Minutes of Camden Cycling Campaign Business Meeting on 12th December 2005
Present: Jane Boardman, James Brander, John Chamberlain, Jean Dollimore (chair), Meade McCloughan (minutes) and Helen Vecht.
Apologies: Stefano Casalotti and Paul Gannon.
Matters arising from the minutes of the CCC meeting 14th November 2005
• The February and April meetings are now booked for the Primrose Hill Community Centre. The June meeting is being booked by Stefano for the Hampstead Parochial School (near the Everyman Cinema).
• For the February meeting, we asked the Council to provide someone to talk about the consultation process, perhaps using a case study to illustrate what happens (and what doesn’t). We had thought Lisa Bailey might like to do this, but she has now changed jobs within the Council. A representative from Camden Council will talk at that meeting – Dave Stewart may be available, which would be good.
• Jean has revised and updated the chairing instructions.
• Jean has now received the JMP report on Baynes Street, and has e-mailed it to James and John, and can do the same for other committee members if they would like to see it.
• James has been following up Marcus’ ideas about how cycle projects can help businesses meet EU energy use regulations, but so far to no avail. He will press on for a while. (Marcus has now left Reed Elsevier.)
• Stefano and Anne are attending the Kings Cross meeting this evening.
• James outlined the variety of ways in which other borough groups organize maintenance workshops (e.g. as indicated in the relevant page of London Cyclist).
• We have sufficient funds to provide up to about ten hours of sessions (with contributions from participants), but we would have to get funding for any future sessions.
• The Castlehaven Community Centre is available on the first Wednesday of the month for five months starting in March.
• We need to decide on a format very soon in order to have it publicized in London Cyclist (deadline end of December).
• It was agreed that Jean should ask via the newsgroup whether people would prefer a sequence of weekday evening sessions or longer sessions on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon, and then on the basis of the responses we should decide on which format to go for.
Reports on recent meetings: Dave Stewart, WCRSAG
• Jean referred to the notes on these meetings which she had circulated earlier.
• John discussed his system of monitoring and auditing Camden’s implementation of traffic management schemes, which he uses to highlight issues to take to our meetings with Dave Stewart. Various issues were raised and it was agreed that this was something we need to consider further, particularly in relation to the February CCC meeting, when we will be hearing from a Camden officer about the consultation process.
• We should ask the Council if we can see the post-consultation reports, on which decisions about traffic management schemes are made.
A501 Pentonville and City Roads
• Meade will attend the Cycle Route Inspection Meeting (CRIM) on Tuesday 20th December. [See http://www.camdencyclists.org.uk/camden/crisps/a501/ ]
• Meade and Jean will ride the route the previous day, Monday 19th December (starting at Kings Cross Thameslink at 11:30).
Minutes of Camden Cycling Campaign Main Meeting on 12th December 2005
Present: as above, plus Martin Fahey, George Coulouris, Colin Murphy, Martin Fargher, Alex McKinwell, Richard Fletcher, Chris Naylor, Paul Braithwaite, Lionel Shapiro and others.
Apologies: as above, plus Mayer Hillman and others.
Talk by Sergeant Barry Loader, Kentish Town Police Station
• Barry Loader of the Metropolitan Police introduced himself to the meeting. He has been a police officer for 13 years, working in Kentish Town for the last 3 years, where he is Sector Sergeant. He has been a cyclist for much longer – 28 years – though these days for leisure only.
• Since 1st January 2005, 1,679 bicycles have been reported stolen in Camden (a 5% increase on 2004). Of these, only 67 have been recovered and returned to their owners. It has been reported that 80,000 bikes were stolen in London as a whole last year.
• Which bikes get stolen? Those not locked at all, those secured with poor quality locks, those locked up poorly (e.g. to short poles, or with the lock close to the ground) and those targetted by professional thieves. For advice on good locks, see http://www.soldsecure.com (look under ‘leisure’!). Sgt Loader added that some responsibility had to rest with manufacturers and retailers, both of whom could do more to help reduce the amount of bike theft.
• One of the problems the police face is identifying the owners of stolen bicycles when they are recovered. (The police in Camden have retrieved many more than the 67 mentioned above.) Even when thefts are reported, the details owners provide are often inadequate (e.g. don’t know number of gears). Sgt Loader stressed the importance of having a complete and accurate description of one’s bicycle, frame number and all, and, ideally, registering it on https://www.immobilise.com/ . Coding is still done, but only at police stations.
• When recovered, bicycles usually do resemble the descriptions given of them (provided these are sufficiently precise) – in other words, they don’t tend to have been modified. (Though professional thieves do disassemble expensive bikes.)
• Sgt Loader’s Holborn colleages have helped design a leaflet advising how best to lock up bikes http://www.camdencyclists.org.uk/camden/councilleaflets/locking.pdf . This was done in conjunction with Design against Crime at Central St Martins. 10,000 are to be printed and distributed in and around the university area of the southern part of the borough. Sgt Loader promised to get some for us.
• The police are building up intelligence information about organized cycle theft, and have used ‘tracker’ bicycles in ‘sting’ operations to trap thieves.
• Another initiative Sgt Loader has been involved in is the pavement cycling campaign in Kentish Town. The police undertook two leafletting sessions recently, handing out 25 leaftets on each occasion. Of the fifty or so cyclists encountered, six were found to be on stolen bikes! The police had initially undertaken this campaign just to appease complainants, but now are keen to use it to catch crooks. (The leaflet, which CCC had a hand in, can be found at http://www.camdencyclists.org.uk/camden/councilleaflets/pavement.pdf .)
• Sgt Loader went on to talk about the use of bicycles by the police force. He would like to see much more of this, but health & safety / risk assessment considerations make it unnecessarily complex and costly. There are currently four bikes each at the Kentish Town and Hampstead police stations.
• On a final point, Sgt Loader said that he would be happy to relay road safety concerns which we had to the Council, with whom the police regularly liaise. (He did, controversially, express skepticism about speed cameras.)
• Throughout his talk, Sgt Loader had been gracefully taking questions from the floor and the meeting finished with a variety of extra questions, such as: ‘what is the law on riding a bicycle while under the influence?’ (answer: under old vagrancy laws one can be charged with being ‘drunk in charge of a carriage’); ‘why can’t police car drivers keep their speed down when they’re not on blue light?’; ‘what do you think of bicycle registration?’ (answer: ‘not much’), and so on.
Sgt Loader was then thanked for his very information talk, and the meeting then launched into the traditional seasonal celebrations, with delicious Indian snacks and a variety of liquid refreshments. A good time was had by all!