Pedal Press Spring 2003





All articles welcome for inclusion in next issue of Pedal Press to be sent in MS Word by email or disc to the Editor by April 2003.

2002: the agonies and ecstasies of cycling campaigners

2002 has been a year of exciting change. There has been development in our cycling engineering network, with much progress in Woolton Road, a new crossing over Queens Drive, more dropping of kerbs, red surface dressings, road humps and even a roundabout suicide lane on Woolton Road. This latter was implemented with all the best intentions, but if you wish to stay away from my workplace at the Royal, please ride in the middle of the lane on this roundabout, not the outer edge as indicated.

This is of course a matter of cyclist education. Colin Langdon, when not oscillating between the ends of the United Kingdom, and Neil Kay, have shown immense enthusiasm in the development of a cycle training scheme whereby the nuances of road craft can be taught in a series of escorted lessons. This highly imaginative initiative was the subject of a grant application, unsuccessful in its initial guise although a resubmission is to be encouraged and long may the enthusiasm be sustained.

Part of training involves instilling enthusiasm and this was the ethos of the Biketime rides, established in 2001, run by Travelwise and Merseyside Cycling Campaign and continued in 2002. Some of the ecstasy and agony involved these rides. A heady summer day on the Wirral at Eastham Rake, a rainy summer one in St Helens, joyous nonetheless. A little agony in the only ride ever cancelled, blown out by gales in October, perhaps a victim of the very global climate changes that cycling might address. Much agony in our ride from Halewood station. An otherwise delightful day, greatly marred by stone throwing hooligans on the loop line, inexplicably targeting a group of over 50 cyclists, including children. Sadly this reflects a view of the status of cycling, at least on a local level. Perhaps such viewpoints are distilled from promotions within a parochial, consumer culture and might be changed by similar tactics, developed by cycling campaigners, a topic I raised at the Conference.

Don Thompson suffered much agony in the stress of organising the highly successful Cycling Campaigners Conference in November, a marvellous opportunity for dialogue, networking and evolution of a wider understanding of the key issues facing rational transport choice.

The future of urban transport is perhaps crystallised in the pivotal and highly controversial introduction of congestion charging by the Lord Mayor of London. This is clearly of great interest to those who travel on foot or bicycle, whereby air quality and safety of progress may be enhanced. It will also hasten the passage of buses and motor cars (though hopefully not too much!). Perhaps there are messages for Merseyside for the future.

To find your way on Merseyside you may well use the helpful, blue cycleway signposts that are now widely evident. Our MCC logo has been restructured along the familiar graphics of these signs, in a variety of arrangements, but we are having a little difficulty deciding on the best format and this will form the basis of further discussion at our meetings.

These meetings of the Cycling Campaign continued to be well attended in the cosy back room at the Vernon pub on Dale Street. All are welcome to come along and indeed you are encouraged to do so: nothing succeeds like enthusiasm, but we do need the numbers. There are great things achievable for cycling but without your input we cannot achieve the very changes to the cyclists’ environment that you need and which form the basis of the Mersyside Cycling Campaign’s mission statement, ‘working for safe cycling in a traffic calmed environment’.

So come along to the Vernon; meetings are at 6pm on the third Monday of the month, there is good food and real ale. And you can and will make a difference.

Derek Gould

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Cycle Campaign Conference Report

As the last delegates headed for home in November 1997 after the Autumn CCN Conference some one was heard to say “we must do this again sometime”.

Colin Langdon had shouldered most of the organisation of that event. So when the “core” of the MCC felt that we should volunteer to the CCN Steering group that we could host the Autumn 2002 Conference I promptly held my hand aloft, or so that’s what they told me!

The day very was quickly upon us and with all arrangements in place we gathered in the Ship and Mitre pub on Friday night to bid a welcome to delegates arriving for the full weekend programme.

It was good to the see friendly faces of like-minded people some who I recognised from the Spring Conference. After a number of beers and a lot chatting people left with their hosts or stumbled across the road to the Travelodge.

Coffees were being served at 9.30 the next morning as delegates started arriving.

The Conference was officially opened by Liverpool Councillor Warren Bradley, Chair of Regeneration, himself a cyclist, he gave a warm welcome to delegates who had come from as far as the highlands of Scotland to the lowlands of Avon.

The first speaker of the day was John Cocker. John has been a Wirral Councillor for 22 years and has been involved in Merseytravel and the North West Regional Assembly. In his presentation he explored the links around transportation, environment and planning.

CTC Director since 1998 Kevin Mayne discussed the fall of cycling since the 1970s but told us it was still the 5th ranked physical activity, albeit mainly for leisure. There was a serious need to address cycling to school. With 15 million potential users but with only 800,000 regular cyclists, there was a serious need to identify the reasons keeping these potential cyclist off the saddle! Identifying some of the perceived problems as road danger, stranger danger, a lack of consistent message and a lack of cycle culture. He stressed there was a serious need for cycle training but said this was now starting to be addressed by Cyclewest and others.

Merseyside Travelwise Coordinator Sarah Dewar gave us all a comprehensive overview of how she has developed the structure and funding of Travelwise. Success in securing bursary awards for officers has enabled development in progressing travel plans for schools, universities and business. Forming an integral part of the Local Transport Plan in promoting an enthusiasm for walking, cycling and public transport making people think twice of how they make that journey.

With his roots in the London Cycling Campaign Roger Geffen is the CTC new Campaign and Policy Manager. With an increase in travelling times of up to 15% he suggested that cycling would be the best buy. Feeling upbeat about the flavour of cycle campaigning he wants top develop a participatory approach and cites training and benchmarking as important in developing this.

The Slower Speeds Initiative had Paige Mitchell beating their drum with an excellent and thought provoking presentation. Suggesting that the cycling fraternity, although above average intelligence, were a fragmented group, but had an important role to play in campaigning for speed restraints. She invited delegates to consider the private benefits of speed versus the social cost of speed and that 5% rise of crashes per 1 mph increase in speed.

The ‘A’ Team were well represented with Marcus Jones from AEA Technology, Steve Essex recently appointed Cycling Development Coordinator for the North West with his colleague, Mark Strang from the South. Marcus introduced Steve and Mark as part of the (that) ‘A’ team who will be coordinating cycle development and acting as specialist advisers. Assessing LTPs and preparing progress reports for their areas would also identify best practise.

Liverpool Cycling Officer, Cathy McNulty, spoke of the way it was 5 years ago and the way it is today. Cathy outlined the future strategies to progress both policy and the infrastructure.

Peter Latarche, Chair of the CTC, reiterated that campaigning is at the centre of the group’s ethos. Peter was keen to promote a new project being launched shortly called Velo Info-the project will give all cities online access to promotional literature for cycling. This project has been funded by EU grants.

The day concluded with a presentation from the Manchester Cycle Campaign on their campaign to have bikes allowed on trams.

Our Chair, Derek Gould concluded the afternoon by thanking all the speakers and organisers of what had been a stimulating and upbeat programme of lively presentations.

For those who stayed for the evening and the ride around the city on Sunday they may remember we even had the sunshine to complete what was a great weekend of campaigning.

Don Thompson

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Muesli-Eater writes from Liverpool

Ornithologists corner

Keen bird-watchers will have noticed the introduction of Toucan crossings on major roads. These intelligent creatures have red & green men, red & green uni-sex cyclists , and a remarkable brain which detects all sorts of traveller and tries to please them by turning green at every available opportunity.

Following complaints that Toucans at Upper Parliament St & Aigburth Rd/Lark Lane were slacking on the job and giving too much time to motor vehicles, the City Councils' very efficient Traffic Signals Unit has “looked at the maximum traffic green values at the Aigburth Rd junction and have decided to decrease several timings. This will have an effect on the cycle time of the junction and reduce the overall waiting time for cyclists. Also at the Upper Parliament St Toucan we have introduced a new strategy to “double-cycle” the crossing to reduce delays for both pedestrians and cyclists.”

OK, that means they fixed the lights in our favour.

Potholers corner

Winter is a good time for the keen potholer - make sure you show it by reporting potholes on 233 3001. Do the same with out-of-order street lights, but don’t hold your breath. As a result of private sector efficiency it now takes 20 working days to fix a light, against 2-5 days when the Direct Services Organisation did it.

Pedal Press Power

In the last issue I reported my troubles with the downhill cycle lane on Upper Duke St. Since publication I have had no trouble at all…

Magic Roundabout

Huge excitement on the Cycle Campaign Network conference Sunday Ride when a bunch of campaigners from all over the country were shown the cycle lanes on the Woolton Road Roundabout at Childwall Park Avenue.

The visitors were unimpressed, particularly after several near-misses while test-cycling round the roundabout.

The feeling is that if you stay in the cycle lane to go Right you will get zapped by drivers exiting the roundabout.

However there have been no reports of any difficulty by regular users, so it must be OK…

It might help if (unlike most drivers) you signal your intentions as per the Highway Code.

Parking News

Following my article in the last issue about motorcyclists using “our” stands in the City Centre, I can report that no-one has reported being inconvenienced.

Sheffield stands have appeared in Smithdown Road, including one right outside the Aquarium shop. Now I can leave the Rolls at home when I want a bag of fish food.

The wobbly stands at Tesco in Aigburth Road have been fixed.

Park Gates

Some time ago the tatty old steel gates at Windermere Terrace leading to Princes Park towards Princes Boulevard were removed “for repair”. Environmental Maintenance have agreed not to put them back so as to allow easier access for cyclists.

Capital Punishment

The Liberal-Democrat Executive Member for Leisure & Culture recently addressed the Cycling Campaign Network Conference on how wonderful cycling was and what the City was doing to support it. To prove it the Lib-Dems then slashed the already miniscule capital programme for cycling.

This is the party which, when in opposition, tormented Labour into devising a cycling strategy & helped to get it approved as Council policy.

The problem for us is that some capital schemes are very poor value for money, achieving few benefits for cyclists and none for other road users. Also, the programme tends to be milked to help finance other highway projects and maintenance.

Last year Liverpool claimed to have actually spent £246K on cycling. Even if you accept that figure as being correct, the City of Culture only spent 70 pee per head on cycling, the lowest figure of any of the 5 Merseyside Districts. St Helens spent £1.31, Knowsley £1.23 and Sefton £1.82. Only the Leisure Peninsular (Wirral ) came any where near, with 87 pee per head.

Regeneration News

Fellow eater of healthy breakfast food Jean Hill reports that Wiggins have abandoned their plan for a regenerative Road alongside Otterspool Prom. Apparently they are now thinking in terms of a large shop. This would be a perfect development for the City to have on the Garden Festival Site.

Sefton Park News

Friends of Sefton Park have at last got their mitts on the Traffic Study for Sefton Park and its ring road. The City have spent 2 years producing the study, which was also meant to inform the debate on whether or not to open the Iron Bridge to traffic. The long delay might have been caused by the Council getting rid of too many of its traffic staff.

The study involved an extensive survey of households in the areas around the park (not including riff-raff from Liverpool 8 who might have skewed the study by their antisocially low car ownership).

The respondents (75% of whom were car owners) supported traffic calming and lower speeds in the park area, wanted good access for cycling and pedestrians, cycle parking facilities in the park, and notably a third used it for cycling in.

The study should have asked “how much extra Council Tax are you prepared to pay for all this?” in which case the conclusions might have been very different. A shock result of the study showed that motorists were speeding round the park. Bet you didn’t know that..

We can now look forward to several decades of masterly inactivity.

Advert for Asda

Some time ago I commented on the magnificent cycle parking facilities at the new Asda on Smithdown Road. The stands are well used by cyclists. My better half reports favourably on their brand of Muesli so get down there on yer bike & buy while stocks last.

Peer group pressure

The CTC runs a project to encourage cycling officers from different authorities to get together and look at each others’ work so they can learn from each other. The project also compares performance. Sparing you the details, Liverpool rated very highly on promotion of cycling and integration with public transport (well done all involved), and worst out of 10 on Leadership.

The report on the exercise very coyly avoids going into why we were rated so badly on leadership. My vote goes to the absence of political leadership, the current administration having withdrawn from the Cycling Forum.

Indeed

"What is it about the British that makes them so good at writing reports, and so scared to put them into practise?”

Professor Carmen Hass-Klau writing in Local Transport Today.

"It’s all about the Dunkirk spirit dear, make a complete balls up then ask the voluntary sector for help."

Utilitarians rule OK?

Did you know that only 20% of car trips are made for commuting/business purposes?

40% of bicycle trips are made for commuting/business purposes.

Crime corner

I see that the Porter outlet at Old Swan has opened, or should I say the car park with a Tesco attached. Has anyone succeeded in doing their shopping there with a bike and lived to tell the tale?

Richard Hebden

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Sefton Section

Formby Forum

Less well attended than previous fora, and those that organise it would be interested to know why and what it is cyclists want from their forum. Perhaps, to quote Elvis, “A little less conversation, a little more action”. Those who did attend got a glimpse of the Action Plan which is to deliver for cyclists in Sefton - not an actual read of it you understand but at least reassurance of its existence! The theme of the meeting was maintenance and cleansing. Unfortunately only the maintenance department representative was invited; different departments you see - very complicated. The good news is that you get a further opportunity to quiz a representative of the cleansing department at the next Sefton Cycle Forum on Thursday 27th February in Litherland Town Hall on Sefton Street from 6.30pm

Switch Watch

The future of the Switch Island Junction became clearer at the public exhibitions in November. The Highways Agency unveiled their plans which include traffic from the M57 being taken to a signal controlled junction in the centre of the roundabout, to turn left onto the A5036 or right to the A59/M58. Also accommodated is a connection to the possible Thornton Bypass.

But what about cyclists I hear you cry! No clues on the glossy leaflet or on the lovely big computer simulation. But as one of the reasons (the last one actually) for the selection of the preferred option is that it ‘provides the best opportunity to improve pedestrian and cycle facilities around the junction’ there must be, and is, a plan, and it’s this: a dedicated cycle path running both ways around the West side of the junction - the opposite side to the motorways. To go from Maghull southwards this would necessitate cyclists crossing the A59 on Northway and back over on Dunningsbridge Road and Ormskirk Road. A complicated solution to a tricky junction and whether it works or not will depend on the detailed engineering works. In any case there are no plans to force cyclists onto the path and cycling on the main carriageway will remain legal and dangerous!

Free Cycling in Sefton

With funding from the Department of Transport’s Cycling Projects Fund free bike hire will soon (end of February 03) be available throughout Sefton: Southport & Ormskirk Hospital, Bootle Leisure Centre, Dunes Leisure Centre, Ainsdale Discovery Centre, Seaforth Fitness Connection and the new Crosby Leisure Centre. The objective being to encourage cycling as a healthy activity. Linked to this initiative there are going to be organised rides led by volunteer cycle leaders (who are also MCC members).If you’d like more information contact Chris McBrien or Steph Boote on 0151 934 2355.

And finally thanks to everyone who did their bit, large or small, within Sefton in 2002. I am only able to skim the surface on many issues but if you think I need to dig deeper on any issues please get in touch on peter_roome@bigfoot.com.

Peter Roome

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Wirral News

The Wirral Group is alive and well and continues to beaver away on our members’ behalf. We’ve been so busy recently that have managed to miss PP deadlines! Each second Monday of the month we meet at the home of Carol Fitzpatrick and discuss cycling issues for two hours; so do come along and give Carol advanced notice by ringing 653 3887. Readers of the Wirral Globe might be forgiven for thinking that everything is fine in the cycling world on our side of the Mersey when they read the article about the “Council’s plans to boost the borough’s cycle network by investing £1 million on 50 kilometres of cycle routes linking residential areas of high unemployment and low car ownership with key employment sites”

Wirral Council’s cabinet member for transport and infrastructure, Councillor Harry Smith, said “Transport schemes which support economic development and regeneration are seen as a priority by the local authority” “ These cycle routes will provide improved access to jobs and offer facilities to travel by a healthier, greener and low cost alternative”
Alas, if only it was true!

Following our regular attendance at the Wirral Council Engineers Cycle Forum we have been obliged to write to the Borough Engineer in an attempt to redress the situation.

In the letter MCC raises four points for clarification

  1. The Cycle Campaign originally understood that the Forums deliberations were part of the Council’s decision making process and that the views of the Forum were formally reported to an appropriate Committee of elected members. This would not appear to be the case, and in any event, we certainly receive no formal feedback from Members.

  2. The adopted terms of reference of the Forum include No.2: “ to determine a strategic approach to providing facilities for cyclists”. The present ‘strategy’ seems limited to providing cycle routes between areas of unemployment and potential employment locations, to meet “Best Value” targets measured in kilometres. This is an extremely restricted objective whose benefits will be limited to very few cyclists.

  3. The two concerns above have been compound in our view by the sudden announcement by the officers at the last Forum, that the 2003/2004 cycling budget had already been decided!

  4. On detailed issues, we are pleased to learn that the Saughall Massie By-Pass will have a cycle lane either side, but note there is no safe resolution for cyclists from Upton wishing to turn right northwards for Saughall Road

We also look forward to receiving your views on these matters prior to the next Forum.(Larry Dixon 0151 653 2010 Slarrydixon@aol.com)

Roland Graham is also setting up a special Working Group (to include other interested parties) to try and persuade the council to adopt a strategy which will deliver cycling networks instead of ad hoc routes. John Cranny continues to monitor planning applications and is increasingly successful in ensuring provision of cycle parking on new developments. Applicants are sometimes now including these facilities when first submitting plans, so John will be out of a job soon!

Encouraged by Colin Langdon a study of cycle parking provision at Wirral’s railway stations has been instigated.

We also have representation on the Wirral Country Park Advisory Group in developing an action plan to deal with poor surfaces and conflict between users (including horses) in the Park.

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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

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When a crime (number) does pay…

The cheery greeting from “Merseyside Police” was to the point - “STOP - get off your bike!” Despite the official-looking flashlight that shone in my face under the roadbridge on the Trans Pennine Trail (TPT) in Broad Green, Liverpool, I did begin to question the identity of my two interrogators - both in plain clothes, the ubiquitous tracksuits - as one cuffed me across the face and the other gently swung a length of scaffolding pole against the bridge wall...

These erstwhile custodians of the peace initially seemed quite keen to separate me from my cycle, but my reluctance to comply with their requests - and I suspect the lack of obvious gears and accessories on my commuting cycle - allowed me to escape from their attentions.

I called the police when I reached home to initially check that my friends on the TPT were not genuine members of the Merseyside Police, and was told to make a formal statement at my local Police Station. I was there given a Crime Reference Number - 188539P/02/CR/001 - very impressive and was told that my statement would be followed up by the Boys in Blue. Within half an hour, my ‘theft’ had been downgraded to ‘attempted theft’, the ‘assault’ remaining on file. And that was that...or nearly so!

As an honorary TPT Steward - I travel the same section of the TPT on a daily basis and keep an eye on my patch - I reported my exciting journey home to Louise in the Barnsley TPT office, who commiserated with me and forwarded a copy to the local Liverpool police liaison officer. I suggested that the open archways in the walls of the twin-tunnel bridge should be bricked-up and that maybe all bridges should have protected lighting installed. It being late October, I then went on holiday for 3 weeks...

As I cycled to work on my return in November, I was amazed - and delighted - to see the 4 side entrances in the bridge had been closed with steel fencing bolted to the walls. When I checked my emails, there was a message from the Liverpool Council Officer responsible for care of the TPT in Liverpool announcing his intention to block up the entrances in the walls, and pointing out that lighting was a complex problem of ownership, tenancy etc - but that thought would be given to the matter in the future.

The moral of the story - a crime (number) can be made to pay if you follow up any unfortunate incidents with the TPT officials - and the TPT made safer for us all to enjoy in the future. If everyone reports acts of violence or vandalism, the weight of evidence will eventually provoke an official response - so don’t give up - get even!

Roger E Thornington

Roger is a Hon. TPT Steward and MCC member.

Ed. Contact nos. for Police for a non-emergency is 0151 777 5390 or giving information confidentially is 0800 555 111. Constable Dave Riley , Road Safety at Walton is keen to hear of any incidents of this nature, contact him on 0151 777 4676

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The American Road Dream in Michigan

In the summer of 2002 I went on a Science Fiction writing course called Clarion with twenty other people in East Lansing, Michigan. Science Fiction is the literature of the future. In the future, in at most three hundred years, there will be no petrol-driven cars. I took the challenge of not using one at all for the six weeks of the course.

In many places, cycling is a fashion statement (not so much a political statement), or a means of public exercise, rather than a mode of transport. It's got to look good. There were cycle shops in the malls, but they were too clean and shiny. What I needed and what I got was a rent-a-wreck. Fortunately Clarion is a long running institution. Along with typewriters, it owned three bikes left by previous students. These were in poor shape, but did just the job.

Once I got to know my way around, I found that East Lansing is a typical US strip development: five miles of random shops, malls and car parks along both sides of a four lane highway. The hypermarket of choice was two miles from the university halls. Ideal. One of my fellow students pointed out that you could tell it was the "west" because the traffic was friendly. They stop for you to cross the road. With this in mind, I set off for my first trip to the hypermarket.

Pretty soon I was in trouble. The cars, or shall we say, the bulldozer-sized truck objects which most prefer to drive, got quite close. They cut me up even when I was cycling in the gutter against the curb. American roads are not narrow and they were obviously doing it on purpose.

In England, when you get grief like this, you learn to cycle further from the curb, in the middle of the carriageway if necessary and if there are two lanes. That way, when cars pass, they give you room.
No joy. Their horns blared at me. I got the finger from passing drivers. I pushed my speed up to at least twenty miles an hour and kept pace with the flow of the traffic (the road was at its default state - heavily congested). The rage on the road was hotter than the air temperature; every car was cool with air conditioning. I withered. I've heard of other cyclists in America regularly being spat at or having stuff thrown at them from passing cars.

When I turned onto the slip road for the hypermarket, my momentum carried me the full width of the car park to the door. I went inside into the air-con and collapsed between the aisles for twenty minutes with an asthma attack for the first time in years. I'm not going through that extreme exercise again, I told myself.

I discovered that to cycle along the highway, cyclists use the pavement. This is lousy because it is all broken up with tree roots, slip roads and ramps for the cars to get across easily, even though they are all four-wheel drives now. There are so few people walking that no one objects. You just take it easy and wobble your way around and over the obstacles.

This was an experience of the American people. The American state, however, has quite a different attitude. America is home to the most progressive activists in the world. This is the country which rammed through the Americans with Disabilities legislation: all disabled people must have equal access to public transport as well as toilets. Once busses and trains have been forced to overcome the problem of taking on wheelchairs, carrying bikes poses a relatively minor issue.

The public bus networks in the American cities I visited were astonishingly good. They were cheap and run all the time. Most now carry a simple bike rack on the front which easily takes two bikes, even ones loaded with buckets and mops for a guy to go downtown and wash windows.

I commend anyone who is interested in cycle campaigning to read how it is done in America, because what they have evidently achieved against much greater odds than we have here is remarkable. Here is the link to the "League of Michigan Bicyclists": www.lmb.org/ You can follow it through the advocacy links to documents on the US Department of Transport pages which make much better reading than that from our own government.

I did last the whole course without touching a car. I even led two other students six miles through the uncharted suburbs to the course director's house for a barbeque. For shorter journeys, to the bookshops and cafe, I bought and used a pair of roller blades. I haven't tried them in Liverpool yet, for fear of looking silly, and of cyclists getting behind me, ringing their bells, spitting and hurling abuse at me.

Julian Todd

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National News (courtesy of the Cycle Campaign Network)

Helmet Research published

The DfT Road Safety Unit published its literature review of cycle helmets in December 2002. Carried out by the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne the team were asked to report on all research corresponding to case control studies into the effectiveness of cycle helmet; helmet standards; promotion and legislation; and the barriers and facilitators of their use.

The review concludes that there is scientific evidence that helmets are effective at reducing head, brain and upper facial injuries in cyclists especially in children. The DfT researchers themselves admit shortcomings in this work without compromising their judgement on the evidence collated.

The uncompromising verdict that these studies provide ‘considerable scientific evidence’ in favour of helmet use contrasts with a much more reluctant admission that there is ‘some evidence’ helmets may have resulted in less cycling, although the evidence for this is no less substantial and much more controversial.

Some do and some don’t-what are your views about helmet use? Comments to the Editor. Bicycle helmets - A review of their effectiveness. Road Safety Report No 30. Tel. 0870 1226 236

Did You Know?

Parking Fines

Approximately £225 million pounds was raised from the motorist in London in 2001-2 from car parking charges. The spending on decriminalised parking fines is limited by law, but it can be spent to benefit cycling.

Cycle facilities at stations.

Martin Linton MP, requested estimates of the number of railway stations in england with cycle friendly facilities and also what measures are being taken to encourage such facilities. David Jamieson, DfT minister replied that this information is not held centrally, but the SRA encourages all train operators to provide appropriate facilities. A number of members have been auditing the stations across Merseyside to see what, where and how the cyclist is being provided for. This work is being carried out on behalf of MerseyTravel.

Cycle ownership and use

The National Travel Survey shows that during 1999-2000 17% of households own one bicycle, 13% two, 6% three, 3% four and 2% 5 or more bicycles. This shows a total of 41% of households owning at least one bicycle. 14% of people said they cycled at once a week during 1998, 1999 and 2001, and 15% in 2002

The Most Favourite Invention

Listeners of Radio Four recently unanimously voted the bicycle their favourite invention ever. The bicycle received 70% of the votes in the results of an online survey. Peter Lewis of the London Cycle Campaign observed “What was odd is that the actual bicycle usage is way lower than the high proportion of this vote. It illustrates an urgent need for the government to work on the next steps-getting people to use those bicycles!”

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Merseytram

Liverpool City Council have welcomed the announcement by the government which gives the green light to a tram system. Transport secretary Alistair Darling has approved funding of £170m towards the £225m cost of Line One of the proposed Merseytram scheme.
Councillor Peter Millea, the Councils Executive member for Regeneration said," Combined with the recent news of the major retail development, this will enable the city centre to be an even better place to live, work, study and shop in”.

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Frank Lewis Cycleway

Recognising his contribution to progressing cycling on the Wirral a memorial stone has been laid at the beginning of the Birkett Cycle route, there will also be a bench with a plaque sited at the Eureka Café.

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Way to go - Escape through Runcorn

Ever found yourself wanting to cycle further afield and being forced to cycle around the race track express ways in Runcorn?
Here are a few suggestions to get you through that car-loving place.

On the bridge you can either cycle on the pedestrian facility (on the left side of the bridge going towards Runcorn) or stay on the road, if you do this please make sure that you stay well out from the side of the road so that traffic has to go into the other lane to overtake you, if you stay in the gutter they are sometimes tempted to squeeze past, putting you at risk.

In Runcorn you have two major choices:

Heading towards Frodsham.
Take the 1st exit off the bridge, signposted for the Old Town, at the ‘T’ junction turn Right onto the road parallel to the expressway (not into the Old Town). Continue up this road until the cenotaph where Left onto Moughland Lane, straight over at the traffic signals onto Clifton Road. Cross the busway and take the track immediately after it to the right, stay on this track, to bypass the junction and continue parallel to the expressway, cross the minor road at the roundabout to rejoin the road near the railway bridge. Continue to the end and turn right to Frodsham.

Heading towards Daresbury.
Take the first exit off the bridge and turn left at the ‘T’ junction to cross canal towards the old town. Take the first right into High Street, pass the bus station and as you leave the town you go up a short hill, turn Left near the top of the hill onto Thomas Street, continue until nearly at the water then right onto Stanley Street, through the closure at the end then ‘wiggle’ straight on onto Old Quay Street, don’t use the swing bridge then fork left onto Astmoor Road through the industrial estate, stay on this road , fork left onto Warrington Road, left at the roundabout to stay on Warrington Road. At the end you have to join the main road for a short section before turning off at the first roundabout to go where you will.

We would like to publish other local routes in PP and on the website. Send them in to the Editor or the Webitor Contents   MCC Home

Photo Opportunity

Southport Station The last bike remaining on the (now removed) cycle stand in Southport Station. It was not clear whether this bike had been abandoned or whether its owner was hoping for a free respray!

If you have any interesting, amusing or informative photos please send them to Peter Roome peter_roome@bigfoot.com

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Dates for your diary

Wirral Cycling Group Ride Programme

Take a leisurely Sunday ride around the quiet lanes of the Wirral, discover places of interest and beautiful views. Meet at 10.45, start at 11.00am The programme of rides is:

DATEMEETING POINT
9th March 2003Irby Village at the junction of Mill Hill Road / Thingwall Road
13th April 2003Arrowe Park at the Red Rooms (Golf Club)
27th April 2003Tam O'Shanter, Boundary Road, Bidston
11th May 2003Liverpool via the Woodside Ferry at 9.15am
25th May 2003Brimstage meeting at the Craft Centre
8th June 2003The Wirral Bikeathon (in aid of Leukaemia Research).Contact Malcolm Creek Tel 0151 632 5520
15th June 2003West Kirby Concourse in the rear car park
29th June 2003Thornton Hough by the playing fields on Neston Road

Conferences, meetings etc.

DATE EVENTDETAILS
13th March 2003Better by Bike ConferenceOrganised by Groundwork North West at the Science Museum Manchester. Free. Telephone 0161 237 3200
27th March 2003Cycling and Health ConferenceOrganised by the CTC and Nottingham University. Special rate for campaigners £25. Contact 0115 951 4132 by 27/2/03
10th May 2003Cycle Campaign Network Spring Conference 2003Saturday 10th May 2003 Church House, Westminster, London. See www.cyclenetwork.org.uk/conferences/conferences.html
14th-22nd June 2003National Bike Week 2003For more info. contact Nick Harvey 01243 543 888 or email HQ@bikeweek.org.uk
25th-27th July 2003Welsh Cycling Festival, Rhayader, North Walessee www.cyclefestwales.org.uk
27th July 2003Spokefest Spectacular 2003Organised by Leicester Spokes. Email roger@spokefest.freeserve.co.uk

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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 by April 2003.

© Merseyside Cycling Campaign 2003