Obviously, they'll do something for cycling, to reflect the Government’s "Gear Change for Cycling”.
Well the government has blown me away with the latest announcements on cycling! The Gear Change for cycling and walking is not so much a Gear Changer - more of a Game Changer. It's far and away the most radical leap forward in my lifetime.
And it has the full political backing of Boris Johnson, who has form on cycling from his time as London Mayor, and has realised that his near-death Covid-19 experience was made far worse by his weight and lack of exercise.
Here are just some of the highlights (and there are a lot) :
- Gear Change: The master document here. Recommended reading!
- A new Highway Code, including a hierarchy of users, cycle priority at junctions, safe passing distances.
- Radical new Design Standards (LTN 1/20), which will be expected to be used by Local Authorities and developers, regardless of public funding or not, and no public money on schemes which don't comply.
- Shared paths to be banned, except where there is absolutely no other solution.
- Active Travel England as enforcement 'with teeth', headed by a new Cycling and Walking Commissioner.
- Health, environment and community benefits to be given full weight when judging schemes.
- Long-term cycling & walking programme with significant budget, like the roads programme and budget.
- All new local and strategic A road schemes will provide for cycling.
- All new housing and business developments to prioritise sustainable travel.
- Local authorities to get more traffic control powers, including fines.
- Less rat-running and more low-traffic neighbourhoods.
- More School Streets to protect children.
- Hard, smooth, level all-weather surfaces as standard.
- Action on bike theft, more bike parking.
- Bike training for every child and adult that wants it.
- E-Bike support programme, including loans and subsidies.
- Higher safety standards for lorries.
- Improve and extend the National Cycle Network.
- Mini-Hollands to be funded for 12 local authorities.
- Create at least one zero-emission city.
The best write-up I've seen on it so far has been from the legendary Carlton Reid here.
When will the Havant area see any of the benefits? Well even under the accelerated timescales being proposed, it might take months or years to put in new cycle paths, which won't be easy. But we'll see £50 fix your bike vouchers as soon as their website stops crashing, and training for kids and adults fairly soon.
Game Changer is the only way to describe it.
One of the nastier aspects of winter rides is ice or black ice (even worse because you can't see it). Several of our riders have come a cropper.
Salted roads reduce the risk. Sadly, cycle paths are rarely salted unless they're right next to roads. It might be worth diverting onto a busier salted road, especially earlier in the day, before ice has a chance to melt.
Appeal for CycleWatchers, anywhere, but especially around Gosport and Fareham.
Could you be at Bridgemary around at 11am on Tuesday 2nd July? There’s a stakeholder viewing for the Eclipse Busway extension between Tichborne Way and Rowner Road, and our Right to Ride reps can’t make it.
[Update: 11-12 is a preview for stakeholder groups like us, but it’s also open to the public from 1pm to 7pm if that’s easier for you. The more people that turn up, of course, the better.]
All you have to do is turn up, say you’re from Cycling UK, ask how it will improve cycling, so they know we’re watching, then report back.
We particularly need more CycleWatch support in the Gosport and Fareham area, and without more cyclists pushing the councils, they could de-prioritise cycling even more than they do now.
So what’s a CycleWatcher? It’s someone who wants to see better cycle infrastructure, but isn’t ready to become a full cycle campaigner. They just watch out for issues affecting everyday cycling where they are, and report them to Mike Ashton or me, Wilf Forrow. They can do as much or as little as they want.
Some examples of useful things CycleWatchers could do:
- Tell us if cycle paths need attention, or vegetation cutting back.
- Highlight improvements needed, to routes, signage, parking, etc.
- Watch out for local road ‘improvements’ or planning applications that might affect cycling.
- Estimate numbers of cyclists, count bikes parked at shops, etc.
- Chivvy their councillors to better support cycling.
- Ask for cycle parking at local businesses, shops, health centres, dentists, etc.
- Spread the message about everyday cycling!
If you think you might be able to help, in Gosport or Fareham, or anywhere, let me know.
This is REALLY important because :
- A formal plan unlocks much more future government funding
- Implementing it becomes a formal policy of the whole council, not just the cycling team
- It forces developers to show how their housing plans fit into OUR bigger plan
- It forces all of us to plan for the best long term solution, rather than just for quick wins
Decathlon is opening its store in Northarbour tomorrow (Thursday 25-April-2018), near the Tesco Extra, and they're offering free backpacks for the first day if you have a Decathlon account and card.
They do a fantastic range across all sports at great value, but especially cycling, and their bikes get great reviews. Disclaimer: I bought one of their fantastic folding bikes, and it's the most fun bike I've got - I'm certainly recommending it.
Previously, the nearest store was West Quay Southampton, which is a bit of a trek for us here.
More details at https://www.decathlon.co.uk/portsmouth.html
One of favourite stops, the Sustainability Centre, is planning to transform their 'tired, old, inefficient MoD building' into an eco-friendly, state-of-the-art New Learning Centre.
Update: They've already raised £21,500 towards the £25,000 they need to apply for planning, so they just trying to raise the last £3,500. We can earn them commission at no cost to us when we buy online at popular stores like Amazon, John Lewis and many more! It all works through Give as You Live.
More details at www.sustainability-centre.org/christmaspresents, or go directly, www.giveasyoulive.com/join/sustainabilitycentre, where you'll see them under their official charity name, Earthworks Trust. But of course they'd love any other donations as well.
I hadn't realised just how much they do, from education for schools, universities, teacher training, to camping, bee-keeping, recycling, ecology, forestry, nature, and lots more. Our cafe visits barely scratch the surface. And if the hill-climb to get there is too much for any of us one day, they can even do us a green burial 🙂
It's a big, high-profile, multi-million pound project that will need big funding from the lottery and other sources. And that could help unlock funding for better cycling routes to get there.
They've asked informally for our input on cycle parking. And unusually, in advance! They know we don't like wheel-manglers, but what would we like? We've said cyclists like to be able to keep an eye on their bikes, but it would be a shame to despoil such a beautiful site with ugly steel sheffield stands.
On our coast-to-coast at Whitehaven, we could have locked to leaping stainless steel salmon. Elsewhere, we've locked to beautiful sculptures.
So my challenge to Portsmouth CTC is to come up with something more imaginative, maybe more artistic? Something we'd be proud to use in future. Over to you!
Joy and I are going to be scrubbers for the day next Monday. Butser scrubbers, that is. Why not join us? The weather forecast is sunny!
Queen Elizabeth Country Park (QECP) has asked for volunteers to help with some fun scrub bashing on the lower/southern slopes of Butser Hill National Nature Reserve from Monday 13th to Saturday 18th November.
They've been great supporters of cycling, whether mountain biking, cycling through on the Butser Crossing, or stopping off at the great tearoom for refreshments, so it's an opportunity to return the favour and strengthen the bond.
Teas & coffees will be available, and if you book in advance (via the QECP reception firstname.lastname@example.org or 02392 595040) a breakfast bacon sandwich and piece of cake!
The work will be supervised and with all tools provided. Participants will need to bring working clothes, waterproofs, boots, gloves, and packed lunch.
The day will start at 10.00am and finish at 3.00pm, meeting at the old A3 car park to the east of the motorway. Free parking, look out for the signs.
Joy and I can only do Monday, so it would be fun if you could join us, but if you can't make that, do try another day.
Organised by Tim Speller, Country Parks Manager.
Portsmouth City Council has just voted to commit at least 10% of its local transport budget to cycling. It's a tribute to the tireless campaigning of PompeyBug, the Bicycle User Group, also known as Portsmouth Cycle Forum.
But also our Cycling UK national team was heavily involved. It's great to see what our subscriptions help to pay for. Being flat and a student city, Portsmouth is a big cycling community, and has pretty good cycle infrastructure (compared to Havant and most of Hampshire). But it also has a high death rate, so there's lots more to do.
More details at: www.cyclinguk.org/blog/watershed-moment-portsmouth-council-back-space-cycling . Well worth reading.
We need to hold them to it, and make sure it leads to real improvements in cycling, not just a spinning class 🙂