Space for Cycling ride on 25th September

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Don’t forget the “Space for Cycling” ride during the Labour Party Conference in Brighton on Monday 25th September at 6.30 pm.

We are organising the event in collaboration with Cycling UK, the national cycling charity.

It’s not party political, but we do want to ensure that cycling is on everyone’s political agenda!

We are inviting Labour Party delegates, Brighton and Hove City Councillors and MPs from every party to join us.

The details are on Facebook and below:

Meet opposite the Brighton Hilton Metropole Hotel on the seafront cycle track on Monday 25th September at 6.30 pm.

We will have photos and a mini ride to Hove and back.

Space for Cycling encourages the politicians (of whatever persuasion) to make cycle-friendly decisions i.e. plan, invest, build high quality cycling infrastructure.

Come along and impress the Labour delegates with your enthusiasm for cycling!

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Bikeshare comes to Brighton – Hills not included

A Big Thing for 2017 will be the Brighton Bikeshare public bike hire scheme. With a three year contract awarded to Hourbike, with bikes provided by Social Bicycles, the plan is to have them up and running by the summer.

Lady riding a Bikeshare bicycle

The Argus ran a fair piece on it, although (not unusually) it was marred by below the line nonsense which afflicts most Argus pieces. One area of comment followed the line that bikeshare schemes wouldn’t work here because Hills, and this perhaps deserves a bit of consideration.

Brighton is a hilly place, its true (though Hove less so), but there is no particular relationship between cycling levels and hills, with some hilly places having good cycling levels and some flat places having very poor bike takeup – for fuller consideration of this, see HERE and HERE.

The thing about our hills is that they are divided by valleys, and whilst not strictly the case, it is broadly true to say that people tend to live up the hills, and stuff happens in the valleys – or along the coast – also flat. So – for example – a cycling Hanoverian will may start their journey with a white knuckle ride down Southover St, but once at the bottom can make head to Shoreham, Patcham, Falmer or Saltdean meeting minimal incline; can breeze around the North Laine, Lanes, Western Road, Kemptown, Hove… similarly flatly. The only substantial hill met on the journey is likely to be on the homeward trek back up into the Hanover heights.

Heres a map of the Bikeshare operational area. Aside from a brief hike up to Seven Dials, all of the bike stations will be in the Brighton flatlands, meaning that residents and visitors alike will be able pick up a bike for an hour or a day, do the things they want to do and leave it at a dock at the bottom of a hill, and mosey on home, to the station or wherever.

 

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The thing which mostly influences the choice to cycle is not hills of their lack, but how safe people feel to cycle in our city – specifically how safe from collision with motor vehicles do people feel, and this is an aspect which is likely to be more significant.

Although we have some good bits and pieces around – the seafront cycleway, Old Shoreham Road, Lewes Rd (north of Gyratory) – our safe cycle network is patchy at best, and its disjointed illegibility will be a big disincentive for bikeshare use.

There is a solution though. Bricycles supports the Space for Cycling Campaign, which aims to create the conditions where anyone can cycle anywhere.

Cycle-friendly streets are people-friendly streets. We want everyone to enjoy the health benefits, improved air quality and community feel that Space for Cycling can bring – whether you choose to cycle or not.

We are calling on councils to create a network of cycle-friendly routes, so that anybody of any age or ability can enjoy their journey through the freedom of cycling.

To achieve this we have devised a three-point plan for councils to sign up to:

Plan –  Plan a full network of cycle-friendly routes that allow people of all ages and abilities to cycle anywhere for any purpose

Invest – Actively seek the funding to implement the network and invest a minimum of 5-10% of the local transport budget in cycling

Build – Build the network using the most up-to-date high quality design standards

Although our council also supports this campaign, there is – as yet – scant evidence that it has any substantial plans to invest in our network, but perhaps the BikeShare scheme will be just the catalyst needed to take on the task of making Brighton & Hove a truly cycleable city.

What might a safer Elm Grove junction look like?

Rebel Yarns

When I was collecting signatures for my petition about the road crash hotspot at the bottom of Elm Grove, a few people asked how redesigning the road could improve safety. How different could it really be?

Following the council’s invitation to submit ideas for their forthcoming review of this junction, I got together with a few friends and we have come up with two options for a safer junction, plus some other ideas to think about. I’ll be emailing all these ideas to the council’s Travel Planning team tomorrow, just in time for their 1st November deadline.

If you think these are good suggestions, there’s still time for you to drop them a line to say so – feel free to link to this blog post if you want to. Or, of course, send in your own thoughts about what’s wrong with the junction and how it could be…

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Elm Grove Junction Update

“The message that everyone is trying to kill you outweighs some croissants from the Mayor on Cycle to Work day.”

Essential reading of the week is Dani Ahrens powerful and pertinent summary of the last leg in the journey of the petition which she started to seek improvements at the Elm grove Junction. The quote above is from the speech she made to the Environment, Transport & Sustainability Committee last week, and the full submission and her commentary can be found on her blog HERE

The response from the council to her petition of 781 signatures wanting improvements at this junction was – on the face of it – promising, with the council announcing that the junction will receive an upgrade in 2016/17,  but as the only detail given was the possibility of cycle advance signals, the suspicion is that the key problems with the junction will remain untouched. A suspicion backed up by another council ambition to “improve the efficiency of the junction” – some thing which Dani points out in her blog, can be a counter productive priority;

“I think it’s more important to make the road safer for people on bikes and on foot. In the long run, making roads feel safer for people travelling by bike is the best way to improve the efficiency of the road system. But the changes necessary to do that can’t be made if they have to happen without altering the existing capacity of junctions and roads to accommodate motor traffic.”

Also Dani is concerned that the suggestions made in her petition – for example introduction of a simultaneous green light phase for cyclists – have not been responded to, which may indicate that the council are reluctant to look beyond the limited palette of standard response to consider something more innovative or imaginative.

Whilst the council warn that they are working on a very tight schedule for this, and don’t have time or resources for a wide ranging consultation, they do invite contributions, and  if anyone would like to put forward suggestions then they are very welcome to do so by emailing Travel.Planning@brighton-hove.gov.uk. by November 1st.

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Elm Grove Junction Review

Last November, Brighton & Hove City Council passed a Notice of Motion that the council should sign up to the Space For Cycling Campaign

Space for Cycling is a campaign run by Cycling UK (at the time of the NoM known as CTC). The campaign is divided into six main themes:

  1. Protected space on main roads and junctions
  2. Removing through motor traffic in residential areas
  3. Lower speed limits
  4. Cycle-friendly town centres
  5. Safe routes to school
  6. Routes through green spaces

Following an incident last week where a cyclist was struck by a lorry at the junction of Lewes Road and Elm Grove, the council has the opportunity to act on its commitment to cycling in the city as local resident Dani Ahrens submits a petition for a junction review and urgent improvements at this location.

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Dani comments

The junction of Elm Grove and Lewes Road is nerve-wracking to cycle through from any direction, and with good reason. On July 9th, a local cyclist was hit and seriously injured by a lorry turning left into Elm Grove. There have been two other serious accidents at the same junction in the last five years, one involving injury to a pedestrian and the other involving a cyclist being injured. Two further serious accidents have occurred at the nearby junction of Union Road with Lewes Road, and both locations have seen numerous less serious incidents in recent years.

Junctions like this are a huge part of the reason why many people don’t cycle. Having to cross multiple lanes of traffic, position yourself assertively in the centre of your lane, and race ahead of left-turning vehicles is simply too terrifying for a lot of people. Making a mistake shouldn’t mean risking your life. A moment of inattention shouldn’t render a driver responsible for putting someone in hospital.

Suggestions for improvement include:

  • Simultaneous green lights for cycling only. This is a system that is commonly used at road junctions in the Netherlands. Here is a page with more information, videos and photographs showing how this works in practice: http://www.aviewfromthecyclepath.com/2014/05/the-best-traffic-light-solution-for.html
  • Removing railings
  • Straightening the pedestrian crossing on Lewes Road, just north of Elm Grove
  • Adding a pedestrian crossing south of Elm Grove (improving access to Park Crescent surgery)
  • Protected cycle infrastructure, connected with the cycle paths at the Level, enabling people on bikes to cross or bypass this junction without conflict with other road users.

Please support this petition and to make sure that the council lives up to the commitment to Space for Cycling which it made last year. The petition can be found HERE and it will be open until 29th September 2016 before being presented to the Environment, Transport & Sustainability Committee meeting on 11 October 2016.

Brighton and Hove City Council signs up to Space for Cycling

IMG_2288ed2Great news! We are delighted that Brighton and Hove City Council have voted to support CTC’s Space for Cycling campaign. There was agreement at the Environment Transport and Sustainability committee on November 25th 2015 to ask Brighton and Hove’s Chief Executive Officer to sign the council up to the initiative. 20140514 - SpaceforCyclingcroppedThis shows admirable unity of purpose between the Labour Chair of the committee, Councillor Gill Mitchell and the Green Group, led by Councillor Pete West, who tabled the motion. Bricycles has been promoting Space for Cycling since the start of the campaign led nationally by the cycling charity CTC. We now hope to see a continued and renewed focus at local level on the remaining barriers to cycling, particularly dealing with busy roads and dangerous junctions.

CTC’s blog on this and the Autumn Spending Review

Space for Cycling has 6 themes:

  1. Protected space on main roads
  2. Removing through motor traffic in residential areas
  3. Lower speed limits
  4. Cycle-friendly town centres
  5. Safe routes to school
  6. Routes through green spaces

More information here on what Space for Cycling means.

Space for Cycling ride with Shadow Transport Secretary!

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The Labour Party Conference starts in a few days’ time at the Brighton Centre in Brighton.

We have arranged a short bike ride in support of “Space for Cycling”, and we will be joined by the new Labour Shadow Secretary of State for Transport, Lilian Greenwood.

Please come along and show your support for cycling and sustainable transport! Please tell friends and colleagues!

The ride will start opposite the Hotel Metropole on the seafront cycle track on Weds 30 September. We’ll meet there at about 08.10 ready for a prompt start when Lilian arrives.

There will be photos and a short ride e.g. to Madeira Drive and back.

The Space for Cycling logo is red and white, so if you can also wear any red clothes, that would make even more of an impression! The weather should be OK. Hope to see you there!

Start point:  On the seafront cycle track opposite the Brighton Hilton Metropole Hotel King’s Road, Brighton BN1 2FU

We are keen that all political parties support proper investment in cycling and better transport planning so that riding a bike becomes easier and safer for everyone!

Link to further information about Space for Cycling

More background to the event: http://www.ctc.org.uk/blog/brighton-labour-conference-2015

Space for cycling: 19 Brighton and Hove City Councillors have signed up!

???????????????????????????????People all over the country have been asking for their councillors’ support for Space for Cycling at: http://www.space4cycling.org.uk  Please sign up at the link above and ask your councillors to support S4C’s essential points. By clicking on the interactive map linked to the above site, you can view the results of the requests. Nineteen Brighton and Hove City Councillors out of 54 have so far pledged their support. They are:

Cllr Jason Kitcat (Green)
Cllr Ian Davey (Green)
Cllr Sven Rufus (Green)
Cllr Pete West (Green)
Cllr Ruth Buckley (Green)
Cllr Ollie Sykes (Green)
Cllr Stephanie Powell (Green)
Cllr Mike Jones (Green)
Cllr Alex Phillips (Green)
Cllr Graham Cox (Conservative)
Cllr Rob Jarrett (Green)
Cllr Amy Kennedy (Green)
Cllr Phelim Maccafferty (Green)
Cllr Warren Morgan (Labour)
Cllr Sue Shanks (Green)
Cllr Bill Randall (Green)
Cllr Lizzie Deane (Green)
Cllr Leo Littman (Green)
Cllr Liz Wakefield (Green)

We’re calling on ALL Brighton and Hove City Councillors (and any prospective councillors) to commit to continuing transport improvements by signing up to Space for Cycling’s six key points. This will make our City safer and more encouraging for cycling and walking and contribute to urgent Public Health and environmental objectives. As we approach an election year, it is important to have this assurance. The main themes are:

  1. Protected space on main roads and at junctions
  2. Removal of through motor traffic on residential streets.
  3. Lower speed limits. 20mph in villages and built-up areas. 40mph or lower on rural lanes.
  4. Cycle-friendly town centres with people prioritised over motor traffic to create high streets that are economically viable and socially vibrant.
  5. Routes through green spaces and parks
  6. Safe routes to schools

PLEASE CONTACT YOUR COUNCILLOR. also, tell us what improvements you want to see in your area of Brighton and Hove! Email: bricyclesbrighton@gmail.com

Ask your councillor to support Space for Cycling!

20140514 - SpaceforCyclingcroppedDoes your councillor support Space for Cycling? Check this out in the countrywide map at http://bit.ly/RQ2QI3  Click on your area to see who is in support.

We are calling on all Brighton and Hove City Councillors and prospective councillors to support this campaign. Councils can improve the quality of life for all, by making our streets and roads safer and more inviting for everyone to cycle with these measures:

  1. Protected space on main roads and at junctions
  2. Removal of through motor traffic on residential streets.
  3. Lower speed limits. 20mph in villages and built-up areas. 40mph or lower on rural lanes.
  4. Cycle-friendly town centres with people prioritised over motor traffic to create high streets that are economically viable and socially vibrant.
  5. Routes through green spaces and parks
  6. Safe routes to schools