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Cycle Training – any chance of progress?

Posted by chdot on March 10, 2010

Tomorrow Meadows/Morningside councillor Alison Johnstone is set to ask supplementary questions to follow up on the answers she has received to recent questions.

QUESTION NO 14 By Councillor Johnstone to be answered by the Convener of the Education, Children and Families Committee at a meeting of the Council on 11 March 2010
Question (1) How many children in P6 and P7 in City of Edinburgh primary schools are currently receiving cycle training?  Please provide the response in actual pupil numbers, and as a percentage of all P6/7 pupils.
Answer (1) 1,113 P6/P7 pupils received cycle training in 2008-9.  This is 16.2% of the total number of P6 and P7 pupils.
Question (2) Does the City of Edinburgh Council have a target number of pupils it aims to deliver cycle training to and a date by which it aims to reach this target?
Answer (2) The City of Edinburgh Council does not have a target number of pupils for cycle training, neither is there a national target.  Each school decides whether or not to offer cycle training, taking account of safety issues and costs for parents.

16.2% really is pretty unimpressive in the City that aspires to have 15% of all journeys by bike by 2020.

Some of the 90 pupils trained at
Sciennes Primary last year

Of course that initiative is from City Development, Cycle Training is the responsibility of  Children and Families.

The answers above show that the responsibility has been shifted onto individual Head Teachers. South Morningside Primary in Ms. Johnstone’s ward is one of the few schools in Edinburgh that makes sure that (almost) all pupils do CT in school time.

Overall responsibility for CT in Scotland is held by Road Safety Scotland. “Road Safety Scotland started its existence as the Scottish Road Safety Campaign and was founded in 1985. It is funded by the Scottish Government and its remit is to develop and co-ordinate Scotland-wide road safety initiatives and campaigns. Road Safety Scotland works closely with all local authority and police Road Safety Units in an attempt to ensure a co-ordinated approach to road safety in Scotland.

RSS develops and provides the resources for a range of road safety initiatives including the Scottish Cycle Training Scheme. In turn these are made available to all local authorities. In Edinburgh they are handled by the Active Schools Co-ordinators. Funding for the posts comes from sportscotland. Cycle Training is only a small part of their activity/sport responsibilities. In general they don’t deliver CT but train volunteers – if schools are motivated to ask for, and able to find, suitable volunteers – usually parents.

So it’s perhaps surprising that as many as 16.2% of Edinburgh’s primary school children get the chance to learn some basic road sense and cycling skills.

It’s all a bit random and not a suitable system in a City and Country that want people (especially children) to be more active and also walk and cycle more. Many of today’s parents don’t cycle, so it’s not really surprising that schools find it hard to find volunteers.

Will Edinburgh’s Councillors show some leadership tomorrow?

Posted in Active Travel, Bike Week, City of Edinburgh Council, commuting, Core Path Network, cycle training, Cycling News, Cycling Scotland, cycling world, cyclingedinburgh, Edinburgh, EducatedTravel, HEALTH, Maps, paths, Physical Activity and Health, Safe Routes to School, Safety, TryCycling, walking | 3 Comments »

Another Report

Posted by chdot on February 23, 2010

Yesterday the Department for Transport launched its Active Travel Strategy (along with the Department of Health – under the Change4Life ‘brand’). The 64 page document is full of good stuff – current activities and future aims.

Though the CTC’s Campaigns and Policy Director Roger Geffen has already said: “The Active Travel Strategy is a supportive statement of warm words about cycling. Unfortunately, it cannot deliver the massive step-change in cycle use that it recommends alone. CTC wants government departments to tell us what they are going to do and spend to make this happen. To tackle obesity, climate change and congested roads we need more than a homily to the humble bike; we need an action plan with pound signs attached.” (Press release)

Generally DfT proposals like this don’t apply to Scotland, so it’s good to see the following –

1.16 Although this is a strategy for England, we are working closely with the devolved administrations to ensure that we can share best practice and promote measures that support our shared objectives.

Below are some other edited highlights.

Our vision for active travel

1.1 Cycling and walking are great for health and accessibility, and when replacing journeys by car they can also reduce congestion and emissions. We want to see more people cycling and walking more often and more safely. With about two-thirds of the journeys we make under five miles, we believe walking and cycling should be an everyday way of getting around.

1.2 We have, however, amongst the lowest levels of cycling and walking in Europe. We need to turn that around, so that we can reap the benefits which other countries have achieved through active travel for individuals, business and the wider economy.

The National Cycle Plan: the Decade of Cycling

So why is the Netherlands so different from England?

1.12 Contrary to popular opinion, it’s not the weather – annual rainfall in Amsterdam is higher than it is in Manchester, and it’s colder in winter. The answer is more that central and local government in the Netherlands have consistently integrated cycling into transport and planning decisions for decades to create an environment and culture where cycling is the natural choice for many journeys.

1.13 For decades, like the UK, cycling levels in the Netherlands were declining as car use grew. In response to the oil crises of the 1970s, amongst other things, the Netherlands took a conscious decision to develop planning and transport policies that favoured cycling over the car. Since then cycling has remained at the heart of planning and transport policies.

1.14 The Netherlands is not, however, an isolated example. Around the world, major cities are waking up to the potential of walking and cycling. In Copenhagen 36% of trips to work or school are cycled and by 2015 they aim to increase this to 50%. Paris launched its innovative and popular Velib cycle-hire scheme in 2007. London is following suit with its own scheme in Summer 2010, and is planning a network of cycle superhighways. And elsewhere in the UK places as diverse as Cambridge and Hull have successfully reached or maintained high cycling levels.

1.15 Even in the USA, where for so long the car has been perceived as king, the New York Department of Transportation has recently completed a three- year programme of cycling measures that added 200 miles of bike lanes and seen a 45% increase in commuting by bike, while the ‘Plaza Programme’ has enabled not-for-profit organisations to apply to re-claim streets that are underused by vehicles to turn them into vibrant pedestrian plazas.

Safety

2.10 Our roads are now among the safest in the world, but cyclists and pedestrians remain particularly vulnerable road users. Aside from the effect that casualties have on individuals and their families, pedestrian and cyclist casualties are a significant burden on local health services. Furthermore, safety concerns are often cited as a reason why people do not cycle or, for example, allow children to walk to school meaning that they are missing the opportunity to do more physical activity and improve their health.

5.2 DfT already provides over £1.3bn capital funding per year for small-scale transport improvement and maintenance programmes – alongside Formula Grant from Dept of Communities and Local Government – but historically local authorities have chosen to spend relatively little of this on supporting active travel. Where investment has been made, too often this has been in a piecemeal fashion rather than integrated effectively into a wider sustainable transport plan and co-ordinated with health and social objectives. This means that we are not realising the full potential of active travel to reduce local area carbon emissions and help the UK meet its climate change targets.

5.3 In an increasingly budget-constrained world, Local authorities will have to do more with less, focusing on low-cost, high value measures that can support a number of objectives. With new Local Area Agreements and Local Transport Plans due to start in April 2011, the latter looking as far as 25 years ahead, there is an unmissable opportunity for health and transport professionals to work together to make sure cycling and walking are a core part of their area’s plans.

Getting the built environment right

“We need to remember that however people reach town centres, the main purpose of their journey – shopping, meeting friends, sightseeing – is actually achieved on foot. Yet too many of our streets and urban spaces have been given over to road traffic, at the expense of pedestrians and deliveries and we need to restore the balance for town centres to prosper.”

Getting Into Town: A guide for improving town centre accessibility.

British Retail Consortium

5.11 Cycle and pedestrian facilities are a cost effective way of meeting sustainable travel and accessibility objectives of new developments, and should be a priority for local planning authorities when considering agreements with developers. Engagement between planners and developers at an early stage will make it easier and more cost

5.14 Many towns and cities – for example Oxford and Portsmouth – have already introduced 20mph speed limits across residential streets. DfT has committed to revising its guidance to local authorities to encourage them to introduce over time 20 mph limits or zones into their streets which are of a primarily residential nature and in streets where pedestrian flows are particularly high, such as around shops or schools where they are not part of any major through route. Our ambition is to see local authorities introduce 20mph zones and limits into more residential streets.

Actually Edinburgh has been quite good at this, the challenge now is to extend the speed limit to some (all?) ‘main’ roads that are also shopping streets. The fact that many are also tenemented clearly means that they are “residential” but the longstanding perception is that they are “roads” and the free flow of (motor) traffic is the most important thing.

5.24 High quality training in how to walk and cycle safely puts people at less risk on our roads than those who have not had such training. Kerbcraft improves children’s skills and confidence when crossing roads, and Bikeability gives them the skills and confidence to use the road safely on foot and by bike. Local authorities should make training a core part of promoting safe, active travel.”

That last sentence is most welcome to anyone who has tried to get cycling training taken more seriously by the Council in Edinburgh.

At present the official line is to “ensure the Scottish Cycle Training Scheme resources and practical training is promoted in every school, particularly in areas of deprivation and promote adult cycle training city-wide.

But “promoted” is not enough. It has to be DELIVERED in every school. It needs to be in school time and for all pupils. At present only three Edinburgh primaries do all in pupils in a year group (P6 or P7) in school time – as part of the curriculum. This could change with the  Curriculum for Excellence – “Sorry, no results were found for “cycle training” in Curriculum for Excellence.”

Posted in Active Travel, City of Edinburgh Council, citycycling, Climate Change, commuting, Curriculum for Excellence, cycle parking, cycle training, cyclestreets.net, Cycling News, Cycling Scotland, cycling world, cyclingedinburgh, Demonstration Towns, DfT, Edinburgh, EducatedTravel, European Moblity Week, Forth Bridge Route Campaign, HEALTH, Maps, openstreetmap, paths, Peak Oil, Physical Activity and Health, ride, Safe Routes to School, Safety, Sustrans, TryCycling, walking | 2 Comments »

Snow on the Tracks (Help Please)

Posted by chdot on January 21, 2010


It’s nearly two weeks since the thaw set in, so it’s surprising/disappointing to find that there is hard-packed snow forming a slippery surface on a walk/cycle path that is a key link to a primary school.

But it’s not just ‘minor’ paths – even the mighty Innocent is untouched by council staff.

Over on CityCyclingEdinburgh Forum these and others are being recorded – do YOU have any to add? Photos a bonus but not essential.

Please also add paths that were untreated, even if snow has now melted.

Posted in Active Travel, City of Edinburgh Council, citycycling, Climate Change, commuting, Core Path Network, cyclestreets.net, Cycling News, Cycling Scotland, cycling world, cyclingedinburgh, Edinburgh, EducatedTravel, HEALTH, Maps, openstreetmap, paths, Physical Activity and Health, ride, Safe Routes to School, Safety, Spokes maps, TryCycling, walking | Leave a Comment »

New On-line Forum for Edinburgh

Posted by chdot on November 19, 2009

CyclingEdinburgh.info and CityCycling (the Edinburgh based monthly on-line cycling magazine) have teamed up to create CityCyclingEdinburgh.info – a new forum “for people who cycle in and around Edinburgh” (though a wider view is welcome).

The idea is to create a site where any aspect of cycling (and particularly encouraging more of it) can be ‘discussed’, questions asked – and answered.

Various forum headings have been created but they are not definitive. The forum is designed to develop as more people register and post (including you? – please tell your friends). Anyone can view but registration needed before posting – just a username and e-mail (not publicly revealed).

Rules are simple “No personal insults. No swearing”. That’s working so far.

Posted in Active Travel, citycycling, Climate Change, Core Path Network, cycle parking, cycle racing, cycle training, cyclestreets.net, Cycling News, Cycling Scotland, cycling world, cyclingedinburgh, Edinburgh, EducatedTravel, ERC, HEALTH, Maps, Physical Activity and Health, ride, Safe Routes to School, Spokes, Sustrans, TryCycling | 3 Comments »

Scottish Parliament Committee Wants YOUR view on “Active Travel”

Posted by chdot on November 4, 2009

transport committee
The Transport, Infrastructure and Climate Change Committee is “holding an inquiry into Active Travel – walking and cycling”.

Yesterday the Committee took evidence on the Scottish Government’s Draft Budget 2010-11 from John Swinney MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Sustainable Growth (in private).

According to Spokes (via Twitter) Des McNulty MSP asked Mr. Swinney about the Spokes Budget submission and “JS said will look at any proposals by the cttee”.

The 10 page proposal from Spokes was also considered by the Committee (again in private) – along with other written submissions (TCICC agenda and written evidence).

The Spokes document is, as usual, a comprehensive and thorough argument for (modest) increased spending on cycling in Scotland. It points out many policies, targets and “warm words” that still have to be backed with action – and cash.

The Spokes proposals (if adopted) would mean that spending on cycle projects would roughly double but still only be around 2% of current Scottish spending on Transport. The Scottish Government has indicated that it would like to see 10% of journeys being by bike by 2020. Edinburgh is aiming for 15%.

It is expected that the Committee will question Mr. Swinney further on his Government’s intentions on “Active Travel” and ask him to include some (or all) of the Spokes suggestions in the forthcoming Budget – or justify his refusal for the second year running.

The Committee (convened by Green MSP Patrick Harvie) is calling “for views on walking and cycling in Scotland“. It wants answers to six straightforward questions. “Respondents are invited to structure their responses around the issues identifed by the Committee. You are free to answer as many or as few of the questions as you wish.”

Closing date for submissions – Friday 11 December 2009.


Posted in Active Travel, Bikes on trains, ChangingPace, City of Edinburgh Council, citycycling, Climate Change, commuting, connect2, Core Path Network, cycle parking, cycle training, Cycling News, Cycling Scotland, cycling world, cyclingedinburgh, Demonstration Towns, Edinburgh, EducatedTravel, European Moblity Week, Forth Bridge Route Campaign, HEALTH, paths, Peak Oil, Physical Activity and Health, Safe Routes to School, Spokes, Sustrans, TryCycling | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Government Encourages Cycling to Work

Posted by chdot on October 28, 2009

cycle to work
The Department of Transport (DfT), alongside the NHS  Change4life initiative, has publicly launched the Cycle to Work Guarantee.

The idea is to encourage employers to pledge to provide the measures that many people expect before they are willing to cycle to work such as showers and secure cycle storage. In addition the Cycle to Work Guarantee web site encourages employers to offer bike maintenance and also suggests “inspiring” more people to cycle.

Many large employers (including government departments and NHS trusts) have already signed up. In addition it has been confirmed that the popular/successful “cycle to work” scheme will continue.

Of course due to devolution the above is for England. Scotland does things differently. With things like the smoking ban and alcohol restrictions, Scotland has policies that the Westminster government has adopted/adapted later.

On cycling south of the border is leading the way. Cycling Demonstration Towns were pioneered before Scotland’s Smarter Choices, Smarter Places scheme (which isn’t just about cycling). Cycling England is better resourced than Cycling Scotland (though their remits are different).

Getting more people to cycle to work is clearly a good thing, but getting children cycling is probably more important. In England there are a variety of initiatives. In Edinburgh the ‘basic idea’ of getting children to do the Scottish Cycle Training Scheme seems remarkably difficult. A small number of schools (notable Sciennes and South Morningside) make sure all P6/7 children take part in school time. Some others offer it as an after school activity.

It is ten years since the Road Danger Reduction Forum wrote “The Forum believes that high quality cyclist training for children is essential to achieve the aims of the Integrated Transport Strategy.

Good training provides children with the skills required to be responsible, safe road users not only as children but possibly as future drivers. It is also essential in order to promote and encourage more cycling, particularly through giving parents the confidence to allow their children to cycle.”

Ten years later the idea of Cycle Training leading to better drivers is still valid, but the need for training to be better (adult) cyclists is also strong. Unfortunately not enough children are being trained at primary school age.

Posted in Active Travel, City of Edinburgh Council, citycycling, Climate Change, commuting, Core Path Network, CTC, cycle parking, cycle training, Cycling News, Cycling Scotland, cycling world, cyclingedinburgh, Demonstration Towns, Edinburgh, EducatedTravel, Peak Oil, Physical Activity and Health, Safe Routes to School, Safety, Spokes, TryCycling | 1 Comment »

Professor Criticises Council Practices

Posted by chdot on October 25, 2009


Photo blackpuddinonnabike

Writing in today’s Sunday Herald, Edinburgh University professor Michael S Northcott mentions the ‘cycle facility’ near his office.

“..when the new Missoni Hotel was opened earlier this year the cycle lane was ditched in favour of a publicly provided parking bay for the hotel and two lanes for motorists.”

It’s been like this since May. After lots of protests by locals and cyclists, the Council ‘promised’ to do something, that was in June.

Michael Northcott’s article says a few other things about the environment in Edinburgh.

“..the city council continues to favour speeding cars over slow pedestrians. At many junctions pedestrians have to walk hundreds of feet corralled by metal cages to designated crossing points away from their direction of travel.”

But it’s not just Edinburgh that’s mentioned in the Sunday Herald’s “Essay of the Week” which highlights Governments’ and other organisations’ confusion and hypocrisy over Climate Change and economic growth.

“The Scottish Government recently built one of the world’s most expensive pieces of motorway – an extension to the M74 – against strong local opposition, through a housing scheme to the east of Glasgow. The road raises noise and pollution for local residents to unhealthy levels and significantly reduces the quality of their environment. But it enables drivers who don’t live in the area to traverse it at 70mph on yet another fast motorway through the environs of Glasgow, a city already strewn with urban motorways.”

Posted in Active Travel, City of Edinburgh Council, citycycling, Climate Change, commuting, connect2, Core Path Network, cycle parking, cycle training, Cycling News, Cycling Scotland, cycling world, cyclingedinburgh, Demonstration Towns, Edinburgh, EducatedTravel, European Moblity Week, Forth Bridge Route Campaign, Glasgow, Lothian Buses, Peak Oil, ride, Safe Routes to School, Safety, Spokes, Sustrans, technology, Trams, TryCycling, walking, What the papers say | 1 Comment »

“Less Traffic Equals Smarter Working”

Posted by chdot on October 7, 2009

less traffic
Sustainable Transport campaigners Transform Scotland today issued a new briefing paper – Less Traffic: How Scotland would benefit from Road Traffic Reduction.

The 8 page document (“supported by BT Scotland”) mentions cycling twelve times! It contains solid arguments for traffic reduction with Public Transport and car sharing (and cycling) as key elements. But it’s not just ‘save the planet’ rhetoric.

There’s a clear case in conventional economic terms – “It is a myth that economic growth must result in increased travel, and that measures to reduce traffic would therefore undermine economic development”.

Paul Tetlaw, Chair of Transform Scotland, said:  “Road traffic reduction is the most vital component of a sustainable transport strategy. Without policies, programmes and projects to cut traffic levels, there is little or no prospect of achieving crucial targets for reducing climate change emissions or creating a productive and just society.

“Transform Scotland is delighted to be working with organisations such as BT Scotland to evidence the vast financial and time savings offered by interventions such conferencing – audio, video and teleprescencing. Not only do these enable organisations from all sectors to reduce their need to travel, but they also generate massive productivity benefits.

“The most efficient use of the road network is through increasing car occupancy. Car sharing and car clubs have proven to be very successful at achieving an increase in car occupancy both here in Scotland as well as throughout Europe. And at the same time as increasing occupancy, they have also reduced car usage. If we increased car occupancy by 50%, we would see one third less traffic on the roads.

In support of this Transform quotes “A small rise in car occupancy can have a significant impact – raising occupancy by just 10% (to an average of 1.74) would reduce traffic on our roads by 9%. And an occupancy increase of 50% would result in a 33% drop in traffic”. Source.

Posted in Active Travel, City of Edinburgh Council, citycycling, Climate Change, commuting, Core Path Network, cycle parking, cycle training, Cycling News, Cycling Scotland, cycling world, cyclingedinburgh, Edinburgh, EducatedTravel, European Moblity Week, HEALTH, Peak Oil, Physical Activity and Health, Safe Routes to School, Safety, Sustrans, TryCycling, walking | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Bike Friday Routes

Posted by chdot on September 17, 2009

Bike Friday 2009

“Looks like a lot of fun” Tom Morton Radio Scotland

Tomorrow Edinburgh will have three “Bike Friday” rides. This is the first time that the city has tried to run such organised commutes. Billed as “Edinburgh’s social cycle commute” it will be interesting to see who turns up – and in what numbers!

Similar events have been run in Manchester and London and attract a mix of regular commuters looking for some company plus ‘new’ riders who welcome the security of having other riders with them.

It’s not a Critical Mass, trying to take over the streets once a month and (reasonably) assert that bikes have a right to the streets too. It’s certainly not a race.

The rides will be led and marshalled by experienced riders who will set a reasonable pace and (in places) probable be faster than the ‘rush’ hour traffic. (Yesterday’s Commuter Challenge proved that bikes are a pretty good way to get around the city quickly). Parts of the routes will be on quiet roads and pedestrian/cycle only sections. The routes have been chosen with care with an understanding of likely traffic in the morning. Not the fastest routes or most scenic – a mix of real life riding in Edinburgh. (Other routes are available… Find your own using edinburgh.cyclestreets.net.)

The route from South Gyle hardly has to deal with traffic until Haymarket.

The ride from Gracemount uses Ellen’s Glen Road (local traffic only) and then busy roads (with bike and bus lanes in places) to The Grange and on through The Meadows.

From Portobello it’s along The Prom and (mostly) wide roads until Holyrood Park then ‘underneath’ Edinburgh via the Cowgate and Grassmarket where bikes are likely to be able to ‘rush’ past the motor traffic.

All rides start at 8.00 and finish in Festival Square roughly 40 minutes later. There will be a Spokes stall for advice and info (you could make you own way there). You can swap commuting tales and, perhaps, arrange to run your own Bike Friday/Thursday/Wednesday/Tuesday/Monday.

If you fancy coming along for part of the ride, that’s fine. Check the routes but note that they are likely but not guaranteed. Also (apart from the 8.00 start) timings are not precise but expect to see a group of cyclist passing through Holyrood Park, Roseburn Park and The Grange round about 8.15.

Bike Friday is being organised by ChangingPace as part of European Mobility Week with funding from City of Edinburgh Council.

If these rides are successful/popular they may become regular events. Perhaps more/different routes, perhaps starting in the city centre. If you want to ride in a smaller group (or just with another person – or even carshare) why not register with the SEStran TripShare/BikeBudi scheme.

Posted in Active Travel, ChangingPace, City of Edinburgh Council, citycycling, Climate Change, commuting, Core Path Network, critical mass, cycle training, Cycling News, Cycling Scotland, cycling world, cyclingedinburgh, Edinburgh, EducatedTravel, European Moblity Week, Forth Bridge Route Campaign, HEALTH, Maps, paths, Peak Oil, Physical Activity and Health, ride, Safe Routes to School, Safety, Spokes, Spokes maps, Sustrans, TryCycling | Leave a Comment »

One Week to First Bike Friday

Posted by chdot on September 11, 2009

EMW BIKE FRIDAY POSTER 7

Next Friday three groups of cyclists will set off from different parts of Edinburgh and head for Festival Square (off Lothian Road).

It will be Edinburgh’s first organised ride for cycling ‘commuters’. It’s an event in Edinburgh’s European Mobility Week and is a mixture of social fun and confidence building.

Similar rides already exist in Manchester and London. The rides will be led and marshalled by experienced cyclists and will take routes that involve quiet streets and some busy roads.

A good turnout is expected – helped by Edinburgh Bicycle telling all its customers in the weekly email newsletter.

In Festival Square Spokes (The Lothian Cycle Campaign) will have an information stall.

Spokes does a cycle count on Lothian Road twice a year. It records that bicycles are a growing percentage of the ‘rush hour’ traffic.

Posted in Active Travel, ChangingPace, City of Edinburgh Council, citycycling, Climate Change, commuting, Core Path Network, critical mass, cycle training, Cycling News, cyclingedinburgh, Edinburgh, EducatedTravel, European Moblity Week, Lothian Buses, paths, Peak Oil, Safe Routes to School, Safety, Spokes, Spokes maps, TryCycling | 3 Comments »