As the new year dawns, we summarise our top ten highlights of 2021. Overarching all of these, of course, was COP26 and we were proud to be a co-signatory to the European Cyclists’ Federation’s (ECF) joint letter to governments at COP26 calling on them to boost cycling levels to tackle climate change. We also provide a sneak preview to two events that we hope will form highlights of 2022.
1. Medieval city talk
In February, we welcomed Simon Munk from London Cycle Campaign who talked to us about Cycling in a Medieval City. Simon’s job includes lobbying City Hall and TfL for more and better cycle schemes, scrutinising major projects such as “Cycleways”, “Liveable Neighbourhoods” and “Safer Junctions”, and providing technical expertise and campaigning tactics where needed.
2. Terry Avenue closure
In mid-May and after some delays, the Environment Agency eventually closed Terry Avenue to pedestrian and cyclist through-traffic. It is due to remain closed until May 2022 during the flood defence works. The Campaign managed to get pedestrian crossings installed outside the park and asked for the diversion signs to be made larger and put in more obvious locations. We continue to ask members to report any problems you spot. You can email the community liaison officer, Aimee Ramsden, or drop in and see her at the site. Also copy in the Environment Agency, York Cycle Campaign and if it is a breach of planning conditions then please report it to the Planning Enforcement team.
3. Positive reception for inclusive cycling report
In July we submitted our report on inclusive and disability cycling in York, compiled by member John Skelton, to the City of York Council. The comprehensive report was well-received by York Disability Rights Forum and readers of the Press. It addressed the issues of disability cycling and identified barriers and hazardous locations which either prevent or deter disabled cyclists from enjoying the same freedoms as able-bodied cyclists travelling in and around York’s cycle network. Neil Ferris, corporate director of economy and place at City of York Council, welcomed the report and said the Council would devote £100K to improve cycling accessibility around York, including Hob Moor specifically.
4. Tadcaster Road proposals
In September 2021, City of York Council and West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA) consulted on design changes for Tadcaster Road that aimed to improve active travel and public transport along this key route in and out of the city.
We were seriously disappointed by the proposals, which consisted of little more than white paint on the road in terms of cycling infrastructure. The Campaign submitted a long and thorough response which critiqued each section of the plans, assessing them against LTN 1/20 – the current guidance on providing cycle infrastructure produced by the Department of Transport.
We highlighted many issues, especially as regards the coherence and safety of the designs. The Council received over 500 responses to the consultation, and officers will be making some revisions as a result, although these are unlikely to address all the points we raised.
5. Navigation Road triumph
Our long campaign to get this road closed to through traffic culminated in the council trialling a Low Traffic Neighbourhood with segregated cycle routes running in both directions – hurrah!
Some members reported regularly witnessing cars ignoring the one-way and nipping through, and we fed these teething problems back to the council.
6. Coppergate Contraflow
As a response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the council introduced new restrictions to Coppergate in June 2020 to increase pavement space for pedestrians between Pavement Vaults and the Coppergate Centre using temporary barriers. Since this restricted the width of the road, it was closed to east-bound motor traffic but a contraflow was created for cyclists.
The Council consulted on whether parts of the changes ought to be retained as the 18-monthTemporary Traffic Regulation Order (TTRO) neared its end, and we were delighted when the Executive Member for Transport decided to request a 6-month extension of the TTRO whilst a bus routing survey is carried out. We put forward ideas of how the street could be redesigned following current guidance to benefit pedestrians as well as cyclists.
7. Road Safety Week: accident stats
For Road Safety Week in November, we collaborated with one of our corporate supporters – Pryers solicitors – to raise awareness and share some statistics about road safety in York. We looked at common contributing factors in collisions involving cyclists, and where collisions are most likely to happen. all the graphs, in new interactive formats, on our website.
8. Can York emulate Ghent?
The centrepiece of our November AGM was an inspirational talk from Filip Watteeuw, Deputy Mayor of Ghent, about how his city introduced an innovative new traffic circulation system. This resulted in a thriving, low-car, accessible and people-friendly city. Filip threw down the gauntlet to York: “It’s simple, it’s cheap, so what are you waiting for?”
9. Massive turnout for protest ride
Our mass cycle ride to mark Clean Air Day in the middle of June attracted around 80 cyclists to call for a better, safer cycling infrastructure in the city. The turnout, like the weather, exceeded our expectations. We cycled from Clifton Green down Bootham, looped round the city centre, then headed out over Lendal Bridge and Bishopthorpe Road, finishing at the Millennium Bridge. The protest attracted a good amount of media attention, including BBC Radio York, The Press and YorkMix.
10. Going, going, gone: Hob Moor widens its welcome
The infamous barriers at the entry points to Hob Moor have proved difficult to negotiate for many cyclists, and impossible for some including member Jamie (above) who uses a trike as his primary mobility aid. Finally, the Council has recognised that the barriers keep more than just motorcyclists (the intended target) off the Moor. Just before Christmas the Council removed the footplates (as shown below). Whilst the Campaign joins Jamie and others in welcoming the removal of the traps, we would like to see the entrances being made even more accessible like those onto Walmgate Stray.
And looking forward to 2022…
Member’s social – evening of Tues 25th January
We’re planning a member’s social on Tuesday evening, 25 January – either in person or via Zoom if Covid restrictions prevent us getting together face-to-face. Come and find out what’s happening in the cycle campaign just now, and share your ideas and frustrations! We hope to make this a regular monthly event. Register your interest now so we can have an idea of numbers and email details of the venue once picked.
And in July, a chance to cycle to Germany and explore a particularly cycle-friendly city. Münster, York’s Twin City, has 450 kilometres of cycle paths and an average of two bikes per citizen. The Twinning Association is planning a cycle exchange to Münster with the continental leg in early July 2022, and cyclists from Münster visiting York the following year. The Association would like to work with YCC to make the exchange a success.
For 2022 we’re making it easier to get involved in Campaign activities. You can now sign-up to be part of several teams in the Campaign and receive emails when there’s opportunities to take part in activities. To find out more visit our Get Involved page on the website.
It’s now possible to pay for your membership by Direct Debit, if you’d like to take advantage of this look for the new GoContactless Direct Debit option when you get your membership renewal.
At time of writing the Campaign is just 11 members off passing the 200 mark, our highest level of membership yet. Help us pass this milestone by inviting people you know to join the campaign – be they friends, family, colleagues, or just strangers in the street. Just direct them to YorkCycleCampaign.bike/Join
If you run an organisation you can also sign up as a corporate supporter, for more information please visit YorkCycleCampaign.bike/CorporateSupport