Thursday, 18 July 2013

Get Britain Cycling Debate in the Houses of Parliament - 2nd September

"Britain’s cycling revolution is to move a step closer, with MPs due to meet in the House of Commons in September to debate a landmark report on how to design safer streets, reduce traffic jams and boost public health.
On the first day back after summer recess, on September 2, the debate will take place in the main chamber of the House of Commons to discuss the findings of the ‘Get Britain Cycling’ inquiry, set up in response to the Times Cities Fit for Cycling campaign.
In February last year, 77 MPs from around the UK gathered in Westminster Hall to raise concerns over congested streets and a lack of cycle paths in their constituencies and the need for cyclists to be better trained. They now have the chance to support measures which would address these issues and encourage people to commute by bike instead of car.
A panel of MPs and peers submitted the ‘Get Britain Cycling’ report in April with 18 recommendations on how the Government should increase investment in cycling infrastructure, improve training for cyclists and motorists, lower speed limits in residential areas and introduce stricter planning guidelines for how roads are designed.
Between October 2011 and September 2012, 3,270 cyclists were killed or seriously injured on Britain’s roads — a 29 per cent increase on the 2005-2009 average — while 15,800 cyclists suffered minor injuries.

The Times is calling on all MPs to attend the ‘Get Britain Cycling’ debate, to be held in the Chamber of the House of Commons on Monday September 2."

So I have written to my MP to ask him to attend:

Dear Graham Brady,

I am asking that you attend the Get Britain Cycling debate on Monday 2nd of September.

The issue is so important for very many different reasons.

We as a nation are the fattest in Europe. 

Our towns and cities are becoming choked with unnecessary motorised transport holding back the economy and stunting growth. Most of these journeys are of very small mileage (DoT own figures) and it should not be the default that someone hops in their car for a trip of around 3 miles.

The Lancet has recently published a report that draws a link between air pollution and a 20% increase in lung disease and heart failure.

We need a government that will stand firm against the motoring lobby like previous governments did with the powerful tobacco lobby. 

And the intolerable deaths mostly but not only on the roads in London.

You only have to look in Trafford to see what an effect decent
infrastructure can have. The Bridgewater Way is responsible for significantly reducing the number of cars on the A56. But we need to see this everywhere and not the piecemeal approach we have seen in the past.

Please, please, as my MP attend the debate and show a commitment to Get Britain Cycling.

Yours sincerely,


To his credit, he has replied. Sadly with an 'unable to attend' RSVP.

Monday, 8 July 2013

Altrincham Festival 2013

What a day!

We managed to get a 'cycling float' included in this years Altrincham Festival Parade.  A wonderful idea by Pippa a fellow Breeze Champion.

The interest from other cyclists was overwhelming and we had to eventually promise not to swell too greatly in numbers once the organisers caught whiff of our float snowballing.

Without telling too many people what we had planned, we suddenly had 40 or so people agreeing to come along.

We were joined by Altrincham Bike ShakMad Cycle Lanes of Manchester, Councillor Jane Brophy , Richard Alderson, and the all ability cycle group Simply Cycling with their adapted bikes.

I went for the frock and heels look, whilst towing a trailer.  Mainly in part to show, what you wear need not be a barrier to cycling.  We are not all Lycra Louts.

We assembled at St Margaret's in Bowdon.  It was very hot but the lovely leafy street kept most of the sun at bay. Thanks to Halfords Altrincham who came with lots of hooters for the kids and were on hand in case anyone had a mechanical problem.

The parade got underway and it was a slow stop/start downhill into Altrincham

So slow and stop start, Richard started an impromptu Brompton folding lesson.

A great picture of some of the Simply Cycling adapted bikes.

Andrew from Bike Shak managed to capture us on camera.

I found this YouTube clip which made me smile.

Towards the end about 8.30 is us.  The lady remarks "They've never had cyclists before", to which her friend replies "Its good though! Why not?"

We also won a commendation!

Considering how last minute we organised it all, the day went wonderfully well, mainly thanks to Pippa being a whiz at organising things and approaching everything with a 'if you don't ask you don't get' attitude.

I can't wait to do it all again.

For those that asked, my dress is the velo dress from Great Plains.  Its on special offer too at the moment!!

It is a lovely dress and so many people have commented on it.  Thank you x

Womens DZR Link - A review

A bit of light relief and a product review...

I have coveted the DZR Link Charcoal shoe for some time now.  My quest to find clothes to cycle in that don't make me look like a cyclist is a lengthy mission.  The market for men's 'Urban'cycle clothes is booming and as I have previously mentioned, even H&M are about to jump on the band wagon.

Sadly, as its often the case, manufacturers are slow on the uptake when it comes to catering for women.  This is one reason I like companies like Vulpine, who, from the outset have tried to provide equally for both sexes and present images of women in a positive way.

Anyway, I digress.  This is why I don't usually do product reviews. I do go off at tangents.

How could you not love them?

They are a dusky almost moleskin grey.  They have wonderful attention to detail, like the small reflective company logo on the heel.

I even loved the box they came in 

See it IS reflective!

Breathable too around your toesies

Here is the little bit you need to remove for your cleats.  Ask a grown up to help you.

The extra strap over the laces, meant they felt quite secure for cycling in.  However they are quite heavy due to the stiffened sole.  So are more suited to times when you are going to be cycling more than walking.  If you had to walk in them all day, I would imagine they could be uncomfortable.  Also, they are a rather narrow fit (aren't all cycling shoes).  This sadly meant I had to be sensible and return them.

It was a very sad occasion indeed.  I had become very fond of them.

The new Link Lime are a bit smashing too. But I will have to admire from afar due to my flipper feet!  :-D

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

'Dangerous' Cycling and Operation Grimaldi *UPDATED*

Recently in Manchester, Greater Manchester Police launched Operation Grimaldi

"Operation Grimaldi is clamping down on the number of cyclists involved in collisions and to encourage them to learn how to ‘share the road’ with others safely."

"The operation has been running since the beginning of 2013, focusing on ‘hot spot’ areas where pedal cyclists have been seen using the roads dangerously or irresponsibly."

The traffic network team at Greater Manchester Police has been working along the Oxford Road corridor and Wilmslow Road area of the city centre where a number of collisions have occurred recently. GMP had also received a number of complaints about cyclists failing to stop at red lights and weaving dangerously in and out of traffic."
"The operation has seen 415 fixed penalties issued over 10 days of action spread across five months (February to June 2013) for offences such as running red lights, not having lights fitted, cycling on footpaths and using mobile phones whilst cycling."
I can't help but be annoyed at such a high profile campaign focusing on one particular group who happen to be the most vulnerable and very rarely the cause of any serious traffic incident.
"The data, which was analysed by the Transport Research Laboratory (TRL), showed that more than a quarter of all cycling deaths in 2005-07 happened when a vehicle ran into the rear of a bike."
I have no problem with targeted campaigns.  In instances where there is a real problem and KSI stats to back it up.  I am completely on board with Drink Drive initiatives around holidays.  This all makes sense, because there is a proven need for this targeted approach.
However, share the road (which this purports to be) campaigns are nothing but divisive if not all Road Users are taught to share.
And then see this report of a cyclist in a similar location (in fact probably travelling to) where Operation Grimaldi happened and read the comments from GMP:
"A gold coloured Toyota Yaris which had mounted the kerb in an effort to pass waiting cars collided into him, forcing the man onto the bonnet of the car," it said. "The victim then fell off and the Yaris drove off without checking on the cyclist’s welfare."
Mounted the kerb to pass waiting cars! 

Then forcing the man onto his bonnet????? 

WTF???? He didn't force him onto his bonnet!  He ran the poor fucker over!  Can you imagine using this sort of language if it were a child walking along the pavement?
The driver of the car, couldn't be arsed to wait so forced the child onto his bonnet.
and to tip it off:
"“His impatience meant he had little regard for other road users and we therefore need to catch him as soon as possible."
So really its not his terrible, possibly fatal driving that is at fault? Its the fact he is impatient?  Fucking hell, there is a time bomb waiting to happen. 
What next? A GMP campaign against impatient motoring?
I bet that would result in more than 400 fixed penalty notices.....


I have had a response to my FOI request from GMP


I write in connection with your request for information dated 02/07/2013, which was received by Greater Manchester Police on 02/07/2013 and for which clarification was received on 11/07/2013I note you seek access to the following information:

1 - Please can you tell me the KSI figures for cyclists on which you based Operation Grimaldi?

2 - How many people have been injured by 'dangerous cycling' in the Greater Manchester Area?

As referenced in your press release here  

3 - Are you able to  tell me figures for 2011 and 2012 for other road users killed or seriously injured in accidents caused by cyclists in the Greater Manchester area?

Following receipt of your request searches were conducted within Greater Manchester Police to locate information relevant to your request.  I can confirm that the information you have requested is held, in part, by Greater Manchester Police, (GMP).

The inception of Operation Grimaldi was not based on KSI figures, therefore re point 1 – information is not held in the format requested.  However please see the below in response to the whole of your request.

This year GMP have recorded 18 fatal collisions to date with regard to this request, of these one was a pedestrian that was hit by a pedal cycle.

Whilst fortunately there has been no fatal collisions involving a rider of a pedal cyclist this year there has been five serious and life changing cycle collisions, one incident when a rider rode through a red light and was hit by a vehicle, another where a cyclist rode from the pavement under the rear wheels of a HGV and one where a cyclist placed themselves in the blind spot of a HGV vehicle.

There will be many incidents that do not involve injury and as such are not reported to GMP.

Our priority is to reduce KSI (killed and serious injuries) on the roads of Greater Manchester. This involves educating all road users.  The aim of the operation Grimaldi is to educate all road users.

GMP recognises that the stopping of cyclists has brought the topic high on the agenda and highlighting concerns which may educate or make other road users aware of each other and hopefully alter road usage behaviour.

Unfortunately a large number of the collisions that occur are where cyclists unknowingly place themselves in dangerous positions and situations on the road especially when near to HGV's and busses.  The most common cause of collisions is cyclists entering the road from the pavement.

GMP recognises that the drivers of vehicles do make contact with the cyclist there are many, many times where the cyclist places themselves in a situation be it jumping the red light, manoeuvring in the road without checking over their shoulder or changing direction without indicating which leaves them very vulnerable.

From cyclists who have attended GMPs presentation 93% have had no training what so ever nor are they holders of any licence and such cyclists take to some of the busiest roads in the country and following what they see as 'normal' place themselves in danger.

The main Oxford and Wilmslow Road corridor is the area that has the highest collisions within Greater Manchester and this is why this area has been chosen at this time.

GMP is also introducing those who are vulnerable to take up the free offer of cycle training at betterbycyle phone 0300 123 1675 or through

Additionally GMP can provide the below statistics that represent all forcewide pedal cycle collisions/casualties:


Complaint Rights
Your attention is drawn to the attached sheet, which details your right of complaint.

Should you have any further inquiries concerning this matter, please write or contact me on telephone number 0161 856 2529 quoting the reference number above.

Yours sincerely
Philip Humphreys

Information Compliance & Records Management Assistant

OK so, some points. I am sure there are many more, but a couple of things struck me.

Firstly, they admit Operation Grimaldi is not based on any real tangible KSI statistics on cyclists endangering other road users.

Secondly, of the fatalities they do mention one is "of these one was a pedestrian that was hit by a pedal cycle". I find this deeply deeply disturbing.  This collision happened on a pedestrian crossing and the cyclist was found to be not at fault.  But including it here suggests otherwise. 'Some rogue cyclist was responsible for killing someone hence we are cracking down on the misbehaviour'.

Thirdly, excuse my maths, I only total 16 since 2008. 2.6 per year. I wonder what the figure is for motorists? I cant see that 2.6 deaths albeit terrible, each one, is really demonstrating the need for such a costly and high profile 'stunt'.

And fourthly, "From cyclists who have attended GMPs presentation 93% have had no training what so ever nor are they holders of any licence" whoooaaahhhhhh now we are getting somewhere. This old chestnut. Do GMP have a subscription for the Daily Mail?   

I am interested how they think licensing might work.  Are they going to now be the Manchester equivalent to the DVLA for cyclists?

Well done GMP. You have completely missed the point. What a wasted opportunity.  Maybe lend a hand at Nice Way Code. They are doing a great job of making a pigs ear of it too.