Tuesday 21 February 2012

The Great Manchester Cycle Charging Trial

The Great Manchester Cycle will take place on Monday 4 June 2012. It looks like a trial of a new innovative congestion charging scheme for bicycles in Greater Manchester. On the day cyclists will be charged a whopping £28 each to cycle a fixed route around Manchester, Trafford and Salford.

All cyclists using the route will be also required to wear wear a cycle helmet that is Snell, CE or ANSI approved and must keep above minimum speeds of 7mph, 13mph or 18mph depending on how many laps they ride.

The web site however doesn't say whether the entire route, including access points such as the MediaCity footbridge will be closed to non-paying cyclists. Something that would seriously inconvenience cycle commuters in the area.

Looks like another bad idea from the BCF and MCC.

Just imagine the outcry if Manchester City Council proposed charging drivers £28 per day to use the Mancunian way...

Cities Shit For Cycling...

A meme that's catching on...

via People's Cycling Front of South Gloucestershire

Monday 20 February 2012

BCF, "the voice of cycling" in Manchester, but for how long?

One of the vital pieces of information missing from the version of the Memorandum of Understanding between Manchester City Council and British Cycling released under my FoI request is the length of the agreement.

It seems that the length of the agreement is top secret!

Is the BCF going to be "the voice of cycling" in Manchester for the next two or three years? Or will it be as long as five years?

That would be bad enough. Five years is long enough to screw up cycling policy in Manchester for the next decade.

However, just imagine how dreadful it would be if this agreement were to last for ten years....

Still I'm sure the council leader was fully aware of the impact of his actions when he signed the document!

Friday 17 February 2012

Princes Bridge - yet more obstructions

Ok, you're probably getting sick of this one by now.

I certainly am

It seems Creative England's NE person, Bobby Cochrane thinks he may have solved this problem, but quite frankly the film crews using the bridge couldn't give a shit.

This was the latest version of the road closure...

Bikes were, yet again, being directed down the pavement, but today they added the extra insult of parking a van and a car on the very same pavement.

Notice how the pathetic little sign directs bikes up the narrow gap.

This use of the pavement wasn't a one-off.

In the afternoon the pavement was being used to park two different vehicles.

Neither of which needed to be on the pavement.

I wonder if Salford Council and Sustrans know about this yet...

Wednesday 15 February 2012

British Cycling Federation, "the voice of cycling" in Manchester?

I have just received the reply to my FoI request for the Memorandum of Understanding between Manchester City Council and British Cycling. Much of the document has been covered in black ink on the usual excuse that "the requested information is exempt from disclosure under the following qualified exemption - section 43: Commercial Interests."

There are very strong "commercial interests" in this agreement, not least because, as far as I know, Manchester City Council own the Velodrome, so British Cycling are their tenants. One can only assume that Manchester City Council would like to ensure a stable income from the rent paid and so it is in their interest to keep British Cycling here as long as possible, otherwise we will all be paying more council tax.

However, the one small section which was of greatest interest to me has come through unscathed, "7. Transport, Environment, Health Education and Social Cohesion."

The really worrying thing is the way in which the BCF, an organisation concerned with cycle racing, and maximising income for sports training is somehow given pride of place in the city of Manchester as "the voice of cycling" within the relevant policy forums.

This is a real problem for cycling in Manchester, because the BCF are advocates of the dangerism view of cycling. For example they strongly promote the wearing of helmets, even for closed road events like the Sky rides.

The biggest challenge facing Manchester City Council in increasing the level of cycling in the City is the need to significantly reduce the level of traffic in the city. British Cycling is hardly likely to support such moves when it receives a significant amount of money from a car manufacturer!

Still with the ConLibDem government squeezing the council's finances they need every penny they can get...

Saturday 11 February 2012

Pedal Powered Advertising 2

Spotted this little advertising ploy in town today.

KNT Danceworks have found the advantage of using bikes to grab your attention. I saw two bikes, there may have been more...

Tuesday 7 February 2012

A history of cycling innovation in the Netherlands

Via VeloVision

With 26% of all traffic movements done by bike (by far the highest proportion in Europe), the Dutch are the bicycle champions of the world. Our country has a bicycle-friendly infrastructure that promotes a healthier, more active lifestyle. Without wishing to boast, we can genuinely say that our country is a veritable trendsetter when it comes to sustainable transport. The Netherlands is a wealthy country in which 1 in 2 people owns a car. Bicycle use, however, is higher than anywhere else in the world.

So how did we do it?

Cycling has always been popular in the Netherlands. Since the 1960s, however, car-ownership and car-usage have increased significantly and bicycle usage has fallen, reaching an all-time low in 1978. Cities began to struggle with congestion, air pollution, a poorer quality of life and many traffic accidents. As a result, the government decided to develop a large array of measures to promote cycling, walking and traffic calming, such as:

- Reducing car access to city-centres and create car-free areas;
- Making parking in city-centres more expensive;
- Constructing cycle paths and reducing road space for cars;
- Facilitating cycling through cycle network planning, road design, signalling, parking and enforcement;
- Reducing maximum speed on the majority of urban roads to 30 km/h or less;
- Promoting cycling to encourage the use of bikes and discourage car-use.

It worked!

Bicycle use in cities increased. In 1975, 25% of all non-walking journeys in Amsterdam involved a bicycle. By 1995, this had increased to 35%. We also managed to improve the safety of cycling and traffic fatalities fell from 3,200 in 1972 to 700 in 2010.

The advantages

- You travel 10% faster in cities by bike than by car
- The quality of life in cities improves
- Traffic congestion reduces
- Local, city economies improve

Still we continue to develop innovative solutions that come forward to the needs and aspirations of people and contribute to our asociety. We create up to more than 20,000 bicycle parking places at several train stations, we develop cycling highways between our cities, we sell 1.2 milllion bikes per year at on average €750 per bike, we have the most successful public bike scheme in the world and prove that cycling inclusive planning is a key element towards road safety. Our manufacturers, consultants, engineers, planners, designers, lobbyists, researchers, governors stand in a tradition of decades of international exchange and cooperation on cycling as professionals on all continents, from Chile to Lithuania, India to Uganda, the United States to Brasil, Ireland to Turkey, the UK to Japan, can confirm.

Note how most of the measures are about reducing and removing access by motor vehicles.

The key to increasing cycling is reducing motor traffic, the cycle tracks are the follow-up measures.

Saturday 4 February 2012

Trafford Centre Cycle Slalom

It seems the Trafford Centre complex contains a hidden sports facility.

Running round the edge of the car parks they have marked out a cycle slalom course.

The tight turns and right angle bends make it a challenge for any cyclist.

Just watch out for the off-road drivers!

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