Road Safety News

Summit explores the future of cycling in Essex

Monday 7th September 2015

Transport bosses, cycling organisations and road safety professionals met last week (3 Sept) at the Cycle Essex Summit, to explore the vision for cycling in Essex.

Essex County Council, working in partnership with Active Essex, met with local and national partners to discuss a new cycling strategy for the county at Colchester United’s Weston Homes Community Stadium.

Following the summit, a consultation was launched to get the views of the public on how cycling in Essex should be developed in the future.

The new Essex Cycling Strategy will outline Essex County Council’s commitment to promoting and enabling cycling in the county. Following consultation, the strategy is likely to be finalised and adopted towards the end of the year.

Councillor Ray Gooding, Essex County Council’s cycling champion, said: “Essex has a fantastic enthusiasm for cycling, fostered by the Olympic Mountain Biking at Hadleigh in 2012 and last year’s stage 3 of the Tour de France.

“We want to build on the success of these events and use them as a springboard for promoting cycling in Essex both as a sport and recreational activity, as well as a sustainable form of transport."

Jason Fergus, Director of Active Essex, said: “This Cycle Summit is a key step in recognising the enthusiasm for cycling across the county and we want to see more people getting on their bikes in Essex, more safely and more often.

“In order to support cycling in Essex, we are committed to creating a Cycle Essex brand. We hope this will encourage a far wider proportion of Essex residents to give cycling a try and build upon its popularity as the third most popular sport in Essex.”

Partners in attendance at the summit included the British Cycling Federation, Sport England, Sustrans, Essex Police, C2C, Abellio Greater Anglia, the DFT and representatives of various local borough, district and city councils.

Click here to take part in the consultation and view the draft strategy.



Comment on this story
Report a reader comment

What's your view - comment on this story:

I confirm that I have read and accept the moderation policy and house rules relating to comments posted on this website.
Your comment:
Your name and location:
Your email:

I appeciate that helmet wearing is not agreed on my some but not 1 helmeted rider in the photo. Come on!!
Tina Langley

Agree (2) | Disagree (2)

Hi Tina, thanks for your comment. Here at the Safer Essex Roads Partnership we strongly urge all cyclists to wear a helmet. This picture in question isn't on a public highway, however we will evaluate helmeted pictures in future communications to help further promote cyclists wearing helmets. Here's a link to our website to see what we do as a partnership in Essex
Matt Clarke - Safer Essex Roads

Agree (2) | Disagree (2)

I have viewed the draft strategy and in its defence it does contain many pictures of riders wearing helmets. However, many of the pictures show poorly-fitted helmets. I am not going to get into an argument about whether helmets should be worn, but surely if one wears a helmet, then there is much to be said for them to be of the right size and properly adjusted.

It is also clear that many of the photos have been sourced from abroad, as they feature continental bikes and things that are not best practice in the UK. I am not heartened by the fact that this was not picked up prior to the report's publication. It looks as though the report's writers do not know much about cycling.
David, Suffolk

Agree (3) | Disagree (0)

Maybe those organising the event were true visionaries. Their "vision" of cycling could well be modeled on that which already exists in many European countries. Where cycling is seen as an everyday activity requiring no more special equipment or clothes than a bicycle.

Where establishment and communities are working to create an inclusive transport environment that works for cyclists, walkers and motorists. Where vulnerable road users aren't exhorted to wear flimsy polystyrene hats that do little to protect and much to vilify and transfer blame. Where speed limits in urban areas are set at 30km/h or less to provide better collision avoidance for all. Where on and off road facilities are developed for the preferred active travel modes of walking or cycling. Where the most vulnerable road users are protected by presumed liability laws. Where the focus is on "Sustainable safety".

Somehow the issue of whether the PR pictures show people wearing polystyrene or no probably tells us more about the attitudes of those commenting than the potential to make Essex a cycle friendly county. Only when we get past such trivial debate can any real progress be made on cycling.
Rod King, 20's Plenty for Us

Agree (4) | Disagree (7)

There is an old adage that says 'Look after the small things and the large things will look after themselves'. It may be considered pedantic but if we leave all the small things to small minded people without foresight then we do ourselves and others a disservice. Might as well disregard the advice in the Highway Code.

I take it by your words that you are not a supporter of crash helmets. There were many such as yourself who didn't believe that crash helmets save lives and mitigate injury in the 1970s when they were being promoted for motorcyclist. Time has indeed proved those persons wrong as will those who at this moment disregard cyclists helmets.
Bob Craven Lancs...Space is Safe Campaigner

Agree (6) | Disagree (4)


I have no problem with people choosing to wear a cycle helmet. But maybe this video helps identify the real issues.
Rod King, 20's Plenty for Us

Agree (0) | Disagree (1)

When we made the cycling in Westminster films there was great debate and pressure from above to show helmets. However we wanted to show real cyclists in real cycling situations and give a nudge towards training where helmets are discussed. We will have 6 of 9 videos with helmets. This is twice the wearing rate you will find on TfL cycling material including the cycle hire scheme and on other London borough sites. As for the cycling in Copenhagen, I have just returned from there and it is a pleasure to see cyclists obey red lights, even at night with no traffic around, and riding at a reasonable speed. Our cyclists are always going on about having their infrastructure. We don't have the space, nor unfortunately do we have their cyclists.
Peter Westminster

Agree (6) | Disagree (0)

Well said Peter.
We have lost some 70 years of cycling in this country compared to those locations specifically mentioned and definitely the ones that did not progress or change as we have done since the 2nd world war. Some others believe that we can get it back. Indeed, improve on it and change forever not only the highways but also the face of our society and social structure. They argue about massive social and cultural changes and lawful ones that will be required in order for the new utopia to take place. Something that will take decades to obtain and create any semblance of those other societies that they may wish to emulate.
Bob Craven lancs....Space is Safe Campaigner

Agree (5) | Disagree (2)


I think the key is creating conditions whereby cycling becomes attractive to more than the "fit and the brave". In places like Westminster it is the fit and high speed cyclist which is best able to protect themselves in such an environment that seems to encourage speed rather than safety.

Cycling may well grow incrementally by getting marginally more "not quite so fit" and "not quite so brave" but if you want to see the sort of cyclists you get in Copenhagen on Westminster streets then you have to create conditions which attract them.

All over the world cities are "making space" for cycling both on and off road. The old excuse that "we don't have the space" is no longer credible.

The cycling revolution in places like Netherlands and other countries is not as old as you think and was started in the 70s rather than 70 years ago.

I accept that it is rather "chicken and egg", but those pessimists who will always say "why we can't" are being outnumbered by those in public health, transport, urban design and politics who are working out "how we can". I look forward to London Borough of Westminster moving in the same direction.
Rod King

Agree (2) | Disagree (2)

By all means promote cycling for health, and a saving in transport costs, though not everyone is physically suited to ride a bicycle. The issue over wearing helmets will be as volatile as that of 20mph limits – it’s controversial due to personal freedom issues.

Since the regulations applying to the compulsory wearing of crash helmets for motorcyclists came into being, there should have shown an immediate marked decrease in death and injury. This was not the case. In 1973 the government claimed 300-400 lives would be saved per year, and yet, in the twelve months following the change in law comparing KSI with the twelve months before, and compensating for the 12% increase in motorcycle usage in the following post helmet law introduction, the KSI went up 11.6%.

Copenhagen is featured in the last link.

Most motorcyclists would wear a crash hat due to the comfort factor alone, no-one wants to have a cold or wet head. But the glitz factor is also powerful. As for how safe they would be in a tumble, even the best cannot prevent fatal brain trauma, most will prevent glancing damage, and most are built way stronger than necessary.
Derek Reynolds, Salop.

Agree (2) | Disagree (3)

The space we are making available still has to be shared and for that I would prefer the considerate law abiding cyclists I saw in Copenhagen any day to the fit and high speed cyclist best able to protect himself as you state. Your cyclist should also be protecting all other road users around as all road users have a duty of care for each other. Oh and by the way Westminster is a City not a London borough.
Peter, City of Westminster

Agree (4) | Disagree (2)


My comment was for "more than the fit and the brave" rather than "more of the fit and the brave".

And whilst the City of London may be a city, as far as I can tell from other sources it is a London borough like all the other 33 London authorities with the exception of City of London which is not a London Borough. Apologies if I am wrong in this but if so perhaps you could have a word with Wikipedia.
Rod King, 20's Plenty for Us

Agree (2) | Disagree (4)

At the risk of going off-story, in response to Derek's comment re: motorcycle helmets:

Significant comparative studies have been undertaken in the USA where some states have compulsory helmet laws, some have partial helmet laws and some have none or have repealed them. A quick Google search will find you many reports into the effectiveness of motorcyclists wearing helmets. For example:

The findings from the Eastern Association for Surgery of Trauma, USA, 2010 study “Helmet Efficacy to Reduce Head Injury and Mortality in Motorcycle Crashes”
MacLeod, Jana B. A. MD; DiGiacomo, J. Christopher MD; Tinkoff, Glen MD, FACS, FCCM 2010

A. The use of motorcycle helmets decreases the overall death rate of motorcycle crashes when compared with non-helmeted riders.

B. The use of motorcycle helmets decreases the incidence of lethal head injury in motorcycle crashes when compared with non-helmeted riders.

C. The use of motorcycle helmets decreases the severity of nonlethal head injury in motorcycle crashes when compared with non-helmeted riders.

D. Mandatory universal helmet laws reduce mortality and head injury in geographical areas with the law when compared with areas without it.

From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, USA:

“The single most effective way for states to save lives and save money is a
universal helmet law.
• Helmets reduce the risk of death by 37%.
• Helmets reduce the risk of head injury by 69%.
• The United States saved $3 billion due to helmet use in 2010.
• The United States could have saved an additional $1.4 billion in 2010 if all
motorcyclists had worn helmets.
• Helmets do not reduce visibility or impair hearing.”

“Our role is to identify ways to prevent injury and death and rigorously check what works and what does not work. For motorcycle safety, the research shows that universal helmet laws are the most effective way to reduce the number of deaths and traumatic brain injuries that result from crashes.”

Dr. Thomas Frieden, Director, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control USA.
Honor Byford, Chair, Road Safety GB

Agree (6) | Disagree (1)

The word from the City is that after a few years of significant growth we have probably reached 'peak cycling' and that growth will now stall.
Duncan MacKillop. No surprise - No accident.

Agree (1) | Disagree (4)

My apologies for this digression, but I feel I must respond to Honor’s comment.

Honor, ask a policeman how much crime goes on in his patch, and you will get a long list of misdemeanours. Ask a resident of that patch how much crime he has seen, and you will get a very different story. The collective reports are from events that have happened. Not all of them, perhaps few of them relate to incidents that involve death or serious injury to other parts of the body. Such reports – however they may appear to be full and comprehensive from ‘respected’ bodies – do not show the whole picture. They never will. From such bodies we are told Britain will never see another snowfall; that CO2 is killing us all etc., etc. These bodies do have their purposes, but their results are often driven by outside elements and do not include non-events – how could they? If we were to follow their advice as the ultimate solution to accidents, no right turns (left turns in most continental countries) would be banned; speed limits everywhere would be 4mph maximum; bicycles and motorcycles would be banned, and pedestrians would be wrapped in foam when out walking.

In the precious few ‘offs’ that I have had in over fifty years of motorcycling (28 as a despatch rider) none of the incidents included damage of any kind to my helmet. A couple of broken bones, and a few bruises – and that includes the equivalent of riding 12 times around the circumference of the Earth on just ONE motorcycle of the several I have owned and ridden – and mostly within the inner confines of the M25. I have worn a helmet for comfort, and to be lawfully compliant – not for safety. Safety comes from an attitude of mind, though I am not averse to a little protective clothing.

The American CDC are clearly on another planet with their: - “Helmets do not reduce visibility or impair hearing.”

I can categorically assure you that is not the case. Do ipods and mobile phones not affect hearing? One is isolated to some degree from the surroundings. Is that safe?

You can study a group of ants and arrive at a conclusion as to their weaknesses. But it doesn’t stop the billions of others surviving all the same. That resident, and I as a motorcyclist, do not conform to the statistics of authoritative bodies. Does anyone?
Derek Reynolds, Salop.

Agree (2) | Disagree (2)