch points, and hair-raising junctions.

RCC members have made a concerted effort to talk to the council about what might make Twickenham a good place for cycling, and it’s worth looking back to some of the meetings and discussions we’ve had, and some of the ideas which don’t seem to have made it out of our minutes of these meetings:

  • We discussed the broad (1.5m) central reservation, which could be narrowed to provide more space for cycle lanes. Not Present
  • We discussed colouring used to indicate cycling provision. Not Present
  • We discussed using ‘armadillos’, soft kerbs and a range of other techniques to indicate lane provision. Not Present.
  • We discussed how someone on a bicycle makes it from York Street across Cross Deep to Heath Road. Your new design doesn’t even provide a cycle lane for most of this journey.

A key point from the Gilligan review is that you can’t have a meaningful cycle route if you do nothing at the junctions. Yet this plan offers virtually no improvement at junctions compared to Twickenham currently. The mayor of London has a compelling vision for cycling for everyone in our city, and it is with huge regret that I have to tell you that I don’t think the plans that we’ve seen do anything to advance that vision.

Sincerely,

Richmond Cycling. Campaigns Coordinator.

You can see our minutes and notes about previous meetings at these links:

Two years on is it still the most dangerous cycle lane in Richmond?

Back in 2011 we reported on what we thought was the “most dangerous cycle lane in Richmond” where a mum was knocked off her bicycle by a car while cycling with her son. Fortunately the child was not hurt but the mother required medical attention. Serious though it was, they were lucky not to have been knocked onto the dual carriageway and hit by the passing traffic. Located on the A316 at the exit from London Scottish Rugby Club car park between Richmond Circus and Pools on the Park cars often exit as speed without looking for passing cyclists or pedestrians.

The photograph below shows the danger, a lady nearly knocked off her bike by a car exiting the car park.

So what has happened since 2011? Has the source of danger been removed and as we proposed, the exit closed and cars redirected to use the entrance?

The photo below was taken in 2011 from inside the car park. Cars exiting are supposed to Stop or Give Way depending on whether they look at the sign or the road markings. An advisory blue sign says ‘Cycle Track – Look Both Ways’

Is it Stop, or is it Give Way

Fast forward two years to 2013 and the picture below shows the current scene. The exit remains open and a new sign has been added off to the side stating ‘Cycles crossing’. The Stop sign has been replaced by a Give Way sign. No speed bump has been added and we continue to get reports from people cycling along this part of the A316 of close calls with cars pulling out at speed. The sort of person impatient enough to drive out at speed isn’t going to be influenced by the presence of a sign or care that it has changed colour.

New signage but not much else

It’s really disappointing that this is the approach to the safety of those cycling or walking along this stretch. People are quick to jump to ban cycling from paths and parks but there is a real reluctance to remove the danger when it is posed by motor vehicles. When was the last time you saw Motorist Dismount signs? Copenhagenize capture this cultural blindspot really well in this post.

As already said, this is a key route in the Borough, and is used by many families cycling to Pools on the Park and the Thames path. We’ll continue to pressurise TfL on this dangerous section – we met with them earlier this month for an audit of the A316 and this issue was highlighted.

You can do your bit to keep the pressure on - raise it via TFL’s online form and email our London Assembly Members – Tony Arbour (GLA Member for the area tony.arbour@london.gov.uk ) and Caroline Pidgeon (GLA Member for Transport – caroline.pidgeon@london.gov.uk) and also the Council’s Cycling Champion, Cllr Harborne (Cllr.KHarborne@richmond.gov.uk), to make the push for this serious safety issue to be resolved (cc us in so we have a record).

There is also an online discussion of the issue at our Cyclescape page complete with more recent photos.

It’s vital that this issue is dealt with, otherwise, next time we may be reporting a more serious incident.

Review of Cycle Parking at Railway Stations

Unbelievably, it is now three years since our last audit of cycle parking provision at the 14 railway stations in the borough. These two quotes from the DfT’s 2009 Better Rail Stations report (PDF) are as applicable now as then:

“Although half the nation owns a bicycle and 60% live within a 15-minute ride of a station, only 2% of passengers currently use their cycle to access the local station.”
Source – Dft

Compare this to the Netherlands where:

“All major stations in Holland provide extensive cycle parking, usually based around a cycle hub which also offers additional secure storage for a fee of about £1 a day, together with repairs and cycle hire for as little as £3 a day. A typical Dutch intercity station would store 4,000 cycles, but at Leiden this rises to 9,000 and the plan is to more than double this to 22,000 in the near future.” Source – Dft

Although a lot has changed since 2010, we are a long way from meeting the aspirations from that report (in fact, when you look at the National Rail website cycle section, it’s more about telling you what you can’t do – cycling and parking isn’t even mentioned under ‘Getting to and from the Station’ – see Kew Gardens example). South West Trains have been rolling out secure compounds with swipe card access at a number of stations and changes to Richmond railway station have removed the railings that were previously used by many. It is therefore a good time to carry out a new audit to update the information we have and to identify where changes are needed. Two recent examples illustrate this:

Lack of cycle parking space at Kew Gardens railway station

At Kew Gardens station, we were recently alerted by a local resident that cycle parking demand continues to outstrip supply and it is often impossible to find a space, leading to missed trains. Even two years ago we found this to be the case, with demand outstripping supply by nearly 50%. With parking provision for only 34 bikes, it is well short of the 250 spaces that would be needed to meet the DfT’s only target of 5% of passengers arriving by bicycle. Kew Gardens station is managed by London Underground – we’re asking everyone to raise it via their online form and to contact London Assembly Members – Tony Arbour (GLA Member for the area tony.arbour@london.gov.uk ) and Caroline Pidgeon (GLA Member for Transport – caroline.pidgeon@london.gov.uk) and also the Council’s Cycling Champion, Cllr Harborne (Cllr.KHarborne@richmond.gov.uk), to make the push for additional parking at this and other stations where needed (cc us in so we have a record)

New secure parking at Hampton station

Existing cycle parking marked for removal at Hampton Station

Narrow access along platform to Hampton secure compound

At Hampton station we were notified by a regular user of the station that South West Trains are taking out all existing parking provision and replacing it with a single secure parking compound on one platform only.

The secure parking is welcome and it is great to see SWT extend it to more stations but not everyone wants to use it (particularly if their bike is of low value), nor is it convenient if it is only on one platform and you’re rushing to catch a train on the other one.

Additionally, since the new enclosed racks at the west end of Platform 1 are to be the only racks, then ALL cyclists, on entering the station, will be forced along about 3 or 4 metres of the very narrowest part of the platform, conflicting with passengers standing there and cyclists coming the other way, creating safety problems that currently do not occur.

Cycle parking at Hampton station is currently at over 100% capacity – there is no reason why the existing provision can’t be kept to supplement the secure compound – as is the case at many stations with secure compounds e.g. Twickenham.

We have raised this issue with SWT and we encourage all of you who use this station to email their Customer Relations team: customerrelations@swtrains.co.uk

We know there are many more issues out there, so we’re asking for volunteers to review each of the 14 borough stations – counting up current racks and how many are occupied, and noting down any issues, such as poorly installed stands (e.g. too close), poor lighting, poor access. If you would like to join in, email us at info@richmondlcc.co.uk with which station you’re interested in and we’ll pass on some guidance and a simple one pager to fill in when you carry out your audit (like this example). We plan to complete this by end of June.

Quiet Routes in Richmond

The borough is hoping for Boris’ cycle funding. To do that it will need to construct a network of quiet routes to the standard of the Mayor’s Vision. The good new is that we are lucky in having some good sections already (eg due to Royal Parks) the bad news is that they are not joined up to each other or to town centres.

I have sketched out my view of the current state of play.

Green = good

Blue = OK ish / some improvements desirable ,

Purple = significant improvements needed (closing rat-runs or improved segregation)

Red = No provision at the moment needs major rethink.

These are a bit broad-brush but I would be interested in other people’s opinions. Are there acceptable alternative routes to the ones I have marked in red ?

Let’s get kids cycling in Richmond

This year, Richmond Cycling Campaign will be looking at, amongst other things, cycling to school. It’s our belief that every child, at primary school, secondary school, and college, has the right to cycle safely there without either children or parents having to worry about whether they’re going to get there safely. Very much, in fact, like they do in the Netherlands – have a look at the video on David Hembrow’s post on the subject.

We know from endless studies and a whole range of recent reports that cycling is good for, at an individual and social level, and that it even helps children start the day well:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/fotoinsight/6268383879/

Cycling to school (c) Klaas Brumann on Flickr

 

BMA: “Walking or cycling to school would have positive health benefits”

NICE (National Institute for Clinical Excellence): “Walking and cycling should become the norm for short journeys”

Danish Study: “Children who cycle to school have measurably better concentration than those who don’t.”

Policy Studies Institute: “48% of primary children would like to cycle to school”

Mum and son (c) European Cycling Federation @ Flickr

And you can read an excellent article about what Richmond Cycling Campaign is already doing to help kids learn to cycle, here. (The author finishes her article: “Taking space away from cars to build a safe, separate infrastructure for bikes is no longer just fighting talk: it makes good planning sense. And the place to start is at the school gate.”)

Not that cycling is inherently a dangerous thing to do. Statistically, choosing to cycle – both for children and their parents – is a very wise choice, because the benefits so easily and quantifiably outweigh the risks.

However, we also recognise three very important factors:

1. The greatest barrier to getting more people cycling is their perception of danger from having to cycle with motorised traffic.
2. Countries where cycling is an easy, often-selected choice for children and adults all have decent cycle infrastructute to support such a decision.
3. We know a lot of people – especially children – *want* to cycle.

So this campaign has two key themes: asking the council and TfL to better support cycling to school by providing safe, inviting, well-designed facilities and designing for it; and asking children and parents how we can help them to use their bikes more.

Family cycling - cc by European Cycling Federation @ Flickr

And it’s really important to provide these facilities, and to make them good. Countries that have lots of cycling all provide safe, inviting places to cycle, and they don’t ask you to get off your bike at every road junction. The facilities that we want for schools should be usable by everyone, and should benefit everyone – even non-cyclists will appreciate not having to trip over bikes on the pavement, or weave round them on the road.

But how can you help? We want you to share your experiences, as parents, children, school staff or carers, on getting to and from school, and the reason you do or don’t cycle. We’ll be sharing these experiences as blog posts throughout the year, as well as looking at the resuiting data.

You can also talk to your friends at school and college: why don’t they choose to cycle? What would help change their mind?

Want to know more? Want to help? Email us at campaign@richmondlcc.co.uk

Now it’s “Are you one of the 4,181?”

How not to lock your bike!

When we last looked into the cycle theft stats in the borough back in 2010, the post was ‘Are you one of the 2,296′. This time around 4,181 bikes have been reported stolen between the start of 2010 and the end of July 2012. This comes after we were told that 1 in every 5 theft in the borough is of a bike. We obtained the numbers via a Freedom of Information request and we’ve uploaded both the FoI response from the Met and an analysis of the numbers so you can look at them for yourself. For comparison, this is the previous FoI response from 2010. Some of the main points:

  • On average, across the borough, 4.5 bikes are reported stolen every day (that’s a lot of unicycles..)
  • There has been an 152% increase in the number of reported thefts between 2007 and 2012, with a step change in 2010. Either the Mr Big of cycle theft has moved into the area in 2010, or perhaps there is better reporting and we are seeing a truer picture?
  • In the first 7 months of this year there have already been 938 thefts, an increase of 3% over 2011
  • Several wards have shown an improvement – Barnes;  Ham, Petersham & Richmond Riverside; Hampton and Hampton Wick wards are on track this year to nearly halve the number of bikes stolen in 2011
  • Thefts have increased significantly in several wards this year, particularly Fulwell and Hampton Hill, North Richmond and West Twickenham
  • While a greater number of bikes are recovered, due to the increase in thefts it amounts to only 5% of bicycles reported stolen

The chart below shows where the thefts have occurred since 2010 (click on the chart to see a larger version).

We asked the police in Richmond what they were doing to tackle cycle theft in the Borough and they provided the following statement:

“Richmond upon Thames SNT’s regularly perform cycle marking at a variety of community events and locations. SNT’s also operate an ‘on demand’ system to mark cycles for the public. Since inception, the total number of cycles security marked across the borough is just approaching 12500 (as of 15/08/2012). They also plan their patrols around the locations of reported crime and the feedback received from Police Liaison Group meetings with local residents. The Richmond Borough Safer Transport Team do a lot of work around the borough’s transport hubs to deter and prevent thefts. They have run and continue to do so, pro active operations targeted at bicycle thieves and their uniformed presence at rail stations is a key deterrent. Richmond Borough Police also work closely with the Richmond Local Authority as part of the Community Safety Partnership. They post cycle crime prevention advice via both the Council and Police websites as well as through Twitter. Communication on cycle crime prevention advice is provided by Operation Lockout at regular events in collaboration with SNT’s. Pan London the Metropolitan Police Service has The Cycle Task Force which is a dedicated unit to tackle cycle theft and improve cycle security across London.”

Here at RCC, earlier this year we contacted Richmond Police, with the offer to promote their cycle marking events on our website and in our monthly email newsletter – so far North Richmond, South Richmond and Kew Safer Neighbourhood Teams have taken us up on our offer and we hope others will too. We’ve also produced an updated Bike Security page, with advice on how to lock your bike securely, getting it marked and minimising your chances of becoming a statistic in our next round up in two years time. As a local cyclist shared with us, it’s not fun losing your pride and joy.

Feeder to The Big Ride

Join the Big Ride

LCC are organising a Mass ride in London on 28th April in support of “Go Dutch”. We will be meeting on Richmond Little Green at 10.00 to ride to the assembly point in Hyde Park and home again after the ride.

About 30 of us braved a rainy morning to cycle up to London. The actual ride of 10,000 cyclists was impressive – just imagine how many might have turned out on a sunny day. On the return most seem to have opted for a dry train but two father and daughter duos with trailer bike/trailer cast an eye on CycleSuperHighway 8 and enjoyed Battersea Park and Wandsworth Park.

Some photos taken by the Richmond contingent (thanks to Tim Lennon, Jamie Crick, Ivan De Marino and Aniello Del Sorbo):
Will the rain stay off? -

Gathering in Richmond -
Owly Images

Line up before the off –

At Chiswick Bridge -

Arriving in Hyde Park -

At the event -
Owly Images

Gathering on Park Lane -

A sea of cyclists -

And from beyond our group of hardy cyclists:
A video of the gathering at the start:

London Cycling Campaign’s analysis of the day (their photos show just how many people were there, estimated at 10,000!)

Write up on the event from Mark at ibikelondon

Coverage from Danny at Cyclists in the City

Front page news in The Times (which includes more photos of the event)

The event was picked up by both the BBC and ITV