17 people attended, including representatives of Leicester Critical Mass and some new members.
Updates from previous meeting:
- Welford Road: the meeting with Assistant Mayor Adam Clarke had been postponed to tomorrow evening (2 August). Not sure what is on his agenda but we want to try and cover the general issues of consultation with the council and communication with planners.
- Meeting with Police & Crime Commissioner: contact made but no date set for a meeting as yet (likely to be October/November)
- Cyclescape.org and email discussion list: people still not finding it very intuitive to use, although it should be really good for recording and monitoring issues, with lots of accident stats available through it. People encouraged to sign up and keep trying it. Discussion list email is working better since bugs were fixed. If people had problems with it, should be encouraged to try again.
- Belgrave Road Consultation: closes on Thursday (4 August). Need to keep encouraging people to respond as numbers matter. There is a page on the website with response from LCCG, posts on FB and Twitter. Neil got 30 people at Friday’s Critical Mass to complete a paper copy of the survey, visit to Cossington Park produced a dozen more. Clare to repost on FB.
- Mayor’s (now Assistant Mayor’s) Quarterly Cycle Forum: latest one was on the day of the fatal accident on London Road. Those attending still consider forum to be useful although with less clout than when chaired by the City Mayor. Belgrave Road consultation was covered – only two options on table now, third with cycle lanes was dropped a while ago. Consultation process indicates not enough people are requesting cycle facilities to warrant building them. London Road cycle path plans discussed: proposal for two-way segregated track on inbound (west) side, linking to Victoria Park at the top. At the bottom end there are three options under consideration. Still in early design station not ready for consultation yet. (In the meeting with Adam Clarke on 2 August, it was made clear that the earliest possible date for a path would be 2018, given funding requirements and practicalities of scheduling major infrastructure works.)
- Skyride: Jaime to set up doodle poll for message to go out to Discussion list, Dennis to check on reprinting of tee-shirts and arrange pick up of stall material with Neil, Clare to contact Andy Salkeld re: pitch.
- St Matthews Parks Day: we had been invited to have a stall on August 12th but not enough people available to run it
- St Georges Churchyard (opposite Curve): consultation on redevelopment closes Wednesday (3 August).
Fatal accident on London Road: discussion with representatives of Leicester Critical Mass
- Background: on Wednesday 27 July, a young man suffered a fatal bike accident in front of Leicester Railway Station. He was hit by someone opening the road-side rear door of a taxi and knocked into the path of a van. (At the time of our meeting, his name had not been released to the public; he has since been named as Sam Boulton.) On the following Friday, Leicester Critical Mass passed the station and stopped for a ‘bike lift’ to acknowledge Sam’s death and highlight the risks to cyclists using London Road. The majority of the Mass riders also cycled down New Walk in protest at the prohibition on its use as a cycle route.
- Members of LCM have engaged with members of Sam’s immediate family who are happy to put a decorated bike (done by Sam himself) by the site of the accident. We would have a strong ally in his fiancée in calling for faster action on a safe route. LCM were planning a press release on the day Sam’s name was released. They will also advise LCCG when the decorated bike was to be placed, so that we could ask our members/followers to attend a public demonstration with press coverage focusing on the issue of cars stopping outside the station.
- LCM have also spoken with James Bowie, owner of the Belmont Hotel and a leading member of Friends of New Walk, (his son is a cyclist and member of Leicester Forest club). He would be another ally in pressing for a safe route that did not involve New Walk.
- Rebecca Pritchard has launched a change.org petition (https://www.change.org/p/leicester-city-council-stop-cycling-tragedies-bike-lane-on-new-walk-leicester) calling for the ban on cycling on New Walk to be lifted, with the creation of a cycle lane.
- It is clear that the problem that needs fixing is the danger posed to cyclists using London Road and a possible solution is to allow cycling on New Walk, at least in the interim while something is done about London Road.
- In a straw poll, the majority of those at the meeting were in favour of calling for New Walk to be available to cyclists, given the lack of a safe alternative to London Road. Such a move would be at little or no cost and would immediately create a safe route, whilst plans continue to build something more long-term on London Road (which is going to take years to complete). People are already using New Walk to cycle on, mostly for reasons of personal safety, and those who are cycling considerately are more likely to be stopped and questioned/fined than those who are not.
- Those against the idea pointed out that it is already heavily used by pedestrians and we want to take space away from cars (to reduce traffic and to make better use of road space). LCCG have been talking with the Council over a long period about a safe cycle path down London Road, including attending a site visit with Peter Soulsby to consider options. Our strategy is to encourage the building of segregated cycle paths along arterial roads, rather than pushing cyclists onto alternative routes.
- New Walk has a road traffic order prohibiting cycling as well as being a footpath, so no cycling at present. The Council cannot change the status of the footpath but could allow cycling, although this would probably require a public enquiry for someone (LCCG?) would have to pay.
- The issue on London Road is not one of traffic congestion but of chaos, which is putting cyclists at risk. We need to press the Council to sort it out, possibly with an urban clearway outside station, to reduce use by cars dropping off/picking up passengers.
- Need to let Adam Clarke know of feeling of meeting and to ask how fast London Road can happen (see earlier comment). What are the alternatives if this is not fast enough? We and others will take action to put on the pressure.
- Suggestion of a half-day conference to discuss the matter, rather than leaving it all to consultations taking place in offices.