Dynamo radio interview on “car dooring” and the “Dutch reach”

On Tuesday Dick was interviewed by BBC Radio Lancashire about Cycling UK’s new campaign to increase awareness of the dangers of “car dooring” – i.e. being knocked 1930s-Fairycycle-9off your bicycle by someone opening a car door in your path.  Cycling UK wants to see the “Dutch reach” adopted – a technique taught in the Netherlands, where you turn your whole body round and open the car door with your furthest hand, thereby increasing your chances of seeing passing cyclists.

The clip is here.

PS to those of you who may receive the impression that Dick is in his eighties when he refers to “cycling for 65 years” . . . he is, in fact, including his Fairycycle years.

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Objection to planning application for 71 dwellings on Pathfinders Drive, Lancaster

Dynamo has objected to a planning application (reference 17/01074/HYB) for up to 71 dwellings on the land at Royal Albert Farm, Pathfinders Drive, Lancaster (just off Ashton Road).  This is our submission:

1.  The only cycle route to/from this development is the one to Piccadilly via Cherry Tree Drive.  If you wish to cycle into town, you have to use Ashton Road – a busy road with fast-moving traffic, which is not likely to encourage sustainable transport in the new development.  For cyclists heading south, there is the additional hazard of the high wall of the Jamea Al Kauthar College; it’s unnerving to find yourself being forced against the wall by traffic overtaking too close.

2.  A development of this size will increase traffic on Ashton Road and Ashford Road, thereby increasing road hazards for existing cyclists.  Ashford Road is part of the signposted cycle route to Lancaster University and is well-used.  Moreover it is single-lane just before it joins the A6, so the last thing you need is more traffic.

3.   This new development offers nothing for cyclists.  Section 3.6 [of the Transport Assessment] mentions “an aspirational cycle route north of Pathfinders Drive that would connect with the existing facilities to the north, and in to the city centre.  It is anticipated that future connectivity will be improved once the route is established”.  How exactly will this happen if developments like this make no contribution?  The County Council is strapped for cash, so they’re not going to do it.

4.  The developer’s Transport Assessment calculates an accessibility level of 21.  This puts it in the “medium” (20-25) accessibility bracket . . . by 1 point, so it’s practically low accessibility.

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Analysis of A6 accident data

Paul has analysed the data Dynamo recently received from Lancashire Constabulary on accidents around the A6 involving cyclists for the years 2009 and 2016.  (We had previously received data for earlier years – you can view them here.)

Paul’s analysis is here.  In summary, as well as the total number of accidents falling between 2009 and 2016, the number that occurred on the A6 also fell – in fact by a greater amount, as these as a proportion of the total also fell.

So, good news, although it is impossible to explain the reason for the reduction.   Reversion to the mean?  Fewer cyclists using the A6?  Greater awareness by drivers?  Even a possibility that the signs put up by the County Council are having an impact?

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What about George Street safety?

Dick has had a letter published in the Lancaster Guardian today:

For over 10 years, Dynamo has been raising the danger of illegal rat-running in Lancaster city centre, from George Street into Spring Garden Street – a frequent and daily offence – with Lancaster Constabulary.

Its response has always been that it lacks the officer time to monitor and prosecute offending drivers.  A response that, in the light of recent cuts to the number of police officers, Dynamo found reasonable when we discussed the matter again on August 18 this year.

However, on the very next day two patrolling police cars, one unmarked police 4×4 and a larger Police Support Unit van at Jubilee Tower, were observed on roads around the Abbeystead Estate monitoring the shoot.

Dynamo accepts that there is a potential public order issue between the shooters and hunt saboteurs, but there is also a long-standing and ongoing road-safety issue on Spring Garden Street.

This gives the impression that there is police officer power enough to protect the business of the UK’s ninth richest man, with a net worth of £9.52 billion (Sunday Times, UK rich list) but not the safety of ordinary folk crossing roads or cycling in the city centre.

Dynamo is asking Lancaster Constabulary to reconsider its priorities.

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Greyhound Bridge

IMG_0973When work begins early next year on the Greyhound Bridge, the surrounding infrastructure will also need to be reformed for the proposed 23 weeks of the works.

Dynamo member and veteran cycle campaigner, Matt Hodges, has done a brilliant forensic job on the details of these changes in order to  ensure that cyclists will not be inconvenienced more than necessary while the work is in progress.

Matt has already commented on a plan showing the proposed cycle routes around the Greyhound Bridge and is following this up.

Local cyclists owe Matt a big ‘Thank You’ for all his painstaking work over the years . . .  and not just on the Greyhound Bridge.  Any local government document affecting cyclists gets the same rigorous treatment.

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Mass transport system

In the Hoge Veluwe National Park in the middle of the Netherlands there are white bicycles that you can use for free within the park itself (which, of course, has an extensive cyclepath network). This reduces the number of cars and the need for hard infrastructure, and it keeps the park peaceful and visitors active.

It also seems to be popular; I had difficulty finding a parking space for my own bike at the Kröller Müller Museum in the afternoon, but when I left the racks were practically empty. As I  cycled back through the exit at the end of the day, I found out where they had all migrated to:


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Quernmore Road shared-use path

After the   l o n g   wait for the Quernmore Road shared-use path, it is disappointing to note that the contractors have “forgotten” to put a dropped kerb in at the Willow Grove end.  An email has been sent to Highways.


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