‘Get Britain Cycling’ Inquiry

The ‘Get Britain Cycling’ Inquiry has published its report. The All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group (APPCG) inquiry heard from many experts, and the report has generally been well-received in the cycling blogosphere. Cyclists in the City described it as “massively impressive work”.

Celebrities such as Lord Sugar and Sir Richard Branson have been endorsing it,  and you can too. You don’t have to have a business empire or a title, and you don’t have to have to go through a 12-week job interview consisting of contrived tasks at the end of each someone gets melodramatically fired – just sign the online petition, and make sure your friends and family do.


NFNPA – Encourage walking and cycling could realise £15,000 Grant for New Forest Businesses

Businesses or projects which aim to tempt people out of their cars could be in line for a grant of up to £15,000 from the New Forest National Park Authority.

The Sustainable Transport Solutions Fund has been launched to support initiatives which encourage users of the National Park to make the switch to sustainable transport choices.

The National Park Authority says going car-free makes sense for visitors, residents and the Forest itself.

Grants can help with a range of sustainable transport projects that:

  • Improve cycle facilities at transport hubs and attractions
  • Provide guided walking and cycling experiences
  • Encourage more cycling and walking for local journeys
  • Provide electric vehicle (car/cycle) charging points and hire initiatives.

Other projects that meet the criteria of the Fund will be considered.

Andy Brennan, Sustainable Development Officer at the New Forest National Park Authority, said:

‘The New Forest National Park is a unique landscape and by making small changes we can help protect it for future generations.  This grant is part of a £3.8million Local Sustainable Transport Fund initiative for the South Downs and New Forest national parks. It will bring in a range of measures to encourage people to explore the national parks in environmentally-friendly ways.’

If you are interested in applying to the fund, check out the National Park Authority website (www.newforestnpa.gov.uk) for more details. For further information email STSF@newforestnpa.gov.uk or call 01590 646676.

Ciclos Perucha Cycling Club

Ciclos Perucha is a longstanding cycling workshop in Madrid that is facing eviction, and this film is a documentary look at the history and current state of the location from locals and framebuilder namesake Higinio Domingo Perucha. The film is in Spanish, be sure to turn on the English closed captions if that’s your native language

James May on Bicycles

James May

From James May of the popular TV show Top Gear:

The bicycle was without doubt one of the greatest inventions ever. Without the bicycle, and the desire for liberty it generated, we would probably not have the car. Many of our great carmakers began by making bicycles – Peugeot as well – and most of us learn the basics of the Highway Code riding a bicycle.

Read more.

The law does not protect cyclists

Like many cyclists I’ve been knocked off my bike a couple of times by poor drivers, but fortunately I’ve never been hurt seriously.  Yesterday we saw that the UK justice system does not protect cyclists.

Last year, Sam Harding was killed as he cycled his bike in Holloway. He was riding in Holloway Road when Kenan Aydodgu opened his car door. Sam fell into the road and was crushed to death by the bus that was behind him.

Mr Aydogdu, says the BBC “had the windows of his car coated with a dark plastic film which reduced visibility in and out of the car to 17%”. I understand that it is not legal to apply this sort of window tinting to your car.  But, Aydodgu was found ‘not guilty of manslaughter‘ – I just can’t get my head around this – he broke the law, but was not responsible then when he killed someone.

Also in the news was the Mary Bowers case, she was a journalist at The Times. Mary was knocked from her bike by a HGV in Wapping last year.  She has since been in a coma.  The Times have since led a campaign to improve safety for cyclists.  But yesterday, the lorry driver, who has previously admitted a series of tachograph offences, including driving a lorry for 20 hours in one day when the maximum is 9 hours” was “engrossed” on his hands-free mobile phone at the time of the collision.

“The court had been told that Ms Bowers placed herself alongside another cyclist in an advanced cyclists’ box in front of the lorry as they waited at traffic lights in Dock Street.

Beiu was giving directions on a hands-free phone to a colleague and failed to spot Ms Bowers despite her being “in direct sight” through his windscreen for at least 10 seconds before pulling away and turning left across her path.

He jumped from his cab after hearing “bloodcurdling” screams but forgot to apply the handbrake allowing the lorry to continue rolling over Ms Bowers. He even failed to realise there was a cycle lane on his near side, the court was told. Beiu also lied to the police by claiming he had not been on the phone at the time of the collision.”

A jury decided to convict the lorry driver of “careless” driving.  As Ross Lydall points out on twitter: “Jury never saw pictures of Mary Bowers or heard her family’s victim statement. Case centred on lorry driver not Mary’s appalling injuries“.

As British Cycling points out, many people feel there has been a downgrading of charges around careless and dangerous driving. It has called for a review of the law.  This is why: The concept of  causing death by “careless driving” was introduced in 2008.  In 2008, only six people were charged with causing death by ‘careless driving’ and 715 of causing death by ‘dangerous driving’.  The numbers of people being charged with ‘causing death by careless driving’ have since risen dramatically, despite the numbers of people killed on the road decreasing, and the numbers of people charged with ‘causing death by dangerous driving’ have dropped in that time as well. As British Cycling points out, this suggests there is confusion over the appropriate charges and ‘causing death by careless driving’ is being used far more than was originally intended.

British Cycling struck exactly the right note this afternoon: “There was no other sensible conclusion than that [the lorry driver’s] driving was dangerous, not careless. These failures send completely the wrong message about how we expect people to behave on our roads.”

The reality is that in both cases the verdicts may indeed be the correct verdicts given the law and the court system as they are today. But it seems clear that the legal system at present does not protect cyclists in the UK.

Lemond to run for UCI Presidency?

2008 Tour de France - Stage Two

Greg Lemond has been assertively alleging that there is widespread corruption within the International Cycling Union (UCI) for over half a decade. In 2006, he gave an interview to L‘Equipe in which he questioned the validity of the UCI’s report on Lance Armstrong’s 1999 Tour de France urine samples that allegedly showed evidence of EPO use. He has not stopped since.

Multiple attempts by UCI president Pat McQuaid to silence Lemond with personal emails and threats of lawsuits have been unsuccessful. Just two months ago, Lemond called for McQuaid and Hein Verbruggen – former head of the UCI and now honorary member of the International Olympic Committee – to resign.  In a note posted on his Facebook page, Lemond wrote “You know dam[n] well what has been going on in cycling, and if you want to deny it, then even more reasons why those who love cycling need to demand that you resign. … The problem for sport is not drugs, but corruption. You are the epitome of the word corruption.”

Now, the Change Cycling Now (CCN) campaign, a group of prominent figures including journalists David Walsh and Paul Kimmage, former professional cyclists and team managers Jonathan Vaughters and Eric Boyer, and others, has called for Lemond to challenge Pat McQuaid for leadership of the UCI. When asked by the French newspaper Le Monde if he was preparing to run, Lemond said he was, that

“It’s now or never… If we want to regain the confidence of the public and sponsors, we’ve got to act fast and be tough. If we don’t, cycling will die.”

Such a change in guard would be ground-shaking for the sport