Help us buy Designing for Cycle Traffic for our local councils

When our local authorities design for cycling the design is often very poor: they put cyclists in shared spaces, make them dismount at intersections, or paint an inadequate line that pushes cyclists into the gutter. The Institute of Engineers (ICE) have published a book on Designing for Cycle Traffic: International principles and practice. This book by John Parkin recognises that a “bicycle is a vehicle capable of speed”. We’d like to purchase two copies of this book and give one to the Aberdeen City Council and the other to the Aberdeenshire Council.

Here are some quotes from an article about the book:

  • Shared use footways are perhaps the classic example [of poor attempts to reduce perceived or actual risk]: they create problems of their own and have no regard for cycle design speed.
  • The most important principle any designer should recognise is that ‘the bicycle is a vehicle capable of speed’. This should be etched onto the desk of every designer because its implications are huge.
  • The cycle rider is exposed to the environment through which they travel. This means that the environment has to be designed to be comfortable and attractive, and this can be achieved by careful alignment planning, and appropriate treatments.
  • A recognised significant reason limiting cycling uptake is the dominating presence of motor traffic, and motor traffic also has other negative impacts on the liveability of cities generally, such as land take, noise and pollution. Lower speed limits (20mph) may help reduce speed. To reduce volume, and create space for cycle traffic, re-engineering of area-wide traffic management schemes needs to take place. Cycle routes themselves need to be part of a comprehensive network of routes.

We are already nearly half-way to reaching the cost of one book. If you can help with a fiver or more then please visit the Go Fund Me page to donate:

https://www.gofundme.com/designing-for-cycle-traffic-books

It would be great to hand these over before the end of October. Our urban planners and politicians keep talking about how they want to “lock in” the benefits of the AWPR and they won’t be able to do that without cycling infrastructure. Let’s make sure that whatever they do is well designed for cycling.

Listen to a podcast about the book here.

 

New Chair and Campaigns and Communications Secretary

We are pleased to announce that the Aberdeen Cycle Forum has a new Chair and a new Campaigns and Communications Secretary. Gavin Clark was appointed chair at the September meeting. Here’s his bio:

Gavin Clark


I’ve been involved with the Forum to a greater or lesser extent since its early days, becoming Secretary in 2015 and now Chair/Convenor.

I’ve lived in Aberdeen since 1996, but having grown up just 40 miles away I’m almost a proper local. My first memories of cycling here, as a student in the early 1980s, are of being knocked off by a right-turning car on George St, and of having a wheel stolen from my bike outside the University. Unfortunately those are experiences which students today are still likely to have!

To me, cycling is a cheap and reliable way to get around the city but also my main hobby, taking off on longer rides into Aberdeenshire’s beautiful countryside most weekends. Of course it keeps me fit and as I work for an environmental agency, the benefits of ‘clean’ travel aren’t lost on me either.

I’m lucky that half of my 3 mile daily commute is on traffic-free routes: the stretch along the River Dee opposite Duthie Park is a favourite part of my commute. But I know that cycling in the city and being mixed up in traffic can be a very unpleasant, off-putting and sometimes dangerous experience. I’d love to see that change, and in reality it has to if more people are going to get on their bikes more often.


Rachel Martin has taken on the role of Campaigns and Communications Secretary. Here’s her bio:

Rachel Martin

I’m originally from Australia but love the climate, culture, and scenery of Scotland and feel lucky to call Aberdeen my home since 2014. I got my first taste of commuter cycling as a 19-year-old living in Cambridge, UK. I was struck by how much it enhanced my quality of life – the freedom, the exercise, the independence – and have tried to recreate that in all the places I’ve lived since then.

When my children came along cycling became more challenging. Being a parent changes our perception of risk and how much risk we’re prepared to accept. My children are 11 and 8 years old and perfectly capable of riding their own bikes but our unsafe roads mean I ferry them around Aberdeen on a cargo bike. This is why I got involved in cycling advocacy: I want my children to be safe cycling around our city.

We are a car-free family who walk and cycle everywhere. For longer trips we take the train or book a car-club car. I love that active travel gives us exercise everyday without having to make a special effort to fit exercise in. It’s also free and doesn’t produce any toxic emissions. But more than any other reason, cycling is fun and I hope I’m still doing it when I’m 90.


The role of secretary is currently vacant. If anyone would like to take this on then please contact us or come to our next monthly meeting on Tuesday 30th October at 7:30pm. Venue TBA.

 

An update on the Union St bike path petition

In February of 2018, a group of us stood at the King Edward statue on the corner of Union Street and Union Terrace to collect signatures for a petition for a segregated bike path on Union St. We gathered more than 250 signatures in just one hour and the petition was submitted to the Aberdeen City Council about a week later with 433 signatures. It was a paper petition only so people had to physically write their name and address on it.

In April 2018, Rachel Martin presented the petition to the Operational Deliver Committee. The committee decided the following:

…to request that a report be brought back to the Committee in regards to the feasibility of cycle paths on Union Street, subject to consultation from the City Centre Masterplan, and to include information on a potential dedicated segregated cycle lane.

It has been more than 6 months and so we followed up with the council to see what’s going on with the petition. Joanna Murray, head of transport strategy, replied to say the petition will be considered in their Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan (SUMP) and they expect to have a draft ready in the second quarter of next year. This is where we stand right now. We will follow up again in the second quarter of next year.

If this is something you support then please contact transport strategy at the city council to let them know – transportstrategy@aberdeencity.gov.uk

A visualisation of Union Street with a bike path

All new roads should have a bike path

The people of Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire gathered outside Marischal College today to protest the lack of provision for cycling on the new AWPR – a bypass around Aberdeen. The AWPR has been in the plans for decades and it was more than 20 years ago that Cycling UK argued in favour of a segregated bike path on the road, if and when it got built. The Aberdeen Cycle Forum has also always been in favour of a segregated bike path. Sadly, they built the road and didn’t put in a bike path. Not only that but the new road has made conditions worse for cyclists in the region where is crosses the much-loved Deeside Way and also the Westhill cycle path. People are angry and frustrated and turned up to have their voice heard at the protest today.

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Representatives of the media were also there: BBC Scotland Radio, The Press & Journal, The Evening Express, and STV.

We know that money is not a blocker. The money is there but the local authority needs to apply to spend it. We want this money used to build segregated bike paths so that everyone can cycle in safety and we want all new road projects to include plans for segregated bike paths in the design.