Pedal Press Autumn 2005





All articles welcome for inclusion in next issue of Pedal Press to be sent in MS Word by email or disc to the Editor


Annual General Meeting: Your Campaign needs you

The campaign is eager to encourage, coerce and engage other members to take a more active role in the work of the group.

In the coming year we are looking for assistance with the secretarial duties and Newsletter production... …..so come on all you budding and enthusiastic people, no great experience is required as you will be part of a team so there is plenty of support and guidance if required. If you feel you would like to be more involved in the running of YOUR Campaign then why not come along to our fairly informal gathering in one of the city pubs or perhaps drop an email or phone call to me for an overview of the work requiring support.

Check out the website for information on meeting and events. If you want to be included in regular information updates from the MCC send your email eddress to the secretary.

This year’s Annual General Meeting will be on the third of December and once again it will be at the Everyman Bistro. The meeting will begin at 10.30 concluding at 12.00 with a free buffet.

Last year we had a fantastic turnout and after the business of the morning was over we had a presentation from Robin Ireland. Robin is Chief Executive of Greater Merseyside charity Heart of Mersey whose broad but far reaching aims are to:

Reduce coronary heart disease deaths by 40% in the under 75s by 2010
Reduce coronary heart disease incidence by 20% by 2010
Tackle health inequalities

Further aims are concerned with each of the risk factors of a poor diet, smoking (including second-hand smoke) and physical inactivity: MCC member Robin had his cycling prowess tested recently by the completion of the End to End (Lands End to John O’Groats). This ride was organised by fellow campaigner Colin Langdon who offers a variety of cycle tours both in this country and as far away as New Zealand.

This year we welcome Derek Dottie, Park Estate Manager for the City as our guest speaker who will introduce to a number of new initiatives he is developing in conjunction with Cycle Projects and the Primary Care Trusts.

We hope you can all attend the AGM and linger a while afterwards to discuss your concerns and thoughts about cycling on Mersyside.

Don Thompson

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Local Transport Plan Consultation - URGENT:deadline 11th December 2005

All councils in England outside London have to produce a Local Transport Plan (LTP). The LTP sets out a programme of investments in transport on Merseyside over a five year period. This LTP is produced by the five local authorities of Knowlsey, Liverpool, Sefton, St Helens and Wirral, in partnership with Merseytravel.

There is a final consultation on what you would like in this LTP.

The consultation document is available to download from www.transportmerseyside.org. It is, unfortunately a large 4.45MB document.

It includes several questions which can be responded to which are:

  1. Do we need to do more to tackle congestion on our roads, and if so what action should we consider taking?
  2. Should we do more to tackle the effects of traffic on people’s health, because of poor air quality, climate change, noise and road accidents?
  3. Should we continue to focus on making sure people can get to jobs and training?
  4. Should our priority continue to be the development of public transport?
  5. Are we doing enough to promote and support cycling and walking?
  6. Are we doing enough to help with freight and commercial traffic?
  7. If funding for transport is restricted what should our priorities be?
You don't have to answer these questions but you do need to reply by 11th December 2005 if you want your views taken into consideration.

When you send your response please be positive, especially about the benefits of cycling which are, amongst others:

The responses must be sent (by the 11th December 2005) to:
Provisional LTP2 Feedback and Consultation
LTP Support Unit
24 Hatton Garden
Liverpool L3 2AN
Telephone: 0151 330 1294
or
Email: ltp@merseytravel.gov.uk

Peter Roome

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TravelWise Week 18-25 September

During TravelWise Week this year all Merseysiders were encouraged to leave the traffic and the parking frenzy behind and find a wiser way to travel.

Each day there was a different travel theme and many of events took place across Merseyside.

These included:

By making a pledge to TravelWise you could have obtained one week's free bus travel for yourself, a free cycle or walking pack or free publicity materials for your school, workplace or organisation. You could also have featured on the TravelWise stars page!

This was Merseyside’s biggest ever TravelWise Week - we hope you joined in this year and will again in 2006

To find out more about the work of Travelwise and events go to www.gotravelwise.com or contact them on 330 1253

Sarah Dewar

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Muesli Eater writes from Liverpool:

In the money:

Grosvenor-Henderson, developers of the massive Paradise St construction project, have paid a sum of money to Liverpool City Council for the development of City Centre Cycle routes to link up with their site.
Not only have no cycle routes materialised, but the City’s officers were unable to account for the cash at the last Cycle Forum. Our enquiries will continue at the normal dignified pace.

P.R

It was encouraging to see leading Councillors at the Pier Head the other day. Peter Millea & Eddie Clein (a road cyclist himself) welcomed Sustrans supporters off the Ferry & sent them on their way to Southport, with glowing words extolling the enthusiasm of the City for cycling.
The riders were celebrating completion of 10,000 miles of National Cycle Route. That should be 9,998 because the 2 miles of route linking Pier Head to Windsor St has virtually disappeared!

Pavement Pirates

Reported Accident Records for Liverpool show that in the last 3 years there has been one reported collision between a cyclist and a pedestrian on the pavement. There have been no reported accidents on existing or proposed cycle routes designated for shared use (shared between pedestrians and cyclists). The City currently bans cycling on the pedestrianised areas in the City Centre for much of the day. But some streets (Lord St, Whitechapel and Paradise St) are designated in its Cycling Strategy as cycle routes. The City, despite promises to change the rules, continues to drag its heels. So cyclists who want to cross the City Centre will have to continue riding illegally or dismount.

School for Scandal

The Council has been rocked by a massive enquiry into the award of a cycling-related contract to a local consultancy. It is not clear how many millions are involved.
The suspect parties have been sent home on full pay (not actually having done anything wrong). Its good to know that Liverpool has so far recovered from its economic woes that it can afford to pay its staff to sit at home drinking beer and smoking pot or whatever it is these people do with their spare time. (more likely painting & decorating..Ed.)
The sleuths at the Council are now trying (not very hard) to find out if the web of corruption extends to volunteer members of the Cycling Forum.

Cycadelic Cycle Lanes

For some years Liverpool has had a rule that Cycle Lanes and Advanced Stop Lines in Conservation areas should be coloured Brown. In other parts of the city they are coloured Red.
The City of Culture has now come up with a new exciting innovative design. Cyclists riding down Upper Duke St will find themselves on brown then red. It gets better if you are going uphill. You go on Brown, then Red, then Brown again.

Duke Street Cycle Lane Here's a photo from the scene
double yellow lines and a
mandatory cycle lane
- clearly meant for parking on!

No cycling (yet)

The city has developed a new network of cycle routes in the vicinity of John Moores University at Byrom St. This is mostly on shared-use footpaths with dropped kerbs where they join the road, and a set of Toucan Crossings.
The network can’t be signed for cyclists owing to an objection from a local blind group. Part of the problem seems to be that the City has tried to do the job by spending as little as possible on cycling, without widening the paths to a suitable width.

Tourist info

One of the best spots to view Liverpool and the Mersey is Everton Park, off Village St or Heyworth St. You get superb views over the area, and cycle routes in the area have been much improved.

Out of Town

The Muesli Eaters visited the Cycle Show at the Excel centre in London (famous for its “Defence Equipment” exhibitions). There was not much of interest on display unless you’re a titanium wheel freak, but it was nice to see that Sefton Council had taken a stand, with its stationary bike riding machine proving popular. We came away with a Cyclaire pump, a widget that promises almost magical tyre inflating properties in return for minimal effort. It does inflate to high pressure, but I’m afraid the minimal effort bit seems to have got lost.

Renshaw St & Berry St.

The roadworks will come to an end soon, and you will be able to ride in both directions. The narrowing and traffic calming are an experimental project designed to improve conditions for pedestrians. The Cycle Audit of the design indicated that there were:

It remains to be seen how the scheme works in practise. Please let us know how you get on with the new arrangement.

Richard Hebden

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Health gains from cycling far outweigh pollution risks

The health benefits of cycling far outweigh the risks of heart attacks from polluted air, despite misreporting to the contrary, says CTC, the UK’s national cyclists’ organisation.

New research, sponsored by the British Heart Foundation (BHF) and publicised recently, has apparently shown that cyclists breathe in polluted air at higher rates than those at rest such as car drivers, and that this may increase their risk of heart attacks. However, the study was conducted using exercise bikes indoors, and makes no attempt to compare how much pollution gets breathed in by cyclists and drivers in real-world cycling conditions. Other research shows that the air which cyclists breathe is a lot less polluted in the first place than that which accumulates inside a car. This is because cyclists are more likely to ride at the side of the road and to reach the front of stationary traffic queues, whereas vehicle occupants are more likely to be stuck behind the exhaust pipe of the vehicle in front of them. Hence vehicle occupants are exposed to air with pollutant concentrations 2-4 times higher than that breathed by vehicle occupants, depending on the type of pollutant.

CTC’s campaigns & Policy Manager Roger Geffen commented:

“Polluted air affects everyone - drivers and pedestrians as well as cyclists - and is estimated to kill up to 24,000 people every year 2. Cycling is part of solution to this problem, not the problem itself. It has clear overall benefits for your health, fitness and overall life expectancy, as well as helping society to reduce air pollution in the first place. We should tackling the source, not the symptoms, of this problem, and that means encouraging more people to cycle, rather than frightening them into not doing so with incorrect reporting of this important new research”.

The British Heart Foundation itself has helpfully clarified its position, contradicting earlier press reports of the new research. The BHF website states: “For most cyclists, the benefits to their heart health from regular exercise far outweighs risk from pollution, which has yet to be directly proven.” See
www.bhf.org.uk for the full story.

CTC Digest

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SUSTRANS…..Liaison Ranger Day

SUSTRANS…..Liaison Ranger Day Sustrans regularly hold Volunteer Ranger Training Days but this month they had a meeting in Liverpool for Liaison Rangers. Confused.. No need to be.

In all regions across the UK Sustrans rely on Volunteer Rangers to be their ‘eyes and ears’ on the National Cycle Network, support is provided in a variety of ways including regular get togethers to identify good practise or new initiatives. Currently 1,600 Volunteer Rangers help to look after sections of the National Cycle Network by litter picking, cleaning graffiti, cutting back vegetation, as well as ensuring the Network is well signed.

The Liaison Ranger (one who coordinates the volunteer rangers and perhaps is in touch with Sustrans a little more) for the Merseyside area is Alan Sides.

If you want to know more about volunteering with Sustrans check out their website at
www.sustrans.org.uk or drop Alan an email at sides@sagainternet.co.uk

Don Thompson

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News from the region

In the summer at the Halewood Carnival, the Friends of Halewood were encouraging local people to come along to a ‘Work Day & BBQ’ at the Ducky Ponds in the Park to help both improve the area with a litter pick, and cut back some of the encroaching vegetation. We teamed up with the ‘friends’ for a joint work day in October helping Mersey Basin Campaign promote Mersey Basin Week. More volunteers on the day would have been good but the weather was foul. However, we cleared a good deal of litter from around the trail and ponds. Thanks to all who turned out and the Ranger Darren Wilson.

Quite a number of Campaign members have successfully completed the Trail from Southport to Hornsea. Campaign member, Dug Heaven helped celebrate ‘Ride the Net’ last year by joining an organised trip from the TPT office. The trail is a great ride crossing a jigsaw of landscapes to appreciate, from the urban river valleys of Salford to the moorlands of Longdendale and the estuarine expanses of the River Ouse on the east coast.

Granada Reports very own Fred Talbot rode parts of the Loopline from Halewood to Aintree in July to reveal to the North West viewers the delights of this part of the Trans Pennine Trail. I rode with Fred, hopefully providing a little background to cycling on Merseyside, although he does not ride very often he does enjoy the opportunities he gets, especially fantastic routes as the TPT. Visit the TPT website at www.transpenninetrail.org.uk for more information.

Member, Ian Tierney of Cycle Projects has been working hard in the promotion of how cycling can improve health and well being. Developing a number of initiatives with a number of Primary Care Trusts across the North West they have established a number of groups getting cardio rehabilitation patients ‘on there bikes’ during the week for some exercise and fresh air, as they say, it is definitely what the doctor ordered as they are mainly referred by their GP’s. Ray Pugh also at Cycle Projects is looking for volunteers to help run re-cycle schemes with community groups as a means to teach teenagers how to look after a bike and also set up local rides. If you're interested contact Ray Pugh: 0161 736 6366 or email him at: bikelinks@cycling.org.uk At a meeting in July of the Merseyside Cycling Development Group (MCDG) a group promoting specifically road cycling an area on our website. These can be found under the section MCDG: Meetings 2005. However in order to access same you do need to register on the site, so it is in your interest to do so: www.merseysidecyclingdevelopment.org or www.ccs-uk.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/BCNW_Home.htm

Don Thompson

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Cycling Forum for England

Earlier this year I attended the annual meeting of the Cycling Forum for England. Only a few people are invited to the meeting, to hear reports from national leaders on cycling policy and developments. These speakers included members of Cycling England, which has taken over form the National Cycling Strategy Board (NCSB). In this changeover, Phillip Darnton has remained as chairman, a position in which he is inspiring, and to which he obviously devotes a lot of time, though it is part-time. We are fortunate to have him.

It is always worth taking good note of what Phillip says, and he spoke both of the last months of the NCSB and of the aims of Cycling England. These aims are summed up in ‘Bike for the future’, with notable background principles. One is that cycling brings benefits to all; this requires engagement by all, especially Government departments. The Cycling England action plan needs an inclusive approach, involving local authorities and non-governmental organisations. The programme is tailor-made to local priorities. Cycling England believes that quality is more important than quantity. A major change from the English Regions Cycling Development Team, set up by the NCSB, is that Cycling England will work with those who want to do something, rather than all local authorities. This is something I have begun to test, and have been pleased to be told by Lynn Sloman of Cycling England that advice on design would be available to help Wirral develop a local cycle network. Well planned local networks are being promoted and financially supported by Cycling England for local authorities that make good plans and have significant financial commitment. This is difficult for metropolitan authorities like those in Merseyside. Sefton was shorted-listed for support, but unfortunately for us was not selected. Wirral is doing what it can with forward thinking but less finance.

Cycling England wants it to be appreciated that cycling is not just the concern of the Department of Transport (DfT). It may be concerned with congestion and safety, but also with health, air quality, and urban development. Phillip was at pains to point out that cycling requires senior political sponsors; for consistent long-term, it needs political will.

Cycling England now wants to be very much at arms length from the DfT, and to relate to an interdepartmental group in Government. It believes that Government must take the lead, and interdepartmental collaboration is needed; priority has to be given to young people, training, and speed control. Alison Hill was another member of Cycling England who spoke. She is Programme Director South East Public Health Observatory, and provides Cycling England’s expertise on health. She said that cycling is a hugely effective promoter of public health. The White Paper “Choosing Health: Making Healthy Choices Easier”. [Cm 6374. 2004. London, The Stationery Office] has priorities including increasing physical activity, and improving mental health, which, as we know, is aided by exercise. Now could be the time to increase our efforts to involve the health sector locally. [This year the Department of Health has published a follow-up paper “Delivering Choosing Health: Making Healthier Choices Easier”; and there are two supporting papers “Choosing Activity” and “Choosing a healthy diet”.]

Charlotte Atkins, who was then minister for local transport, spoke for Government. Not only does she cycle in London, but her brother Michael is better known to us activists as the one-time cycling officer for Lancashire, now retired. She agreed that there had been too much reliance on local authorities that don’t see cycling as a priority. She also confirmed that Cycling England won’t just be a DfT concern. She said it was up to them to determine the right blend of cycling investment; at least for its first year, however, only £5million of this will be from its own budget, with the rest made mainly be local authorities. In her concluding statement, the minister said it was important for we cyclists to raise the profile of cycling politically. We may wonder for how many more decades we have to go on trying - or are we afraid of publicising our dialogues with the authorities?

I asked Charlotte Atkins a question. Since the outcomes affecting cycling have not been collated well, I suggested, the outcomes are not predictable, so targets, like the national and local targets for cycling, had little point. So can we have a point of recording, monitoring actions and outcomes, and bringing these together at national level? She viewed this positively. Phillip Darnton also said that Cycling England would want to come back to targets.

Roland Graham

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Sefton Section

Situation Vacant

After several years Peter Roome has decided to step down from the position of Sefton MCC representative. Peter has promised to assist and support others in taking forward the cycle campaign agenda in Sefton. If you feel that you could take on this role you could do worse than attend the forthcoming Sefton Cycle Forum at Crosby Civic Centre on Wednesday 23rd November 2005 starting at 6.30pm.

If you would like to know more about how you can support the Campaign in a practical manner contact the Secretary for an informal chat 0151 714 2924 or email theroost@tesco.net

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Wirral Group News

The Cycle Forum meeting was on the 1st September and included a presentation by Murray Grant from the LTP Support Unit. This was concerning progress to date on the development of the draft Local Transport Plan for Merseyside, which will be for the five years to March 2011. The draft plan, which is available on the web site http://www.transportmerseyside.org/ is over 300 pages long.

The five-year programme for cycling consists of: The LTP working group for the Wirral is of the view that resources should be concentrated in developing individual District Cycle Networks. A scoring criterion is being developed to determine which district will benefit and views have been canvassed at Area Forum meetings. Resources dictate that not all districts will benefit so it will be necessary to ensure that the selection process is accepted by those district not selected.

Two new cycle routes have been launched linking the Business Park in Bromborough to the two local stations at Eastham Rake and Port Sunlight. The routes have been designed to encourage commuters to cycle from the local station to work in the Business Park as an alternative to travel by car. The routes also link to Eastham Country Park.

The survey work for the new Wirral Cycle Map is complete, and it is now with the graphics department. It should be available in the spring. Also next year the Wirral Council web site is to have cycling pages, giving details of local cycling activities, the Cycle Forum, bike shops and general information on bikes and cycling.

Several of the Wirral Group joined the Sustrans 10,000 mile Celebration ride as it passed through the Wirral on September 17.
Along with John Grimshaw, the founder of Sustrans and several supporters from Chester we met with Council representatives at Thurstaston Visitor Centre then cycled down the Wirral Way and along the sea front at Hoylake and Meols to the ferry at Seacombe.
The previous Saturday saw a group of us on the Eureka tourist ride around Cheshire and into North Wales. This was a ride organised by the popular Cyclists café on the A540 road to Chester at Two Mills. They are open on Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Bank holidays; the café is well worth a visit for those who have not been there before.

The Wirral Cycling Campaign rides continue through the winter, for details see the web site www.wirralcycling.org.uk or contact me at 342 7201.

The next meeting of the Wirral MCC Group is on Monday, December 6th at 18 Shrewsbury Road, telephone Carol Fitzpatrick on 653 3887 if you would like to join us.

Sonia Oldershaw

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St Helens and Knowsley News

There is no news from these areas in this edition. If you have any news for the next edition please send it to PedalPress

What Does the English Regions Cycling Development Team have to say about the performance of St Helens Council?
Find out at http://www.nationalcyclingstrategy.org.uk/assets/go_2004/North_West/sthelens.pdf

What Does the English Regions Cycling Development Team have to say about the performance of Knowsley Council?
Find out at http://www.nationalcyclingstrategy.org.uk/assets/go_2004/North_West/knowsley.pdf

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Flashing legal - it’s official

As of the end of October, it has at last become legal to use flashing lights on your bike. Even better: provided they are bright enough, flashers front and rear are all the lights you need! This welcome liberalisation of cycle lighting law is largely thanks to sustained campaigning by CTC and the details were decided in close consultation with CTC's technical officer, Chris Juden.

The same regulations allow lights to be fitted to the wheels of pedal cycles, and to trailers or sidecars attached to pedal cycles

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Cycle Promotion in Primary Schools

Liverpool City Council's Sports Development Section working with volunteers from the BCF has been visiting schools interested in promoting cycling to youngsters. The 3 hour session tests up to 60 children on an Obstacle Course and Stationary Speed Test at the school. This culminates in a Grand Final of representatives from each school at Calderstones Park.

If you would like to help at these sessions and are free Monday - Friday, between 9.00- 3.00 p.m. and are happy to have the necessary checks (to safeguard the children) please contact Linda Mooney for further details and an informal chat on 07734 397 525. Bearing in mind we'd need to do Police checks anyone interested should contact Linda before Christmas 2005

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Bike Bitz- for sales, wants and swaps

BIKES FREE TO GOOD HOMES!

(- or perhaps a small donation to MCC for 1 or 2). We need more room in the garage!

1) Girl's bike,26" wheels, Falcon (about 1988), 18 gears. Pink/mauve. Good working order.
2) Boy's bike, Peugot ,22" (?) wheels, derailleur gears (?8-speed), blue/white. Basically OK except tyres soft.Suit age about 9-11
3) Refurbishment opportunities x2: Halfords Wayfarer bikes,rudimentary folding mechanism. 3-speed gears, white. Small wheels, adjustable about 9 year old girl- small adult. All tyres flat, rather rusty so moderate restoration job but were OK until outgrown.
4) Another restoration job. Boy's bike, yellow,no gears, suit age 7-9. Both tyres flat, rather rusty.OK until outgrown.

Also 3 sets lurid-coloured tyres, unused. Blue,to fit bike no 2. Pink to fit bike no 1, also green (same size)

Email Roger.Franks@btopenworld.com

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All articles welcome for inclusion in next issue of Pedal Press to be sent in MS Word by email or disc to the Editor

© Merseyside Cycling Campaign 2005