Isn't it strange how things seem to occur together - no sooner had I read the glossy brochure for Home Zones' , then I was hearing how a government sponsored report was suggesting that cul-de-sacs were a thing of the past and that access was the new thing - access for cars? Access for burglars? Certainly not access for the vulnerable road users and children who wish to "play out" in the street:
The Children's Play Council has launched the HOME ZONES' initiative - a major drive to reclaim residential streets for the children who live in them. At the same time, campaigns are being launched to see a 20 mph speed limit set in all residential areas, following successful pilots schemes around the country. Home Zones' is being supported by Transport 2000 and the Child Accident Prevention Trust to show that - "With a little imagination, a small shift in resources and a straightforward shift in the law, many residential streets could be transformed from car corridors to valued outdoor spaces...." Common sense? You might think so, but although most local authorities are inundated with requests from local residents to enforce lower speed limits in their streets, they are being held back because under English law they have no such powers, with most reductions needing Central Government approval. The new initiative calls for this legislation to be changed and for funding for pilot schemes, alongside the promotion of more widespread 20 mph speed limits.
This is echoed by a call from the Cycle Campaign Network for local groups to add their support to a nation-wide call for lower speeds, including main roads. London Cycling Campaign has already launched a campaign for a blanket 20 mph zone in London - arguing that an enforced lower speed limit would make life safer for cyclists and reduce the need for separate cycling facilities.
Merseyside Cycling Campaign will be considering our response to both these issues in the coming weeks and any members who wish to comments should get in touch as soon as possible. JS
The second in a series of a campaigner's travels
The latest cycle campaigners conference was organised by spokes and took place in Edinburgh on the 8/9th May and your secretary was despatched to fly the Merseyside flag. The conference started with a day touring the facilities for cyclists in Edinburgh, two of the three tour leaders were City Council Officers who were keen to show off what they had achieved.
We were shown a wide variety of facilities from well lit, clean, former railway lines to hundreds of advanced stop lines (well it felt like hundreds, they are everywhere), it is council policy to put them in at all junctions whenever any work is done, to segregated paths through historical parks (the Meadows) including Sheffield stands well distributed throughout the city.
One of the recent projects has been the installation of "Green Ways" these bus priority measures included the reduction of car lanes to the width of one car regardless of how much space is available, with the rest of the road available to buses, taxis and cyclists (see photo on our home page). The city is providing these green ways on all the radial routes into the city centre.
The tour of the City was followed by a presentation from the Council officials responsible for cycling provision. A lively discussion ensued especially with reference to how some of the advanced stop lines had been designed.
We were then treated to a civic reception where senior councillors entertained us and we were formally welcomed to the City, interestingly most of the councillors present were members of Spokes the local campaign group.
The social whirl continued from here with a ceilidh held at a local church hall. The band were superb and some traditional Scottish flinging occurred.
The conference proper started early the next Morning. It took the form of a series of presentations aimed at updating and informing campaigners. The star turn was given by David Begg who chairs the City Council's transport committee and is also one of John Prescott's wise men on integrated transport (see separate article).
Interesting sessions were held on cycle map making and how Spokes run their own campaign, which is radically different from how we function. I shall be feeding the information from these presentations into the Campaign's committee to see if we can use some of their ideas to improve our performance.
I would recommend attendance at these conferences to anybody interested in active campaigning, you come away inspired to do more than you know will be possible. Just seeing what and how other campaigners can be illuminating. The next conference will be held in London in the Autumn.
One of the best sessions at the Edinburgh cycle campaigners conference was given by David Begg, who chairs Edinburgh City Council's Transport Committee, is a Professor of Transport Policy at Aberdeen University and on the team producing the Governments White paper on Integrated Transport. David is an extremely knowledgeable and charismatic speaker, if you have the opportunity go and listen to him take it, its an experience.
The paper is due to be released in early June and if half the things that were mentioned in David's presentation are in it, it will be of great assistance to the cycle campaigner. It would appear that the paper will be quite radical in that it will positively encourage Local Authorities to remove car borne traffic at the expense of public transport and vulnerable road users, including cyclists. It was even suggested that if Councils do not take positive action as suggested by the white paper then their transport funding will be radically reduced. It is hoped that some form of encouragement for quality partnerships with bus companies will reduce the number of cowboy operators and antique buses on our roads.
The were lots of other things mentioned, not all of which are quotable, but the white paper should see the turning of the tide for the car-oriented person, especially those using their cars to commute. For example, it is almost certain that Councils will be given authority to charge for non-residential car parking spaces with the money generated to be used solely for improving transport.
OK all you Net Surfers out there - in case you haven't already found us check out our website on
Plans are well advanced to upgrade to a really useful and professional site as soon as we get time to finish writing all the blurb so keep watch. Anybody wishing to contribute should email Colin at the address on the page.
PS If you don't understand any of this don't worry - its all computer-speak.
Its all happening out there! A general mood of optimism seems to be sweeping through Cycle Campaigning at present. Maybe its the Spring air and the promise of rides in the sun, but maybe its to do with the way things are slowly, but surely turning our way. The recent report on the first year of the National Cycling Strategy gives a cautiously optimistic review of how the Strategy is being taken up around the country, and includes a picture and short comment on Liverpool's own strategy. The report lists a several pieces of important work which are due to complete around now, and many more later this year. This all looks very hopeful, now if we can make it stick and persuade National and Local Government to put their money where their mouth is....
Merseyside Cycling Campaign has recently become affiliated to the Cycle Touring Club - an August body which has thousands of members and lots of useful resources. One of the immediate benefits is that we are able to offer MCC members Third Party Insurance cover for the meagre sum of 2.00 per annum. This is a well known and respected insurance cover which makes sense for any serious cyclist to have, and we would commend it to you. Existing CTC members automatically have this cover and need not apply.
To take advantage of this offer, please send a cheque for 2.00 per member to be insured, made payable to CTC to Carol FitzPatrick, 18 Shrewsbury Road, Oxton, Wirral, L43 1UX as soon as possible. Please list the full names of those to be covered.
The entire Millenium Cycle Network is going to cost LESS than a single mile of new motorway. Has this been checked by the Value for Money wallahs??? Small Ads
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Pair of 1998 DIADORA Trivex 2 shoes plus LOOK cleats - boxed Size 9 or 43 50 ono.
Patrick Leonard 0151 421 1046
St Helens has an active Green Transport Forum which meets every month and has a good cycling element. Your editor attended the May meeting and we can now advertise the following events (see below). Any St. Helens members out there who would like to attend these meetings would be warmly welcomed - the meeting take place in the afternoons and are very friendly - there is even tea and coffee. Interested parties should contact the editor (address on page 1)
Wednesday 10th May
Council employees who work at the Town Hall and the adjacent Wesley House building will be offered a free breakfast if they ride to work.
Saturday 13th June "5 Mile Challenge" bike ride.
This event has been cancelled.
Sunday 14th June
"5 Mile Challenge" at Sherdley Park, 1pm to 4pm.
The St.Helens & Knowsley Hospice in partnership with the Council and other local organisations are holding this event aimed at children up to the age of 16. Local schools have been contacted in order to encourage the children to participate in the event. A prize draw will be had for all participants which will include prizes of a bike and other cycling accessories.
One of the great paradoxs concerning Merseyside is that the area with the least input from the Campaign is the most active in providing state of the art traffic management. Maybe we should just give up everywhere else and hope that they get on with it too?
What we really NEED now is for a Sefton member or two to agree to receive all the top notch stuff they put out, and to make the occasional comment of support, or maybe offer some constructive criticism. This wouldn't be a terribly big work load, and your committee would certainly find the time to help you get sorted out. If anybody feels called to this important task, would they please contact me at the address on the front page?
Many thanks - John Sharp
Neil Kay, one of our Liverpool based members is currently exploring the possibility of publishing a Merseyside Cycle Map. There isn't room for much this time, but anybody who is interested in this should contact the editor, who will print more info in the next issue (Yes a surplus of articles has occurred!!!)