Derby cyclists strip off to protest scrapping of bus and cycle lane

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Wanlock Dod
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Derby cyclists strip off to protest scrapping of bus and cycle lane

Postby Wanlock Dod » 18 Feb 2019, 7:57am

From road.cc, but also covered by local media, Derby cyclists strip off to protest scrapping of bus and cycle lane.
It is especially ironic that the local council is closing the bus lane in order to allocate more of the road space to motorised vehicles with the intention of reducing air pollution. The local air pollution problem was declared in January 2001, and is now over eighteen years old, perhaps locals can let us know if there was a big birthday celebration last month. Progress to improve air quality for the residents of Derby has evidently been lackadaisical at best. I’m not really familiar with Derby, but it would appear that the road where the bus lane will be removed from is at least partly within this air quality management zone.
The Royal College of Physicians report on air pollution can be found here Every breath we take: the lifelong impact of air pollution.
Royal College of Physicians wrote: The report starkly sets out the dangerous impact air pollution is currently having on our nation’s health. Each year in the UK, around 40,000 deaths are attributable to exposure to outdoor air pollution which plays a role in many of the major health challenges of our day. It has been linked to cancer, asthma, stroke and heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and changes linked to dementia. The health problems resulting from exposure to air pollution have a high cost to people who suffer from illness and premature death, to our health services and to business. In the UK, these costs add up to more than £20 billion every year.

This would suggest that there are approximately 150 premature deaths per year occurring in Derby as a result of the poor air quality, and the fact that this has now been going on for more than 18 years suggests that the cumulative total death toll is likely to be quite significant. This calculation is based on the proportion of the UK population living in Derby, and simply assumes that they get their fair share of the 40,000 annual premature deaths that occur in the UK each year as a direct result of outdoor air pollution.
Surely, if we could just save one life it would be more than worthwhile…
I’m glad that I don’t live in Derby.

PH
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Re: Derby cyclists strip off to protest scrapping of bus and cycle lane

Postby PH » 18 Feb 2019, 10:25am

I was there, though kept my clothes on! Decent turnout for a protest about the councils complete disregard for cyclists in this decision.
For facebook users a bit more detail on the Derby Cycling Group page
https://www.facebook.com/groups/26263186271/
or their website
https://derbycyclinggroup.org.uk/blog/

Wanlock Dod wrote:I’m glad that I don’t live in Derby.

This is one poor decision, in a city that's probably more cycle friendly than most. I'm glad I do live in Derby.

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Pastychomper
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Re: Derby cyclists strip off to protest scrapping of bus and cycle lane

Postby Pastychomper » 18 Feb 2019, 10:36am

I spent most of my childhood in Derby and left in '97, one of my big memories of the place was the poor air quality. Afair it was put down partly to the geography, since the city sits in a large basin, but I thought then it was far too pro-car.

It's a shame because it's actually a nice place as cities go, it was built in such a way that even the most "developed" areas are close to green spaces, and its shire is a great place to walk and cycle. On a visit last year I was impressed with the riverside cycle track, and with how well-used it was. I hope the council will pay attention.
Everyone's ghast should get a good flabbering now and then.
--Ole Boot

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Wanlock Dod
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Re: Derby cyclists strip off to protest scrapping of bus and cycle lane

Postby Wanlock Dod » 18 Feb 2019, 12:57pm

PH wrote:... This is one poor decision, in a city that's probably more cycle friendly than most...

Regardless of any provision for cycling I'm pretty sure that it has required rather more than a single poor decision to completely fail to address an air pollution problem for over 18 years. Indeed if 150 people are dying early each year due to the levels of pollution in the city then cyclist safety seems to be a secondary issue, unless they are also managing to kill lots of cyclists too. The council seem to be able to recognise that increasing levels of cycling could contribute significantly to reducing air pollution in their air pollution report, but have clearly decided to prioritise motorised traffic instead. Still, if the local hospitals aren't under any real pressure then I suppose that there would be little incentive to improve the situation.

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Re: Derby cyclists strip off to protest scrapping of bus and cycle lane

Postby Flinders » 25 Feb 2019, 9:18am

I have lived in Derby in the past, and cycled there.

I think that like most places of its type it was wrecked in the centre by subservience to the car, and combine that with the usual hatred of cyclists you get in that sort of place and this isn't surprising. A pity, because situated where it is, it could be a great place for cyclists both within the town for commuting and cycling out to other places from it at weekends. Leeds is a larger example, though it is a long time since I lived there and it might have improved- it used to be so bad for cycling in Leeds when I worked there I left my bike at home (and I was used to cycling in London), and walking around wasn't much better.

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Wanlock Dod
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Re: Derby cyclists strip off to protest scrapping of bus and cycle lane

Postby Wanlock Dod » 25 Mar 2019, 8:54am

It is encouraging to see that cycling groups in Derby have realised that that probably the biggest reason for improving facilities for cycling is to tackle air pollution problems, rather than simply to do something for cyclists. The fact that councils throughout the country have been promoting this course of action for years, on paper at least, but have almost universally failed to implement such actions, whilst at the same time also failing to address the air pollution problems that they have suggests that it is time for a change of approach.

Derby Cycling Group pens open letter over “farcical” cycle lane plans

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Re: Derby cyclists strip off to protest scrapping of bus and cycle lane

Postby MikeF » 26 Mar 2019, 10:17pm

Making more lanes for motor vehicles will allow the number of motor vehicles using the road to increase. That alone will cause more pollution. Congestion may be reduced for a short term, but roads always fill to their capacity in busy areas.
Derby Council obviously has a Lord Winston way of thinking.
"It takes a genius to spot the obvious" - my old physics master