Pedal Press Autumn 2006





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


Rights and privileges

A right is a ‘just claim’ or ‘legal title’ (Collins New English Dictionary). Rights are generally attained through common practice (e.g. public footpaths) or concerted action (e.g. women's vote). Risks may be balanced against socio-economic benefits, or requirements for legislation: there is a right for citizens (where, when and however permitted) to drink alcohol, to holiday in distant lands, to smoke, to cycle and to drive.

Once the preserve of a wealthy few, the cost of car ownership has fallen in real terms: the right of possession is now embodied in affordable lease hire schemes. A right to drive without excessive cost is implicit in an apparent freedom to mount ‘fuel blockades’ in response to rising fuel prices. A right to speed has been manufactured by media propaganda and, for some, justifies campaigns against safety cameras. Hence fuel tax and speed restriction are unpopular, unfair infringements of the motorist’s rights. Government in turn limits the implementation of ‘polluter pays’ policies, and regulates the use of safety cameras. The politico-industrial complex is thus well served, and the hidden environmental costs are subsidised by the legacies of future generations.

If motoring is now a right, what of cycling?
A privilege is ‘a special right or advantage enjoyed by a person or class; an advantage or favour that only a few obtain’. The initiated would agree as to the special nature of this right to ride, and also to its status (at least on Merseyside) as the preserve of the few; but why so few? While of great health and convenience benefit to the rider, cycling also indirectly benefits others through reducing pollution, congestion, noise, and overall costs of healthcare.

The traditional western gym-addicted fashion guru should then logically turn to cycle-centred chic. Yet this transport ‘no-brainer’ perishes on its environmental rock: it fails miserably to drive the fossil fuel industry. As if to reinforce this point, a tyranny of marketing has led to today’s motor-hegemony in which cycle promotion is left largely to the individual’s creative imagination.

MCC members and others have now formed a vanguard of cycle training: this is an exceptionally powerful promotional tool, particularly when applied to the young. Might cycling become repackaged as sexy, fashionable and young? Might it steal iconic status from Mercedes, Lexus and Pininfarina, as has been achieved elsewhere in the EU? Cycle training has started the ball rolling: could cycling organisations now collectively muster the funds to advertise this unique privilege to all?

Derek Gould

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Muesli Eater writes from Liverpool:

Riding Furiously:

I enjoyed Dr Franks’ full and frank confession of her criminal activities in the last Pedal Press (viz: cycling on Church Street pedestrian area).

Of course her real mistake was to be “riding slowly & carefully”. Had she been “riding furiously” (as the 1844 Town Police Clauses Act so colourfully puts it), she would not have been caught.

I am a bit hazy on when the ban is in force – something like 10am to 6 or 7pm each day, but I stand to be corrected. Outside those times you can cycle through the area.

The City’s officers have made encouraging noises about implementing the proposal contained in their own Cycling Strategy. This proposes permitting cycling before 10am and after 4pm on Monday to Saturday and all day Sunday.

Of course, the developers for the Paradise St Development Area [PSDA] made out, for the public inquiry that cycling within their pedestrianised area would be permitted at all times. They were supported by the City Council, who apply different rules to their own territory.

It looks like PSDA have already started to backpedal on their promise, and we can confidently expect the Council to do the same. Cycling will be permitted in the College Lane and Seel St areas (which are due to be pedestrianised) before 10am and after 4pm every day of the week, including Sundays.

The assumption is that in the middle of the day it’s too crowded to cycle anyway.

A “promise” has been made by officers to introduce an Experimental Order permitting cycling on the pedestrianised parts of Paradise & Lord Streets before 10am & after 4pm every day of the week. But this Order has yet to be published.

I suspect that that there will be a chaotic profusion of different rules applying to different bits of pedestrianised areas, depending on who owns them and when the rules were made.

The other point is that the ban is blithely ignored – not just by doctors, teachers, and local government officers, but by the entire cycling community whenever crowd levels permit it. A relaxation would allow the police to focus their attention where it’s actually needed, e.g. on “furious riders”.

ASBO corner:

A number of instances of Attention Seeking Behaviour have cropped up in my In-Box recently. Apparently a gang of unwashed youths has been prowling Sefton Park attacking cyclists. Bottling has occurred in the Wavertree Rd/Durning Rd area.

This reminds me of another respectable female acquaintance who was strolling by the lake when a couple of infantiles with a bike rammed into her and started making personal remarks. Her response was to chuck the kids’ bike in the lake, which seemed to sort out the problem.

The ungodly have always targeted cyclists, pedestrians, buses, trains, even cars where there is a suitable bridge from which to hurl missiles. There is a special place in Hell reserved for them, involving, I like to think, being smitten repeatedly in the hinder parts with a very large bicycle pump, yea, verily, right to the very hilt.

Here on earth one just has to keep alert at all times and watch out for signs of trouble. I always give any form of pedestrian a wide berth if I can for starters.
Assaults with missiles etc should always be reported to the Police (get a crime number). Its important that the Police know where the current hotspots are.

The reality is that most cyclists, being impatient as well as resilient creatures, are so relieved to escape their tormentors that they rarely go out of their way to report an incident.

You could also argue that the real threat to cyclists comes from the terrorists who roam the highways in their cars, wittering ceaselessly into their mobile phones instead of paying attention to the road in front of them.

I’ve got a little list, they’ll none of them be missed….

Humpspotting:

The City is proposing to traffic calm Thomas Drive (the dual carriageway outside Broadgreen Hospital). This forms part of the planned Radial Route 7 (City Centre to Finch Lane cycle route).

I am not sure why they want to do this. Their cycling strategy doesn’t identify the road as a priority for traffic calming.

It actually says that calming is needed on the racetrack through Wavertree Technology Park and on Finch Lane.

Committee News:

Keen readers of this column may remember that MCC have been tussling with the City over proposed Pay’n’Display parking in Old Haymarket, which would have damaged part of their proposed Cycle Route Network.

After yet another appearance in front of the Highways committee, the Council accepted the conclusions of the MCC Cycle Audit and rejected a 9-page officers’ report objecting to our objection.

The proposed 2-way cycle route has therefore been preserved, though it cannot be implemented until a new crossing at the bottom of Churchill Way South Flyover has been built.

Well done Elanor Smith, Rebecca Lawson & Mike Smith for persevering with this.

Whitelining News:

Six years after the National Cycle Route was laid out on Upper Duke St, the traffic lane markings have been corrected on the uphill side approaching the lights at Rodney St.

The markings retained 2 traffic lanes as well as the cycle lane, when there was only room for one traffic lane. The result was that cars would run into the cycle lane to form two queues of traffic.

Moaner of the Month Award Winner Peter Bates pointed this out a year ago, and the offending lane has now been removed.

Obese cyclists will be pleased to observe that the “Thin Cyclists Only” cycle lane at the Hope St junction of Upper Duke St has now been widened to a full 1.5metres.

Richard Hebden

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Peddle Post...Welcome to Bike Courier Delivery Evolution

Michael Pritchard brings a new eco - friendly, pedal powered option in the courier sector:

As our society relies more and more on technology and people interact less, I want Peddle Post to find a way of bringing a small slice of humanity back into what is often an affronting urban existence. Peddle Post is a bicycle courier delivery service, that will be the fastest and friendliest service in a pollution free manner. It will be mainly serving the business community, delivering documents and small parcels that cannot go by email.

Peddle Post will provide solutions to some of Liverpool’s environmental problems related to many forms of pollution such as air, noise and smell. The more couriers on bicycles there are, the less cars there are and therefore the less carbon dioxide emissions. More bicycles mean less noise and fumes. Bicycle messengers not only pollute less but also take up less space on the road and do less damage to the roads than cars. More bicycle couriers mean less traffic and fewer road repairs. As a result more bicycle couriers mean better condition and streets for all road users including motorists.

I want Peddle Post messengers to be ambassadors of goodwill for the city of Liverpool. i.e. help tourists with directions and information, etc. and eventually, when I am more established in the market, I would like to link up with the emergency services so we could provide help in delivering information in case of a crisis [like the earthquake in Kobe in Japan, where bicycle messengers were the only way to transport information].

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LoopLine Larks

A big thank you to all the MCC members who participated in the workday to clear litter and vegetation along the Loop Line, at Belle Vale, on Saturday 30th September.

As the new Sustrans Maintenance Manager for this route, I felt that the volunteers were particularly enthusiastic and hard working on Saturday. Ken Sutton & Ian Williams, part of the three-man maintenance team, were also there on Saturday and were particularly keen for me to pass on their gratitude for a job well done. As you will probably appreciate the maintenance of the Loop Line is a demanding role that involves a fair degree of reactive work. This tends to result in a situation where important but non-essential jobs that we want to get around to don’t necessarily get done – until they become a problem. The opening up of the Belle Vale Rd section and removing the tunnel effect created by overhanging branches from trees on either side of the path was one of these jobs.

The work we did on Saturday may have seemed a little destructive but I assure you there are sound reasons for doing it: when the bird-nesting season (April – Sept) ends, we like to cut back the trees and vegetation in readiness for spring. This lets more light reach ground level making the path more pleasant and less threatening for users and also lets more light reach low lying vegetation. Which in turn encourages a greater variety of flora to grow – hopefully including wildflowers. These conditions also create a better variety of wildlife habitats thus promoting an enhanced diversity of fauna.

At entrance points to the Loop Line it is particularly important to provide an inviting environment to entice people to use the route - or at least not put them off with a dark, overgrown passageway. Fear for personal safety is the most frequently cited reason people give for not choosing to use the Loop Line – opening up sight lines makes users feel more secure.

Another problem we have on the Loop Line is the number of issues relating to mature trees. Along the route we have a huge number of very large mature trees with dense canopies that are a constant worry. We need to be aware of trees that are dead, diseased or considered to be threat to residential or commercial properties adjacent to the route. Tree related issues are the cause of the greatest number of complaints by residents living along the line. Most of the trees that fall into this category are sycamores, which have a limited ecological value. Other problematic trees are elm, willow and poplars. Over time, I am keen to reduce the number of these trees, especially those close to residential properties, and encourage species such as oak, rowan, hawthorn, hazel, buckthorn, alder and fruit trees. With the exception of oaks, these trees tend not to grow to a great height, reducing the potential for damage, yet support a variety of wildlife. With this long-term aim in mind it is important to remove saplings of the less desirable species in order to give other tree species a chance to become established. Your work on Saturday was very important in this respect.

The other valuable work that the MCC volunteers carried out, and have often helped with in the past, is the removal of litter and glass from the path. As you can imagine this is a regular and neverending task for the maintenance team. Because they have to cover ten miles of the route, as well as keep on top of many other scheduled jobs, they never have the time to be as thorough as they would like to be. Again this is why we value the work done by volunteers so highly – volunteers, in particular those on the MCC workdays, are fantastically conscientious and sections of the route get a really thorough cleaning.

If you would like to comment or give feedback on these activities or have suggestion for alternative activities for volunteer workday, please let me know – see contact details below. Alternatively, if you enjoy this kind of work, have some free time and would like to be further involved in voluntary activities along this or any other Sustrans routes, please contact Mike Dagley, the new Sustrans Volunteer Ranger Coordinator for the North of England. Many of you will have met Mike on Saturday. Mike’s contact details are: tel. 0161 923 6050 or email:mike.dagley@sustrans.org.uk or paul.thomas@sustrans.org.uk

So thank you again for all your hard work in keeping the Loop Line a pleasant place for thousands of Merseysiders to enjoy but also thank you for promoting walking and cycling – the most sustainable of all forms of transport and leisure.

Paul Thomas

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The Fragile Cyclist

I grew up in the sixties, in a household of smokers and a world where smoking was the norm. As an elective non-smoker myself I was in an unpopular minority, and I found many places to be no-go areas for the distasteful air and the stench left on my hair and my clothes. Most pubs and the upstairs of buses were out of the question, and I lived in fear of having to sit in the smoking carriage of a train for lack of seats elsewhere. I had colleagues who I hoped wouldn’t engage me in interesting conversation, for if they did, I might need to endure their ghastly offices longer than I would wish, unable to speak up for fear of offence.

I never thought that even in a million years it would ever change, and yet it has. Faced with overwhelming scientific evidence, the government has legislated against smoking. Pubs will soon be much more pleasant places, and trains, buses and my work environment already are. Those people who are half my age might not see my point, because they didn’t see it before. But the change is revolutionary, it really is.

Only there is another foulness still in the air. Rates of asthma soar and the lungs of the world breathe with increasing difficulty. Certain factions will hurry to tell us that car traffic is only a small part of the greenhouse gas problem, but as a cyclist, it is the part which concerns me most, as not only does it choke me, but it tries to run me down too.

I am in an unpopular minority again. Most cyclists, like me, would love to see the Stern report signal a turning point in public opinion which would challenge the government to adjust transport policy towards sustainability, not only through cleaner cars (which is all they talk about) but through cutting car journeys through a basket of fair measures, proof against hitting the poor hardest. Cycling is regular exercise which both contributes to a reduction in congestion and also benefits health. It has the potential to impact significantly on a range of government targets. And the fewer cars on the roads and the more cyclists, the less risky cycling would be and therefore (all research shows) the more popular it would become. Is there just a small possibility that in the not too distant future, I will cease to be in an unpopular minority of batty transport rebels?

Not too long ago I would have said no, not in a million years. But since the announcement of the smoking ban I have dared a new hope. Maybe I’m not so batty after all.

See more at: www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/independent_reviews/stern_review_economics_climate_change/sternreview_index.cfm

Maxine Cain

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A tale of woe…

Despite feeling very bonded with my bike, I realised it was getting crankier and squeakier by the day. Using it regularly to cycle the 6 miles to work, it seemed like time to treat myself to a new one. Off to the bike shop, lots of discussion about cycling needs, right kind of attachments, finally make the decision. A sparkly aluminium coloured Marin Urban bike. Impatient as always, I took it off in the back of my car to Wales to visit the Centre of Alternative Technology and tested it on a couple of rides exploring some back road routes. Perfect! 2” bigger wheels than my previous bike made all the difference. My go-faster bike!

Two months later, whizzing along the promenade on a sunny morning I knew me and my bike had bonded. It felt a comfortable part of my everyday life. Imagine, then, my shock when preparing to go to work the next day, it suddenly wasn’t there anymore. Disbelief, I must have put it somewhere and forgotten, I’d see it in a minute, of course it was there really. But it really was gone. Someone, staying overnight, had left the conservatory door open. A gift … to someone.

The police were fairly prompt in taking details but were fairly pessimistic about it being retrieved. I was convinced the insurance would never pay out when the door had not been locked. I rang to ask, explaining the situation. “No problem. How much did your bike cost? Send us your receipt for your stolen bike, get a quote for a new bike (in case it has gone up since), plus a quote for the other bits you haven’t got a receipt for, like the waterproofs” In just over a week I had another new bike, an 06 model of the Marin bike stolen, even more beautiful!

The insurance company covered the full cost £600 (bar my excess). I’ve lost my 17% no claims discount, which now means an extra £10 per month, but their efficiency in dealing with it certainly helped in the upsetting, unsettling situation of being burgled. My bike is included in my house insurance with the Nationwide Building Society.

My new bike also came with details of electronic tagging. For £9.99 I registered my bike and received an irremovable (once installed) hollow plug to put in the seat post and an irremovable warning sticker. The firm is Identify UK Ltd 01482 222 070 or www.rfidsystems.co.uk to make tracking/retrieving of stolen bikes easier. The police tell me they have a large number of found bikes in their compound because people are not reporting them. Maybe tagging like this will create confidence in the system and give better results.

Elizabeth-anne Williams

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Just what the doctor ordered!

The Cycle for Health project is a cycling initiative based in Liverpool coordinated by the North Liverpool Primary Care Trust in partnership with Cycling Projects. The main objective of the scheme is to encourage adults to ride a bike and cycle their way to a healthier lifestyle.

The project encourages and provides an opportunity to cycle for people that are currently not active enough to benefit their health, who may not have cycled for a while, or cannot cycle at all. Also the scheme has equipment to meet the needs of individuals with varying abilities.

All cycle sessions are led by qualified Cycling Instructors and Assistant Cycle Leaders. Utilising Liverpool’s excellent green spaces and the Liverpool Loop Line, the project offers a safe and secure environment, away from busy roads, to provide the ideal setting for a relaxing, leisurely cycle ride.

To help overcome any barriers to participation, all cycling sessions include the loan of a bike and helmets, and tuition are provided free of charge.

The project has had many success stories since it started during the summer of 2005. Many of it’s participants have gone on to buy their own bikes after regaining the confidence to get back on a bike.

The scheme has also had participants take part on the Liverpool—Chester bike ride, something they would never have dreamed of prior to their involvement in the scheme.

The project also identifies potential cycle leaders and provides an Assistant Cycle Leader course as a progression element for those who want to get more involved.

The project currently operates in North Liverpool area, but thanks to it’s success so far, it will be expanding across the entire city of Liverpool by the summer 2007.

If you would like more information about the scheme or how you can take part, please contact.

Gavin McLaughlin – Cycle for Health Coordinator 0151 234 5074 gavinmclaughlin@liverpoolpct.nhs.uk or Jeanette Smith – Walk/Cycle for Health Administrator 0151 234 5064 jeanette.smith@liverpoolpct.nhs.uk

Gavin McLaughlin

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Sea Cycles ahoy….

Cyclenauts set sail from the Liverpool Museum on Sunday 17th Sept. in the company of a variety of other voyagers. Most were decked in nautical disguises, although a company of Sea Cadets was rather more obvious. The voyage along the long lost ‘POOL of Liverpool is now in its sixth year. This is helping to remind the City of its maritime roots and the basis for the economic growth. Taking place at the start of European Car Free week, also means that there is a sustainable and non - polluting message.

Getting the message that cycling is safe, healthy and environmentally friendly is part of the role of "Sea Cycles".  Many Local Transport Plans are washed with a veneer of sustainable rhetoric. Perhaps now that GLOBAL WARMING is at last firmly on the POLITICAL AGENDA, there might be a more serious effort to provide a cycle friendly network that will attract short distance car trips, and so reduce local congestion and pollution.

Put the date in your diary for next year.   Don your life jacket and join the cyclenauts for the SEA CYCLES Parade in 2007, Liverpool's 800th Anniversary of it’s Charter from King John.

Lewis Lesley

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Together cyclists will tackle climate change

The Government has awarded the UK's national cyclists' organisation, CTC, almost £300,000 to raise awareness of climate change amongst cyclists. At the heart of the project will be a thought-provoking short film to be shown this summer in cinemas and on other media.

  CTC has been getting cyclists onto their bikes for 128 years. In 1896, just as the first cars were venturing onto the cyclists' roads and CTC members were equipping themselves with the new pneumatic tyres, Swedish chemist Svante Arrhenius realised that carbon dioxide released from burning coal would lead to global warming. Today the science has been confirmed - over the last two hundred years levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere have increased by 30%. Just under a third of the greenhouse gas emissions that we produce come from transport, households and industry each.

  CTC Fundraiser, Chris Peck, said: "Cyclists are already ahead of the game - every trip we make on the bike rather than the car does something to reduce our own impact. As we and the rest of the population understand more about the challenge of climate change we will begin to do more about it. Climate change has been growing in importance over the last few years as more and more people realise the seriousness of the challenge that we are facing. To tackle climate change everyone will have to play their part - from the Government down to kids riding their bikes to school."

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Finding Your Way Around Merseyside is Going to Get Easier

Following the pioneering lead of Merseyside Cycling Campaign in establishing Liverpool’s first cycle map, the rest of Merseyside is soon to get in on the act with a family of maps covering the whole area.
The Merseyside Local Authorities and Merseytravel have a joint strategy to increase cycling. The Merseyside Local Transport Plan 2006-11 commits to an increase of 10% in cycle trips over this period and to help achieve this, cycle marketing and information delivered through the joint TravelWise campaign, is essential.

First off the printing press is the new Wirral map. Thoroughly updated and reprinted based on A-Z maps, it shows Wirral's 60km of cycle routes. Hot on its heels was the first ever St Helen’s map, on a clear OS base showing the developing network of routes on and off road. The maps show marked cycle routes and also suggests quiet routes for cyclists to choose, avoiding difficult junctions for instance. They include leisure and commuter routes and a host of other useful information to inspire infrequent cyclists and old hands alike. The response to both maps has been excellent, with hundreds of requests for copies in just the first few weeks.

Two further maps are currently in production for Sefton. To order copies of the Wirral or St Helens maps or to register interest for the Sefton maps, please email info@letstravelwise.org

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Cycling Solutions changes gear

Cycling Solutions [CS] continues to go from strength to strength. They are now planning to have trained 7,000 to 8,000 children to level 2 of the National Standards in their first year.

A feather in the cap for this fast moving new company. More than 30 specialist instructors have been recruited by CS to carry out the training, which will involve up to 13 schools at a time, 10 times a week.

  Many more young people are due to be trained in future years as part of the project, which forms a key part of the Local Transport Plan’s Cycle Strategy. The new national standards for cycle training were introduced last year in recognition that training children on roads has the best impact on increasing safe cycling. The training helps equip children with the skills to use roads safely and to judge situations so they react appropriately when out on bikes.

If you are interested in improving your cycle skills or indeed would like to learn to ride a bike safely CS can offer a limited number of ‘free’ adult lessons. Further details phone 0151 234 9484 or email info@cyclingsolutions.co.uk

Neil Kay

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Sefton Section

The next meeting of the Sefton Cycle Forum will be on the 15th November at the Eco Centre, Southport, at 6.30 pm. To submit items for agenda ring Val Hough on 0151 934 4206.

The Gormley Statues at Crosby may stay a little longer but if you have not made the ride out, I would encourage all to do so. A recommended route from Liverpool is out along the Leeds Liverpool Canal and through the Rimrose Valley Nature Reserve and then via the back roads to Crosby Marina. The Crosby Leisure does a good bacon butty and a cup of tea, if you have time!

‘Age Concern’ in Southport organise rides fortnightly for the 50 plus age group of cyclists. They meet at the Dunes Leisure Centre on the Esplanade and pedal for an hour out, stopping for refreshments before heading home again. Organiser Les Jarvis, who has been leading the rides for a few months welcomes you all to join them. If you would like to hear more about the rides ring the Age Concern Office on 01704 542993.

The following letters appeared recently in the Crosby Herald:

Put cyclists first

CYCLE use has increased in recent years, but fear of dicing with heavy traffic holds back many more potential cyclists from switching away from their cars.
Riding on pavements is one solution but clashes with those on foot.
If our main roads had cycle paths along each side, everyone would be happy, perhaps with the exception of those who stand to lose their bit of free parking on the grass verges outside their front garden.
Those who decide local policy, councillors, cycling officers and technical services, are aware of the issue of the missing cycling paths.
Our group has provision of these paths as a main aim and lobbies these decision-makers repeatedly for their construction.
The Local Transport Plan for Merseyside has a huge budget that runs into the hundreds of millions, yet cycling only gets buttons.
Isn’t it now time to put cyclists first and switch some of this spend into getting them off the pavement, out of the traffic and onto their own separate bit of tarmac?

Peter J. Owen,
Secretary, Path-N-Pedal, Pressure Group (NW) for Pedestrians and Cyclists.

Pay your way

In reply to Peter J. Owens (secretary, Path –n-Pedal Pressure Group) letter in the Crosby Herald, October 12.
I would like to point out that pedal cyclists are amongst the most dangerous, arrogant and law breaking group of road users there are. They are a constant source of irritation and frustration to us car drivers. They think that red lights at junctions or pedestrian crossings do not apply to them. Mr Owen recommends that ‘riding on the pavements to stay safe is one solution’ What a totally irresponsible comment. I would point out that this practice though a constant source of danger to pedestrians is both selfish and more importantly illegal.
Car drivers pay dearly for using the roads. Car tax, petrol tax, even our insurance premiums are taxed. We have to pass a stringent driving test and we are licensed and regulated. Our cars require documentation to prove they are roadworthy in respect of tyres, brakes, light etc. and should we commit an offence we are punished heavily with sanctions such as penalty points or a ban. None of these things apply to the cyclist. Mr Owen whinges that ‘The local transport plan for Merseyside has a huge budget running into hundreds of millions, yet cyclists only get buttons’. Have you ever heard the saying ‘If you don’t put anything into the pot you don’t get anything out.’
So I would say this to all cyclists. Until you start acting like responsible road users and start paying your way, then get off my bit of road which I pay dearly for and stop whinging that nobody is giving you any consideration.

Mr W. G. RASHLEY,
Name & Address supplied.

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Wirral Group News

Wirral Council Cycle Forum met on 20th June. Cllr. Phil Gilchrist introduced the new Cycling Officer, Mark Osborne, who has worked with his predecessor, Cathy McNulty. Also introduced was Cllr. Jerry Williams. Representatives of MCC (Wirral Group), Cycling Project for the North West, CTC, and Wirral Cycling Campaign attended.

The first item was a presentation by a design team member on the detailed implementation planning for the Port Sunlight Station to Clatterbidge Hospital cycle route. This scheme was delayed from 2005/6. A number of amendments were recommended by the cycling representatives. However, fundamental reservations were expressed by them about the principle of spending a sum which has rocketed to £150,000 on this isolated route, which is unlikely to generate many cyclists at this time. They considered that such funding should be used now to re-enforce the programmed District Cycle Plans/Cycle Networks (including that for Wallasey) on which detailed planning was about to start.

Substantial funding for the second phase of the Wirral Way, together with a match-funding bid from the Mersey Waterfront, is being sought. There are good arguments for completing these improvements, but there is only a small benefit for the urban cyclist. Improvements for cross-docks cycle routes between Wallasey and Birkenhead are to be developed this year, and will hopefully link with the Wallasey network.

The Council appears unwilling to "ring-fence" cycle funds allocated for the implementation of cycle networks (to prevent their use on "ad hoc" cycle schemes which may emerge from time to time). However, the Cycling Officer does attend Highways "Forward Planning" meetings so that the cycling perspective can be introduced at an early stage of proposals.

The Council is about to publish its revised Wirral Cycle Map, and will be distributed to schools. Proposals for a range of cycling facilities on Bidston Moss (former land-fill site) are advancing, now that ownership issues have been resolved. Cycling as a sport is to be introduced to the Borough's schools. Health initiatives have been undertaken by the Cycling Officer together with the Road Safety Officer for Cycling.

Your MCC representatives welcome the positive relationship with the Council on cycling matters, but continue to be concerned about the slow progress in developing cycle networks. Comprehensive route facilities for the urban cyclist are paramount in our view, and will need to be introduced before safer cycling and a reduction in congestion and pollution can become a reality.

Roland Graham was out promoting the work of the MCC at a Green Fair organised by the Wirral Green Network these are regular events with the next one on 25th November 2006 at Westbourne Hall, West Kirby. from 11.00 till 4.00.

Andrew Hodgson and Chris Beazer

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St Helens and Knowsley News

The following is from the recent Knowsley Cycle Forum:

Knowsley’s Cycle Forum took place on 2 November and Neil Kay attended to report on the excellent work being carried out by Cycle Solutions in Knowsley schools. The other major talking point was the Knowsley cycle map which we have been told will be produced in the coming months and the St Helens and Wirral maps were discussed. It was suggested that the Wirral one was of a better quality than St Helens’ version as it followed the Geographers A-Z format and had better accuracy.

Also discussed was the proposed application for funding to create a new cycle/pedestrian route using the old Huyton Mineral railway line which runs from the back of Huyton over the M57 and down across the M62 to the east of Tarbock Interchange. The proposal included the reopening of Potters Pitts Bridge over the M62 with (I think!) the path finishing up at Dacres Bridge Lane in Cronton where roads are quieter. This proposal is based upon the Highways Agency being successful with their planning application to reshape the Tarbock interchange of the M62/M57/A500 which is suffering from congestion as they are contributing to the cost of the project. From recollection the planning permission has not been granted yet. Steve Carson showed us some of the preliminary plans and they seemed quite promising especially as the M62 and M57 in my opinion create a significant barrier to anybody not using motorised transport. However, they are off road routes like the loop line and while good for leisure riders, I am not sure how practical they will be for those wanting to commute or travel when it is dark. It does not appear to be clear at this stage what provision if any will be provided for pedestrians and cyclists in the plans to reshape the Tarbock Interchange.

The next forum meeting will be in around 4 months time.

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

© Merseyside Cycling Campaign 2006