Tag Archive for 'cycling'

How dangerous really is cycling?

Here are some interesting statistics that came through my email today.

Risk relative to cycling: fatality rates per participant
Relative risk per participant
Less safe Airsports 450
  Climbing 137
  Motor sports 81
  Fishing 41
  Horse riding 29
  Swimming 7.0
  Athletics 5.7
  Football 4.9
  Tennis 4.2
  Cycling 1.0
Safer Golf 0.83
  Rambling 0.06 

Source: Lunch hour lecture on risks and benefits of active transport by Dr Jenny Mindell of UCL.

So there you go: cycling may not be as safe as playing golf, but it’s 41x safer than going fishing.

This is not to say that cycling safety is a non-issue. The (lack of) attractiveness and (perceived) danger associated with cycling is a major deterrent to more widespread cycle use in London. And far too many cyclists are unnecessarily getting hurt, but we must maintain some perspective.

‘Jewish Manifesto’ calls for ‘faster and safer cycle network’

Just spotted this in the Transport section of the London Jewish Forum‘s Manifesto for the 2012 London Mayoral election:

10. Year of the Bike

11. Big Green Jewish – a coalition of organisations in the Jewish Community concerned about environmental issues have declared 2012 the ‘Year of the Bike’. Tackling the impact of transport on the environment more generally, they are campaigning within the community to take pledges on decreasing their carbon footprints by making greener transport decisions, including taking up cycling as a viable and safe alternative when commuting.

12. The proposed Cycle Superhighway 11, running from Marylebone will stop at border of Camden and Barnet, avoiding the Brent Cross Cricklewood development, and not crossing the North Circular, the biggest physical barrier to cycling in North West London. TfL should seriously consider extending the route of CS11 to ensure that residents in Barnet can benefit from better access to a safe and faster cycle network.

I notice that they have Breakfast meetings organised with each of the main Mayoral candidates for Jewish Londoners to come and express their concerns directly. Perhaps one or two of my Jewish readers might wish to attend and and press the case for cycling?

The first of LJF’s candidates breakfasts is on 17 April with Boris Johnson in Golders Green. You can register for the breakfast with Boris and find the dates for the other candidates on the LJF web site.

You may also be interested in the Rabbi Relay Ride.

Finally a belated ‘Chag Pesach Sameach’ to my Jewish readers!

URGENT: All who cycle in Camden: 19 June deadline for Huntley Street consultation

Apologies for the impossibly short notice but the London Cycling Campaign has just sent out the following action alert. I encourage all who cycle in the UCL/Bloomsbury area to respond immediately.

Deadline 19th June for letters and emails regarding a) Cycling contraflow in Huntley Street, Camden b) Cycle Hire docking station in Huntley St, Camden

We understand that both the proposal for a cycle contraflow in Huntley Street and the bike hire docking station in this street may be rejected because of resident objections. We understand there have been very few letters of support for either the contraflow for cycle users or the docking station. Many local cyclists will be unaware of this important consultation. We urge you to express your view immediately.

As you may be are aware local residents, and the many students, hospital staff and patients who use this street are currently forced to use the very busy Tottenham Court Road gyratory system to avoid the one way arrangement along a short (Torrington Place to University Street) but critical stretch of road. Huntley Street, as many people know, is directly linked to one of the busiest cycle routes in Britain – along Torrington Place. Making a small section of Huntley Street two way for cyclists will enable the many thousand of users of the busy cycle route to access University College Hospital and other buildings in this area without having to use the Tottenham Court Road gyratory system. Huntley Street itself has very little traffic and the northern stretch of the street is already two way for all vehicles – in terms of safety this contraflow is not problematic and it will only require minor works .

It would be most regrettable if a useful facility and a reduction in road danger to cyclists will be rejected when funding is available to carry out the necessary works. We understand the funding will be returned to TfL if the proposal is rejected.

The location of a cycle docking station in Huntley Street would be a great convenience for local residents as well as patients who wish to go to University College Hospital. It would unfortunate if this station were rejected. The contraflow in Huntley Street would make the short journey to the Torrington Place cycle route or UCL Hospital legal in both directions.

We understand that the council is consulting on the two matters separately in the same document. All local cyclists whether local residents, users of UCL Hospital. UCL students, Camden Cycling Campaign members, LCC members, CTC London members or any others are urged to write immediately to Dave Stewart, principal engineer, making their views clear on either or both proposals. The deadline is Saturday 19th of June. His email is dave.stewart {at} camden.gov(.)uk .

The consultation can be found at www.camden.gov.uk/consultations.

What one cyclist wrote to Camden Council:

“Dear Dave Stewart ,
I would like to show my support for the measures outlined in the consultation on a) Cycling contraflow in Huntley Street, Camden b) Cycle Hire docking station in Huntley St, Camden.
I am a regular cyclist in the area and I would find these facilities very useful.

Yours sincerely,
Alix Stredwick”

I’m splitting my vote for change in Barnet (Council)

In Barnet it is indeed time for change. The Labour group have not been an effective opposition on the Council and Barnet is, largely, a Conservative suburban borough but the Conservative administration here really do need a kick up the backside. Quite apart from fiascos such as losing £18 mn of tax payers’ money in Icelandic banks, the last few years can be characterised simply in this way: a bunch of councillors elected by the more affluent ares protecting their precious ‘suburban character’ whilst dumping unwanted new developments in the poorer parts. There’s also a general attitude problem as you can see from one or two blogs as well as a debacle over sheltered housing where vulnerable pensioners had to take their own Council to court (and won!)

I live in the Cricklewood part of Golders Green ward. We’ve seen the loss of Hendon Football Club because of the Council’s bloody-mindedness in selling metropolitan open land to developers (who have now left the site derelict as they’ve run out of cash). We’ve seen an unpopular £4.5 bn regeneration scheme for Brent Cross Cricklewood dumped on us despite local opposition.

As a cycling campaigner the current administration are also problematic for me. They do not see cycling a serious form transport in London, have actively removed cycle stands from town centres, have no regard for cyclists in road junction design (even where as it Staples Corner, it conflicts with the Conservative Mayor of London’s plans for cycle ‘superhighways’). Certain councillors have a policy of deleting emails from cyclists without reading them. Certainly I’ve found that if I complain about a pot hole as a motorist I get a speedy response, if I complain about a pot hole as a cyclist I get ignored. The outgoing Leader of the Council, Mike Freer, even told me on my radio show that he thought commuting by bicycle in London was basically “too dangerous” and that there was “nothing that could be done” to make it safer.

Golders Green ward is safely Tory-held as a result of the 2/3 of voters who live on the other side of the A41. Consequently Cricklewood gets neglected. Of our 3 incumbent Tory councillors I’ve only ever seen one locally – he seemed to genuinely campaign for local people but recently went AWOL in Australia (whilst continuing to draw expenses!). The other two are father and son, the sonfather having been a councillor for a very long time but I’ve never seen him here (he’s also the Cabinet Member for Planning…). So I’ll be voting for change in this ward. As it’s a safe seat I’ll be hedging my bets to maximise the chance of at least one Tory being ousted. My three votes will be going to Dorothy Badrick (Residents’ Association and long standing local campaigner), David Robinson (Labour, hard-working agent for our outgoing MP who I’m sure will be an excellent candidate) and Weng Leong Ang (Lib Dem, another active local campaigner!).

Elsewhere in the Borough I encourage others to vote for genuinely good hard-working councillors where they exist, and tactically for change otherwise, especially in the key marginal wards.