Road Safety News

Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester receive biggest allocations from cycling investment

Tuesday 3rd March 2015

The Government has outlined how a £114m investment to make cycling easier and safer, first announced in November 2014, will be divided up between eight UK cities.

The money will be used to help each city deliver plans to get more people cycling by improving and expanding cycle routes between the city centre, local communities and key employment and retail areas.

The money will be allocated as follows: Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester (all £22m), Bristol (£19m), Newcastle (£10.6m), Norwich (£8.4m), Cambridge (£6m) and Oxford (£3.3m).

Nick Clegg, deputy prime minister, said: “We are in the midst of a cycling revolution in the UK but we need to make sure we’re in the right gear to see it through.

“With the legacy of the 2012 Olympics and the Tour de France in Yorkshire last year still fresh in our minds, this money can help Britain become a cycling nation to rival the likes of Denmark and the Netherlands.

“Research shows that boosting cycling could save billions of pounds otherwise spent on the NHS, reduce pollution and congestion, and create a happier and safer population.”

Robert Goodwill, transport minister with responsibility for cycling, said: “Cycling is great for your health and good for the environment, and this Government is doing all it can to help more people get out on their bikes.

“We have doubled the amount of money available for cycling and taken steps to make sure that future Governments plan properly for cycling.”



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Robert Bolt, St Albans:
“Bicycles are a nineteenth century solution to a twenty-first century problem, and they don't work.”

It's hard to believe that you did any actual research before writing that. Bicycles may indeed be a nineteenth century solution to a twenty-first century problem, but they most certainly continue to work. Whereas motor-vehicles only solved one problem, that caused by horses. Motor-vehicles soon solved the horse-manure crisis, replacing it with numerous other, new problems. These problems have only become worse as the popularity of driving has transitioned from being a preserve of the rich to being affordable by the hoi-polloi.

You never actually defined what the twenty-first century problem might be, which ones did not already exist in the 20th century?

Modern roads are characterised by:
Bad-driving, road-rage, illegal and dangerous driving. Which have existed from the earliest days.
Dangerous swept junctions that encourage carrying of excess speed into the junction and as a result of geometry and speed discourage or render difficult or impossible safe and proper observations.
Dangerous roads that dissect and isolate communities on all-sides
Excess demand for parking spaces.
Excess demand for road-space. - Congestion.
Excessive pollution.
Excessive road-casualties and road-deaths. Which have existed from the earliest days.
Excessive Road-noise.
Excessive road-wear and damage.
Excessive road-danger

All of these can be ameliorated, reduced or effectively eliminated by replacing unnecessary driving with cycling.

Most journeys are very short and are easily walked or cycled.
Average trip length 1995/97-2013
Up to one mile 21.1%
One to two miles 18.6%
Two to five miles 27.7%
67.4% of all trips made between 1995/97-2013 were five miles or shorter.
Note: '1995/97-2013' is not a typo.
Source: NTS0307

Many / most of these trips are unnecessary – by car. Only 1% of trips are made via bicycle, 3% are on foot. 77% of trips are made by motor-vehicle, as driver 49% or passenger 28%. NTS0302.
Christopher Sauvarin

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How many billions of pounds is the vehicle manufacturing industry (and jobs) worth to the British economy, when compared to bicycle production?
Terry Hudson, Kent

Agree (2) | Disagree (5)

Sadly I am unsurprised by some of the reactionary comments amounting to a motorist vs the non motorist, and most of them coming from the seemingly hard done by cyclist and pedestrian being treated unfairly. Vehicle Excise Duty is still paid by those with motor vehicles (with a few exceptions), and of the £45b plus collected annually by H.M. government in VED and motorised vehicle related taxes, very little gets used on the roads.

I walk, I ride a bike, I drive a car (I used to drive a bus). I am the same person, and treat and respect all road users equally. Yet some commenters would consider we are different species when moving from one mode of transport to another. It is true that when in charge of a motor vehicle some people become elevated with their driver status. The same can be said of some cyclists, who also like to play the martyr card. And then there are certain pedestrians who expect everything to stop on a sixpence when they are anywhere near a crossing place – or not – and demand right of way over all considering all wheeled vehicles imposters on their highway.

Road safety in general would greatly improve if all stopped the bickering and claiming that their rights should be foremost above all else, and instead begin to behave rationally, logically, and respect others point of view – which varies dependent upon the mode of transport chosen.

The segregation of road space for certain types of wheeled vehicle is just wrong. Further spending on something that wrongly creates antipathy between road users so clearly displayed in this thread and which to a degree maintains the road safety construct. The engineering of road safety begins and remains within the cranium – education.
Derek Reynolds, Salop.

Agree (9) | Disagree (2)

Maintenance and road buildings costs come from local and national taxation, that means everybody pays towards the roads, because we are all users it's a shared space. No one has any greater right that anybody else, unfortunately some motorists think that is not the case and drive their cars in such manner. Would they do this when when walking as a pedestrian on the high street?
Michael Prescott, Chorley

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I can't believe that I am reading serious suggestions that the Road Fund Licence still exists and that cyclists live in some bubble where they don't pay taxes. I will be applying for my refund in the morning.
Jon, Bristol

Agree (14) | Disagree (1)

Active green travellers are treated unfairly, unequally compared to the priority and budget given to motorists. Some peculiar non- facts, assumptions published here. Plenty of hard data to support Rod King's informed view. Census etc. Women are underrepresented amongst cyclists. I note that all the contributors appear here are male. I could make assumption about contributors age and ethnicity. A limited unrepresentative view.
Hilary Reed

Agree (16) | Disagree (5)

As in Holland, why can't all 2 wheeled vehicles use the cycleways? The bigger more powerful bikes probably won't want to, as a cyclist I won't have to weave through endless barriers.

What do the cars (and) trucks gain? For one, less collisions and disruption from much slower vehicles, if cycles are elsewhere then avoiding them becomes easier.

Regarding cost, the money comes from tax, not just road fund licence that not even all cars pay. I cycle and drive and pay tax, it is not an 'us and them', it's an 'us and us' situation.
Alan Gladwin

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Gentlemen, can I point out that this is a site about road safety, not about promoting one particular mode of transport. While you may love your particular mode, it's pretty boring for the rest of us to read, especially when your jealousy is so transparent.

This isn't a site for promoting motorcycling or criticising cycling.
Richard Burton, Bristol

Agree (19) | Disagree (1)

But like ripples on a pond Simon, they die out. It's a passing fancy rather like Sinclair's C5 though cycling has always been a choice for some and may always be so - no road tax, no compulsory insurance, no yearly tests of machine, no numbers for ANPR, and can disappear unidentified.

How much of a benefit to the claimed nations economy is allocated to cycle shops selling bikes and all the accessories? And how does that compare to the same for commercial transport as a whole? No contest. Doubtless the CTC would choose a survey that was preferential to their membership and cause would they not? Is that the Cyclists Touring Club - or the Cyclists Commuting Club?

Where does the finance come from to provide the many cycle lanes? Where does the same come from for commercial traffic? One pays heavily - the other nil. Yet the one that pays is denied what could be available in favour of the non paying cyclist.

Imagine queuing for a meal, and the person in front of you gets the same meal as you; is fast tracked to the till and is charged nothing; while you have to wait then get charged double for wearing a thick coat and knapsack.

This pandering to "sustainability" is a political scam that those who have to pay - pay doubly so, even quadruply so or more. It will cost us all dearly in ways that are obfuscated, just as the Congestion Charge is deflected onto all who purchase goods and services within the area. This is money that comes from the tax payer - but who can stop them? Because voting won't.

Rod, the thousands of miles of road network IS available to cyclists - bar of course Motorways. I wonder why?
Derek Reynolds, Salop.

Agree (6) | Disagree (13)

Paul Biggs and others claim that cycling has no benefit to the economy. However, there is plenty of evidence of the cost-benefits of investing in cycling and CTC has commissioned research showing that cycling will be worth £248bn to the economy by 2050.

In Yorkshire, the benefits fromn hosting the Tour De France are continuing to ripple through the economy.
Simon Geller, Sheffield

Agree (17) | Disagree (5)

I think Rod has got the wrong end of the stick. My point was that both motorbikes and pushbikes suffer from collisions with cars so why is it OK to segregate pushbikes from cars and not OK to segregate motorbikes from cars?

I'm sure that motorcyclists would love to have their own dedicated highway system to ensure their safety, yet that has never been suggested as a solution to the collision problem.
Duncan MacKillop. No surprise - No accident.

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Well let's face it one doesn't see many cyclists on motorways does one, doing high mileage in transporting all our necessary goods around for the benefit of all or helping to create wealth and support industry. I repeat, does one?

One, in its many vehicular forms, has in the past constituted almost 99% of all traffic volumes and the other, cyclists, possibly about o.o9%. So please Rod tell me where the government should have put their money.

Both cyclists and motorcyclists have been ignored for many decades. At least some 20 years ago authorities had to build in cycle paths for the safety and convenience of cyclists when last time they became temporarily popular. And then.... and then.... they fell into disuse.

What have they done for motorcyclists.... nearly legislated them off the face of the tarmac.

With no or few cyclists on the roads where would you have put the money?
Bob Craven Lancs....Space is Safe Campainger

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I agree Duncan.

One group has had tens of thousands of miles of motorways and dual carriageways built whilst the other has had to rely on painted advisory narrow cycle lanes with the odd bit of proper segregated space funded from the lottery and other hand-outs.
Rod King, 20's Plenty for Us

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There were two groups of riders in the cafe the other day. One group was wearing replica race kit and had all the right brands on their gear, their bikes were the state of the art featuring lashings of carbon fibre and the very latest in technology to make them really fast. The other group was wearing replica race kit and had all the right brands on their gear, their bikes were the state of the art featuring lashings of carbon fibre and the very latest in technology to make them really fast.

One of the groups had come on push-bikes and the other had come on motorbikes. Funny old world ain't it when one group are treated by the government entirely differently to the other when in fact they are exactly the same people.
Duncan MacKillop. No surprise - No accident.

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I have just considered Paul's comments and find them totally relevant to my concept of a modern society. As to a pluralist transport system, I don't understand. Has not transport always been pluralist, go back 200 years, pedestrians, hobby horse cyclists, canals, railways, stage coaches, fast horses, slow wagons, etc. How pluralist can you get?
Robert Bolt, St Albans

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Presumed unintentional pun by Nick Clegg: "...we need to make sure we’re in the right gear to see it through". Does he mean lycra shorts and helmet or perhaps the most appropriate gear ratio?
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

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I think you have stated your position very clearly and I am sure that readers will consider how relevant your views are to a modern society and pluralist transport system.
Rod King, 20's Plenty for Us

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Thanks Rod - pretty much everyone has access to a motor car - be it a taxi or a friend or relative's car. Then, of course, there is public transport. 9 million dogs are distributed around 24% of households - walking a dog is a good way to get exercise - I do four 20 minute dog walks per day with my own dogs, but dog walkers aren't asking for millions to be spent on dog walking lanes or facilities. That said, my life would be easier if the already narrow pavement hadn't been halved to accommodate the occasional cyclist - a policy that has visibly failed to increase cycling. Cycling simply isn't fit for the purpose for 98% of people. Any increase in cycling is likely to lead to increased death and injury - placing a further, immediate burden on the NHS against assumed benefits decades into the future. There were 23,000 cycling accidents in London alone for 2009-2013. Not very healthy or beneficial or necessary, given that the economy relies on drivers, not cyclists.
Paul Biggs, Staffordshire

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I think that differences in household size may also skew the figures, but London has only 1.2 people in each household which is far less than the norm. I can't find the "no-car" figures broken down by area, but here you can see the ave number of cars per household across the country.

I think that whilst I accept your point about London having a good passenger transport infrastructure and that the decision to become a no-car household could well be influenced by the availability of good passenger transport, the conditions for cycling may also feature in any such decision.

I suspect that density is a factor in modal decisions and high density places will be more amenable to cycling and walking. And surely that is why these cities are worthy of cycling infrastructure investment. Far from cycling being a "relic of the past" in cities around the world it is becoming the "way of the future" and will play an important role.
Rod King, 20's Plenty for Us

Agree (12) | Disagree (6)

If Robert thinks bicycles are ' design very dangerous', how does he rate motorcycles? The rider is equally unprotected and vulnerable yet 'the design' allows the said rider to be propelled along at potentially life-threatening speeds with acceleration to match, which a bicycle's design does not. As with all modes of transport, it's the user who makes it 'very dangerous'.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

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I agree under 17s have a right to independent mobility, but this is hard to achieve if they have not yet learnt to walk, nor if they are too young to be allowed out on their own.

As to London I think you are confusing population with households. The number of people in a household varies from house to house. Figures I have are that there are 27 million households in the UK, 3.25 m of them in London, which is about 12%, which is about half the number of households without access to a motor.
Robert Bolt, St Albans

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I am not sure what the age of people has to do with it. Don't under 17's have exactly the same rights to independent mobility as those over 17?

Your figures on half of non car househlds being in London simply does not add up. With a population in UK of 64m then 25% of that is 16m. If you say that of that 16m then half of them are living in London it means that 8m people in London are in families without access to a car. As the population of London is about 8m then that would imply that London is car free!
Rod King, 20's Plenty for Us

Agree (10) | Disagree (8)

Rod gives some interesting statistics, but of his 30m people who do not hold a driving licence half are too young to do so, and of his 25% of households without access to a motor half are in London with its vast public transport system. I would argue that many of these people would never consider cycling as a way to do a 5 mile journey. When I was a yoUng man in the world so excellently described by Bob Craven I would cycle for a couple of miles but a visit to the local town 5 miles away was by bus, or later by car, not anything I would dream of cycling to. If I did think of cycling there was nowhere safe to park my bike and if I bought anything of any size I would have been unable to get it home. As I see it the Olympic/Tour de France effect was short term and is already declining. Bicycles are a nineteenth century solution to a twenty-first century problem, and they don't work. They are by design very dangerous.
Robert Bolt, St Albans

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Thanks for your insight Paul.

Obviously cycling has nothing to do with getting around cheaply, healthily and using the minimum footprint of roads and resources. For the record, cycling has been steadily increasing from before any of the recent successes in the cycle sport.

And lets not forget that 30m people in the UK do not hold a driving license and 25% of households do not have access to a motor vehicle. For these people then cycling is a way to economically do a 5 mile journey in 30mins which is often less than those using a motor vehicle will take when allowing for finding parking places, etc.

Anything that enables more people to use cycles rather than cars surely has a benefit to everyone.
Rod King, 20's Plenty for Us

Agree (24) | Disagree (10)

The political class obsession with cycling continues to waste financial resources that would be better spent elsewhere. The Olympics and Tour de France have little or no relevance to transport or the economy, which depends on drivers. Cycling is just being 'weaponised' for the relentless war on the driving majority.
Paul Biggs, Staffordshire

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I agree entirely Duncan but the answer will be total segregation by use of fly overs and under passes so that neither engine vehicle or pedal assisted will ever meet. Just see, it won't be long before another billion or so is earmarked for my cousins and flyovers or underground junctions will become commonplace (due to the incident and collision rates increasing at shared junctions).

PS. Pedal Cycles were never viewed as a solution. Only since the successes in sport have they been considered green. Before then they were confined to the archives since the 1960s when the general public cycled or walked no more than 2 miles to work, schools, colleges and shopped up the street or round the corner. Then we became affluent following the post war period and society changed completely and left the bike to rot away. We found wealth and we wanted and needed the car to communicate between work, parents who lived miles away and out of town centre shops. In those bye gone days motorcycles were a sensible, commonplace and accepted form of transport.
Bob Craven Lancs....Space is Safe Campaigner

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Sad, but true Bob. This is all because motorcycles have long been viewed as a problem, but pedal cycles are always viewed as a solution. The fact that motorcycles and cycles suffer from exactly the same collisions for exactly the same reasons somehow doesn't effect the strength of these views.

No matter how much you try and segregate cycle and motor traffic there will come a point where they will both have to co-exist and it is at these points that collisions will occur. Cycles and motorcycles mainly get tagged at junctions so vast sums will be spent on the routes between junctions to no beneficial effect. It will only be after the millions have been spent and the collision rate refuses to go down that people will finally realise that the solution was the cheap fix at junctions all along.
Duncan MacKillop. No surprise - No accident.

Agree (13) | Disagree (9)

I have harped on about segregated lanes ever since they first appeared in London. With segregation comes discrimination. Once one form of transport (that pays no compulsory road fund duty or insurance) is given designated road space at huge cost that disadvantages other forms of transport, the users of that favoured form become almost hubristic, and scream for more.

The road system as it was in the late sixties supplied space for all – from kerb to kerb. As such, the maximum flow of traffic occurred due to there being the maximum road width available for all, and the Highway Code gave all the relevant instructions of how road positioning and signalling should be carried out – endorsed by Bob’s colleagues in school playgrounds with their semi-clowning around with a Wolseley and an old bike. They were fun – but they were respected, and we learned vital basics.

The only segregation needed is that of pedestrian and wheeled vehicles – we have that – they’re called pavements. Unfortunately for the service and emergency service vehicles, many former streets and thoroughfares have long gone through total pedestrianisation. With such road closures, traffic is channelled into ever narrower spaces amidst fewer streets creating more congestion, less space to manoeuvre and cries for further segregation for safer travel.

This ‘grand plan’ for London (and elsewhere) works to deliver a traffic free environment for pedestrians, and motorised vehicle free cycle highways, all in the name of road safety. But it destroys the very heart of a thriving city by driving up transport costs, driving businesses elsewhere, creating congestion and delay, and makes a mockery of commonsense as both pedestrians and cyclists no longer become aware of the vital need to appreciate and respect all forms of transport. The responsibility of road safety lies with YOU – not a paved street, nor a blue cycle lane. Respect the road, respect all who need to use it. ALL of it. The less restriction of space, the less regulation of traffic movement at junctions with signal phasing and turning restrictions, the safer roads become through removing the traffic light grand prix. A green light for pedestrian or vehicle attracts the “mine” attitude – ‘get out of the way’, just as does a segregated lane.

Motorcyclists have always been the under-dog ever since the first pop-pop frightened the Magistrates horse. It’s been an uphill battle for an equal voice and recognition ever since. People are cautioned to “Think Bike” in respect of seeing motorcycles and accepting their presence as equals, just as cyclists should accept the road as a place where there should be no segregation. Such incidences of “road rage” between road users was barely recognisable when the roads were used by all with no segregation.
Derek Reynolds, Salop.

Agree (14) | Disagree (23)

Can they make the roads wider and if so can I ask for special motorcycle or scooter lanes as well. Just for the small, very small minority of powered twv riders to keep them especially safe in such a dangerous traffic environment.

I am sorry to say that it bugs me. That I have spent the last 50 years in the practise of defensive riding techniques and more recently fighting for the rights and freedoms of all motorcyclists. For them to become an accepted quantity on the roads and to be entitled to have special consideration to make motorcycling safer, to little or no avail and then along come cyclists from nowhere and get all the privileges that we are now seeing. Again motorcyclists will be side lined and dismissed in this new age of awareness. It's not nice being unworthy of consideration.
Bob Craven Lancs....Space is Safe Campaigner.

Agree (9) | Disagree (21)