Author: Ian Pennington

TfGM Confirms £3.1m Emergency Active Travel Fund Allocations for Greater Manchester

TfGM Confirms £3.1m Emergency Active Travel Fund Allocations for Greater Manchester

TfGM has officially announced the road safety measures that will be built across Greater Manchester as part of Tranche 1 of the Emergency Active Travel Fund (EATF). Many of the schemes, which will be funded by the £3.1m Tranche 1 budget, have previously been announced 

Why Prioritise Active Travel? The Social Justice Reasons

Why Prioritise Active Travel? The Social Justice Reasons

Social justice issues lie at the heart of our campaigns to create healthy streets, and this is even more stark during the COVID-19. Chris Boardman, the Cycling and Walking Commissioner for Greater Manchester, reiterated this during his interview with Radio 4’s World at One on 

Why Prioritise Active Travel? The Health Reasons

Why Prioritise Active Travel? The Health Reasons

Words by Dr Patrick Carrington, Lead Cancer Clinician for Trafford overseeing provision of all cancer services in Trafford hospital

First, a bit of context – I have been a doctor treating people with various diseases for around 40 years, and for over 30 years I have been a haematologist (blood specialist). Sadly, by the time people come to me, they may have severe disease, so in recent years my attention has turned from providing treatment to preventing people needing treatment.

Why Bother with Active Travel?

The main reason is for everyone to live longer, happier, and healthier lives.

Sounds a bit trite, but here’s more…

What diseases can be prevented?

I treat people with leukaemia and other blood cell cancers and also manage the consequences of thrombosis as well as other problems affecting the blood. It has become increasing clear to me that many of these problems are caused by either air pollution or inactivity, so walking or cycling reduce the risk, while driving a car gives a double whammy of risk.

Patients with leukaemia have often asked me why it has happened to them and I have usually replied in very general terms that it was likely to be related to the environment. But the more specific reason is that many leukaemias are caused by benzene and other hydrocarbons emitted in engine exhaust fumes, which damage DNA in blood stem cells, ultimately leading to leukaemia. Thrombosis risk, with consequent heart disease, stroke and dementia, increases with inactivity and obesity. Indeed, although there are sometimes many causes for disease, air pollution and inactivity play key roles in all the leading causes of ill health and death.

What can I do?

Personally, I cycle to work and try to avoid traffic fumes by choosing quieter routes and holding my breath when cycling past idling cars.

At a population level, active travel can do the same. As Greater Manchester’s Cycling and Walking Commissioner, Chris Boardman, eloquently said earlier this year in Parliament: “Pick a crisis and you’ll probably find cycling is a solution.”

So, to paraphrase Chris: if you pick a disease you’ll probably find cycling (or walking) is a solution.

What about COVID-19?

The current crisis has reminded us all that health really trumps any other consideration. So how is active travel relevant to fighting the virus?

  • It is known that exercise improves immune function and hence helps to reduce the chance of infection and reduce the severity of the disease once infected.
  • It is also clear that the greatest risk factors for dying from COVID at any given age are obesity and diabetes, which are once again diseases of inactivity (with the exception of type 1 diabetes).
  • Also high on the list is prior lung disease or ischaemic heart disease – both of which are significantly worse because of air pollution, so once again active travel is part of the solution and therefore a high priority.

Active travel can be a powerful ally as we struggle for health in this age of COVID.

We must enable it now.

https://mft.nhs.uk/trafford/consultants/dr-patrick-carrington/

—————————————————————————————————————-

Image courtesy of TfGM.

Consultation Opens for Beswick Filtered Neighbourhood Project

Consultation Opens for Beswick Filtered Neighbourhood Project

Proposals for the latest Bee Network scheme have been published for consultation, with Beswick residents encouraged to get involved with shaping their neighbourhood for people using active travel modes such as walking, cycling or other mobility aids. Where is it? The project area, labelled ‘Safer 

Tameside’s Quiet Streets Initiative Helps Residents Reclaim Space During COVID-19

Tameside’s Quiet Streets Initiative Helps Residents Reclaim Space During COVID-19

Residents of Tameside are being encouraged by the council to apply for Quiet Streets in their neighbourhood. Tameside Council recently launched its Quiet Streets initiative to give residents the opportunity to enforce regular, temporary road closures to create more outside space for people living on 

Hundreds of People Form ‘Human Bike Lanes’ Along the A6

Hundreds of People Form ‘Human Bike Lanes’ Along the A6

More than 150 people lined up alongside the A6 in Levenshulme on Saturday 27 June to form ‘human cycle lanes’, with everyone observing social distancing rules and most wearing masks.

The aim was to call on Manchester City Council to address the lack of provision for walking and cycling in the Levenshulme area and beyond. This lack of provision is despite instruction by the Government to install safe, direct pop-up cycleways to enable key workers to continue to access workplaces, particularly those who do not own a car and who rely on the significantly restricted public transport options, which are running at only 10% capacity.

Participants clapped and rang their bicycle bells to draw attention to the protest, and made placards, banners and signs, including slogans like ‘I need my clean air fix on the A6’, ‘More bike lanes will fix the A6’, and ‘Please give me space’.

The protest was scheduled for 12pm to 12.30, but despite a few downpours of rain, everyone stayed for much longer, until 1pm and beyond.

Here is a collection of the videos and photographs by attendees to document the event:

Getting Back On Your Bike: Cycling Essentials Part Five

Getting Back On Your Bike: Cycling Essentials Part Five

Words by Jane Bedford McLaren and Jonathan Keenan. Image by Lucy Sykes. Riding Now that you have all the gear you need and the right bike for you, we thought some tips on riding might be helpful: Pedalling – this is most efficient if the 

Getting Back On Your Bike: Cycling Essentials Part Four

Getting Back On Your Bike: Cycling Essentials Part Four

Words by Jane Bedford McLaren and Jonathan Keenan. Image by Lucy Sykes. Clothing The main thing is to wear whatever you feel comfortable in. You don’t need any special clothing, unless you are planning a long ride. That said, here are some tips that might 

Getting Back On Your Bike: Cycling Essentials Part Three

Getting Back On Your Bike: Cycling Essentials Part Three

Words by Jane Bedford McLaren and Jonathan Keenan.
Image by Lucy Sykes.

Kit:

Now that you have sorted your bike, you need to think about what sort of accessories you will need. As I have said in Part One of this series, you don’t need loads of expensive gear, so this part is pretty short.

These are crucial things you need:

  1. Lights. It is not legal to ride without lights when it is dark. There is no set time when you should have your lights on – as a rule of thumb, if the streetlights are on you should have your lights on. Reflectors come with bikes, but these are not lights. You need a white front light and a red rear light. A bike with a dynamo will usually have lights fitted too.
  2. A good quality bike lock.

Things that might make your life easier:

    1. Mudguardssee Part One of this series!
    2. Handlebar phone mount if you need your phone for navigating.
    3. A bell – or you can use your voice.
    4. Trouser clips to keep your trousers away from the oily drive train. You can just fold them up or tuck them into your socks though!
    5. Bottle cages (these are mounted on the frame) and bottles that fit in the cages.

There is a whole range of innovative cycling gadgets and it is tempting to buy all of the things. I would recommend getting the basics and then riding regularly for a few weeks before getting anything else. It will soon become apparent what additional kit you specifically need.

This piece is aimed at covering the basics. As you progress, you may want to consider adding the following:

  1. Stuff to change an inner tube if you get a puncture – spare inner tubes, tyre levers and a mini pump.
  2. Multi tool so you can make simple adjustments whilst out and about e.g. saddle height.

Footnote:

The current circumstances we find ourselves in are scary and unusual. I find it reassuring in these times to see those helping and supporting others. I thought about what I might be able to offer. As an experienced cyclist seeing loads of new and returning cyclists out and about, I thought I might be able to give some simple tips on making your cycling experience easier and more comfortable. I have collaborated with Jonathan Keenan of Walk Ride Greater Manchester on putting this blog series together.

The main thing to remember is that cycling is a simple pleasure. It is easy to get overwhelmed by the amount of information out there. If you have a bike that you like and feel good riding, then read no further!

But if you are wanting some pointers on either improving your cycling experience or are looking to start riding, then I hope this series is helpful.

About the writers:

Jane Bedford McLaren – is solicitor acting for vulnerable road users at Leigh Day and also rides a bike regularly. She cycles to work and likes to ride bikes at the weekend with her local women’s cycling group, Team Glow, of which she is ride leader coordinator. She also gives her time and voice to Walk Ride Chorlton.

Links: Leigh Day website profile / Twitter: @JaneB_M / LinkedIn profile

Jonathan Keenan – is a freelance photographer based in his Northern Quarter studio and living in Chorlton. He’s a secret petrolhead and occasionally drives for work but it makes him very grumpy. He took to cycle touring as a youth, including organising an expedition to cross Iceland long before that was somewhere anyone went. Interest in architecture, regeneration and urbanism came together with his interest in cycling when kids came along and it became obvious how much their independence and freedom was stifled by our car-centric design and planning, so he became an activist for better cities through the medium of cycle infrastructure. He now has an unfortunate inclination to suggest a bike is the solution to any and every social problem. Because it is.

Links: JK Photography website / Instagram (@jkphotography_work) / Instagram (@JonathanKeenan) / Twitter @JonathanKeenan

Getting Back On Your Bike: Cycling Essentials Part Two

Getting Back On Your Bike: Cycling Essentials Part Two

Words by Jane Bedford McLaren and Jonathan Keenan. Image by Lucy Sykes. Purpose: There are loads of different bikes intended for different things and there is a lot to consider. This section of the blog series is the longest – we have tried to keep