Let’s all move to Edinburgh!

Spokes, the Lothian cycling campaign which covers Edinburgh, reports in its latest newsletter that Edinburgh City Council is going to get round to spending 10% of its transport budget on cycling.  It’ll happen in small stages – 8% this year, rising to 10% in 2017/18.  Obviously Edinburgh is very different from the region covered by Lancashire County Council, which  includes a large rural area as well as urban spaces – but you can’t help but be envious.

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Dynamo press release on road safety

Dynamo has issued a press release following the publication of Department for Transport figures showing an increase in casualties of all kinds on Lancashire’s roads in 2014 (14% increase in people killed or seriously injured).  We have also written to County Councillor John Fillis expressing our concern that nothing appears to be happening on making the A6 south safer for cyclists and pedestrians.

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Bike hire in Lancaster

Leisure Lakes Bikes in Penny Street, Lancaster, now offer bike hire.  Bikes are available from 4 hours to 7 days and come with accessories.  The bikes are unisex Specialized, Dahon and electric bikes.  You can reserve one by phoning 01524 844389 durinig shop hours.

In Morecambe, Sunshine Cycle Hire operate out of Coopers Amusements at 202/203 Marine Road West directly opposite the promenade .

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Lancashire’s road injury figures at five-year high . . . and the A6

The Lancaster Guardian recently carried a report stating that Department for Transport figures for 2014 show that there was a 14% increase in the number of people killed or seriously injured in Lancashire (not including Blackpool and Blackburn) as against a rise of 4% nationwide.  (This is for all road injuries – not just cyclists.)  At the same time, there was an increase of 2.4% in motor traffic volume nationally.  Lancashire County Council are looking into the figures, and Dynamo will be asking for more details.

Road injuries had been declining in recent years, but, as we reported last year, there has been a sharp increase in the number of cyclists killed and seriously injured in Lancaster.

As regards the A6 south of Lancaster, anecdotally the new road markings outside the BP garage near the Boot & Shoe have not removed the danger to cyclists.  We have heard of a few near misses at that spot recently, so we will take this up with the County and/or police.  As for the long-awaited changes to road junctions and markings on the A6 . . . well, changes of personnel at the County Council are just one factor in the delays.

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Planning application for 77 houses on Royal Albert site

Dynamo has objected to the planning application on the grounds that, as it stands, it will increase traffic along well-used routes.  Below is the text of our objection.

“I write on behalf of Dynamo (Lancaster and District Cycle Campaign) to object to this application on the grounds that it is detrimental to the County Council’s stated aim to promote cycling and other forms of sustainable transport.

“Our specific reasons are:

“- The new development will increase traffic along Ashton Road. The section between Haverbreaks Road and Cherry Tree Drive is a well-used cycle route between the city centre and Booths on the A6 and Lancaster University. It is already a somewhat hairy ride in the rush hour – particularly when heading south, with the wall of the Islamic College on one side and lorries on the other.

“- This and other developments will also increase traffic along Ashford Road, which is another well-used cycle route to the University. This road is unsuitable for more traffic. At one end there is a bottle neck and at the other a blind bend.”

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Bike theft arrests

The Lancaster Guardian carries a story this week about the arrest of an alleged ring of bike thieves.  This is part of a European-wide police investigation into high-quality bike thefts.

The problem of bike theft crops up regularly at Dynamo meetings, so it is good to know that bikes can sleep safer in their sheds tonight.  However, that still leaves the opportunistic thefts of very ordinary – but, to their owners, essential – bikes from outside shops or backyards.  It’s worth getting a good lock, ensuring your bicycle is always secure (even in the shed), and getting it postcoded.

Has anyone got any advice for others to minimise the risk of having a bike stolen?

(For Dick’s story of bicycle theft revenge, see the December 2008 newsletter.)

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Problems on the shared-use paths

There have been reports in the Lancaster Guardian recently of a few pedestrians being harassed by speeding and/or inconsiderate cyclists on our shared-use paths.  It’s easy for cyclists to go into “what about” mode – “what about that pedestrian who walked out in front of me on the A6 and knocked me off?”or “what about that uncontrolled dog?” – but it is true that there is some poor and thoughtless cycling going on.  So: “What about that group cycling three abreast?”

This is Dynamo’s response:

It is very unfortunate that a minority of cyclists are making the use of the shared used path uncomfortable for other users through lack of consideration. The basic rule of using shared use paths is to alert people to your presence and give way to more vulnerable users, and the vast majority of cyclists do so.  Pedestrians too can help the situation by walking towards the side of the path, rather than down the centre, which allows all users more space, and dog walkers should keep their dogs on a short lead, as the thin extendable leads are an unacceptable hazard.

The Caton to Morecambe shared use path is one of the major successes of the improvements at the end of the 1990s, as shown by the many people who enjoy this route, and so are able to travel without the dangers presented by cars. Each year, there are more than 1.2 million deaths across the world due to crashes involving motor vehicles and tens of millions more people are injured. Lancaster itself has some of the country’s most dangerous roads for pedestrians and cyclists, according to the Road Safety Foundation. When problems arise we must give them some thought and try to remedy – certainly the shared use paths are not for racing and cyclists should travel at a suitable speed for the conditions at the time.

However, we should avoid adopting the thinking of “cycling versus pedestrians”, when we should be working together to improve the provision of off road routes. It may be the case that existing shared use paths should be widened where possible to cope with the usage. In a way, this is a problem that we should all embrace, that so many people are choosing healthier and more sustainable ways to travel, and is one to bear in mind when we look at extending the shared use path across Heysham Moss, to ensure that it is wide enough and suitable for all users: pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders.

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