Momentous day for London as Mayor confirms cycle superhighways will go ahead
Momentous day for London as Mayor confirms cycle superhighways will go ahead
27 January 2015
The Mayor of London has announced final plans for the construction of new East-West and North-South cycle superhighways in London. Subject to approval by the Transport for London board next week, construction of the superhighways – which are to be Europe’s longest substantially segregated cycleways – will begin in March.
High quality cycle superhighways were one of the key measures that the Mayor of London promised to deliver when he signed up to London Cycling Campaign’s Love London, Go Dutch campaign in advance of the mayoral elections in 2012. The new routes represent a major advance in creating streets that are safe and inviting for people of all ages and abilities to cycle.
Rosie Downes, Campaigns Manager at London Cycling Campaign, said:
“This is a huge first step towards what the Mayor promised the London Cycling Campaign and our supporters at the last mayoral election. We commend him for this bold move that will help tackle congestion, reduce road danger, improve our air quality and make London an even more fantastic city for everyone.”
There has been overwhelming support for the proposals. Around 21,500 people responded to TfL's nine-week consultation on the proposals, with around 5,600 responding via the London Cycling Campaign website. More than a hundred major businesses on or near the routes, including Unilever, Royal Bank of Scotland, Deloitte and Orange, also publicly backed the scheme, as did all parties on the London Assembly. Opinion polling showed that Londoners as a whole backed the scheme by 64 per cent to 28 per cent.
However, a small but powerful minority opposed the scheme. In response to their concerns Transport for London has made some changes to it: the cycle track will narrow to 3 metres for a short section at Blackfriars Underpass and near Temple Station (narrower than the 4m minimum we have been calling for as standard); and proposals to close Horse Guards Rd and Storey’s Gate in Westminster have also been dropped. London Cycling Campaign will be looking closely at the impact of all of these changes.
Notes to editors:
1. London Cycling Campaign’s initial response to the proposals in September 2014, and full responses to the North-South and East-West consultations, can be seen at http://lcc.org.uk/articles/lcc-hails-initial-proposals-for-new-superhighways-as-a-success-1
2. Full details of the proposals are due to be published in advance of the Transport for London board meeting on 4 February. Papers will be made available at https://www.tfl.gov.uk/corporate/publications-and-reports/board-papers
3. More information about London Cycling Campaign’s Love London, Go Dutch campaign, which secured a promise from the Mayor of London to make London’s streets as safe and inviting for cycling as they are in Holland, can be seen at http://lcc.org.uk/pages/go-dutch
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West End Project plans approved by Camden Council
Camden Council’s Cabinet has approved plans to move ahead with the West End Project proposals to transform the Tottenham Court Road and Gower Street area.
While the detail of the scheme is yet to be finalised, for example on the design of the junctions on Tottenham Court Rd and Gower and Bloomsbury Streets - which could be critical in truly making the area safe and inviting for cycling - LCC welcomes the approval by the Council of the plans. They represent the beginnings of what is necessary to transform the West End area into a modern city centre, for people and businesses, although they still fall short of what LCC believes is necessary to achieve continental levels of safety and comfort for cycling. Further improvements will be needed in future
Rosie Downes, London Cycling Campaign’s Campaigns Manager, said: “Camden Council want to double the amount of trips made by cycle by 2025. If that’s going to happen, the West End must be made safe and inviting for cycling – and that includes Tottenham Court Road, where restriction of motor traffic including taxis will be essential to reduce danger to cyclists and to reduce the fear of collision which puts many people off choosing to cycle in this area.
“We’d like to see the exclusion of taxis extended later in the evening to prevent Tottenham Court Road becoming a taxi race track just as many workers and students in the area are cycling home or on leisure trips; and while we recognise that the concentration of bus routes on Tottenham Court Road will improve conditions on Gower St and New Oxford St, we have concerns about the number of buses that cyclists will be expected to share road space with on Tottenham Court Road itself. This will have to be an area that is improved in future.
“Overall, though, we welcome Camden Council's aspirations for the West End, their willingness to reallocate carriageway space for walking, cycling, green areas and new public space on Tottenham Court Road and Gower Street, and the reduction of bus flows on New Oxford Street. The new plans represent a genuine step forward, and we will work with Camden Council in future to further improve the area to achieve conditions for cycling that are safe and inviting for people of all ages and abilities.”
London Cycling Campaign is pleased to see that Camden Council have adapted proposals from Camden Cycling Campaign to replace semi-segregated cycle tracks on Bloomsbury and Gower Streets with a stepped track allowing more width. In response to concerns about extra traffic on side streets the Council are proposing a trial to have a cycle track on both sides of Torrington Place and restricting motor traffic to one way operation. That would prevent rat running and, if approved, would meet the LCC Space for Cycling ward ask supported by all the local council members.
However LCC is concerned about the use of loading bays for out of hours deliveries on Gower Street, whilst recognising the importance of enabling efficient delivery and servicing for businesses and residents in the West End area. We welcome plans to minimise the impact of these operations on cyclists and pedestrians – provided the restrictions are strongly enforced. Trials of out of hours deliveries are acceptable only if these operations comply with the existing London Boroughs' Lorry Control Scheme. In practice these trips need to be by registered vehicles on approved routes to ensure extra lorry trips are not made on minor roads in Camden and the adjoining boroughs. Extra trips on minor roads present an avoidable risk to cyclists at any time, day and night.
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The first of the Mayor's Mini Holland projects is signed off
In Waltham Forest, the first of the Mini Holland projects has been signed off; the Ruckholt Road Walking and Cycling Improvement Scheme. Works are due to commence on implementing the £770k project this month. It will be the first of Waltham Forest’s Mini Holland Scheme to break ground and we believe the first of any of the London Mini Holland schemes to commence. The scheme went out to consultation in November 2014 and 74% of respondents were supportive. One aim of the scheme is to pilot different types of segregation measures to see how they work in practice in the borough.
TfL and the Mayor of London announced a competition for outer London boroughs to bid for £100 million total to transform major town centres into areas ideal for cycling – with ideas taken from continental approaches to design.
Waltham Forest only has one “major town centre” that met the selection criteria – Walthamstow. So the council made a bid for Walthamstow to become a “mini Holland” and won £30 million (Enfield and Kingston also won the same).
Whilst we have some concerns about the project (see below), we’re broadly supportive and are pleased to see the first of the Mini Holland projects get started!
The Ruckholt Road Walking and Cycling Improvement Scheme forms part of the Waltham Forest Mini Holland project, which as the Council put it "aims to create and enhance walking and cycling facilities, and improve local environments". The Council have identified Ruckholt Road as a key route and as such have developed a scheme to redesign this street as part of the boroughs' Mini Holland project. The route connects Leyton High Road, including the town centre, westbound towards the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, LB Hackney, the A12 and central London.
Ruckholt Road’s existing cycle route is to be improved between the junction with Temple Mills Lane and the junction with High Road Leyton. The scheme is proposing to provide a largely segregated route. The scheme also includes improvements for cyclists on Alexandra Road & Maud Road. The Council are proposing to trial armadillos, shared cyclist/pedestrian crossings and wands & low level traffic signals for cyclists.
The proposals suggest 2 floating bus stops on the route between the junctions of Orient Way & Oliver Road. New shared cyclist and pedestrian zebra crossings are going to be installed at three locations.
There is also a proposed banned left turn for general vehicles from Oliver Road to Ruckholt Road, and banned right turn from York Road to Ruckholt Road. The north end of York Road will be closed at its junction with Ruckholt Road.
London Cycling Campaigns’ local group in Waltham Forest, the Waltham Forest Cycling Campaign has already fed back on the plans. They are broadly supportive, but there’s a few minor issues that they believe are outstanding:
- Plans for Alexandra Road aren’t ideal – with buses and traffic mixing it up with cyclists (albeit with speed tables due to be in there).
- The eastbound lights from Oliver Road might appear daunting at first – so they want to make sure the council communicates clearly that even slow cyclists will be able to clear through the non-segregated section without pressure from vehicles coming from behind as there will be a 30 second 'early start' for cyclists before other traffic can move off, giving plenty of time for slower cyclists to reach the next section of segregated track
- They want “filtered permeability” (a road closure) for Maude Road where it hits Leyton High Road
- Leyton High Road is due to be looked at later on during the mini-Holland process as part of the North-South routes, but any quick fixes to sort out the junctions with Ruckholt Road and Alexandra Road would be good to help cyclists get in/out of the scheme smoothly.
- The Temple Mills Lane junction is very poor, eastbound cyclists are squeezed with traffic at the most dangerous point and there is nothing for northbound cyclists coming from the Olympic park routes.
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Have your say on an Ultra Low Emission Zone for London
Photo: Transport for London
Transport for London and the Mayor are currently consulting on a proposed Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) for London.
The ULEZ would require all vehicles driving in central London to meet new exhaust emission standards (ULEZ standards). The ULEZ would take effect from 7 September 2020, and apply 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. A vehicle that does not meet the ULEZ standards could still be driven in central London but a daily charge would have to have been paid to do so.
Although London's air quality has improved in recent years, the city still fails to comply with the legal limits of nitrogen dioxide emissions. An equivalent of 4,300 deaths in London is attributed to air quality related illness. However, in the proposed format the ULEZ won't result in EU quality targets being met across London. So while LCC supports the creation of an ultra low emission zone, we have some concerns about these proposals, which we've included in our response to the consultation. Our main suggestions to improve the scheme are:
- Extend the ULEZ so it covers a wider area. The proposals are for the ULEZ to cover the current congestion zone, but many of London's air pollution hotspots, like Swiss Cottage, Mile End Rd and Brixton Rd fall outside this area.
- Ensure the ULEZ integrates with other mayoral policies. Policies set out in the London Plan and the Vision for Cycling propose to reduce the need for motor vehicle travel and increase the proportion of trips made by non-polluting modes - yet construction of new roads and tunnels in the capital, such as the proposed Silvertown Tunnel, will encourage the growth of motor traffic and conflict with air quality objectives. We'd also like to see money raised by an extended ULEZ spent on promoting sustainable transport modes.
- Include a schedule towards zero emissions standards for all vehicles as soon as possible. Vehicle replacements, for example compliant buses, should be made as soon as possible so emissions savings are realised earlier.
- Adopt the ULEZ sooner. Implementation should be brought forward and phased in as cleaner options become available for different vehicle categories.
Transport for London are encouraging people to respond to the consultation before it closes on Friday 9 January.
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2014: A look back at LCC success stories
We'd like to wish all our supporters a very Happy New Year! As we move into the new year, we've taken a look back at some of the successes LCC, together with our members and supporters have achieved during 2014. With your support, we hope to see more of this in 2015!
In January, we helped lots of people keep up their New Year resolutions by developing a cycle loan scheme in the borough of Lewisham. At the end of the scheme approximately 90% of participants either bought a bike or said they intended to – a great success, and one which meant the scheme was rolled out in Lambeth and Enfield later in the year.
In February, the Mayor responded to our request for better junctions and committed to improving 33 junctions in London. We’re now starting to see the results of that promise, with consultations recently taking place or in progress on Archway, Old Street and Elephant and Castle.
In March, we won a London Transport Award for our ‘Love London Go Dutch’ campaign, in the ‘Excellence in travel information and marketing’ category. This campaign was supported by 42,000 people, and the associated protest ride by 10,000 cyclists.
In April, ahead of the local council elections in May, we called on every candidate to support safer cycling in their area and asked them to back a specific local improvement identified by our local groups. 50% of candidates agreed to do this, which translated to 47% of Councillors who were elected. That's a huge, 862 Councillors who support Space for Cycling!
In June, Transport for London agreed to substitute the offensive ‘Cyclists stay back’ stickers on the back of lorries and buses with new, more cyclist-friendly ones, after objections from the LCC and other cycling and transport campaigning allies.
In July, we saw the first signs of real space for cycling as Transport for London launched a consultation on the first section of Cycle Superhighway 5, linking Oval to Belgravia. While the plans are a long way from perfect, the fully segregated lanes on the plans made them the most ambitious cycle infrastructure plans yet seen in London.
In September, we welcomed plans for improving Cycle Superhighway 2 between Aldgate and Bow roundabout – a much needed upgrade on a route which currently offers no protection for cyclists, and the site of several LCC protest rides.
In November, consultations on the North-South and East-West cycle superhighways ended: 80% of the responses were positive, and 6,300 of the 20,000 responses were sent through the LCC website. While we’re waiting to hear from TfL following the consultation, the level of support shown for the plans meant we could make a strong case for why the superhighways should be implemented without delay.
And in December, the Hounslow Cycling Campaign claimed a Space for Cycling success: after 35% of their councillors supported our campaign in early 2014, our local campaigners have convinced their council to consult on protected space and slower speeds on a busy main road in the borough.
Thanks again for all your support in the past year. Together we are making a real contribution towards cycling in London. We hope you'll be able to help us with our campaigning efforts in 2015!
Best wishes from the LCC team!
|Thanks for all your support in the past year. 2015 will be a crucial year in our campaign for Space for Cycling. If you are able, please consider making a donation to support our work|
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Kids bike books reviewed
Kids bike books reviewed
Stuck for gift ideas? The Bikehub blog (www.bikehub.co.uk/kidbikebooks/) features a review of kids bicycle books. And CTC, the national cyclists' organisation has this to say about Fred the Magic Bicycle - a children's story that features a magical solution to bike theft:
Fred the Magic Bicycle
Words by Tom Bogdanowicz, illustrations by Basia Bogdanowicz
Are you cycling from shop to shop desperately hunting for the ideal Christmas present for a 0-6 year old? Go online instead and buy this page-turner!
There are few cyclists who won’t feel upset for young Dominick when Fred, his magic bicycle, is stolen, and who won’t cheer when his Uncle Tom the magician comes to the rescue.
The text and illustrations are engaging, and the plot a joy for any cycle campaigner (budding or otherwise).
26 full colour pages (16cms square). £5. A third of profits from the book go to the London Cycling Campaign charity. Available exclusively from LCC’s shop.
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Watered down plans for CS2 upgrade will compromise cycling safety, say LCC
18 December 2014 - for immediate release
Transport for London has published its consultation report on the upgrade to Cycle Superhighway 2 (CS2) between Aldgate and Bow roundabout.
The consultation, which ran from 23 September to 2 November, showed 95% of respondents supported protected space along the route - yet despite this overwhelming support, LCC believes that Transport for London has watered down the plans, which will compromise cycling safety.
After opposition from Whitechapel Market, plans for a segregated cycle track on this section of the route have been axed. Instead, cyclists will be expected to leave the protected cycle track and mix with buses and vans while passing the market - a daunting prospect for many people who cycle, or who would like to start cycling.
There are currently no hours of operation signed for the eastbound bus lane (picture). Other bus lanes in this area only operate for three hours in the morning and three hours in the afternoon. At best there will be minimal benefit for safe cycling for 25% of the day. Parking is allowed from 7pm till 7am.
Where the cycle superhighway disappears on the original plans, leaving no protected space for cycling opposite the council-owned Ocean Estate, Tower Hamlets Council have invited Transport for London to speak with them about purchasing land to enable reallocation of space for cycling, but at a later date.
LCC's Campaigns Manager Rosie Downes said "When this consultation opened we welcomed the proposed protected space as long overdue, but we stated that gaps in the segregation, where cyclists are expected to mix with heavy, fast moving traffic, are unacceptable. So we're disappointed to see that rather than addressing this problem, the plans now offer even less protection for cyclists.
"This is a route on which six cyclists have died since it became a cycling superhighway in 2011. The Mayor of Tower Hamlets, Lutfur Rahman, and every other local politician have called on Transport for London to make the upgrade of this route the highest priority. Yet the very same local politicians appear to be blocking Transport for London from making the changes needed to ensure this route offers safe and inviting space for cycling."
LCC understands that Whitechapel Market have raised concerns about the safety of loading goods across the cycle track, and that the superhighway could negatively impact on their business - though loading across cycle tracks is a common sight in the Netherlands, and in New York local businesses saw an increase in sales of up to 47% when protected cycle lanes were installed.
LCC is also disappointed that concerns around the safety of the proposed junctions have not been taken on board. Over 70% of the most serious injury collisions to cyclists in London happen at road junctions. Poor design of junctions, even where there are segregated routes for cyclists, is a serious concern within the current proposals for the CS2 upgrade. All cross roads carry cycle traffic and there are some with high numbers of cyclists. At many junctions there are plans for 'early release', letting the cyclists move off before other traffic. We consider this is only acceptable on minor roads with little or no turning traffic, and recommended in our response to the consultation that TfL implement cycle segregated junctions, which TfL have previously agreed are 'capacity neutral' so would not cause delays to traffic.
Click here for a full-size version of the Whitechapel Market area layout.
Notes to editors:
- The Transport for London consultation response report released today: https://consultations.tfl.gov.uk/cycling/cs2-upgrade
- See thefull consultation response from Transport for London here: https://consultations.tfl.gov.uk/cycling/cs2-upgrade/user_uploads/cs2-upgrade-consultation-report-tfl.pdf
- London Cycling Campaign's response to the TfL consultation here: http://lcc.org.uk/uploads/7872
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Cycle hire charges doubled for longer journeys
Cycle hire charges doubled for most longer journeys
Under the headline ‘Simpler’ Transport for London is doubling the cycle hire charge for anyone using a hire bike for between thirty minutes and an hour. This is the second major tariff increase for the scheme. The original daily access fee of £1 for casual users was doubled to £2 in January 2013.
TfL says the new charges are simpler because the fee will increase by a standard £2 every thirty minutes after the first ‘free’ thirty minutes instead of the charge rate increasing the longer the bike was kept in use without docking. Thus after one hour the fee will now be £2 instead of £1; after 1.5 hours £4 at both old and new rates; after 2 hours £6 at both old and new rates ; and after 2.5 hours £8 at the new rate and £10 at the old rate.
What TfL has not publicised is that the previous caps on charges at 6 hours (£35) and 24 hours (£50) have now been removed with only a single late return charge of £300 after seven days. So anyone who keeps a bike for 24 hours will have to pay a new fee of £94.
According to TfL 24% of casual hires run over the 30 minute free period. They say most (97%) of hires by registered scheme members terminate within 30 minutes.
The new charges will be implemented from the 2nd of January 2015.
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Reviews: Bike Lights (USB charged)
It goes without saying that a decent set of lights is a must-have for regular cyclists, but manufacturers' claims can sometimes differ quite radically from real-life performance. So London Cyclist's testers have put a selection of the latest USB-charged models through their paces.
LEZYNE KTV Drive £15.99 front; £29.99 pair
Charge (claimed/actual): 3hr15/3hr
Run time (claimed/actual): 4hr30/4hr
We've been fans of Lezyne's Zecto and Femto lights since they launched and it's good to see the stylish design extend to the new KTVs. Sold singly or as a pair, both the front and rear lights are identical, housed in aluminium cases with rubber end caps; the bottom cap pulls off to reveal the fixed USB stick which plugs straight into a computer or socket. The neat dome-shaped lens design allows 180-degree side visibility and we found that the rear light lasts roughly an hour less in each mode than the front (nearly 10hr in flashing mode). The rotating clip and band allows the lamps to be fixed in different positions to different bar/post diameters and removed quickly. At just 50g each they'll appeal to many as the ideal 'get you home' safety light. Available in four colours. JK/TB
L&M Urban 350 £59.99
Charge (claimed/actual): 5hr/5hr
Run time (claimed/actual): 1hr30/1hr20
The Urban 350 has a number of handy features and four beam modes. Charge time is pretty lengthy but the indicator light has 'traffic light' settings to let you know how long you’ve got left which can help with planning your charges. The 350-lumen full beam is fairly wide and shines brightly for half-a-dozen metres on the road ahead, while cutaway sections on the side of the unit house two bright amber lights which provide extra side visibility. On half beam, we got roughly 3hr of run time, enough for most commutes. It fits onto your bars with a robust rubber strap (there's several size options depending on bar's diameter) and can easily be adjusted to the angle you want it at. The fitting can be twisted 90 degrees to fit on a helmet without any additional mounts needed. AS
MAGICSHINE MJ-890 £29.99
Charge (claimed/actual): 2-3hr/3hr
Run time (claimed/actual): 3hr/4hr
Lights with 160-lumen output used to cost close to three figures, but the tiny MJ-890 is considerably more affordable. The light's encased in a hard plastic case with rubber seals to keep out water and attaches to your bars with a rubber strap. A button on top switches between full beam, half beam and flashing modes, but while the button conveniently lights up red (exhausted, charging) or green (on, charged) it is not designed to prevent accidental activation in your bag. The beam spread is well judged for urban use and it's bright enough for some off-road use too. But unlike the company’s more expensive lights, this one isn't visible from the side. We timed the full beam at 4hr-plus and the light fades rather than switches off suddenly. The light was well behaved after a shower and a drop onto a hard surface. TB
PDW Lars Rover 650 £75
Charge (claimed/actual): 5hr30/4hr45
Run time (claimed/actual): 2hr/2hr15
PDW's Aether Demon was our pick of the rear lights last year so we had high hopes for the compact 125g Lars Rover, which purports to offers a 650-lumen output on full beam. Its dazzling brightness was immediately obvious on unlit sections of Burgess Park, where it illuminated the full width of the track and more than double our regular commuting light ahead. But the half-beam mode is more than bright enough about town and we found it lasted about 4hr. Charging took a full afternoon, but an indicator light shows when it's done; this light also acts as safety indicator warning you 15 mins before battery dies. The alloy unit takes a good knock and while the clamp was fiddly to set up initially, once it's done it's just left on (three mounts for bar or helmet use). An impressive light and if it had some side visibility it would top this year's table too. JK
LIGHTRIDER USB Front £39.99
Charge (claimed/actual): 10hr/7hr+
Run time (claimed/actual): 4hr/3hr40
Unique in this year's test, the Lightrider (as its name suggests) actually illuminates the rider as well as the road. On full beam there's 80 lumens to light your way, while your torso has 30 lumens on it. The plastic body has become scratched and dirty quite quickly, though that's not affected function. The forward beam is bright, with a fairly narrow focus, and what's handy is that if the battery's getting flat on full beam, the light automatically switches down to a lesser beam to ensure you get home safely. The clamp's fiddly at first but can be left on once fitted and the lamp removed independently. Excellent side visibility is afforded at both ends of the lights too, but our main difficulty was angling the light in such a way that the rear-facing lamp didn't blind us – depending on you bar height and position it could be an issue. AA battery version also available for £10 less. JK
Run time (claimed/actual): 200hr/still going strong
Unlike Campagnolo chainsets and Phil Wood hubs, bike lights have traditionally detracted from a coveted bike’s sleek appearance. But no longer – the Blinksteady will not look out of place on a Donhou, Roberts or a Saffron. The American company describes the light's construction as "machined from solid aluminium" and it is indeed as sleek and smooth as a minimalist marble sculpture. A key innovation is that the Blinksteady is light and motion sensitive – so it blinks (or stays steady if you invert it) only when it's dark and only when you are riding. What happens when you stop you might ask? Well Blinksteady says it stays on for a further 60 seconds – we timed it at just over that. That may not be quite enough for a long light signal change so you are advised to move your bike a little at slow lights.
The other clever aspect of this pricey item is that it cannot be easily removed from a seatpost (the only attachment option) without removing the seatpost itself. And therein lies the downside for us Londoners – thieves in the capital specialise in saddle and seatpost theft, so you have to either buy a security skewer (pitlock, Atomic 22) or superglue the bolt in place (not suitable for anyone who wants to adjust their saddle height). It will attach to a saddlebag using zip-ties but you have to make sure it is facing backwards (and it kind of defeats the design intention).
The waterproof light is powered by two small pen cells which last up to 200 hours (blinking) according to the manufacturer. We weren’t prepared to shake the light non-stop for days to test this but after several weeks use the beam is still strong. From the rear the two LEDs provide a bright and wide (120 degrees) light, but there is no side opening to illuminate beyond the 180-degree point .
Battery replacement , which is not something you will do very often, is done by removing the light and then unscrewing two tiny allen key bolts. The lights come in two sizes: small (to fit 25-27.2mm seatposts) and large (to fit 27.2-31.6mm). Weight 60g.
For the style-conscious winter roadie this could be an expensive but tasty stocking filler. Just remember to protect the seatpost if you are leaving the bike outside. TB
CATEYE Volt 100 £29.99
Charge (claimed/actual): 3hr/2hr25
Run time (claimed/actual): 2hr/2hr45
The Volt 100 is a three modes USB-rechargeable light. The FlexTight bracket is very easy to fit and holds the light confidently. The 65g weight, easy removal from fitting and handy mode memory function makes it an ideal light if you have multiple stops on your journey but you still want a well lit path. The 150-lumen full beam is about 3m wide and lights about 6m ahead, with a considerably brighter centre beam of about 0.5m wide making it an ideal light for urban use and some off-road use. The light also offers 180-degrees of side visibility. And the switch button situated at the top conveniently lights up red when the battery is running low. AT
VEGLO CommuterX4 £49.99
Charge (claimed/actual): unknown/4hr
Run time (claimed/actual):3.5-20hr/6hr – but fibre-optic lasts around 19 hours
As a back light, the Veglo works well and its array of settings makes it an interesting, if not recognisable product. It fits nicely onto your backpack, with a slightly over-complicated but workable strap system, and can be worn without a bag too. Both the central light and the fibre optic lights in the straps can be controlled separately, so you can play around with different combinations of flashing and solid lights; it is also very bright. If you’re riding on a road bike/hybrid however, the light sits very high, almost pointing up rather than straight behind you, which is not ideal. The other slight niggle is that it can make quick access to your backpack tricky – it's fine if you want to remove smaller items, but not perfect for locks and coats. It does fit a variety of backpacks though – we tried it mostly on 25-35 litre models. Overall it works as a product in itself, but whether it's any 'better' than a basic clip-on LED light is questionable. TMP
Reviews by: John Kitchiner, Tom Bogdanowicz, Amy Summers, Aurora Trujillo, Tom Marshall-Potter
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Fred the Magic Bicycle children's book - signed copies
Tom Bogdanowicz, the author, will be signing copies of Fred the Magic Bicycle outside the bike stall and Buggies and Bikes in Broadway market, Hackney on the morning of Saturday 13th December
With rave reviews from small children and featured on the Bikehub blog (www.bikehub.co.uk/kidbikebooks/) Fred the Magic Bicycle is also avaiiable throught the LCC shop on the LCC website www.lcc.org.uk/shop .
Unable to find a children’s book that featured a bicycle, LCC staffer Tom Bogdanowicz decided to write and publish one himself: - Fred the Magic Bicycle is now available through the LCC website shop and a third of the profit goes directly to LCC.
Tom explains:- “There were children’s books featuring lorries, trains, cars and buses but nothing with bicycles so I thought I’ll write one myself. I’m fortunate in having a sister-in-law who is a professional illustrator and I persuaded her to draw and paint the lovely pictures. London Cyclists’ layout artist, Anita Razak, did the layouts and the book will be distributed though LCC. “
The story, for 0 to 6 year olds, deals with a subject that most London cyclists will be familiar with – bike theft. Young Dominik’s new bicycle is stolen and he is distraught until his uncle Tom the magician helps out. The book was written, illustrated and printed in London. It has 26 full colour pages, a durable paperback cover and measures 16cms square. Price £5
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No prosecution after London cyclist is run down from behind
In February this year Michael Mason a 70 year old designer and teacher was hit from behind while cycling home on Regent Street. He suffered multiple severe injuries and died in hospital without regaining consciousness on 14th March 2014.
At Westminster Coroner's Court his daughter Anna, pictured above with Michael, read out a tribute to her father. She concluded "Mick was a quiet, sensitive, unflamboyant man (except for his taste in bright clothes and necklaces, some of which he made himself), but as the old phrase goes ‘still waters run deep’. He was exceptionally intelligent, caring for others and, above all, a man who adored his family and would do anything for them." The full statement is on Ross Lydall's blog page.
The car driver gave evidence to the Coroner that she did not see Michael or a bicycle before the crash. She said: "It felt like something had fallen from the sky, I was totally unaware of the cyclist, I heard an impact." At first she thought she might have hit a pedestrian.
The police evidence showed that her car had hit Michael's bicycle from behind, directly in front of the driver. When questioned she accepted that if the cyclist was in front of her then she should have seen him. Other witnesses had seen Michael cycling on the very well lit Regent Street. The bright red light and reflector on his bike should have made him unmissable to a driver paying attention to the road.
The police investigating officer told the court that they had decided that there would be no prosecution of the driver. It is not clear why this decision was made and London Cycling Campaign have written to the police asking for more details. There is a short summary of the evidence on The Cycling Lawyer blog page.
LCC's Road Danger Reduction campaigner, Charlie Lloyd, commented: "We have serious concerns about this, and similar crash investigations. The law is quite clear that carelessness is a crime. It is against the law to cause death or injury from driving or riding in a careless way. A full prosecution is the only way to test the evidence. Road justice must be seen to be done.
"We have been campaigning for greater transparency and full information about the decision to prosecute or not following injury collisions. A report for Transport for London in 2012 showed there was no regular analysis of how or why these decisions were made."
One commentator has suggested that the police may not have prosecuted if they thought a jury would let the driver go free. Jury members, many of whom are drivers, are reluctant to convict for careless if they think "I might not have seen the cyclist either".
Update 16th December: Family consider private prosecution
It has now been reported in the Evening Standard that Michael Mason's daughter Anna is considering a private prosecution http://www.standard.co.uk/news/cycle-death-daughter-may-prosecute-driver-9925170.html
She is quoted on Ross Lydall's blog page saying: "You do wonder what more evidence they need to take action against a driver for killing someone.
"I have tried to do what my dad would have wanted. He was quite livid about bad driving on London’s roads and cyclists not being protected and being very vulnerable. Were he alive now, he would be fighting this tooth and nail."
Safer Space for Cycling?
Further evidence to the Coroner suggested that the driver was accelerating from 20 mph on this 30 mph street. While neighbouring boroughs and the City of London have introduced area wide 20 mph speed limits Westminster Council still allow 30 mph in the centre of West End.
This week we heard of the plans for quietway Central London Bike Grid routes which might allow a safer alternative to Regent Street. We have been waiting decades for sensible routes in this area. Speaking to the London Assembly on Wednesday the Mayor's Cycling Commissioner Andrew Gilligan expressed his concerns that this project was behind schedule and may not be delivered.
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Editor's Choice: Cycling Books
Whether you're looking for a last-minute gift for a cycling partner or friend, or simply wanting to find a good read for the holiday period, here's some suggestions of books that have caught our eye over the last few months...
STOP PRESS - Fred the Magic Bicycle £5
LCC staffer, Tom Bogdanowicz, reminds us not to forget his charming and beautifully illustrated children's book, Fred the Magic Bicycle, which you can order for just £5 at the LCC shop. Children love the book and third of profits go directly to the LCC charity. Review from CTC here - scroll down.
Bike! A Tribute to the World's Greatest Cycling Designers
by Richard Moore & Daniel Benson
Spanning over 100 years of the sport, Bike! is an in-depth history of the 49 greatest designers who have shaped the sport of cycling, taking in the world-leading marques like Colnago and Trek, alongside boutique builders like Pegoretti. The book also finds room for the quirks and eccentricities that are part of road racing folklore, like the great Belgian champion Eddy Merckx dismantling his bike completely so that he could count the parts.
by Nicole Cooke
Simon & Schuster
The frank and outspoken autobiography of one of Britain's greatest ever cyclists. Cooke was the only rider to be both Olympic and World champion in the same year, but as a woman in a male-dominated sport her success gained limited recognition and precious little in financial reward. The Breakaway is a book that will not only inspire all those who read it, but which also asks some serious questions about the way society regards women's sport.
Goggles & Dust
by The Horton Collection
Drawn from one of the world's most impressive collections of cycling artifacts, this book includes 100 photographs from competitive cycling's heyday in the 1920s and 1930s. It celebrates the grit and determination of the riders who pioneered the sport, establishing the records, traditions and distinct flavours of Europe's most hallowed races. It's very probably the best selection of vintage images we've seen in print.
by Charlie Kelly
A must-read for all fans of mountain biking. Penned by Charlie Kelly – one of the original 'Repack' racers and co-founder of the first 'MountainBikes' company – it looks at the birth of this 'new' sport in the 1970s in Marin County, California and its evolution from a simple dirt race amongst friends to a huge global industry. Brilliant images of both the 'founding fathers' and their home-made 'clunkers'.
The Complete Book of the Tour de France
by Feargal McKay
Thinking of entering Mastermind and having the Tour de France as your specialist subject? Then this is the book for you - and other stat-obsessed nutters. This hefty softback brings together every statistical record, every key moment, every stage and edition winner, and every jersey ever won – it's a complete record since the founding race with everything a diehard fan could possibly want included.
The Race to Truth
by Emma O'Reilly
O'Reilly was Lance Armstrong's personal soigneur, the only woman on the US Postal team in the 1990s, who unwittingly became a central figure in what was to become the biggest doping scandal in sporting history. She became a whistleblower on that doping culture but found herself isolated and shunned by the sport she loved, with her reputation systematically destroyed by Armstrong and his cronies in the most disgusting of manners. This is a memoir of truth and its many consequences.
Great British Cycling
by Ellis Bacon
This is the first single-volume history of road racing in Britain and covers its earliest origins right up to the recent back-to-back Tour de France triumphs. It takes you from cycling clubs and iconic framebuilders to a post-war explosion in participation inspired by the likes of Brian Robinson, Tommy Simpson, Barry Hoban and Beryl Burton. There's a lengthy chat with Chris Boardman about his 'Secret Squirrel Club' and an inside look at Britain's first 'trade team' which competed at the 1987 Tour.
1) The World of Elsie & Cycletoons
2) A Day in the Life of AW Cycles, Merton
Here's two self-published books by long-standing LCC member Hugh Morgan. The first is a compendium of his cartoons, or Cycletoons, which appeared in London Cyclist from 1994 until 2006. The earlier illustrations centred on infrastructure comment and the development of the London Cycle Network, before focusing on a distinct image for each of London's 33 boroughs. Elsie (as in 'LC') then appeared from 2002 onwards, offering satirical comment on the cycling provision in the capital. It's great to see them all together in one place and they chart the progress of LCC's campaigning work over the last couple of decades.
The second book is a photo-led history of Merton bike shop, AW Cycles, and pays tribute to an independent store that has spanned the whole bicycling era in premises that have changed little since post-war times. Lovely old photos are supplemented by recent images taken by Hugh and Matt Morgan, while text is supplied by another Merton CC stalwart Ceridwen Davies.
Cycling: Let's Get Quizzical
by Gwion Prydderch
Part quiz book, part puzzle book and part spot-the-difference challenge, this is one of those dip-in-dip-out books you find near the counter in bookshops and coffee shops. It's fun and not just for bike nerds, so the whole family can try their luck.
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- London Overground imposes blanket ban on peak time cycle carriage
- London's first Quietways to open in May 2015
- Are Cycle Superhighways good for London? A Centre for London debate
- Calls for Mayor to reverse decision on watered down plans for Cycle Superhighway 2 before Mayor's Question Time on Wednesday 21 January
- Campaign success as Deptford Creek Bridge finally opens
- How to design a cycling city
- LCC led rides take over 16,000 cyclists across London in 2014
- Plans progress for West End Project
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