Merseyside Cycling Campaign

Pedal Press

Autumn 1997

* AGM NOTIFICATION *

Please make sure you see the notice in "Diary" on the back page.

There are no Liverbike or Wirral News inserts this issue because of the holidays and work pressures, so here we present a summary of news from around the area:

LIVERPOOL SCHOOL JOINS UP

A big welcome to the staff and pupils of Booker Avenue Junior School who have signed up to the Campaign. Liverpool City's Traffic Manager is actively pushing the Safer Routes to School policy, and we hope that maybe our new members can soon start using cycling, walking or public transport on safe routes, rather than relying on Mum's Taxi.

WE'RE LOOKING INTO IT!

Well we're fed up of waiting while somebody looks into it - or rather them - Potholes we mean. The Liverpool Group is so distressed about the state of the roads in Liverpool that they have decided to ask for a volunteer to be our Potholes Manager. The job description is quite simple: see a pothole, get onto the council and mider them until it gets filled in.

More seriously, there are so many potholes, that the PM would need to identify them, co-ordinate our reporting and monitor the Council's response. A patient bulldog like tenacity will be useful, and access to a computer may also help. Interested? Ring Richard on 727 0088.

KNEWS FROM KNOWSLEY

Knowsley now has a core of a Local Group who have started campaigning in the Knowsley Council area. Contact Susan or Gerald at 33, Sinclair Avenue, Prescott L35 7LJ.

The latest news from Gerald is that Knowsley's cycling officer is being a bit slow at responding to letters at present, but much work remains to be done to prevent Knowsley Council instituting old fashioned cycle bans on some major routes.

WIRRAL'S MOVING TARGETS

No, not the cyclists, but our Borough Council. As many readers will know, the famous Four Bridges have been closed for repair for some time, with the last remaining lifting bridge being stuck in the raised position for months. The original plan was for a closure of several months, but various problems have caused the job to drag on and on. In a statement to the local press recently, we were assured by the Council Leader that despite all the problems, the job remained "on target." Precisely which target is not made clear. Certainly not the original one, nor the extra 3 months quoted when the problems first occurred. Maybe we could use similar logic with the budgets, and increase the amount available each time we need a new cycle route or crossing?

CRIMINALS GOING GREEN?

Here's a tale culled from the Wirral News featuring mis-use of everything we hold dear:

Residents in West Kirby have been warned to beware of a gang of youths stealing expensive cycles after threatening the rider. Police believe that the youths concerned are travelling to and from West Kirby by train, taking their booty with them, no doubt in the newly opened out spaces provided by Merseyrail Electrics.

FROM THE FRONTLINE

Some items of news from our one man whirlwind Colin Langdon:

There are moves afoot between the Groundwork Trust and Sustrans to plan, design and build a regional network of cycleways to connect the local ones with the national ones. This is good news because these two organisations seem to be able to get on and do things like this so its not just pie in the sky. Colin tells me that he has at least one finger in this pie!

The Merseyside Package bid was submitted in August, much improved on previous bids, Colin says that it even includes the word "sustainable" and a double size bid for cycling throughout the region. Now its up to Central Government to cough up the money it promised for non-car modes of transport.

WANTED: We need somebody with some time to attend council committee meetings in order to obtain relevant reports. Can you help? No experience necessary! Contact us if you are interested.

MCC is intending to contribute ideas in response to the Government's "Developing an Integrated Transport policy" (copies free 0171 271 5631). If you wish to offer any ideas, please contact Colin or your editor by mid October.

Campaign Leaflets

Enclosed with this issue are our new Campaign Leaflets. Please feel free to use them to promote the Campaign, and if you need more copies, contact you local group. These leaflets have been especially designed and produced and were quite expensive, so please don't waste them, and we will take back any unused copies.

Liverpool's libraries and Sports Centres are already being blitzed by the Liverpool Group and no doubt Wirral will be following on soon.

We can arrange for the reverse side to be overprinted to produce customised leaflets for special events or target areas. Please let us know if you have any good ideas.

On the rails

Some very interesting news from our railways of late sorry, I mean recently (late is a dirty word in the railway industry now- like passenger.)

Last week's Rail magazine carried a letter suggesting that some of the old single carriage buses on rails should be converted to mobile bike racks to be inserted into trains as required. Any other bright ideas?

Some good news: Proper cycle storage lockers are beginning to appear in mainline stations. More details soon.

CYCLE MARK

Cycle Mark is a new Code of Practice jointly drawn up by C-PAG, the CTC and Sustrans and launched by Glenda Jackson, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport. The point of Cycle Mark is to get more bikes onto the railways by asking users and potential users to provide feedback on local stations and operators. Anglia Railways have been awarded the first Cycle Mark for managing to show how travelling by bike and train is a real option.

From CCN News

CTC Bikes on Trains

The CTC have compiled a list of each of the Train Operating Companies rules and regs for carrying bikes. (Saved me doing it anyway.) Its a bit long to publish here, but I will arrange copies to be given out to various Local Group members for you to copy if required.

SOUTH WEST

South West trains have ordered 30 new 4-car trains, each of which will have racks for at least 2 bicycles.

IN THE NEWS

Our local cyclists are in the news again, with Chris Boardman's painful exit from this year's Tour de France and now continuing his racing campaign on the continent. Meanwhile, Andy Wilkinson has added the 24 hour Mersey Roads Club ride to his list of records, cycling 525.332 miles in just 24 hours. Congratulations all round.

Watch your speed! Today's Guardian has a front page article about one Tony Adams who has been done for Furious Cycling under some very obscure old law. Mr Adams is in training to try and beat Chris Boardman's hour record, so maybe we should campaign for him to be imprisoned, but more sensibly, this happened in Cambridge, not the most cycle un-friendly city, at a very early hour and at 25 mph. Is there something sinister going on here? Watch out for more on this, I suspect we haven't heard the last. JS

POTTERS BARN

In the first of a new series we present an unashamed piece of self-publicity for a local cycle-friendly place thats not a bike shop or anything to do with bikes in general.

Potters Barn is very near to the Crosby Promenade in Seaforth, and offers a 7 days a week shop for dinks, ice-cream and even free tea (although they like a donation.) They bumph they sent us has a note that the oldest visiting cyclist is in his eighties, and also covered an event they ran to clear sand drifts from the promenade paths which made cycling and walking very difficult.

The general aims of the Friends of Potters Barn are to promote lots of "good things" and to look after the 1841 sandstone buildings where they are housed. Go and see them and help drink their tea!

Friends of Potters Barn - Telephone 928 2382

THEM & US

Anybody who reads the letters pages of newspapers, or attends rights of way meetings will be well aware that there is a rising tide of opinion about cyclists and the danger we pose to pedestrians, especially on shared use paths. Taking away the more extreme views of a few people, the main thrust appears to be that nobody uses bells anymore, and that cyclists tend to be very in polite.

Things have now reached the point where even the government is beginning to react, with Labour's Lady Hayman - the road safety minister - writing "I am aware that there is support for the mandatory fitment of bells to bicycles and I am looking at the issues as a matter of priority."

Sustrans is also supporting the campaign and has launched a Good Cycling Code and even sells a National Cycle Network Bells.

The message seems clear enough, and I would hope that I am preaching to the converted here, but cyclists need to be calm and courteous especially when mixing it with pedestrians, and now would seem to be a good time to get that bell before they become a legal requirement and suffer a price hike!

JS with extracts from CCN News

COWBOYS?

One of local groups has expressed concern over cyclists being shot at with air guns and has requested that any incidents be reported to Pedal Press. Have any members been shot at recently - please let us know.

Campaign "T" Shirts

Member Don Thompson has produced a T Shirt emblazoned with:

"I'm with the Merseyside Cycle Campaign, are you?"

Don can produce these to order, so if you want to be setting the trend this year and you want one, please contact Don via the editor.

No word on pricing as yet, but I'm sure they will be reasonable.

SMALL ADS

At the last committee meeting it was suggested that we include any small advertisements that members may wish to make. I don't suppose they need to be limited to cycling matters, so please feel free. Contact John at the editorial address.

Diary

MCC AGM

The Merseyside Cycle Campaign AGM will be held on the 13th December at the Third Room, The Everyman, Hope Street, Liverpool, starting at 10:30. Any items for the agenda should be forwarded to the secretary in writing before the 15th November 1997.

The AGM has been so well attended in recent years that we have moved to this new, larger venue to accommodate as many people as possible. The venue also offers a fine range of food and drink for those who might want to indulge themselves before Christmas. Please make every effort to come along if you are able. Our recent AGMs have been very useful and they are a good chance for members to meet each other and enjoy a bit of mutual encouragement.