The latest meeting of the East Midlands Cycle Forum was held in Derby on the 22nd June 2019 and was well attended with approx 50 people from across the Midlands including representatives from Cambridge, Sheffield, Nottingham, Bolsover, Chesterfield, Lincoln, Leicester and elsewhere.
The keynote speech from Phil Jones, chairman of Phil Jones & Associates, was very well received. The slides can be seen here.
Andrew Saffrey gave us an insight into the way that Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plans are being put together including the local one for the D2N2 area.
There were then short updates from the various campaigning groups represented which was very well controlled by the chair, Dave Clasby, to ensure all had a fair chance to speak and all concentrated on just the key things to share.
After a good quality buffet lunch provided by the venue, some of the attendees visited the local Bike Back bike recycling charity, the Derby Arena velodrome, and the national standard BMX track.
Thanks are due to Dave Clasby for his efforts in organising the event and getting commitment from the various speakers, as well as all the members of Derby Cycling Group who supported the event.
Great media coverage for the protest on Friargate objecting to Derby City Council’s ridiculous approach to improving air quality by removing cycling infrastructure.
Derby Telegraph gave some publicity for the event the day before and then reported on the actual event a week or so later – see here (and ignore the normal moronic comments which are nothing to do with the subject matter of the article.
Saturday”s East Midlands Today news round up led with the protest. A clip of the program can be seen here (you might need to download this file and then open an appropriate video playing app on your computer – about 50MB to download).
The safety of vulnerable road users must be paramount
This cycle/bus/taxi lane on Friar Gate is to be removed by Derby City Council and turned into a second, faster, lane for cars and lorries as part of their Air Quality Preferred Option.
These changes will increase the risk to cyclists using this route into Derby and that is not acceptable. Derby Cycling Group objects to these proposals in the strongest possible terms. Please help us to keep this cycle lane and the right-turn protected space in front of the traffic island,
and this right turn facility which is also to be removed,
E-mail or write to the local councillors to object to the removal of these cycle facilities:
Please write before 15th February, 2019.
The councillors below represent the two wards where the facilities are located. They do not necessarily support the removal of the cycling facilities.
If you use either of these facilities, then please tell the councillors why it’s important for them to be retained or, even better, improved and tell them why NO highways scheme should make cycling (or walking) infrastructure worse and more dangerous.
If these facilities are not in your area, think that your local cycle path or lane could be next to go. Please inform your local councillors, or the councillors above, that you think they should be retained and why.
Some of Derby Cycling Group’s opinions:
We believe facilities like these should either remain unchanged or be upgraded to something better, but not removed.
The cycle/bus lane is a “safe haven” for getting access to the
cycle/bus “gate” onto lower Friar Gate, it enables many people to cycle
along here into the city centre.
Removing the cycle lane will make the road more dangerous for
cyclists. The changes will force cyclists to ride into the outside lane,
into faster traffic, to get onto the lower Friar Gate cycle lane.
We are concerned that a road safety audit would be critical of the revised road layout.
At the very least it will make this manoeuvre feel dangerous and many people will simply stop cycling here.
The facility opposite Brick Street is poorly designed, but it is
used. This was witnessed by DCG on a site visit with council officers. A
better alternative should be installed instead of removing it
Derby’s clean air strategy must encourage more cycling and walking;
the council’s proposal will reduce active travel by removing
infrastructure which supports it.
More cycling and walking are the best way to reduce pollution and
congestion. This is recognised both by the council, Public Health
England and DEfRA.
We had a lengthy site visit with the air quality team to view and discuss our suggestions and to talk about other options. We have heard nothing about the proposal since the visit, so we assume nothing has changed.
We have asked that a road safety audit of the scheme be conducted and for the findings of the audit to be made public.
We have asked if any of the discussed changes will be adopted into the clean air proposals, but have not been told anything. We have not been told if a road safety audit of the scheme has been carried out or not.
Please help to keep these important features in our cycle network.
Please look out for further action and campaigning by Derby cycling Group on this issue.
Derby City Council are planning on degrading and removing cycling infrastructure on Friargate between Brick St and Bridge St.
The plans will see the removal of a bus/ cycle lane to create space for two lanes of cars.
The plans will increase the number of cars, increase pollution and increase the danger to road cyclists.
We want you to join us at this protest. Bring a bike, a placard, an instrument or just yourself.
We are going to organise bike rides around the infrastructure and have invited local councillors to join us.
We want to inform the public of these dangerous changes that will strip away our safety. Protest starts at 11am and at 11:30 members of the group’s committee and anyone else who wants to join us will strip down to their underwear in protest. Protest likely to end around 12 noon.
Surprisingly the media will also be invited. Meet before 11am on Saturday 16th Feb at junction of Friar Gate and Vernon Street.
The council’s plans are unacceptable and dangerous.
It’s good see in the police information that “It’s vital to remember that the vulnerable road users such as pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists and horse riders are at much greater risk of serious injury and death than those in cars. Our priority should always be to protect those most vulnerable.”
Derby City Council in currently in the process of consulting on their proposals to meet their legal requirements for air quality in Derby.
The Derby Cycling Group have provided the following response to the consultation. Members are also encouraged to provide their own feedback.
We are writing from Derby Cycling Group in response to the Council’s consultation on air quality in Derby. As a group involved in campaigning for cycle facilities in the city, and comprising approximately 400 members, we are a key stakeholder in the consultation process.
With regards to the Council’s Air Quality, Low Emission Policy, and proposals for reducing pollution levels below the specified maximums, we would make the following points which we would expect to be taken into consideration during the refinement of the proposals.
All the proposed options contain non specific improvements to cycling infrastructure. These would be welcomed by the Derby Cycling Group but need to be made specific to allow for any informed comment. We welcome more details of the plans and would expect to be invited to comment.
An overall reduction in traffic within the city would be welcomed as this would lead to a improved environment for cyclists (and hence increased numbers). It is important that the plans do not result in substitution of “dirty” vehicles with similar levels of “cleaner” larger vehicles.
The option to rearrange traffic measures in Stafford Street does not address the underlying problem of poor air quality and just “games” the modelling to spread the same (or higher) pollution to allow the limit of NOx pollution in Stafford Street to be met. This might meet the letter of what is required by law but not the spirit. We would prefer to see measures that address reducing overall pollution rather than addressing the measurement of pollution at just one or two points.
We are concerned about the impact Option 1 might have on existing cycling behaviour and provisions. Again, we welcome more details of the plan and would expect to be invited to comment. We would strongly resist any worsening of the current situation for cyclists.
We would prefer to see additional options alongside the current 3 options which are at extreme ends of the possibilities (i.e. tinker with Stafford St or create a 24 hour a day charging zone). There should be scope for an additional option of a massive focus on active travel, a LCWIP and the creation of a good quality, connected cycle network.
A design principle should be adopted that any cycling infrastructure in an area subject to a change is upgraded or enhanced as a consequence of that change, be that traffic management or reconstruction.
We are concerned about one-off payments to favoured individuals or companies to allow for replacement of “dirty” vehicles when this money could be better spent on creating cycling infrastructure that would provide a long term benefit to pollution issues rather than a one off “hit”.
Within the Low Emission Strategy, an additional focus area should be added as “transport cycle strategy” to put active travel on a par with EV, buses, taxis, etc. which each have their own focus area.
Any grant / discount schemes for electric or low emission vehicles should also include the option of purchasing ebikes (for the whole family) as a solution.
We welcome the desire of the Council to address air quality issues within the city and would support any measures that improve the cycling infrastructure and encourage increased cycle usage within the city and the surrounding “travel to work” area.
We would welcome the chance to comment on detailed proposals as they are defined and would ask that the Derby Cycling Group is included in the list of stakeholders or interested parties during the review process.
You have the opportunity to influence the extent and shape of the cycle network in Derbyshire as Derbyshire Council and Active Derbyshire work towards their goal of making Derbyshire the most connected county for cycling in England.
Councils around the country are currently defining what they would like their local cycle network to look like if money was no object. They then move onto examining which of the possible projects should be addressed as a high priority.