Category Archives: Uncategorized

Derby Clean Air Proposals – Where is the Cycling and Walking?

Derby’s Clean Air Preferred Option was out for consultation until today. The proposal failed entirely to provide any new infrastructure for cycling which, by enabling more people to cycle, would have helped reduce car travel and improved air quality.

But it went further than that.

It proposes that two pieces of cycle-specific infrastructure be removed: a permissive right turn from Friar Gate into Brick Street and a dedicated bus/cycle lane leading to the bus/cycle gate on Friar Gate at the junction of Bridge Street. Furthermore, wherever motor vehicles are to be prevented from making certain manoeuvres on Stafford Street and the Mercian Way roundabout, cyclists will be prohibited from making the same manoeuvres.

         All in all, a very short sighted approach, in our view.

Derby Cycling Group has submitted proposals for enhancements to the council scheme to make it much more cycle and pedestrian friendly. Read our response here:

Clean Air Preferred Option – DCG Response

We hope the Air Quality team will take these enhancements on board; we don’t see any reason why they should not because with only one exception, they do not take any road space away from motor traffic, and yet deliver fantastic benefits for those who travel by bike and some for pedestrians as well.

Previously we made a press release expressing our general issues with the initial proposal:    Press Release

New cycling offences: Government plans and consultation

New cycling offences: causing death or serious injury when cycling

In August 2018 the Government announced the consultation Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy safety review: proposal for new cycling offences. To address the few high profile incidents of cyclist causing the death of pedestrian, the Government propose to introduce new offences for causing death or serious injury by dangerous or careless cycling. This consultation seeks views on the new offences and the associated penalties, the consultation closes 11.45pm on 5 November 2018.

The Government instigated a review of the laws relating to cycling offences which was undertaken by Laura Thomas, a Barrister at Birketts LLP. The review considers the existing law applicable to cycling and driving, together with the respective penalties that may be applied; specific attention being paid to the offences of causing death or serious injury. The author concluded that disparities exist between the offences relating to cycling and driving, also in the penalties applicable to the respective offences.

The report puts a compelling case for the review of cycling offences and alignment of the penalties. However, the final clause states; ‘Considering the wider impact of legislative change, this review is focused specifically on cycling. However, some of the issues outlined above would apply in respect of all non-mechanically propelled vehicles such as horses, horse and carriages etc. This is particularly so if, rather than setting out new legislation specifically for cyclists; there was an amendment to existing legislation to remove the “mechanically propelled” stipulation.’ This suggestion would apply a consistent set of offences to all road users, not just focusing on cyclist. Continue reading New cycling offences: Government plans and consultation

Derby Air Quality consultation

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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”.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.

St Peters Street and Cornmarket – Cycle Access 5pm to 10am

At Derby Cycling Group we have argued for many years that banning responsible cycling in the city centre suppresses the number of everyday journeys made by bike in Derby, because the north/south route through the city centre is the most direct one to get many people from where they live to where they work, and no suitable alternative routes were available. We are therefore really pleased to confirm the new arrangements for cycle access on St Peter’s Street and Cornmarket, even though they are only in “off-peak” times.  This new access means that between 5pm and 10am there is a complete route from The Spot, along St Peters Street, Cornmarket, Irongate and Queen Street, for access to and travel through the city centre.

Here is a summary of the new arrangements for cyclists access to St Peter’s Street and Cornmarket as we understand it (the rules on other streets have not changed, but are shown below for information):

The Rules for Each Street

Street Cycle Access
 St Peters Street     Cornmarket General access 5pm to 10am everyday. Motor vehicles have access for loading only.
 Market Place                       Tenant Street                   Irongate                                   Amen Alley  General access 24 hrs a day, 7 days a   week.                                                                   Motor vehicle access is more restricted.
 East Street                               Exchange Street                           St Peters Churchyard    Sadler   Gate No access for cyclists or motor vehicles on these one way streets, at any time, except for loading between 5pm to 10am.
St James’s Street

 

No access for cyclists or motor vehicles in either direction, except for loading   between 5pm to 10am.

Legal Standing:

The changes to access rules on St Peters Street and Cornmarket are covered by a Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) which is a statutory document and therefore cyclists have a legal right to use these streets between the stated times.

The new TRO gives cyclists access at the same times that HGVs, vans and cars have always had for loading, so there should be nothing controversial about that. If cyclists shouldn’t be here at those times, HGVs certainly should not.

Note that the access only applies when entering the pedestrianised area via St Peters Street and Cornmarket. There is no contra-flow cycling on one way streets (eg Albion Street, St Peters Churchyard & East Street); there is no cycling on St James’s Street or Sadler Gate

Signage:

The signs being used to inform the kind of access to streets in the city centre are descrided in a separate post:

                        City Centre Cycle Access Signage

The slabs with the shared use logos, inserted into the paving on St Peters Street, caused confusion and concern when they were removed because no reason was given. It turns out that they were not to specification, and slippery in the wet. Somebody had slipped over on one. We have been told that replacement, non-slip, versions will be provided by the supplier at their cost and will be re-inserted into the street when they arrive.

Responsible Use of Shared Spaces:

Whatever the ins and outs of the limitation of access to “off-peak hours”, or the clarity of the signage, the bottom line is that cyclists now have access to these streets; it removes a crazy anomaly that the vehicles posing most risk of any sort were allowed in, whilst those vehicles posing less risk were barred. Derby Cycling Group celebrates that and welcomes the opportunities for more urban cycle journeys that this provides. Our biggest desire is that everyone who uses these streets does so responsibly and safely and with respect to everyone else. We endorse the principle of the hierarchy of responsibility where those using a heavier, faster vehicle is most responsible for the safety of those using lighter and slower vehicles. However, everyone has responsibilities to use the space considerately and courteously. We hope that the new access regime will be enhanced in the future; whether that happens is in many ways in the hands of the cyclists who use these streets.

Derby City Centre Cycle Access – Signage:

Here is some guidance on our interpretation of the signage in use in Derby City Centre regarding the use of streets for cycling. We hope it is useful and informative. It is not a definitive legal definition, but is intended to help people understand the principles of the access which each sign is intended to convey.

Only the rules as they apply to cycling are described.

  1. Cycling allowed between 5pm and 10am only.

A bicycle is a vehicle, therefore the “no vehicles” sign prohibits bicycles except at the times shown.

St Peter’s Street and Cornmarket

 

2. Cycling allowed 24hrs a day, 7 days a week.

The sign excludes motor vehicles, and because a bicycle is not a motor vehicle it is allowed to be ridden on this street. E-bikes are not classed as motor vehicles, so these can be ridden where motor vehicles are prohibited.

Irongate and Amen Alley

3. Cycling allowed between 5pm and 10 am everyday.

Here, at the bottom of Irongate, motor vehicles cannot access Cornmarket, so the “exception” sign is slightly different to some other places.

 

4. Cycling not allowed at any time, except for loading and unloading between 5pm and 10am.

A bicycle is a vehicle and is therefore prohibited from this street unless delivering or picking up items to an address on the street, or an address accessed from it,  between the times shown. In Derby many of these streets are one-way, and there is no cycle exception to this.

East Street, Exchange Street, St Peters Churchyard, Sadler Gate, St James’ Street

5. Cycling not allowed at any time

This is a one-way street, and no vehicles (which includes bicycles) can enter. Bicycles may be able to come in the other direction, that depends on the signage at the entry point to the one-way street.

Exchange Street off Albert Street; St Peter’s Churchyard from Green Lane direction; Sadler Gate off Bold Lane/Strand.

Manchester vision for cycling recommended as Christmas reading

Manchester’s Cycling and Walking Commissioner (Chris Boardman) has published his thoughts on what is needed to transform Manchester’s cycling and walking environment. As someone who generally talks a lot of sense (i.e. I agree with most of what he says!) Chris’ report is worth a read.

Download the report here. Only 17 pages with lots of pictures and graphs.

Amongst the quotes from Chris Boardman are,

“For too long our town and city streets have been designed around motorised vehicles, leaving them unsafe, unattractive and difficult to navigate on foot or by bike.

[The world’s happiest countries] prioritise walking and cycling
above all other modes of transport. But the fact is that people will only travel this way if it is easy and pleasant. Riding a bicycle or crossing a street should not require bravery.

We need protected space; uninterrupted, all the way from where
I am to where I want to be. Only with safe and attractive space will people that don’t walk or cycle now, venture out onto the road in significant numbers.”

The report is aimed at Manchester only but Derby could learn a lot from the approach. A lot of the proposed solutions for Manchester are also what are needed in other cities including Derby.

Happy reading over the holidays!

Comment on the Derbyshire cycle network plans

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.

Derbyshire County Council are nearing the end of the first stage and are asking the public to comment on their plans. They have defined a possible future network and are asking people to comment and to give opinions on which portions of the network are most important. Continue reading Comment on the Derbyshire cycle network plans