Cycling in London: numbers, gender, safety
The year 2005 saw another big increase in cyclists numbers in London following the July bombings. This followed a 23% increase after the congestion charge. Then we heard that the Mayor’s aim, to double the number of cyclists from March 2000 by 2010 had already been achieved in August 2005.
Recent research by London Analytics suggests that the proportion of female cyclists increases with higher overall numbers of cyclists. For example in the Netherlands females form 55% of cyclists. This theory is held up by recent increase in Greater London from 27% in 2001 to 40% in 2005.
According to TfL, the cyclist fatality rate in 2004 fell by 58%. Eight cyclists were killed in Greater London last year. There was also a 21% reduction in the number of serious injuries. This looks like another critical mass effect – the more people that do it, the safer cycling becomes.
Summary of CCC activities in 2005
For CCC, 2005 has been a very busy year. We had our usual members meetings every month, many of them with external speakers and others with Dr. Bike sessions, some run by Cycle Training UK (CTUK). We attended meetings with Camden Council and responded to more than 30 consultations including several CRISPs. Much effort by John Chamberlain and Anne Boston went into following the proposals for Kings Cross and responding to them.
Bike Week was busy with rides, a Dr. Bike session and our customary Cyclists Breakfast outside the British Library – rather a wet one this year. Earlier in June we held BikeFest with Green Fair in Regents Park, where we had an endless stream of visitors to our stall and numerous flakey bikes for our Dr. Bike mechanics to fix. CCC was present with a stall at Car Free Day as well as about half a dozen fairs throughout the borough, the last one being the ECO fair in November. James Brander held Dr. Bike sessions here and there in the borough.
Our rides program was somewhat intermittent. But Sela Yair led rides in the country in March and May. We had two feeder rides to the BikeFest in Trafalgar Square: one led by David Arditti, took a direct route and the other led by James Brander took in parks and green spaces on the way. Three summer rides led by Stefano Casalotti were more political: two of them were with school children and parents in collaboration with School Travel Action Group and Bob Spellar, keeper of Hampsead Parochial School, taking in a route on Hampstead Heath and up Fitzjohns Avenue; the third was a very well attended ride on Car Free Day. A group of four CCC members rode in north west Scotland in September. The year ended with Andrew Conway’s ride to Waltham Abbey on a cold day in December.
Our priorities for 2005-6 included a resolution to increase our membership. But although it has remained steady at just under 600, we have been unable to raise it above that barrier in spite of our presence at the many fairs and other events mentioned above. The series of Dr. Bike sessions run by CTUK certainly brought in people we had not seen before as well as some rather ruined bikes. When membership was discussed at a recent members meeting, it was suggested that we should go out and meet people throughout the borough by holding some of our meetings in other locations. We have been offered the use of the Primrose Hill Community Centre and will meet there in February and for our AGM in April and maybe again in the autumn. Our June meeting will be held at Hampstead Parochial School. The postcodes and other information regarding these venues will be in the newsletter and on our website.
Another priority was to tackle the issue of our relationship to pedestrians. This has been addressed in various ways, but the problem hasn’t really gone away. CCC together with Camden Council and the local Police designed a leaflet Hop off your bike when you hop on the pavement. The police have used the leaflet when targetting pavement cyclists. We heard about how the police used this leaflet when Sgt Barry Loader spoke at our December meeting.
We also had a talk in October by Barry Mason. He explained how Southwalk Cyclists had managed to establish a good working relationship with the local Living Streets branch.
Talk by John Adams
In June we were fortunate to have a very well attended talk by John Adams on his theories about Risk Compensation.
Following this talk we had many discussions both on and off this mailing list about perceived hazards, subjective and objective safety. This of course was particularly relevant in Camden, the home of segregated cycle tracks, to which many of us are very attached.
Talk by David Dansky
David Dansky, staff manager at Cycle Training UK gave a talk at our April members meeting. The main purpose of this talk was to inform us about the new National Cycling Standards, which now replace cycle proficiency in cycle training.
These standards are now in use by Camden’s Cycle trainers who provide on the road training for adults and children. If you want to know about how to get training, either for yourself, for a friend or a family member, have a look at our website (www.camdencyclists.org.uk) for contact information. Put cycle training in the search box.
Recently I accepted an offer from David Dansky to give a free training to any LCC borough group coordinator. I really enjoyed the lesson and learnt a lot, although I have been riding in London for well over 20 years. I was surprised by what I learned. I strongly recommend cycle training to everybody.
Talk by Richard Lewis
Richard Lewis, who works for Brent Council as well as being a member of Hackney Cyclists gave us a talk on Road danger reduction. This led to subsequent discussions of the philosophy of self-explaining streets and what might be done about cycling on the A5.
Consultations, CRISPs and meetings
Those who have read this newsletter throughout the year will know about the many consultations as our consultation team (Jean Dollimore, John Chamberlain, Mead McCloughan and Stefano Casalotti) have asked for your feedback on most of them. I know that sometimes yet another traffic calming scheme may seem a bit boring, but it’s worth having a look and passing on your experience as a cyclist and local information. Although the team members usually ride out and look at the locations of these schemes, it is very helpful to have input from members who are more familiar with these locations.
Although we have asked you for feedback on several CRISPs we have been involved with, the CRISP on Link 27 is the only one that has been a Camden effort. That is, the Link is in Camden and the CRISP was commissioned by Camden Council. It concerns a cycle route from Tottenham Court Road station to Highgate Village. It has involved CCC in a lot of work, assessing the optimum route as well as attending the CRIM. We have just received the draft report and are busily studying it so as to be able to provide our feedback at a meeting in January. You’ll be hearing more about that soon.
CCC has had regular meetings officer Dave Stewart at Camden Council to discuss the details of cycle routes (LCN+ numbers 0 – the SSL and 6 – the north-south route) as well as going over the details of some of the consultations. We have also attended the walking cycling and road safety action group regularly. This is where we can introduce some more general issues for airing before council officers and councillors. Stefano has attended the Borough Coordinators meetings at LCC every two months and reported back to base, thus maintaining our links with LCC. Our representatives have also attended some of the meetings of the LCC cycle planning and engineering group.