National Conference – Public health, sustainability and road safety (session two)

12.00 | 14 November 2017 |


Images and soundbites from ‘Public health, sustainability, active travel and road safety casualty reduction’ – the second session of the 2017 National Road Safety Conference.

About the session
Encouraging more people to cycle and walk (for health and environmental benefits) while recognising the increased road casualty risk (and addressing this).


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16.25 – Paul Robison, The Bikeability Trust

For the last nine years, Paul Robison has been involved with Bikeability, the national cycle training scheme, first for Cycling England and then as project director for the Department for Transport’s support contract.

Presentation: Bikeability – training for more cycling and safer cycling

The national charity for Bikeability

  • Strengthen Bikeability, maximise impact, promote benefits
  • Contribute to getting more people cycling, more safely, more often

Making Bikeability the best it can be

  • Better value for money, more economical, efficient and effective delivery
  • Greater awareness of the National Standard among all road users
  • Bigger impact, more people cycling, more safely, more often
  • Adding other sources of funding

Bikeability – a progressive, three-level programme in which trainees

First demonstrate excellent cycle handling skills in traffic-free environments…

  • Then develop the skills and confidence needed for cycling on mainly local roads and simple junctions…
  • Before tackling more challenging, often busier, sometimes multi-lane roads and complex junctions.
  • Additional ‘Bikeability Plus’ modules aim to increase the take up of Bikeability in schools and its impact on children’s cycling.

How is Bikeability delivered?

  • Bikeability schemes and instructors register
  • Schemes arrange training with schools
  • Instructors deliver training at school
  • Bikeability award materials for trainees – badges, certificates, handbooks, stickers
  • Formal scheme quality assurance framework
  • Additional guidance is provided for inclusive delivery, for child and adult trainees


  • Funding prone to political whim
  • Brand not promoted, so recognition among schools and parents is low
  • A few local authorities refuse to offer Bikeability, or have low ambition
  • Some schools refuse or offer few places
  • Some parents refuse to give consent – wide range in take up of training
  • Level 3 take-up is low (more difficult to engage secondary schools)
  • Some parents won’t let children ride their bikes, even after Bikeability
  • Other barriers prevent more children cycling more (no bike, nowhere to park/store, stranger danger, road danger, bike not working)

Vision for Bikeability

  • Highly motivated and qualified instructor workforce
  • Require greater buy-in to Bikeability brand
  • Provide stronger instructor career pathways, improve CPD opportunities
  • Each Level taught separately, as it was designed and at the appropriate stage in child’s development
  • Effort focused where results are most achievable
  • Delivery numbers are not the goal, more children cycling is the goal

16.05 – Claire Williams, sustainable transport manager, Transport for West Midlands and Linda Downing, professional lead sustainable travel, City of Wolverhampton Council

Claire has over 15 years of experience in safer and sustainable travel within local government. Starting as a trainee road safety officer at Sandwell Council back when hedgehogs were the popular mascot, Claire has worked in a variety of roles and is currently sustainable travel manager at Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) with a particular interest in making it safer to cycle and walk.

Linda has extensive experience in road safety, travel planning and sustainable travel initiatives and began her local authority road safety career at Walsall Council where she managed a large team of volunteers and paid trainers, delivering pedestrian training. This led to a project which Linda developed and successfully won a bid with the DfT to deliver a scheme involving partners including Surestart.

Presentation: Bostin Bikes and Bostin Commuter: enabling bike ownership and increasing cycling

Bostin Bikes

  • Remove the barrier of non-bike ownership and increase the number of people cycling
  • To increase cycle training take up

Bostin Commuter

  • Increase number of people cycling to work
  • Targeted those who lived within 5 miles of their workplace

What was included?

  • All the equipment (including a bike) for the subsidised price of £50
  • Level 1 and Level 2 National Standard Cycle Training
  • Further training including Level 3 and Cycle Maintenance


  • Bostin Bikes – 228 bikes
  • Bostin Commuter – 139 bikes, 14 separate businesses
  • 100% completed both Level 1 and 2 training
  • 60% went on to complete further training such as maintenance and level 3 cycle training
  • 3 months on – 90% satisfaction & 95% still use the bike

Bostin Bikes

  • 96% using for leisure
  • 14% using for commute

Bostin Commuter

  • 72% using for leisure
  • 62% using for commute

15.50 – Patrick Lingwood, walking and cycling officer, Bedford Borough

Patrick Lingwood’s 30-year career in walking and cycling has included overseeing the Cycle City and Town programme and as cycling advisor to Minister of Transport Norman Baker at the DfT.

Presentation: Turbo-roundabouts – promoting pedestrian and cyclist safety and comfort at busy urban roundabouts

Scheme had three objectives

  • Not to worsen congestion (achieved)
  • Improve safety (a significant reduction in speed achieved)
  • Improve comfort and convenience (of cyclists and pedestrians in particular)

Why not turbo roundabouts?

  • 200 turbos built in Netherland in last 10 years (50 in urban areas)
  • Safer than traditional roundabouts, signalised and Give Way junctions
  • Dutch guidelines advise against building traditional roundabouts

Comments from users

Before: “Union St Roundabout is sometimes like Russian Roulette the way cars race across E-W and W-E”

After: “A scene of smooth tranquillity… drivers do not intimidate those pedestrians waiting to cross or cyclists and riders of mopeds making their way through the area”

15.35 – Dr James Woodcock, senior research associate, Centre for Diet and Activity Research (CEDAR), University of Cambridge

Dr Woodcock works at the intersection of population health and transport studies. He leads the Public Health Modelling Group at the Centre for Diet and Activity Research (CEDAR), University of Cambridge.

He created the Integrated Transport and Health Impact Modelling tool (ITHIM), and is lead investigator on the Propensity to Cycle Tool ( and Impacts of Cycling Tool (

Presentation: The Health Impacts of a Mode Shift to Walking and Cycling

There is a growing body of work in this area

Health metrics: Global burden of disease

Measure of health burden compared against age specific ‘ideal’ life expectancy

  • Deaths
  • Disability Adjusted Life Year (DALY)
  • Years of Life Lost (YLL)
  • Years of Healthy Life Lost due to Disability (YLD)


Physical activity associated with lower risk of many health outcomes

  • All-cause mortality
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Coronary heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Total cancer
  • Breast, colon, lung cancer, endometrial
  • Diabetes
  • Dementia
  • Depression

Around 4 hours per week of cycling delivers significant health benefits

Air pollution – biggest negative impacts are from small particulates

Is it beneficial to cycle in a polluted environment? Yes – the physical activity benefits outweigh the disadvantages of polluted air.

Marginal air pollution is not a big issue in terms of active travel

15.20 – Dr Rachel Aldred, reader in transport at the University of Westminster

Dr Rachel Aldred joined the University of Westminster in September 2012 from the University of East London, where she lectured in sociology. Dr Aldred is interested in sustainable mobilities and in cycling in particular, and has published widely in this area.

Presentation: Why near misses matter: from research to policy and practice

Why near misses matter

  • Near misses may predict collision risk situations/locations
  • Understand road culture and impact on cycling experience
  • Clarify relationship between ‘perceived’ and ‘objective’ risk

‘There is a perception that cycling is safe in terms of number of casualties, but it doesn’t feel safe’

From reactive to proactive road safety?

  • Road safety approaches at odds with rail and air safety – and workplace safety (even though roads are a workplace for many)
  • Rise of ‘Vision Zero’ implies current approach not good enough – act before not after deaths and serious injury
  • Increasing evidence about ‘what works’ re: EEE e.g. Teschke et al (2012) on infrastructure & cycle injuries

Around 70% of cyclists are male

Near misses were happening weekly to cyclists

Three most common types of incidents – cyclists way blocked, problematic pass, vehicle pulls out/in

Most scary – a near-dooring, someone approaching head on, a close pass (incidents involving motor vehicles)

Slower cyclists and women are having more incidents

New cyclists have twice as many very scary incidents (as experienced cyclists)

Cyclists become cautious because of near misses


  • The London cycle design standards
  • Enforcement – close pass initiatives by police
  • Initiatives to encourage cyclists to report initiatives



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