Space for Cycling Ride – Report
The undemanding ride on 22nd April around Huddersfield Town Centre in the sunshine was covered in great style by the Huddersfield Examiner and included a personal interview.
Unfortunately we didn’t fill the streets with cyclists, and our numbers were little more than those that might be found on a weekly club ride. What was nice to see, however, was such a strong showing from children with their parents (six of them).
It is early days for the KCC, and it was probably expecting a lot for a big turnout for this event. It does have to be remembered though, that small numbers mean that Kirklees Council (Politicians and Officers) will find it easy to ignore road improvements for cyclists.
At the moment we have a Highways Department that shows no signs of wanting to engage with us on developing a long-term cycling strategy, and politicians who have given no commitment to increase the proportion of cycling expenditure from the local transport fund.
New Website Address
In an effort to make it easier to access we’ve got ourselves a new website. Its address is easy to type in and easier to remember – www.kirkleescyclingcampaign.com
Kirklees Highways attempts at cycling infrastructure in Colne Road, Queen Street South and Queensgate have featured in previous newsletters and are also on www.cyclescape
The council have not responded to these concerns despite it being made aware of them for many months.
In the light of this the KCC committee have proposed the following:
– That cyclists are recommended to use the carriageway along Colne Road instead of the shared use pavement.
This is usually safer as the pavement doesn’t have sufficient sight lines for a cyclist travelling at 10mph or more. Using the carriageway prevents the potential collision between cyclists and HGV’s emerging from their premises. There have already been reports of ‘near misses’.
The exception to this recommendation is if the cyclist is prepared to travel at walking speed (4mph). Adults with children, for example, may decide/prefer to ride on the pavement if they are cycling very slowly and with caution.
This signed cycle route calls into question the judgements, not only of Kirklees Highways, but also of the people behind the safety audit that allowed the implementation this measure.
Meeting Request – latest
On 1st April KCC requested a meeting with Kirklees Highways to make a presentation of the group’s Cycling Network Maps. It was hoped that this would be the beginning of a process to develop a comprehensive Cycling Network plan in Kirklees. The DFT will shortly be making this a requirement for every council in the country (CWIP).
The latest news is that there has been no meeting invitation from Highways and it seems to indicate that they do not want to work with KCC.
This is a particularly depressing state of affairs. Kirklees Council seem to be content with the status quo and feel no need to improve local roads and encourage more people to cycle.
Whilst sports and weekend leisure cycling has grown substantially in recent years, and many local clubs have large active memberships, Kirklees remains at the very bottom of the national league for numbers of people using a bike for everyday use. Without a significant input of vision and finance from the council, roads will continue to get more dangerous for all cyclists, local people will continue to use their cars for the very shortest of journeys, and children will reach adulthood without the skills needed to be able to independently ride a bike on the road.
Bradford: Cycle City Active City
In contrast to the inactivity of Kirklees, Bradford has made a step change in its ambition to increase the numbers of people cycling. Councillors, officers and local activists have worked together to produce a comprehensive cycling strategy and a long-term network plan. See: www.cyclebradford.org.uk/about-cyclebradford/strategyplan
On May 11th and 12th it organised an impressive two-day conference bringing decision makers from many different parts of the country and abroad to speak. Chris Loveday who attended has written a comprehensive account – (see enclosed attachment)
Three highpoints, for me personally, included:
– The transport planner from Hamm in Germany describing his achievements and difficulties over the last ten years.
– The transport planner from Nottingham stressing the importance of local political support for the construction of the segregated cycle route through the town, and
– The head of British Cycling announcing his intention to work with the likes of sustrans and Cycling uk to achieve a national policy of cycling for everyone.
Conferences such as these, however, have a habit of preaching to the converted.
There appeared to be few politicians amongst the delegates and there didn’t seem to be anyone from Kirklees on the Friday (the day that I attended).
West Yorkshire Police – Close Pass initiative
Many will be aware that this initiative recently started in north Leeds. The area was chosen because of its high number of cycle accidents.
An unmarked lycra clad police officer rides up and down a stretch of road and will radio on to colleagues if they experience a vehicle passing at a distance of less than 1.5metres.
A pretty unpleasant way of spending a day at work I would think!
Secret Cycle Superhighways
The cycle campaigner Carlton Reid has recently discovered 300 miles of forgotten segregated cycle routes that were built in Britain in the 1930’s. Click on the above link to find out more.