Friday 16 April 2010


The assocation (sic) of UK cycle campaigning groups, Cyclenation (of which LCC is a member), is holding its next cycle campaigning conference in Portsmouth on Saturday 17 April 2010.

The conference, hosted by the Portsmouth Cycle Forum and organised in conjunction with CTC, is a chance to learn the secrets of successful cycle campaigning and meet other people who are passionate about creating a cycling culture in the UK.

Successful cycle campaigning? Er, exactly where, precisely? In the sphere of transport Britain is a barbaric and backward car-sick nation. I don’t know of a single town or city in the UK which can be called cycling or walking-friendly (and if you think York or Cambridge are, that exposes the poverty of your ambition; the majority of people in those cities don’t cycle, for good reasons).
Cycling infrastructure in Britain is a sick joke, cycle parking provision is laughable, and the CTC is an ineffectual organisation which declines to face the failure which stares it in the face.

Portsmouth was the first city in the UK to adopt a 20mph limit across most of its street network, leading the way for other towns and cities across the country.

Nothing wrong in principle with 20 mph zones, except that they rarely keep vehicle speeds to below 20 mph (you can do 40 mph in the Waltham Forest traffic-calmed 20 mph Church Hill zone, and I know that because I’ve been in a car that did). 20 mph zones are far from being the panacea that the na├»ve think they are. Apart from their failure to keep speeds down, there is nothing remotely cycling-friendly about 20 mph zones choked with parked cars on both sides of the road, which is the condition of the zones and ‘quiet routes’ in the London Borough of Waltham Forest.

The speakers at the conference include:

Graham Smith The pros and cons of shared space

It’s all con. British drivers are contemptuous of shared space and naked streets.

Marc Clothier from Sussex Police on ‘Operation Crackdown’

That’s Sussex Police, who recently pounced on a cyclist going through a red light, who ended up being fined £915:

Inspector James Biggs, from Sussex Police road policing unit, said: “Our communities are regularly raising concerns about anti-social cycling.

Whereas a driver with bald tyres who ‘loses control’ while travelling at speed on a bend and kills four cyclists is fined £180.

And that’s the same ‘Operation Crackdown’ which blames the victims by asserting

When walking, cycling or biking wear something bright or highly visible to alert your presence to other road users.

In other words, a car supremacist agenda entirely in keeping with the traditions of British policing.

There will also be workshops on:

20’s Plenty
bike parking
working with local authorities
working with young people
cycle surveys
Active Travel Strategy

Evidently there will be no workshops on how the Danes and Dutch have managed to shift people away from their cars and onto bicycles, no workshops on the continuing decline of cycling in Britain, and no workshops on how the Cyclists Touring Club and the London Cycling Campaign are major obstacles to the development of mass cycling in Britain, run as they are by ideologues committed to the failed strategy of vehicular cycling.

Away from this conference of dreamers and fantasists, I’m more impressed by bloggers who well understand that there never has been any serious attempt to promote cycling and walking as viable modes of transport.