ETA creates spoof bike that shoots flames at motorists

The Environmental Transport Association is plugging its ilovemybike insurance service with its ‘Bond Bike’, a bicycle with handlebar flame throwers. But then the ETA goes and spoils a nice fantasy by adding caterpillar tracks for “smooth riding over pot-holed roads.”

Fret not, the ETA shoots back with a surefire winner: an ejector seat that jettisons would-be bike thieves.

The B.O.N.D (Built of Notorious Deterrents) Bike will be displayed on the ETA stand at the Cycle Show at Earls Court next week.

A ETA spokesperson said: “Wannabe James Bonds will be disappointed to hear that we have no plans to sell the B.O.N.D Bike, but it shouldn’t be necessary for cyclists to resort to flame throwers to get a little consideration on the roads. Correct road positioning and an assertive riding style can dramatically reduce cars and lorries passing too close.”

London gets more bike police

Extra officers have joined the Metropolitan Police Service (Cycle Task Force to help improve cycle safety and to crackdown on road users who disobey the rules of the road.

10 more officers have joined the Cycle Task Force just three months since the team was introduced.

The MPS Cycle Task Force is part of the Safer Transport Commandand is funded by Transport for London.  It was introduced to tackle cycle theft and vandalism in the Capital.  From this month, the original team, which tackles cycle theft, is being joined by a new unit, which will focus on traffic enforcement and cycle safety in London.

Since its launch in June this year, the MPS Cycle Task Force team, which tackles the problem of stolen and vandalised bikes in London, has already cycle security marked nearly 5,000 bikes, made nearly 20 arrests for bike theft and reunited some  Londoners with their stolen bikes.

Ten extra specialist traffic police officers, who recently swapped their police cars for bikes, have now joined the MPS Cycle Task Force to help promote cycle safety and to crackdown on drivers – and cyclists – who break the rules of the road. The unit ran a six week long operation this summer to target road users who disobeyed traffic signals, encroached on advance stop lines, cycled carelessly or on pavements, or used their mobile phones on the two pilot Barclays Cycle Superhighways.

The operation resulted in:

More than 900 Fixed Penalty Notices  (FPN) of up to £60 issued to drivers and motorcyclists;

Over 400 FPNs of up to £60 issued to cyclists;

Around 300 people attended an Exchanging Places safety education course to encourage considerate and safe behaviour from all road users and to promote sharing the road safely;

106 cyclists who were given FPNs for less serious offences were given the option to have their ticket cancelled if they attended an Exchanging Places safety education course.  Fifty per cent of those offered the opportunity  attended and had their ticket revoked;

More than 20 arrests made for a variety of offences, including for bike theft and driving while disqualified to do so.

Kulveer Ranger, the Mayor of London’s Transport Advisor, said: “The Cycle Task Force is a fundamental part of the cycling revolution the Mayor has delivered in London and has proven to be hugely effective.  This task force, through both education and enforcement, has already helped thousands of London’s cyclists, by catching bike thieves, security marking bicycles and reuniting people with heir stolen bikes.  The real success of this team is that it is helping both cyclists and those Londoners who do not cycle by ensuring that there is better behaviour on our streets by all road users.

“However there is always more that can be done to make London the best cycling city in the world and these additional officers should reassure everyone who cycles in the Capital that making London safe and secure remains our focus.”

Commander Mark Gore, Safer Transport Command, said: “The Safer Transport Command welcomes these officers into the Cycle Task Force as we move a step closer to realising the Mayor’s vision of a cycling revolution. 

“While the vast majority of cyclists and motorists behave with care around London, a visible police presence helps all road users, including cyclists, to use the road responsibly.  The MPS Cycle Task Force will continue to organise targeted operations to tackle bike theft and vandalism, as well as encourage considerate, safe and lawful behaviour from all road users.”

Steve Burton, TfL’s Director of Community Safety, Enforcement and Policing, said:  “London is a fantastic city to get around on two wheels.  However people can sometimes be put off by other road users or the fear of getting their bike stolen, and we are determined to put a stop to this.

“The MPS Cycle Task Force has done a cracking job to tackle bike theft since it was launched and these additional officers will strengthen the excellent work done to date.”

Towpath commuters: be polite to each other, advises Debrett's

British Waterways has commissioned etiquette bible Debrett’s to issue towpath guidance for cyclists and pedestrians.

The Debrett’s polite code of conduct to commuters is said by British Waterways to “remind people how to behave on the towpath.”

Issued specifically for users of the Regent’s Canal towpath in London, the new guidance from British Waterways hopes that “collisions and clashes on the canal can be replaced by the tinging of bicycle bells, and the sound of Londoner’s bidding a good morning with a thank you and a smile to their fellow towpath commuters.”

Thousands of cyclists, walkers, joggers, dog walkers and boaters use the canals to travel around London each week. [And, ahem, it’s likely more cyclists will start using the Regent’s Canal towpath thanks to clever routing by the Bike Hub iPhone app, a free download from iTunes…]

British Waterways’ towpath ranger, Joseph Young, said: “In most instances pedestrians and cyclists share the towpath with no problems, but we are seeing an increase in the number of speeding cyclists, who seem to forget, or aren’t aware, that pedestrians do have right of way. Sometimes cyclists can forget how fast and threatening they can be if they are passing you at speed. It’s all about sharing the route and remembering how your actions could be perceived by others.”

Debrett’s, said to be “the modern authority on all matters of etiquette, taste and achievement”, offers advice about how to behave on all modes of transport. Last year Debrett’s was commissioned by Vauxhall Astra to produce an etiquette guide for motorists.

The etiquette maestros have “identified five top tips to help Londoner’s travel the towpaths safely and politely.”

Jo Bryant of Debrett’s said: “The towpaths are a lovely escape from the hustle and bustle of the roads and pavements of the city. They should be a more tranquil and relaxing place to travel along. But it seems that some people are forgetting their manners and speeding past other people, or refusing to move out of the way. Here at Debrett’s we hope that these top tips will be a gentle reminder to towpath users, and encourage a return to more polite and amicable behaviour along the waterways.”

Debrett’s top tips for safe, shared towpath use are:

• Cyclists must be aware of pedestrians at all times. Remember that pedestrians have priority – ring two tings on your bell to warn them that you are approaching. Pass people carefully and slowly, and never cycle too quickly.


• Pedestrians should allow cyclists to pass wherever possible. Don’t forget to listen out for the two tings warning you that a cyclist is approaching.


• Both cyclists and pedestrians should be considerate to each other, as well as both being extra careful at bends and entrances along the towpath. A smile and polite ‘thank you’ is courteous if someone has let you pass.


• Respect the environment and the waterway’s natural beauty. Never drop any litter.


• Dog walkers must always clean up after their dog.

Towpath Ranger, Joseph Young explains: “We’ve tried a whole host of methods to educate people about sharing the towpath, and rather than just shout at people to slow down or hand them a leaflet, we’ve found that capturing people’s imagination works best.”

Last year, Young commissioned a pavement artist to paint a deep hole on a towpath to make cyclists slow down.

British Waterways, working with Transport for London, also runs the Two Tings campaign that aims to tackle the issue of conflict between speeding cyclists and pedestrians who have right of way on the towpath.


The campaign was started three years ago following an increase in the number of complaints received about incidents of conflict on the towpath between cyclists and pedestrians.

Towpath commuters: be polite to each other, advises Debrett’s

British Waterways has commissioned etiquette bible Debrett’s to issue towpath guidance for cyclists and pedestrians.

The Debrett’s polite code of conduct to commuters is said by British Waterways to “remind people how to behave on the towpath.”

Issued specifically for users of the Regent’s Canal towpath in London, the new guidance from British Waterways hopes that “collisions and clashes on the canal can be replaced by the tinging of bicycle bells, and the sound of Londoner’s bidding a good morning with a thank you and a smile to their fellow towpath commuters.”

Thousands of cyclists, walkers, joggers, dog walkers and boaters use the canals to travel around London each week. [And, ahem, it’s likely more cyclists will start using the Regent’s Canal towpath thanks to clever routing by the Bike Hub iPhone app, a free download from iTunes…]

British Waterways’ towpath ranger, Joseph Young, said: “In most instances pedestrians and cyclists share the towpath with no problems, but we are seeing an increase in the number of speeding cyclists, who seem to forget, or aren’t aware, that pedestrians do have right of way. Sometimes cyclists can forget how fast and threatening they can be if they are passing you at speed. It’s all about sharing the route and remembering how your actions could be perceived by others.”

Debrett’s, said to be “the modern authority on all matters of etiquette, taste and achievement”, offers advice about how to behave on all modes of transport. Last year Debrett’s was commissioned by Vauxhall Astra to produce an etiquette guide for motorists.

The etiquette maestros have “identified five top tips to help Londoner’s travel the towpaths safely and politely.”

Jo Bryant of Debrett’s said: “The towpaths are a lovely escape from the hustle and bustle of the roads and pavements of the city. They should be a more tranquil and relaxing place to travel along. But it seems that some people are forgetting their manners and speeding past other people, or refusing to move out of the way. Here at Debrett’s we hope that these top tips will be a gentle reminder to towpath users, and encourage a return to more polite and amicable behaviour along the waterways.”

Debrett’s top tips for safe, shared towpath use are:

• Cyclists must be aware of pedestrians at all times. Remember that pedestrians have priority – ring two tings on your bell to warn them that you are approaching. Pass people carefully and slowly, and never cycle too quickly.


• Pedestrians should allow cyclists to pass wherever possible. Don’t forget to listen out for the two tings warning you that a cyclist is approaching.


• Both cyclists and pedestrians should be considerate to each other, as well as both being extra careful at bends and entrances along the towpath. A smile and polite ‘thank you’ is courteous if someone has let you pass.


• Respect the environment and the waterway’s natural beauty. Never drop any litter.


• Dog walkers must always clean up after their dog.

Towpath Ranger, Joseph Young explains: “We’ve tried a whole host of methods to educate people about sharing the towpath, and rather than just shout at people to slow down or hand them a leaflet, we’ve found that capturing people’s imagination works best.”

Last year, Young commissioned a pavement artist to paint a deep hole on a towpath to make cyclists slow down.

British Waterways, working with Transport for London, also runs the Two Tings campaign that aims to tackle the issue of conflict between speeding cyclists and pedestrians who have right of way on the towpath.


The campaign was started three years ago following an increase in the number of complaints received about incidents of conflict on the towpath between cyclists and pedestrians.

Cycling England among 177 public bodies to be abolished, says Telegraph

One week before the Comprehensive Spending Review watch out for soapy babies. A lot of them will be thrown out with bathwaters in what is billed as the ‘bonfire of the quangos’. Cycling-related bodies facing the chop, apart from Cycling England, include British Waterways and the Commission for Integrated Transport. Even the Forestry Commission is at risk.

The Daily Telegraph claims to have seen a list of at-risk quangos. According to the Tory newspaper, Cycling England is on a list of 177 quasi-autonomous non-governmental organisations which will be definitely scrapped.

UPDATE: The BBC has obtained the leaked Cabinet Officer letter in question. It’s in PDF form here. The letter says Cycling England is to be abolished but “transfer of functions to be confirmed.” In theory, this could mean some of the (few) staff employed by Cycling England could be absorbed by the Department for Transport.

The Forestry Commission is on a 94-strong list of public bodies “still under review” by the Coalition Government.

Whitehall insiders predict that the slash-and-burn policies will play well to those who wish for less state control but many of the functions currently carried out by quangos will not be replicated by central Government and will be too national in scope to be handled by local authorities. Once the experts on bodies such as Cycling England move on to other contracts, their skills and know-how will have to replaced, and this replication will likely cost much more to implement than simply keeping key quangos in the first place.

CTC is worried that the loss of Cycling England could put Bikeability at risk, too.

CTC Chief Executive Kevin Mayne, who also sits on the Cycling England board, said:

“Details are only emerging slowly, but there is real concern for the future of cycle training funding. It is likely that cycle training schemes will have to compete with other local sustainable transport initiatives such as walking and public transport, as there will no longer be a ring-fenced central pot.”

By local sustainable transport initiatives, Mayne meant the Government’s announcement earlier this week of the Local Sustainable Transport Fund.

Sustrans is being positive about the new fund but is also worried it could be a smokescreen for wider cuts. Sustrans hopes the fund will incentivise local transport authorities to prioritise funding for sustainable transport schemes that enable more local journeys to be made on foot, bike and public transport in their Local Transport Plans. 

Peter Lipman, Sustrans’ Policy Director, said:

“The new fund must not be a smokescreen for wider cuts to sustainable transport investment. Given the current funding constraints government now has a historic opportunity to deliver smarter travel choices to millions of people.  Local authorities need to focus investment in low cost sustainable transport solutions that have proven health, environmental and economic benefits.

“We read continued reports of the potential disbanding of Cycling England and wait for details of the transfer of its functions. We believe the new fund should be designed to ensure that the benefits of Cycling England’s successful work are not lost.”

Earlier this month, transport journalist and Cycling England board member Christian Wolmar wrote a scathing open letter to Norman Baker, the minister responsible for cycling, urging him to save Cycling England. Cambridge Cycling Campaing created a website of the same name. And, today, Colchester Cycling Campaign has pitched in.

Will Bramhill, chairman of the Colchester Cycling Campaign, said:

“Without the funding that Colchester receives via Cycling England – which is carefully spent, and the results monitored – fewer people would be cycling, less safely, less often. In short, Cycling England works well and gives good value.

“The Cycling England money has put some towns in England on a par with the Netherlands on spending on cycling – for the first time. However, the Dutch expenditure has been nationwide and sustained over decades, helping them to maintain high levels of cycling. England is only just beginning to address a situation caused by 50 years of chronic neglect, caused in part by successive governments cow-towing to the motor lobby and spending accordingly.

“The team at Cycling England now has massive experience in their roles. Breaking up this group when it is working so well would be a tragedy.”

Babies. Bathwater. Bike funding. All at risk of going down the plughole.