A breath of fresh air in Derby

This year the Sustrans Derby Rangers have been organising monthly led rides in and around Derby with the goal of getting more people to cycle. As volunteers we wanted the rides to be a fun and sociable events for people who already knew how to cycle but needed some encouragement.

At the beginning of March we only had two attendees but after that things improved and we regularly had around 15 riders. Similarly, we’ve grown from two volunteers with ride management training to four – which means we can split a larger group in two.

When we were out and about we followed a mixture of routes along traffic-free sections of the National Cycle Network and quiet roads. We used Route 6 to Elvaston Castle and to Swarkestone, as well as Mickleover Greenway and Breadsall Greenway which are both sections of the same disused railway line. 

We sent out a survey to all participants and they told us that they really valued the social aspect of the rides as well as giving them the chance to get some exercise! Almost everyone said that the rides had encouraged them to do more cycling this year which is great news!

I think everyone enjoyed running the rides, even if it was hard work at times. We are taking a break over the winter but we have started planning our calendar for next year. We’re always keen for more people to join us so please get in touch if you’d like to be involved in next year’s rides. Email: derbysustrans@gmail.com or Follow @SustransEMids on Facebook.

Get involved with Cycle September

Derby Cycling Group is pleased to support (and be involved with) the Cycle September campaign organised by Love to Ride.

Find out more about the exciting line up of free cycling events happening throughout Cycle September

We hope to meet some of our members at the Cycle September Launch Event on Tuesday 3rd September (11-3) at the Spot outside Intu in Derby centre.

We’re also looking forward to the “Cycling in Derby: Where do we go from here?” event at the University of Derby on the evening of Thursday 19th September.

Love to Ride encourages individuals and their workplaces to compete worldwide to raise the profile of cycling and help get more bums on bikes this Cycle September. 

Ride anywhere, any time and encourage others to do the same to earn points. The more points you earn, the further you climb the leader boards and the better your chances of winning prizes which include bikes, holidays, vouchers and more. 

Once you’ve registered your details with Love to Ride, add your membership of the Derby Cycling Group “club” by using this link

East Midlands Cycle Forum

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.

Write Again to defra: fRiar gate cycle lane removal

An everyday cyclist in the Friar Gate cycle lane

Derby Cycling Group have again written to DEFRA objecting to the removal of the cycle lane, shown here, on Friar Gate. We also object to the suppression of the amount of support for cycle transport which is expressed within the Clean Air Strategy consultation process, and we rebuff DEFRA’s excuses for why removing the cycle lane “is OK”.

DCG Open Letter to DEFRA regarding Derby Local Air Quality Plan Full Business Case

Please write again, yourself, to object to the removal of the Friar Gate cycle lane as part of Derby’s Clean Air Strategy.

Use your own story and maybe back it up with information from our letter and our two website posts below:

Friar Gate Cycle Lanes are Misrepresented by DEFRA

Friar Gate Cycle Lanes are Misrepresented by City Council

Note that MPs can only respond to their own constituents, but they will be aware of other correspondence as well.

Friar Gate Cycle Lanes are Misrepresented by City CounciL

Object again to the removal of Friar Gate cycle lane as part of Derby’s Clean Air Strategy.

The Full Business Case for Derby’s Local Air Quality Plan has been submitted to DEFRA by Derby City Council.

  • It barely mentions cycling. Sometimes cycling is most notable by its absence:
    • Figure 3 (page 23) excludes details of the changes to the Friar Gate/Bridge Street junction, where the cycle lane is to be removed. Why would the city council want to hide the removal of a cycle lane from the public and DEFRA’s view?
    • Section 2.4 (“Preferred Scheme”) also contains the following misleading point: “Changes … on Friar Gate to help provide alternative route choices”. On the contrary:
      • The removal of the cycle lane will reduce the alternative choices open to many cyclists and many will stop cycling here altogether; many others who may have considered cycling will never start.
      • As cycling should be a significant element in any long term air quality improvement strategy, this is a lamentable situation and the very words show that active travel has never been considered as part of this air quality plan; a shameful indictment.
  • The lack of mention of cycling is in spite of the air quality consultation showing that people in Derby want better cycle routes
    • The consultation for the three initial options  showed that, from 2,537 responses:
      • In Chart 4 (page 9) : 61.2% (4th highest) thought switching to lower emissions transport modes (such as cycling) can improve air quality.
      • In Section 5.1.11 (page 9), the top 3 suggestions for how to tackle air quality issues included “more cycle lanes or an improved cycling infrastructure”.
      • In Chart 5 (page 10): 31.7% of respondents (4th highest) use a bicycle as part of their current transport menu (this is omitted from the consultation summary, but the 6th highest (Train at 22.2%) is quoted instead! Why omit the statistics for cycling?
      • In Chart 6 (page 11) 36.1% of respondenat (4th highest) said they would consider using a bicycle more to help improve air quality,
      • However 16.3% of respondents who do not cycle said that poor infrastructure and safety concerns about riding on the road were barriers to them using their bikes.
    • From the 189 responses to the final proposal consultation :
      • 44% (4th highest) supported greater use of active travel investment and promotion (Chart 4, page 16)
      • 41.7 % (5th highest) supported expansion of the e-bike share scheme (Chart 4)
      • The most common “other comment” (17) called for increased cycling infrastructure.
    • So why is the cycle lane on Friar Gate being removed? Removal runs contrary to what people in Derby say they want.

The on-road cycle lane on Friar Gate is a cycle lane, and is an essential safety feature for all kinds of cyclists. It is the thing which enables most of those people cycling here to be there in the first place.  The desires of so many people in Derby to have more cycling infrastructure must be upheld. The cycle lane must be retained or replaced with something different which gives the same or better continuity and directness of route AND, therefore, enables the route to be developed further in the future.

Object to the removal of Friar Gate cycle lane as part of Derby’s Clean Air Strategy.

Friar Gate Cycle Lanes are Misrepresented by DEFRA

OBJECT again to the removal of the Friar Gate cycle lane as part of Derby’s Clean Air Strategy.

DEFRA have replied to some of the correspondence from objectors to the removal of the cycle lane on Friar Gate. Derby Cycling Group wonders where they have got their information from; they speak of “local knowledge being crucial in solving pollution problems”. Here are some examples of their replies:

  • The cycle lane on Friar Gate is “a very short section of bus lane which is also used by confident cyclists.”
    • There are several untruths about that statement:
      • The cycle lane is a cycle lane as well as a bus lane!
      • It is used by all sorts of cyclists
    • The cycle lane may be “very short” but it is a crucial safety element on this piece of  road for cyclists. Size isn’t everything!
    • Is it alright to have dead or injured cyclists so long as they are confident ones?
  • Regarding the off-road path alongside Friar Gate, DEFRA say that it is OK to remove the on-road cycle lane because the off-road path is a suitable alternative. Quote “The NCN routes 54 and 68 already use a diversion to take cyclists past this junction to link directly to the existing off road cycle route on Friar Gate”
    • They are correct it is a “diversion” but good cycle routes follow continuous and direct routes, not diversions.
    • DfT standards say that cycle routes should be direct and continuous.
    • The Friar Gate off road cycle path has many faults:
      • It is of very poor quality by any standards, and especially measured against the forthcoming revised DfT standards
      • It is only useable by people travelling in a specific direction (it does not cater for people travelling along Ashbourne Road into town)
      • It is fraught with hazards:
        • Very narrow in many places with tree roots making a surface which can be dangerous
        • Cyclists have no right of way at side roads, which poses its own risks
        • There are severe cobbled sections which are rough and are slippery in the wet
      • It is slow and indirect:
        • Cyclists have to cross moving traffic on Friar Gate to get onto the cycle path
        • It only runs for 1/3 of the length of Friar Gate.
        • Cyclists then have to negotiate three sets of traffic lights before they have to cross the street again to rejoin the road at the Stafford Street junction
    • By contrast the on-road cycle route:
      • Is direct and continuous over the full length of Friar Gate
      • Provides rights of way over traffic emerging from side roads and driveways
      • Is made safe by the provision of that short length of cycle lane, as well as the cycle/bus/taxi-only section of road from Bridge Street to The Warwick
  • DEFRA say there was overwhelming support for this traffic management approach during public consultation – but:
    • That was only for the traffic management option over the two clean air charging zone options (what a choice!)
    • In the Preferred Option consultation (Section 4, page 6)
      • The majority of respondents (42.9%) said that they strongly disagree/ disagree that the preferred option addresses roadside NO2 in the shortest possible time.”
      • The majority of respondents (44.4%) strongly disagree/ disagree that the preferred option maximises benefits and minimises costs for the Government.”
    • They say there has been considerable engagement with local cycling groups, but omit to say that Derby Cycling Group emphatically opposes the removal of the cycle lane.
    • The Derby City Council Full Business Case does not mention the removal of this cycle lane and does not mention the many cycling-supportive responses in the consultation documents (refer to the article “Friar Gate Cycle Lanes Misrepresented by Derby City Council”).

DEFRA have commented:

  • “This government is committed to increasing cycling and walking and making our roads safer for vulnerable users”.
    • In a contest to choose the best cycle route into town along Friar Gate run by a government committed to making roads safer for vulnerable users, the on-road cycle lane would win hands down.
    • Why? Because removing it makes the road more dangerous for the most vulnerable on-road users – cyclists.

Write NOW to DEFRA  defra.helpline@defra.gsi.gov.uk   and copy the minister for Air Quality: therese.coffey.mp@parliament.uk

Campaigning for cycle provision in Derby since 1979