The cold weather on my way to work this morning made me cycle more cautiously than usual. But there were plenty of people bombing past me at full speed - so it made me wonder if I was being over cautious, or if they were chancing it? By far the greatest cause of injury to cyclists is from what are called non-collision incidents. These are incidents that result from skids and slips or collisions that don’t involve another vehicle. They often occur during poor weather as a result of cycling too fast and not allowing enough braking time.
the low down
2015 in Bristol looks set to be different from other years. As we welcome in the New Year, Bristol is about to be launched as Green Capital of Europe. This means that we will have a chance to show other European countries all the great stuff that is going on in Bristol to encourage and support sustainable lifestyles, but more importantly it will give organisations like Life Cycle a platform to promote their activities - and for Life Cycle that means we can support even more people in Bristol to start and continue cycling.
I am really pleased to present Life Cycle’s Impact Report for 2013/14. We started putting these reports together three years ago, in order to demonstrate the impact of the work we are doing, and are particularly pleased to be able to show year on year increases in the numbers of people getting involved in our services and taking up cycling. The report is only a snapshot into our work, but designed to show that we are having an impact and making a difference to people’s lives.
Everyone knows that cycling is good for your physical health. It’s obvious really! People who exercise regularly are fitter, healthier and have greatly reduced risks of a number of major diseases including coronary heart disease and other serious health conditions.
July saw the launch of Bristol City Council’s much awaited Cycling Strategy, which outlines how far cycling in the city has come in the past few years, as well as setting out the Council’s vision for cycling in in the future.
Cycling is on the increase in Bristol, and based on the age range of people who have cycle training, I’d hazard a guess that growth is greatest amongst 30 - 40 year olds. This is of course fantastic, but if we’re really going to transition towards Dutch levels of mass cycling, it’s the next generation that needs the greatest boost. Whilst around 2,000 children aged 10 – 11 receive cycle training in Bristol each year, the numbers who actually go on to cycle regularly are much lower.
Fear of traffic is one of the main reasons people tell us they don’t cycle; and particularly fear of larger vehicles such as buses, vans and lorries.
Being a keen advocate of cycling, as you might imagine, I am always surprised to hear that other people aren’t quite so convinced about the benefits of bike ownership and use. Life Cycle is working closely with Derby City Council on their Connected programme, which aims to promote sustainable transport and economic development; one of the ways it is doing this is to offer suitable job-seekers a refurbished bike to help them access jobs, training and interviews.
When I first moved to Bristol in the mid-90’s there was nowhere to lock your bike. Railings, lamp posts or gates seemed all that was available to the cyclist. I am sure many of you reading this remember the frustrating search for somewhere secure to lock a bike - which could often be quite a distance from the desired destination.
I remember years ago when I first started working for Life Cycle, some clever person worked out that if you commuted to work 5 days a week throughout the year, statistically you would only get wet 8 times. Well this year, that statistic is clearly not going to be true...