Agenda item


Purpose of the report:  Scrutiny of Services and Budgets


This report provides the Select Committee with an update on progress to date with the implementation of the Surrey Cycling Strategy.





            Ian Good (Head of Emergency Management)

Lesley Harding (Place and Sustainability Group Manager)

Helyn Clack (Cabinet Member for Community Services)


Key points raised during the discussion:


1.    The report was introduced by the Place and Sustainability Group Manager (PSGM) who provided an update on the Surrey Cycling Strategy to date.


2.    Members expressed particular concern with large cycling events which were identified as being an area of concern for Surrey residents due to the disruption they caused. The Head of Emergency Management (HEM) highlighted that regulated cycling events were an effective means of advertising cycling as an active pastime and encouraging people to exercise. They also have a more general positive impact on Surrey by promoting tourism and increasing trade to local businesses.


3.    The HEM further advised that since the implementation of the Surrey Cycling Strategy a drop has been recorded in the number of complaints about cycling events.


4.    The Committee asked about measures laid out in the Surrey Cycling Strategy to combat the number of unregulated events taking place in Surrey, pointing out that there appeared to be little, if any, reduction in the number of unregulated events taking place. The HEM advised that Surrey County Council (SCC) has been working with Surrey Police, British Cycling and Sport England to tackle these butas there were not any regulations in place it was difficult to clamp down on such events. Instead, the Council has been working to engage with a small number of organisers who arranged the majority of unregulated cycling events in Surrey to ensure that they adhere to a code of practice in order to minimise disruption to residents.


5.    Members highlighted problems arising from 2014’s Prudential Ride London-Surrey event and highlighted that a lack of local knowledge by stewards had meant that they were unable to provide directions for drivers who had to be diverted. The HEM highlighted that the stewards had been briefed to allow as many drivers through as possible but that the discussions would be held with the race organisers ahead of the 2015 event to communicate the improvements expected in the standards of marshalling.


6.    The Cabinet Member further advised that the organisation of the race would continue to improve every time it took place especially if it was kept along the same route each year as it would allow stewards to develop local knowledge and organisers to fix past problems.


7.    Members also indicated that it might be a good idea to advertise the date that Prudential Ride London-Surrey would be taking place as soon as possible so that residents had plenty of advanced warning and would therefore have the opportunity to plan accordingly.


8.    The Committee stated that residents were not solely concerned with cycling events but also with the conduct of some cyclists who pay little heed to road traffic laws and discussed ways in which this small minority of cyclists could be encouraged to act more responsibly on the roads.


9.    Members requested data on how many cyclists had been the cause of traffic collisions on Surrey’s roads in the past year and suggested that the communications department could be asked to launch a campaign highlighting the dangers of cycling irresponsibly and not paying attention to road traffic laws. The PSGM indicated that she didn’t have any data on cyclists causing accidents  but would find out if it were possible to generate this data from police records and discuss the possibility of initiating a high-impact campaign promoting responsible cycling as part of the work of the Drive SMART Partnership. The Chairman further requested information on accident hotspots in Surrey and asked that these be circulated to the Committee. The Cabinet Member also advised that she would be attending a meeting about cycling casualties and would gather more information on statistics about accidents and deaths.


10.  The PSGM told the Committee that Surrey Police Officers would receive guidelines on spotting and responding to irresponsible and anti-social behaviour by cyclists.


11.  Some of the Members suggested that very few crimes committed by cyclists are actually reported to the Police because there is no way of identifying who the offender was. It was requested whether it would be possible to make sure that all cyclists had an identification number on their bike.


12.  Requiring cyclists to have third party insurance was also put forward as a possibility by some Members of the Committee. The Chairman expressed concern with this idea as it was felt that this could have a detrimental effect on leisure cyclists. It was suggested that the Cabinet Member send around an email to all members with the dates for future cycling events to be held in the county.


13.  The Committee also asked whether it was possible to increase the network of cycle paths in Surrey to keep up with the increased cycling activity taking place in the County. A couple of particular roads in Surrey were mentioned which it was felt would benefit significantly from having cycle paths. The PGSM advised that local cycle plans were developed, working with the boroughs and districts and overseen by the local committees and that they are encouraged to think differently about how roads can be used for all users. It was further highlighted that there were plenty of funds available for sustainable transport through the LEP’s.


14.  Some of the members flagged the cycling proficiency tests and suggested that they did not appear to be having a great impact particularly at Level 3 which only provided training for 61 people in 2013/14. The PSGM explained the different Bikeability levels and stated that the high ratio of cycling instructors required for Level 3 meant that the County Council is seeking to expand its pool of cycle instructors in order to have the capacity to deliver level 3 courses.


15.  The PSGM further highlighted that there was presently no target for number of people taking the Level 3 cycling proficiency training. The service wanted to ensure that the programme was expanding at a sustainable and safe rate for those who wished to undertake the training. The Cabinet Member indicated that the Level 1 and 2 proficiency training were both extremely well attended with 5,071 and 6,100students undertaking these levels of training respectively.


16.  Members agreed that the cycling strategy would also need to pay careful attention to a range of cyclists and would also need to focus on changing the behaviours of some cyclists.




The Environment and Transport Select Committee agreed the following recommendations;


a)    Endorsed the progress to date on delivering the Surrey Cycling Strategy.



Actions/Further information to be provided:


·         For the PSGM to look at data for the number of accidents involving cyclists on Surrey roads in 2013/14 and forward this to the Committee.


·         For the Cabinet Member to email to all members with dates for future cycling events to be held in Surrey.


·         For the Scrutiny Officer to raise with the Drive Smart Partnership board concerns the Select Committee raised in relation to road collisions involving cyclists.


Committee Next Steps:




Supporting documents: