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Xmas Greetings

Cycling Campaign for North Bedfordshire (CCNB) would like to wish all Bedford Borough current and potential cyclists a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Transporting Bedford 2020

On Thursday 7 December 2017 Bedford Mayor, Dave Hodgson, announced ‘Transporting Bedford 2020’ an £18 million investment to tackle traffic congestion across Bedford town centre.

Major works are expected to take place over the next five years starting next year at key points in the Bedford road network to reduce congestion including the creation of a ‘Smart Corridor’ on Ampthill Road; the signalisation of Shakespeare Road/Ashburnham Road junction; and increased capacity round the Hospital with modifications to the Ampthill Road/Britannia Road/Kempston Road junctions. The work will also include reducing traffic in the High Street to one lane alongside improvements on St Paul’s Square. This announcement is in addition to the Northern Gateway scheme involving the Manton Lane/Clapham Road/Shakespeare Road roundabout and the immediate area.

It is claimed that all road users will benefit, including pedestrians and cyclists although not too much has been said at the present time with regard to any cycle infrastructure improvements.

This will be a golden opportunity to ensure that cycling through the junctions to be modified is made as safe as possible to encourage more residents to use this healthy mode of transport. CCNB will be putting forward its recommendations shortly. To find out more about the plans and give your views, please visit here.

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Cyclists Safety around Lorries

London Cycling Campaign have a Lorry Safety Project which should be of interest to Bedford's cyclists.

Information including several videos can be accessed here.

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Cycling continues to increase

Last summer saw cycle counts at Bedford railway station 4% higher than summer 2016 with no reduction up to November 2017 as winter approaches.

This is a rise of more than 80 per cent over the last eleven years and represents 9 per cent of commuters using the station.

Although less people tend to cycle in the winter months there is no need to abandon cycling as with a little bit of preparation it is possible to safely cycle in the dark and cold.

Why not cycle to the station even if it is only for one or two days a week when the weather is nice. There are still plenty of spaces available. Remember to use front and back lights when it is dark and at the station to securely lock your bike to the cycle stand.

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Bedford's Northern Gateway

In October 2017 the Government announced a £3.5m contribution to Bedford Borough Council’s planned £4.8m road reconfiguration to reduce traffic congestion at what has been dubbed Bedford’s ‘Northern Gateway’ (Manton Lane/Clapham Road/Great Ouse Way area). This will be a once in a lifetime opportunity to enhance the cycling infrastructure in the area although in the initial proposals put forward very little has been said about cycling.

CCNB will be putting forward a response shortly on how improved cycling infrastructure can help cut congestion.

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Bike Life

Bike Life is the UK’s biggest assessment of cycling in cities delivered by Sustrans in collaboration with seven major cities. Inspired by the Copenhagen Bicycle Account, Bike Life is an assessment of city cycling development including infrastructure, travel behaviour, satisfaction, the impact of cycling, and new initiatives.

Watch stories of real people and find out what cycling in their city means to them in this Sustrans video published on 13 November 2017 and accessed from the You Tube website.

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Winter Riding

Darker nights are now with us with the ending of British Summer Time on Sunday 29 October 2017 and winter will be arriving soon. Although your bicycle should be maintained properly all through the year please ensure, particularly at this time of the year, that it has:

Both tyres in good condition. Worn tyres are more prone to punctures and slipping on greasy roads.
Brake blocks not worn down. Modern brake blocks and rims in wet weather will wear out faster.
Both front and rear working lights. You may be able to see the motorist, but will they be able to see you?
Do not wear dark clothing. Fluorescent is ideal during the day but reflective clothing is the best for at night.

The Borough Council's Road Safety Team are running a 'Be Safe Be Seen' campaign. Please look at the video on the webpage.

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Cyclists Charter - British Cycling

British Cycling has published a Cyclists Charter - Transform Britain - Choose Cycling.

A short video on the charter may be accessed from the You Tube website.

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Urban Myths

Non-cyclists always have a stock reply as to why they do not cycle. The common ones are:

It is too wet/dry
It is too cold/hot
It is too hilly/flat
etc, etc, ...

The Cycling Embassy of Great Britain (CEoGB) have compiled a list of 34 reasons which can be seen on their Cycle Fallacies website.

Use their answers next time a non-cyclist says I do not cycle because ...

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Cycle to Work Logo

Cycle to Work Day - Wednesday 13 September 2017

Cycle to Work Day is a national event which aims to encourage everyone to take to two wheels and cycle to work for just one day on Wednesday 13 September 2017.

More than 5,000 people in Bedford cycle to work or school regularly including nearly 500 commuters to the railway station and this number keeps growing steadily. Please ask your employer to support this day.

Full information is available on the Cycle to Work Day website.

See Cycle Bedford's Cycling to Work webpage here for the benefits to employees and employers.

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Cycle to Offset Fuel Rises

Petrol prices are expected to rise shortly to their highest level since December 2014 due to Hurricane Harvey hitting the oil state of Texas and the resultant flooding stopping two major fuel pipelines. What better time this September to leave that car in the drive and to consider cycling to work and/or cycling to school with your child.

Bedford has an extensive cycle network which allows any location in the urban area to be reached using a mixture of off-road tracks/paths and quiet roads. A map of the network including all the signalled crossings available to cross busy roads may be accessed from here.

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Cycling Quotes/Facts

CCNB in July 2017 published a short leaflet on Bedford Cycling Quotes/Facts to celebrate 25 years of campaigning.

The leaflet may be accessed from here.

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Riverside North Bridge Open

All the cycle/pedestrian paths in the Riverside North development including ‘That Bridge’ are now open with the removal of most of the barriers late on Friday 2 June 2017. Saturday (3 June 2017) saw many cyclists using the new facilities to cross the river instead of having to use Town Bridge or Prebend Bridge. Go and try it yourself and let us know what you think.

A number of people have already started to condemn cyclists for using the route along the riverside. Be assured that the Riverside North development has not altered the legal status of being able to ride cycles from the Star Rowing club to the Town Bridge (Charter and Queen's Walks).

With the new pedestrian/cycle bridge open the route will become, by default, the new route of the National Cycle Network Route 51 - 'The University Way'. The new bridge also allows cyclists easier and safer access to the town centre via St Paul's Square.

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Commuting to Station Boost

Cycling commuters at Bedford railway station during April/May were 8% higher than in 2016. Why not join them this summer & save time/money.

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Commuting by Bike

British Cycling in March 2017 published a set of 13 'Commute Smart' videos on basic tips for commuting to work by bike. They help to teach you to ride safely on the road while being repectful of other road users.

The videos may be accessed from the You Tube website.

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Cycling Continues to Increase

CCNB, particularly since the change lighter and warmer! days, has continued to see an increase in residents cycling to the railway station and town centre which bodes well for a good summer of cycling.

Saturday 22 April 2017 is Earth Day which aims to encourage people across the world to be more environmentally friendly. Get your colleagues and friends to do their bit for Planet Earth by asking them to cycle to the town or shops on that day to help reduce the area's severe congestion and pollution.

Once tried they will not want to stop doing it everyday.

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New Bedford and Kempston Cycle Map

CCNB has published a seventh edition of its popular Bedford and Kempston Cycle Map. It is available (free of charge) from all libraries, cycle shops, museums and numerous other outlets. The map has been published since 2001 with the needs of all cyclists in mind, but particularly those who feel more vulnerable on busy roads, that is, for new or less confident cyclists and children. The map enables all cyclists to be able to ride from any location to another in the urban area using mainly off-road tracks/paths and quiet roads and protected/signalled crossings of the main roads.

More information on the map can be seen on Cycle Bedford's website here.

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Cycle to Save Your Hard Earned Money

The New Year has seen not only a rise in Bedford town centre parking charges but also an increase in rail fares for commuters and motoring costs from increasing petrol/diesel prices.

Please encourage your non-cycling friends to save money by occasionally leaving the car in the drive and cycling (or walking) that short distance. The fitness achieved can then give further savings by the cancellation of the monthly gym subscription.

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Winter Potholes

Do not let that pothole get any bigger than necessary.

If you see one on your travels please report it to the Bedford Unitary Authority Helpdesk - If they no not know about it, it will not be filled in. Large one are normally repaired by the Pothole Squad within 2 working days and smaller ones within 6 weeks from the date of reply.

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New Year Message

Traffic congestion in Bedford has continued to be one of the major stories of the past year. Let’s try and reduce it during 2017 by cycling or cycling more often to make the town and particularly the town centre, a more pleasant and environmentally friendly place to visit. Every resident who cycles means one less vehicle on Bedford’s roads causing congestion and pollution.

The past year saw a continued increase in Bedford Borough residents cycling, particularly commuters cycling to the railway station where October gave the highest number ever.

Over the last few years there has been a number of 20mph schemes introduced in the borough improving the safety of not just cyclists but all vulnerable residents – children, the elderly and disabled. We would like to see this progressively extended to all residential and shopping areas including the whole of the town centre.

2016 also saw a number of developer funded extensions/upgrades to the urban cycle network:

• Junction improvements for both motorists and cyclists put in place at Harrowden Crossroads (March)
•  Great Ouse Way (A4280/A6) link road opened with a cycle track alongside the whole length of the south side from the Clapham Road roundabout (near Sainsbury’s) to Bromham Road (Gold Lane roundabout) (April)
•  New cycle stands installed at Bedford South Wing Hospital (April)
•  Improvements for cyclists put in place at the end of Tavistock Street following reconstruction of the carriageway to improve drainage (May)
•  New two-tier cycle racks installed at Bedford railway station to give 612 spaces (including 24 spaces in the borough's Ashburnham Road car park) available for commuters (May)
•  The new cycle/pedestrian bridge across the River Great Ouse between St Mary's Gardens and the new Riverside North development arrived and was lifted into position (June)
•  Bromham Road cycle track near Biddenham Turn, closed for a number of months to allow a new junction to be created for the start of the north of Bromham Road development, reopened with wider track and two new toucan crossings (July)
•  Cycle stands installed at the Pavilion Cafe in Bedford Park and in the front of De Parys Hotel in De Parys Avenue (August)
•  Upgraded off-road cycle track completed as part of Travis Perkins development along the old section of Cambridge Road bwtween Wallis Way and Cardington Road. This gives a direct route from the south of the town and Kempston to Priory Business Park (August)
•  Final 50 metre section of cycle track constructed between Great Denham development and riverside to give a complete off-road route to the town from Great Denham, Kempston West and Marsh Leys (December)

During 2017 we look forward to the opening of the new river bridge to the Riverfield North site, a signal controlled cycle route around the A421/A6 junction by Highways England and at least the plans for the upgrade to the Bromham Road railway bridge by Network Rail showing a wide cycle track across the bridge and an underpass from Spencer Road.

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