DfT has given charity Cycling UK another £1m for its Big Bike Revival scheme
A £1.2bn plan to make cycling and walking mainstream modes of travel for shorter journeys has been published today by the government.
The Department for Transport (DfT) has pledged to double cycling, reduce bike-related accidents and increase the proportion of 5 to 10 year-olds walking to school to 55% by 2025.
Funding will be allocated to a wide range of projects designed to create safer cycling routes, new cycle links between city centres, provide more cycle proficiency and safety training and more bike facilities at rail stations.
The £1.2 billion is allocated as follows:
* £50m to provide cycling proficiency training for further 1.3m children
* £101m to improve cycling infrastructure and expand cycle routes between the city centres, local communities, and key employment and retail sites
* £85m to make improvements to 200 sections of roads for cyclists
* £80m for safety and awareness training for cyclists, extra secure cycle storage, bike repair, maintenance courses and road safety measures
* £389.5m for councils to invest in walking and cycling schemes
* £476.4m from local growth funding to support walking and cycling
In addition, the government is investing an extra:
* £5m on improving cycle facilities at railway stations
* £1m on walking charity’s Living Streets’ outreach programmes to encourage children to walk to school
* £1m on charity Cycling UK’s ‘Big Bike Revival’ scheme, which provides free bike maintenance and cycling classes.
Under the Infrastructure Act 2015 , the government is required to set a Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy (CWIS) for England. DfT says that this is the first of a series of five-year strategies to support the long-term ambition to make walking and cycling the natural choice for shorter journeys by 2040.
The implications of the Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy will be discussed Cycle City Active City
Transport Secretary Chris Grayling says: “We are making cycling and walking more accessible to everyone because of the substantial health and environmental benefits – it will also be a boost for businesses because a fitter and healthier workforce is more productive.”
The charity Cycling UK has welcomed the DfT’s announcement and its pledge of another £1m for the Big Bike Revival.
Cycling UK’s Chief Executive Paul Tuohy says: “Cycling UK’s Big Bike Revival will help tens of thousands of people back into cycling by getting your bikes checked over, fixed up and back into use. We are grateful to the DfT for supporting this initiative for this, our third year of national activities to help get more of the UK cycling more often.”
Roger Geffen, Policy Director at Cycling UK, adds: “Cycling UK has spent years campaigning for a strong and well-funded Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy, so we’re pleased to see it finally published two years after it was initially announced. A big ‘thank you’ is due to the DfT officials who have put a huge amount of effort into it.
“Now the hard work begins. With national as well as local elections now looming, Cycling UK will be doing all we can to build the cross-party support needed to strengthen this investment strategy over time, while supporting councils in making best use of the resources available, as they start bringing this vision to life.”
This sentiment was echoed by sustainable transport charity Sustrans. Chief executive Xavier Brice says: “The first ever Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy is a significant achievement and highlights the government’s ambition to make England a cycling and walking nation.
“Sustrans, together with a number of other leading transport and health organisations, have long called for a Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy and we were successful in securing a commitment from government for its production back in 2014.
“There is an overwhelming body of evidence that demonstrates that investment in cycling and walking has many health, social and economic benefits and must be prioritised. The challenge now is to deliver the change needed locally and nationally.”
Cycling to work could almost halve the risk of developing cancer and heart disease, according to new research from the University of Glasgow published today.
The research found that commuting by bike was linked with a 45% lower risk of developing cancer and a 46% lower risk of heart disease, compared with a non-active commute. Those who cycled to work had a 41% lower risk of premature death, the study found.
The study analysed data from 263,450 participants at 22 sites across the UK. Participants were asked about their usual mode of commuting to work over a five-year period. From the sample there were 496 deaths relating to heart disease and 1,126 to cancer over the five year period. These cases were assessed and related to their mode of commuting.
Policies designed to make it easier for people to commute by bike may present major opportunities for public health improvement, the researchers suggest.
Dr Jason Gill, from the Institute of Cardiovascular and Medical Sciences, says: “Cycling all or part of the way to work was associated with substantially lower risk of adverse health outcomes. Those who cycled the full length of their commute had an over 40% lower risk of heart disease, cancer and overall mortality over the five years of follow-up.
“If these associations are causal, these findings suggest that policies designed to make it easier for people to commute by bike, such as cycle lanes, city bike hire, subsidised cycle purchase schemes and increasing provision for cycles on public transport may present major opportunities for public health improvement.”
Meanwhile, walking to work was associated with 27% lower risk of developing heart disease and a 36% lower risk of dying from heart disease, but did not reduce the risk of cancer or premature death overall. The benefits of cycling to work were higher than walking because those on bikes covered longer distances and the intensity of cycling tended to be higher than walking, the study suggests.
Dr Carlos Celis-Morales says: “Walking to work was associated with lower risk of heart disease, but unlike cycling was not associated with a significantly lower risk of cancer or overall death. This may be because walkers commuted shorter distances than cyclists – typically six miles per week, compared with 30 miles per week – and walking is generally a lower intensity of exercise than cycling.”
The paper – ‘Association between active commuting (walking and cycling) and incident cardiovascular disease, cancer and mortality: Prospective cohort study of 264,337 UK Biobank participants’ – is published today in the BMJ.
To find out about cycling to work schemes come to Cycle City Active City
The Department for Transport (DfT) is seeking innovations that encourage more people to make journeys by bike or on foot, writes Patrick McDonnell. An open competition was launched today, which will run through the Small Research Business Initiative (SRBI). The DfT said it would fund projects that propose innovative means of tackling the barriers to walking and cycling.
Entries should outline ideas that make it easier for people to cycle to work, improve the image of cycling, make cycling feel safer for teenagers and women, and combine cycling and rail travel.
The DfT is also seeking innovations designed to increase walking among those aged between 30 and 49 and over 60 and improve actual and perceived road safety for pedestrians through safer crossings, increased personal safety and design of objects and street furniture.
Also under consideration are journey planning tools and the use of electric bikes.
A team of independent experts will assess the entries, and the DfT will then develop a portfolio of projects.
The competition application deadline is midday on Wednesday 14 June.
nextbike has expanded from 20 bikes in Leipzig, Germany, to more 40,000 bikes across four continents
A bike share scheme in Glasgow looks set to more than double in size in response to demands for more stations from users, says the city council.
The nextbike scheme was launched just before the Commonwealth Games in 2014 with 400 bikes located at 31 hire stations. Plans are in place to expand it to 900 bikes at 100 stations before the end of this year.
Glasgow City Council leader Frank McAveety says: “The scheme has been a phenomenal success since it was launched and the people of Glasgow and surrounding areas really have embraced it. “The bikes are being seen in use all over the city and are very popular with commuters, students, businesses and visitors. It is clear there is a real appetite for the cycle hire scheme in Glasgow. We receive overwhelming feedback from users of the scheme and numerous requests for more stations.
“We want to see the scheme continue to grow, bringing more bikes and stations in the city for people to use. In addition to the millions of pounds we are investing on cycle routes and infrastructure this is yet further progress in realising our ambition to make Glasgow one of the UK’s most cycling friendly cities.”
Colin Freeman, operations manager at The Bike Station in Glasgow, says nextbike’s arrival has created a cascade of positive impacts for the city. The Bike Station runs a number of community outreach projects in Glasgow designed to make cycling an easy, affordable and mainstream way to travel for people of all ages.
“We won the maintenance contract from the council to repair and maintain nextbikes and that money helps directly with the work we do here,” says Freeman. “It creates jobs for mechanics and distributors, and it helps teenagers not in employment, education or training to get real life skills.
“We are funded by a combination of grant funding and income generated from contracts like nextbike and these various projects teach, train, inspire and encourage people to get out on their bikes – whether it’s learning from scratch or taking the step to commute to work for the first time.
“The whole city benefits. You can see it every morning – streams of nextbikes riding through the parks and bringing people to and from the city. It’s a fabulous sight and while it’s great for tourists it’s also clearly benefiting the people of Glasgow.”
Besides the benefits that cycling brings to a population, there’s the positive impact on air quality, says nextbike. It says that in Glasgow there have been 286,521 rentals equalling 555,851km in journeys. This has saved 150,636kg of CO2, nextbike estimates.
Founded in 2004, nextbike’s headquarters are in Germany but it now provides 40,000 bikes in more than 25 countries including Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Dubai, Hungary, Latvia, New Zealand, Poland, Switzerland, Turkey, the United States, Saudi Arabia, Ukraine and India.
It operates schemes in 130 towns and cities and its partners include global banking giant Santander in Milton Keynes, and RBS for a similar scheme in Edinburgh.
Founder Ralf Kalupner says: “It started with only 20 bikes in Leipzig. Now, we work on an international basis with 40,000 bikes.”
He adds: “No other public bike sharing system can provide a larger international network of rental bikes which, incidentally, gives users access to every single scheme. Once you’ve signed up you’re able to use a nextbike regardless of whether you’re in Bath one week and Dubai the next.”
Our impact is felt quickly too, regardless of size of scheme, says Kalpner, citing the swift expansion of the scheme in Bath, which meant that the council support was no longer necessary.
Bath’s cabinet member for transport Anthony Clark says: “I am delighted that so many people are using nextbike as a simple and fun way to get around the city and experience Bath in a way that would not be possible by car.
“Improving transport is one of the top six priorities of our new administration, and this includes action to support sustainable transport options such as walking and cycling. The additional stations will enable more residents living just outside the center to take advantage of this resource, and to support students in the area to leave cars at home and cycle and walk while studying in Bath.”
Bike Share is also well suited to university towns, where there are a lot of commuters, a constant lack of parking space, combined with crowded buses and trains, says nextbike.
This has resulted in partnerships with the University of Warwick, Kent State University in Ohio and three universities in Germany (Mannheim, Potsdam and Bochum).
As part of an agreement with universities or student unions, students and staff get a package of free minutes per rental. Students and staff also have access to all of the bikes in their city with additional stations installed on and around the campus itself if required.
nextbike says it is the first bikeshare scheme to meet the Bikeplus standards.
The Public Bike Share Accreditation Criteria is designed for local authorities and sponsors to evaluate whether operators and suppliers reach agreed standards before being invited to apply for contracts.
Julian Scriven, managing director of nextbike UK, says: “nextbike is committed to delivering high quality bike share schemes that are sustainable in every way. The Bikeplus accreditation will help Local Authorities and sponsors identify organisations that can be relied on to create schemes that will benefit their communities.
“I believe this will lead to improved schemes, streamlining of the procurement process and further development of the sector’s safety and business standards.”
To meet the nextbike team and find out more about bike share come to Cycle City Active City
Storage capacity for bikes on ScotRail`s long distance services is to drop from four to two spaces
ScotRail looks set to halve bike storage capacity on long distance services, writes Patrick McDonnell. Currently four bikes are allowed on each train, but once the operator rolls out its new high speed train (HST) fleet this will drop to two.
Franchise holder Abellio plans to start introducing the HST fleet from 2018 onwards. The 26-train fleet, which will comprise 54 power cars and 121 carriages, are actually refurbished 40 year-old InterCity 125 High Speed Trains (HST) first introduced in England in 1977.
The rail operator is considering storage for six further bikes in the two power cars at each end of the train.
This would bring the total bike capacity on each train to eight, still way below the 20 spaces Abellio had previously indicated in talks with the Scottish government in 2015.
A ScotRail spokeswoman says: “We have to balance a number of demands when planning space in our trains and want to accommodate bikes as far as possible. We’re exploring a number of options in advance of the HST fleet arriving in Scotland.
“There is provision for three bikes in each power car, which will require operational consideration due to platform lengths and station dwell times for the power car access.”
The reductions in bike space on trains goes against “a joined-up vision for cycling in Scotland”, says sustainable transport charity Sustrans.
A Sustrans spokesman says: “Ensuring there are more spaces for bikes on trains, not less, is key to encouraging passengers to use trains as a way of travelling actively and sustainably over longer journeys without having to rely on a car.
“Whilst bike parking at stations has improved tremendously over the past few years, many commuters not only want to cycle to the station to catch a train, but are keen to get on their bike again at their destination.
“Scotland has a shared ambition for 10% of journeys to be made by bike by 2020, and this is a step in the wrong direction. The opportunity to carry a bike on public transport is key to ensuring sustainable travel is a viable option for travellers for their everyday journeys.”
Spokes, the Scottish cycling campaign group, says: “Storage space for cycles could be created by converting some redundant toilets into bike storage, instead of them being locked and just transporting air.
“Nor are we convinced about the ‘end-to-end’ power-car bike restrictions. Virgin Trains currently operates some (eight-coach) HST trains up to Inverness, and although their bike compartment is in coach ‘A’ rather than the power car, it is is nonetheless locked.
“Since bikes have to be pre-booked, the guard knows in advance when it needs to be unlocked, and this works fine with Virgin. Surely ScotRail is capable of doing similar, at least at main stations such as Perth?”
Find our more about cycle-rail at Cycle City Active City
Staff from 218 businessesused an online platform to log their sustainable journeys and
competed to climb a leader board
Employees who pledged to travel more actively to work as part of Sustrans Scotland’s Workplace Journey Challenge in March have logged a total of nearly £54,000 in savings in just one month, says the sustainable transport charity, writes Patrick McDonnell.
The free month-long challenge was funded by Transport Scotland. It saw 3,059 people from 218 Scottish businesses travel in ways that benefitted their health, wellbeing and the environment.
Workplaces across Scotland competed with each other to see who could clock up the most walking, cycling, public transport and car-sharing journeys in March in a bid to win more than £2,000 worth of prizes.
As well as saving £53,919 by swapping car journeys for more sustainable alternatives, employees saved 54,745kg in CO2 emissions and burned the equivalent of 33,744 donuts in calories.
Transport Minister Humza Yousaf said: “It’s great to see how many people across Scotland are making smarter travel choices, and getting the health benefits from walking and cycling on their daily commute. The Scottish Government will continue to invest in infrastructure and behaviour change programmes to ensure people have the widest choice possible for their everyday journeys.”
Sustrans’ smarter choices workplace coordinator, Jenny Muir said: “It’s fantastic to see how our Workplace Journey Challenge has been taken up by so many diverse organisations across the country.
“There has been a great element of fun in the challenge. Watching people tweet their pictures of their journey to work has inspired others and of course there has been healthy competition between different companies.
“By encouraging people to make small changes to the way they get to work, we hope it will inspire them to make sustainable, long-term changes to the way they travel.”
Participants used an online platform to log their sustainable journeys and competed to climb a leader board. They had access to feedback on how many calories they had burned and the amount of money they’d saved on each journey by choosing healthy, green and cheap alternatives to driving.
Individual challengers were judged on the number of journeys they complete while workplaces were judged on the overall rate of participation in the team.
Find out more about Sustrans’ workplace active travel challenges at Cycle City Active City
Cllr Clyde Loakes (right)opens Waltham Forest`s 100th Bikehangar on Carr Rd
The 100th Bikehangar has been installed in the London borough of Waltham Forest, with another 30 to be added over the summer. The first units were installed in 2015 as part of the council’s Mini Holland programme to make the borough more cyclist and pedestrian-friendly. Additional funding for the secure storage units has come from the Mayor of London’s Borough Cycling Programme.
Each Bikehangar, which can store six cycles, is 2.5 metres in length, taking up half a car parking space. The Bikehangars are supplied by cycle parking designer and manufacturer Cyclehoop, which has installed more than 1,000 units across 26 London boroughs.
Waltham Forest council says it has been overwhelmed by the demand for the units. Residents pay an annual charge of £20 to reserve a space in the hangar and are supplied with a key. The council says it gives priority to streets where demand is highest.
Cllr Clyde Loakes, deputy leader and cabinet member for environment, says: “We’ve had an incredible response to our bike hangar scheme, and it’s great that we’ve now hit 100 across the borough. We’ve had thousands of requests for additional locations since we introduced the scheme, and many of our hangars are already oversubscribed. This goes to show how many people are choosing to make their journeys by bike in the borough, rather than taking the car.
“We are not able to fulfil every request we have for a bike hangar due to huge levels of demand from residents, but we will continue to provide as many as we can across the borough.”
Find out more about Waltham Forest’s Mini Holland programme at Cycle City Active City
Plans for a 366-mile cycling network linking all the major towns, workplaces and transport hubs across Oxfordshire has been submitted to the county council by a cycling campaign group.
The Oxfordshire Cycling Network (OCN) calculates that the new route would cost £120m to build, and would improve safety levels and encourage cycling among people of all abilities. This would increase cycling from the current 3% of all journeys to 10%, resulting in £112m worth of savings a year, 80% of which would come from health benefits and 20% from journey benefits, estimates OCN.
Chair of OCN Robin Tucker says part of the funding for the network would come from developers as part of Section 106 agreements. “The routes can be included in developer plans,” he says. “The developers will win too, as the houses and workplaces they build will be more attractive.”
Other funding would come from central government’s Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy (CWIS) due to be published later this year and “smart use” of road maintenance funds, he adds.
“For example, where the council is resurfacing a road it can improve cycling facilities at the same time.”
Tucker estimates the network would take 16 years to complete, based on cycle infrastructure spending levels of £10 per person each year, as proposed by the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group.
Around three-quarters of the network should be fully segregated while cycle tracks within towns, where space constraints are greater, should be semi-segregated, Tucker suggests.
An Oxfordshire County Council spokesman said: “We’ve been in discussion with OCN about developing this as one part of our Active & Healthy Travel programme of work, linked to the implementation of our Local Transport Plan.
“We need to look closely at the detail of what’s been proposed but the idea of developing a cycle network is something that we support. Delivering any scheme of this nature requires resources and funding and so we would need to investigate with OCN how this could be pursued.”
To find out more about Oxfordshire’s proposed cycling network come to Cycle City Active City
Work to make Westminster Bridge more pedestrian and cyclist-friendly is due to start at the end of March, writes Patrick McDonnell. The 155-year-old structure will become the fourth bridge in central London to have segregated cycle lanes, with the south-side junction re-modeled to make it easier to cross for pedestrians.
The re-worked layout will improve pedestrian access with three upgraded pedestrian crossings and new pedestrian countdown timers, says Transport for London (TfL). The improvements will further advance links into the wider cycling network such as the East-West Cycle Superhighway and the Central London Cycling Grid, and make the area more pleasant with new trees and benches, new footway material and a 20mph speed limit.
Following consultation with Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, modifications have been made to the design of the bus stop bypasses in front of St Thomas’ Hospital. This work means that these bus stop bypasses will now include a zebra crossing to assist pedestrians crossing the cycle track. The width of the pedestrian crossing point at these bus stop bypasses has been almost doubled to six metres, to reflect the special features of their location outside a busy hospital.
The improvement of the Westminster Bridge area will require various road restrictions until its completion in early 2018, so road users are advised to plan ahead and allow more time for journeys or, where possible, use alternative routes.
Will Norman, London’s walking and cycling commissioner, said: “It’s great news that work is about to start to transform walking and cycling facilities at Westminster Bridge. These improvements are going to make a real difference in the area, ensuring the iconic bridge is safer and more pleasant to use.
“We are determined to make physical activity a bigger part of Londoners’ everyday lives for the good of everyone in our city, and this is exactly the type of scheme that will help to encourage this. We’ve also been looking carefully at the disruption caused by the construction of previous schemes and I can ensure all road users that we will be working hard to ensure that this is kept to an absolute minimum.”
As with any road layout changes of this type, TfL will ensure that staff, and where possible police, are present for the first week of operation of the bus stop bypasses to assist members of the public. In addition, announcements will be made on buses approaching the stop to alert passengers they will be alighting at a bus stop bypass. TfL is conducting a wider trial of zebra crossings at bus stop bypasses and any relevant recommendations will be taken into account in the final design of the bus stop bypasses in front of St Thomas’ Hospital.
Find out more about TfL’s cycle infrastructure plans at Cycle City Active City.
Bike hire docking stations are due to be installed along Brighton & Hove’s seafront
Brighton’s £1.45m cycle hire scheme is due to begin operation in June, with up to 430 new ‘social bicycle’ (SOBI) smartbikes available for residents and visitors to hire from hubs and docking stations, writes Patrick McDonnell.
Popular sites, including the seafront and Brighton Station, have been put forward as potential docking stations, with the scheme also planned to operate along the A27 corridor, heading out to the university campus sites at Falmer.
Brighton & Hove City Council estimates that nine parking spaces will be removed to make way for docking stations while another four spaces will be removed due to changes to road layout. This would see a drop in parking revenue of £24,000, the council estimates.
The scheme will offer a range of tariffs to suit both regular and occasional users. Hire costs will start from £2 per trip or £8 per day, with users having the option to pay as they go on a 3p per minute tariff (minimum £2 charge) or purchase an annual membership at £72, which includes 30 minutes free use every day.
In January this year a three-year contract was awarded to Hourbike, which operate bike share schemes similar to the London bike scheme in other cities including Liverpool, Oxford and Reading. The scheme is expected to generate new revenue to the council of between £20,000 and £25,000 a year, according to Hourbike’s initial projections.
The total capital cost of the scheme is £1.45m comprising an award of £1.16m granted by the Coast to Capital (C2C) Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) with match funding of £290,000 from Brighton & Hove City Council.
Gill Mitchell, lead member for environment and sustainability at Brighton & Hove City Council, said: “This is an exciting scheme that should work well for the city. The aim is to provide a flexible service that will give more choice to those who live, work or visit the city – providing an opportunity to cycle, even if you don’t own a bike or can’t bring one with you.”
Brighton’s bike hire scheme will be discussed at Cycle City Active City