Newsletter

November 2022

Riding the Rebellion Way - Photo Cycling UK

It’s our AGM soon, so please do come along. We’ll be reviewing the year’s activities and we're delighted to announce our guest speaker will be Robin Heydon, chair of Camcycle. This is our first chance to do a real meeting in a real place for two years, just like the old days!

It’s also that time of year when we ask you to renew your membership. We rely on our members to do what we do, so a gentle reminder is in order.

It's been good to be actually doing things again this year. We have a short report on our last social ride for the summer.

A new long distance trail around Norfolk has now been opened. We were at the launch in the Maids Head Hotel.

Derek rides the northern half of the Blue Pedalway and presents another ride-through video of what is arguably the worst route on the Pedalway network.

Something might happen with the "bridge of doom" - the A47 viaduct cycle path over the River Yare - which has been included in a survey of Norfolk's road network.

The dangerous bus bays on St Stephens Street have been in the news again.

The new crossing of Heartsease Lane is almost finished but we should have got protected cycle lanes as well. Norfolk County Council got money for them but didn’t build them. Why not?

We have an update on the Longwater junction saga which, to be polite, is showing the whole planning process to be a trifle murky.

Contractors finally returned to the dangerous kerb on King Street but they didn’t actually fix the problem. An inability to organise a social event involving excessive drinking in a brewery springs to mind.

Derek was digging through his box of VHS tapes and unearthed a long-forgotten recording of an anti-road demo from 1991, the very early days of our campaign, which resulted in the creation of the Marriott’s Way. Of course, these days Norfolk County Council would never try to build a major road through the Wensum Valley...

Has the Earlham Road wand been replaced? Read on to find out… Also, E-cargo bikes are becoming increasingly popular in the city. If a bid for funding is successful, we’ll start to see even more of them.

We have yet another TV documentary unhelpfully pitting cyclists against drivers, this time a BBC Panorama special. Peter was interviewed on Radio Norfolk ahead of the broadcast.

And finally, a look at what the school run is like in the Netherlands and to see how it compares to Norwich.

** STOP PRESS! ** A consultation on proposals for Dereham Road has just been launched. This is a major scheme which the campaign has been consulted on over the past few months. We'll be sending an update shortly.

Annual General Meeting
Tuesday 22nd
November in St Augustine’s Church Hall
6:30pm for 7pm start
Refreshments will be provided
Guest speaker - Robin Heydon of Camcycle

There will be brief reports on what we've been getting up to for the last 12 months. We'll also be seeking nominations for the committee roles for the coming year, so if you feel like getting involved or would like to learn more, please contact the Membership Secretary.

Our guest speaker will be Robin Heydon, chair of Camcycle - the Cambridge Cycling Campaign

 

Camcycle is an amazingly successful cycling campaign which has grown from a volunteer organisation like us to become a professional body employing four permanent members of staff and having a very influential role in making Cambridge the UK's leading cycling city.

The new Abbey-Chesterton cycle and pedestrian bridge – Photo Peter

If you’ve visited Cambridge you’ll know it justly deserves the title of “Britain’s cycling city”. But it didn’t just happen. Many of the changes you see today – whether large or small – came about as a direct result of the tireless activities of the cycling campaign over many years. We look forward to learning from Robin about how to campaign effectively.

Please do come along on the 22nd. Invite your friends! It’s sure to be a great evening. There will be tea.

Membership renewal

We can’t do what we do without our members – that’s YOU!

Your support helps us campaign for better cycling facilities in Norwich and the surrounding area.

If you haven’t already renewed your membership please do so and if you’re not a member please do consider joining. 

We're asking for £10 or, if for whatever reason you are unable to pay the full rate, a reduced rate of £3.50. You can pay by bank transfer (BACS) or via PayPal.

Just click the image above and fill in the form. Thank you.

Social rides

Our last social ride of the year on a gloriously sunny autumn day took us out via Eaton village to Eaton Common and the surprisingly rural paths near the old mill over the River Yare.

We returned to the city centre along the Lakenham Way for an obligatory post-ride coffee and cake.

Riders gathered near Eaton Common – Photo Peter

Thank you to everyone who joined us on a ride this year. After lots of meetings via Zoom it’s been great to meet up “in real life” – and in the fresh air!

We’ll be back again next spring so hope to see you on one of our rides next year.

Rebellion Way long-distance trail launched

Cycling UK have launched their latest long distance trail – the Rebellion Way, a 232-mile cycle tour of Norfolk.

Map of the route – Image Cycling UK

With around 40% of the route on unsurfaced paths there is very much a focus on “adventure” and appealing to the latest trend in bike-packing on gravel bikes. Local businesses and cafes have signed up to be “Cycle Friendly Places” to make visitors on two wheels feel welcome.

The route will hopefully attract more people to visit the area by bike and even encourage a few locals to explore the wonderful Norfolk countryside.

You can read Peter’s report here: Rebellion Way long-distance cycle route launched

Blue Pedalway northern section ride-through video

Ride-through video of the northern section of the Blue Pedalway - Click to watch (YouTube)

 

Derek takes a look at the northern section of the Blue Pedalway.

 

Whereas the southern section is mostly off-road, the northern section is very different. Nearly all on-road, much of it with a 30mph speed limit and no traffic calming. There is some cycling infrastructure in the form of segregated signal-controlled crossings of major roads but beyond some traffic calming humps and a section of painted cycle lane, that's about it.

It also features one of the worst junctions on the Pedalway network. The northern section of the Blue route is the Pedalway most in need of improvement.

 

There's a complete summary of the Pedalway routes, including all of Derek's ride-through videos, on our website.

A47 Whitlingham viaduct survey

Back in July we highlighted the dangers of the cycle path across the Whitlingham viaduct.

In the news: the dangerous A47 viaduct cycle path

Despite being a terrifying experience it's surprising popular, being the only route out east across the River Yare for miles in either direction. With all the new housing being built and the expansion of the business parks at Postwick it will only become more so.

This issue has been taken up by Transport Focus, an independent watchdog that reports to the Department for Transport, who are currently looking at parts of the road network in Norfolk and whether it meets the needs of all users, particularly walkers, cyclists and horse riders.

A survey of users of the path was recently carried out and Peter was interviewed as part of the research project. We await their report with interest.

St Stephens Street - the new bus bays

St Stephens Street

The dangerous new St Stephens Street - Photo Derek

 

As we reported last month the new "sawtooth" bus bays on St Stephens Street present a very real danger to cyclists. Because the buses park at an angle to the road the driver can't see back along the road in their mirror.

 

The story was picked up again by the Evening News (see Safety fears over St Stephens bus bay design) and we've taken it up with the local councillor. The first step is to get hold of the second stage safety review and when it's done, the third stage review.

 

If you cycle along St Stephens Street - and a lot of people do - remember, if you can't see the driver's rear-view mirror, the driver can't see you.

Heartsease Lane

The lamppost in the middle of the cycle lane which we reported last month has now been removed and the new parallel crossing should soon be fully open.

A freshly dug hole where the lamppost used to be – Photo Peter

It is hugely disappointing that the cycle lanes between the Plumstead Road roundabout and Rider Haggard Road (that were originally part of the scheme) won’t be built. Heartsease Lane will remain an intimidating and dangerous place to cycle.

For more details of this (and other failures to deliver what was promised) see Norfolk loses out on Active Travel funding.

The upgraded crossing should however be better able to deal with the large numbers of pedestrians and cyclists using the route at busy times and will provide improved access to the Pink Pedalway along Valley Drive.

Longwater latest

Longwater

The bridge over the A47 at Longwater - Photo Derek

 

The more we learn about the substandard plans for a "get off and push" narrow footpath over the A47, the murkier and less fit for purpose the whole planning process is showing itself to be.

 

The planned bodge-job was apparently approved in 2014 and so Norfolk County Council are arguing that the current design standards known as LTN 1/20 don't apply.

The planning process itself is as clear as mud but as far as we can tell there has never been a planning application for the whole scheme, although we were first invited to comment on it as recently as March this year.

Worse, the need for the project, which is being paid for by the developers of a new housing estate is based only on the extra demand this new development is creating, so the massive existing demand due to the Norfolk Showground and Easton College for example have simply been ignored.

The LTN 1/20 guidance is quite clear, if there isn't room for proper cycle provision, space should be taken from the traffic lanes. There is ample room to do that.

Even if we win this one, we still need a proper crossing of the chaotic William Frost Way.

 

What all this shows is the low priority given to cycling by Norfolk County Council.

King Street – how not to fix a dangerous kerb

When King Street was resurfaced back in April the dropped kerb where the Red Pedalway joins the road was incorrectly left with a dangerously raised kerb. We informed Norfolk County Council and were told this would be rectified.

How the kerb was left after the resurfacing in April – Photo Peter

In July we were told that some remedial work would be done before a more permanent solution could be found.

We explained clearly that the problem was with the dropped kerb (which needed to be reset) and not just the unfinished surface behind the kerb.

We were promised a site visit to clarify this with an engineer but this never happened.

We were later told it would be fixed by the end of August.

Finally after months of delay the surfacing contractors returned to the site in late October but have simply tarmacked over the unfinished section of pavement. The kerb remains in a dangerous condition.

How the kerb looks after works in October – Photo Peter

We have contacted the council to fix the kerb properly once and for all. This is unacceptable.

How the kerb looked before the King Street resurfacing work - Photo Google Street View

From the archives: Save the Wensum Walk

save the Wensum path

When searching for something else in his big box of old VHS tapes, Derek came across a video he recorded in 1991 of a demo to "Save the Wensum valley walk".

 

Back then there were truly massive plans for roadbuilding in the city to complete the inner ring road. These plans also included radial routes to connect the inner and outer ring roads. One of these dual carriageways would have run along the old M&GN railway line.

This happened in the early days of our campaign and a dive into our newsletter archive came up with the background story. 

The campaign against the road building was however a success and the Wensum Walk is now called the Marriott's Way.

Read the full story here

No more roads

A flyer from 1991 for the Save the Wensum Walk demo

Earlham Road wand

Will this be the month that the wand on the Earlham Road protected cycle lane gets replaced?

Spoiler alert: No, not this month.

The damaged wand was first reported in June – Photo Peter

We’ll keep chasing...

E-cargo delivery bikes coming to Norwich

Cargo delivery bikes are already a familiar sight on Norwich’s streets but we can expect to see more of these pollution-free vehicles coming soon.

According to news reports, Norfolk County Council has bid for a £170,000 grant to purchase 10 bikes which will be made available to local businesses for deliveries within the city.

Examples of different bikes on display at the recent Cargo Bike Festival – Photo Mobycon

In preparation for the bid the council has already gathered expressions of interest from businesses, who have the option of owning a bike outright, leasing it or sharing it.

In separate news both UPS and FedEx have been seen trialling cargo delivery bikes in the city in recent months and Beryl (who operate the city's bike hire scheme) have shown an interest in widening the scheme to include e-cargo bikes.

BBC Panorama documentary on “Cars v Bikes” – here we go again...

Ahead of the broadcast of a Panorama documentary about the supposed “battle” between cyclists and drivers on our roads Peter was interviewed on Radio Norfolk.

The title itself (“Road Rage: Cars v Bikes”) sets the adversarial tone which is too often a feature of these sorts of programs.

It’s always worth bearing in mind that cyclists and drivers are often the same people and that the danger is almost entirely caused by one side.

At the time of writing we haven’t viewed the programme but according to people who have it does offer a fair view of some the dangers faced by cyclists but sadly does also include a highly questionable “survey” which was the source of some of the quotes being trailed in the media before the broadcast.

Peter being interviewed on Radio Norfolk (click to listen)

And finally

Travelling by bike to primary school (click to watch video)

School pickup time is a nightmare for everyone. Parents driving to pick up their kids...because it’s too dangerous with all the cars on the road.

As a result children miss out on gaining independence and spending time with their friends. The nearby roads gets congested with inconsiderate and dangerously parked cars. There are exhaust fumes from idling engines and blocked pavements to negotiate. Anyone who drives knows to avoid this time of day.

However, it doesn't have to be like this as this short video of a Dutch primary school at leaving time shows. Most children are travelling by bike or walking, some on their own. It’s a safe, pleasant, pollution-free end to the school day.

This could be a British school if our politicians wanted it to be.

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The Norwich Cycling Campaign can be contacted here

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