Note : News items will be archived off-line after a year unless they are still helpful.
November 2021 Cheshire Police's Close Pass operation
Cheshire Police are taking the safety of cyclists seriously and a few weeks ago PC Lee Spencer ran a ‘Close Pass’ educational operation locally. PC Mike Henry rode the ‘unmarked’ bike’ around Frodsham, Helsby & Kingsley supported by five other officers including local PCSO’s Neil Flanagan & Lauren Davies and & a fireman. I observed an extremely well managed operation as a result of which quite a number of motorists were stopped and invited back to Frodsham Fire Station, where it was explained when a pass was ‘too close’ i.e. less than 1.5 m. The photo shows the marked mat.
Importantly Cheshire Police has limited resources to carry out these ‘resource hungry’ operations but their commitment is clear as they have run a similar operation in Winsford with a horse & rider and two cycle versions in Saughall & Congleton.
If you want to see plenty of other near misses just explore this website showing ‘Near Miss of the day’. Check out No. 656 as a great example.
Posted by Ashley McCraight. 21st November 2021
4th October 2021 : 'Ditching the car'
This is an extract from Dr Patrick Eakin's story on how he ‘ditched his car’ and loved it!
Firstly, a disclaimer - I don’t think of myself as ‘cyclist’. One of the oddest things about selling my car and commuting to work on a bicycle is that to others you instantly become a ‘cyclist’. Those who know me well understand that nothing could be further from the truth. I have however, over the past year come to realise that nearly every preconception I had about riding a bicycle was wrong and I now want to encourage others to give it a go too.
He continues ….
However as a GP, I also needed to be able to get to home visits during the day, and I wasn’t sure how I would go about bringing my lunch into work. Lots of barriers in my mind existed to justify not changing what I had always done. But change does not have to be big, or done all in one go, and so I picked a Tuesday morning in February 2020 and decided I would try cycling to work.
And as a GP he has a health message for everyone.
It would be remiss of me if I didn’t leave you with some medical guidance as food for thought. The Chief Medical Officer recommends that adults should be active daily, with at least 150 minutes (2.5 hours) over a week, as well as strength building activity twice a week. Yet 33% of men and 45% of women don’t reach this target and more worryingly, 1 in 5 men and 1 in 4 women do less than 30 minutes of any physical activity a week. Building activity into our daily lives, such as cycling to work or the shops, is a simple way to improve our health without needing to carve out time from our busy schedules.
It must be worth a go!
The full article Ditching the car is here.
And the question is 'How much fruit and veg can Patrick get in has panniers? This much :
Posted 4th October 2021
5th September 2021
Summer Activities - ‘Let’s talk biking’, Bike marking & Bikeability.
CNC was invited to run two events as part of the ‘Summer Activities’ programme intended mainly for children at Saltworks, Ship St & Castle Park in Frodsham in August. Our plan was to show young cyclists the safety checks they should know about and make minor adjustments if necessary. This worked well at Ship St. with approx. 6/7 children & parents who were very keen for us to check their bikes and fix a number of problems, one of which was very hazardous but Frank White with his Bike Repairman overall and excellent skills corrected it swiftly.
The event in Castle Park turned out to be completely different as no children brought bikes for checks. However quite a few adults were interested in what we are campaigning for & keen to chat especially about the Tranche 2 LCWIP plan to provide a segregated cycle track between Carriage Drive, Frodsham to Helsby High School. Quite a few said; “Good but - what about the junction @ Howey Lane/Carriage Drive?” or “Good but - what about the entrance to the school?”
Incidentally we have been assured that this T2 project will proceed after a redesign which was required in response to the “Good but - ”feedback they received. The revised design and timescale has not yet been shared.
PCSOs Neil Flanagan & Lauren Davies ran three sessions in August and they were very pleased with how it went. I dropped into the one they ran @ Helsby High School on 28th and had six customers in the first half hour. What they do is link a unique QR code placed on each bike to a national register, which is then traceable. I recommend this to all riders and they intend to run another session at Frodsham Fire Station on 13th September between 10.00 -14.00.
Bikeability Course : Levels 1 & 2.
This free course, funded by Cheshire West, was run very well by two qualified Bike Right trainers on 27th August in Castle Park. It was attended by several young cyclists, who clearly benefited from the practice in basic bike handling skills which they were able to practice in a safe off-road location – a coned off section of the car park. For example they were expected to ride with one hand held out to clearly indicate a left and a right turn and keep stable. After they have shown sufficient ability they were taken out onto a quiet road, Park Avenue, to practice stopping & turning at junctions. Again, I can recommend this course. https://bikeability.org.uk/bikeability-training/bikeability-level-1/
Posted by Ashley McCraight with contributions from many CNC members, PCSOs Neil Flanagan & Lauren Davies & the Bike Right's trainers
21st May 2021
Sustrans’ Vision 2040 for Cheshire – just published!
As custodians of the National Cycle Network, Sustrans want to add 5,000 miles of traffic free infrastructure to the network by 2040.
This is shown as dotted lines on the Cheshire map and you will see this includes linking :
i) the Greenway in Mickle Trafford to Helsby.
ii) Frodsham to Runcorn with new bridges over the river Weaver and Weaver Navigation.
iii) Helsby to Wrexham via Kelsall and Tarporley using the disused rail line to Mouldsworth.
iv) with much more to like! e.g. a possible ‘Ferry cross the Mersey’.
We have been promised more detail later in the year.
Patience will be a virtue, as these projects are ambitious and Sustrans’ track record averaging 250 miles a year is dependent on government funding, donations and membership subscriptions.
Importantly this is separate from the DfT’s funding of urban LCWIP links which includes the Castle Park to Helsby High School link segregated track - see 30th January News post below.
Want to help? Get involved or join (I did) https://www.sustrans.org.uk/get-involved/
Want to understand the Design Principles they adopt? https://www.sustrans.org.uk/for-professionals/infrastructure/national-cycle-network-design-principles/
CNC has been working closely with Sustrans for several years now and will continue to support them wherever we can.
4th May 2021
Yes it's really good news.
The 5 km segregated SUP/quiet lane project along the A5117 between Cheshire Oaks and Junction 14 M56 is well underway.
Photo taken on 30/4 with tarmac very fresh in places and the cheerful contractors said it would be completed in two months.
This £1m project is jointly funded by the Warrington & West Cheshire Enterprise Growth Fund & CWaC.
3rd March 2021
Feedback from CWaC council on the consultation on the Helsby - Frodsham path that work is planned on. Thanks to everyone who took the time to respond, overall strong approval level. There's a formal update and timetable to be discussed at next weeks Active Travel Forum and we'll issue an update then, the original briefing was that preparatory work could start this month!
Over 700 local people, (across the borough) have had their say on the proposals. 93% of responses were from local residents and 7% of people responding were part of a cycling group.
The three schemes are:
Hartford / Weaverham - B5153 Northwich Road (part) – linking Hartford and Weaverham and serving local schools.
Strongly agree / agree with proposals = 59.5%
Strongly disagree / disagree with proposals = 12.4%
With 52% of people thinking the improvements would encourage them to cycle more
Northwich - A559 / A533 (part) – improving links to Northwich town centre
Strongly agree / agree with proposals = 61.1%
Strongly disagree / disagree with proposals = 10%
With 51% of people thinking the improvements would encourage them to cycle more
Frodsham / Helsby - A56 corridor (part) – improving links between the two villages and to Helsby High School
Strongly agree / agree with proposals = 67.3 %
Strongly disagree / disagree with proposals = 10.5%
With 61% of people thinking the improvements would encourage them to cycle more
The three proposals have been welcomed, the additional comments supplied are now being considered.
26th February 2021
An update on the current status of our campaign is now available. Newsletter Spring 2021
Editor-in-Chief : Nick Sljivic
30th January 2021 : Exciting new plans for safer A56 published : Have your say
Proposed improvements for cycling & walking between Frodsham & Helsby.
CNC welcomes the Council’s recognition of the need and plans to improve the safety of the A56 between Helsby and Frodsham as described in :.
http://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/ProposedNewCycleInfrastructure. This is the first step in the Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure plan to
create a continuous route for residents of all ages to be able to cycle or walk safely between the Halton border and Helsby. See News: 23rd June 2020.
Why should you bother to respond?
- Because government funding is dependent on community support and we know your views haved counted a lot already.
- Feedback from residents and pupils of Helsby High School says the A56 is unsafe to cycle or walk along in many places. Helsby High School Survey
- Local residents suggested 140 different ideas.https://participatenow.cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk/your-views-on-cycling-and-walking-investment
So it is very important that you let the Council know your reaction to the proposals by
Sunday 21st February please. http://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/ProposedNewCycleInfrastructure
Over to you now to let CWaC know your views. For example you may want to say :
“This is really good news and I’m sure they will make the A56 much safer. But
“Why don’t cycle tracks continue through to Bates Lane in Helsby?”
“How will cyclists be given priority at the Tarvin Road/A56 junction?”
So what are the proposals?
They are described in Section 3 of the CWaC questionnaire and in the Engineering design. In summary the main improvements include :
- Segregated cycle tracks between Netherton Hall & Helsby HS.
- Widened footpath on the A56 by Castle Park
- A new Toucan crossing for cyclists & pedestrians at Helsby HS.
- Speed limit reduced to 40 mph along the whole route.
Will the design meet official standards?
The Department for Transport issued an excellent Guide (LTN 1/20) to Cycling & Walking Infrastructure in July, which states in the ‘Introduction’ that :
“proposed schemes will be checked against the summary principles before funding is agreed and finished schemes will be inspected for compliance.”
CNC has checked some aspects of the design which shows that this guide has been used as a benchmark. An example is that the segregated cycle
track design meets the required 1.5m minimum width requirement and will have a ‘desirable’ 1.0m safety buffer zone between the track and the road.
Posted 31.01.21 by : Ashley McCraight & Steve Pemberton.
17th January 2021 : CWaC’s Climate Emergency Task Force publishes draft Plan
This plan was published in November and can be accessed here. CWAC Climate Emergency Plan for Borough Nov 2020
Broadly the Council is making a welcome and ambitious bid for the borough to become carbon neutral by 2045 and has engaged experienced consultants (Anthesis) to help them develop this draft plan. Whilst the technical content in the plan is undoubtedly high it is unlikely to inspire residents to read it, due to its technical complexity and unexplained jargon & abbreviations. Also surprisingly, in respect of carbon reducing Active Travel, it concludes that the Council/Cheshire Police have only indirect influence on facilitating the major reduction (17%) required away from motorised travel. whereas several programmes are already in progress aimed at achieving this.
Consequently, CNC & the Chester Cycling Campaign (CCC) issued a joint response to the plan which contains a number of specific recommendations.
November 2020 Sustrans NCN Network in the North West
This summarises the current activities in the North West with contributions from Paul Bruffell (Sustrans); Mark Warren, Steve Pemberton & Ashley McCraight all of CNC.
16th August 2020 : Our high intensity campaign gets results. The Chairman's perspective.
We are now in August and at a peak time for cycling, aided by fine weather, longer days and holidays. The silver lining is that the Covid 19 crisis has done our cause much good, with government money being promised for schemes that will help cyclists in the UK.
Locally there has been considerable movement as Chester West & Chester Council (CWAC) published the Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan (LCWIP) after consultation with numerous bodies of which Cycle North Cheshire (CNC) has played a prominent role.
Our Vice Chair, Steve Pemberton, has been our principal representative at the meetings over many months the result being an 84 page Appendix entitled ‘Walk. Ride. Thrive’. This covers all the CWAC area, and notes the economic, health and environmental benefits brought about by cycling. It also covers the Local Transport Plan – Integrated Transport Strategy 2017 - 2030 - published in 2011 and was fully refreshed, revised and re-adopted by the Council in 2017 to ensure that the strategies are kept up to date.
Whilst most of the original LCWIP proposals were not relevant to the Elton, Frodsham, Helsby & Kingsley area, some were but were ranked as of Low priority. So a committed team sprang into action and ran a very successful high intensity campaign in the Spring, which resulted in the original proposals for our area being upgraded to High. The team achieved this by providing very strong evidence of the need to improve the safety of roads and encouraging over 600 local residents to let CWAC know their views in the consultation process. This was a fantastic response. It was very clear from feedback from the 1350 pupils of Helsby High School that there was a particularly strong need to improve safety for the pupils who cycle or walk to school along the very busy A56/A5117. It is this link between Elton, Frodsham and Helsby, which has now been ranked as High priority. Very well done to all involved.
In the longer-term, schemes for the continuation of the Greenway to link Chester & Mickle Trafford safely to Helsby and Frodsham through to Runcorn are also recognised as important.
Amongst our other successes, goaded by our pothole Champion, Allan Arthur, is the speed at which potholes are repaired once they are reported. The more fuss that collectively we all make about these, the less comfortable it is for CWAC to ignore them. We have also raised the issue of the generally poor & deteriorating state of road surfaces in the Borough and recently we have seen some improved but there are many which are still badly eroded.
We have had conversations with the Public Health Authorities regarding the air quality, which in some parts of the Borough is above the legal limits and locally the junction of Fluin Lane with the A56 is a striking example. If there were fewer vehicles on the road, air quality would improve and most people would enjoy healthier & longer lives. If you care about your health, it is up to you to lend your voice regarding these matters and we hope that you will. If you remain quiet, CWAC will not act. As Chair of CNC I hope that this does concern you and that you will act in both yours and your neighbours best interests and support our cause.
Dr Patrick Milroy. Chair Cycle North Cheshire.
Posted 16th August
21st July 2020. Want to make difference?
Then take this golden opportunity. You will not be surprised to hear that CWaC is placing even more emphasis on making changes to Highways which will encourage more people to walk or cycle to either work or school than before Covid hit us all. As a consequence of which not only have so many people taken up cycling and walking for exercise but a high proportion of commuters will no doubt continue to do so in future, if it is safe enough.
So in addition to the feedback CNC and other groups/residents provided to CWaC in January as part of the LCWIP process, the Council has developed a user-friendly website inviting all residents to ‘Have their say’ directly with them.
The web-link below takes you to a map of the Borough on which you will see a few pins for our area. https://participatenow.cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk/your-views-on-cycling-and-walking-investment/maps/pin-your-ideas-to-our-interactive-mapThis was the situation on 21st July :
This provides any resident an opportunity to identify specific locations which they consider to be unsafe for either pedestrians or cyclists and also to suggest what should be done to reduce the risks. Very importantly this approach has the major advantage that anyone can see the whole picture for the Borough and also either add, reinforce or qualify what another person has said previously. You will see that Cllrs. Lynn Riley & Andrew Dawson have ‘pinned’ quite a number of locations with important specific reasons for the need. Patrick Eakin has pinned another recommendation for a safer crossing to be installed for cyclists outside the Helsby High School entrance and I have reinforced this by pinning a suggestion near Patrick’s to reduce the speed limit on the A56 by the school to 20 mph.
You will be aware that Cycle North Cheshire is working very hard to influence CWaC to allocate a fair proportion of its budget to improving the safety of our local infrastructure. To this end it would really help if you could add you own pins at locations you believe are unsafe for both cyclists & pedestrians. Having added a few pins myself I appreciate that each one takes a bit of time, but please add a few more as they may help make that difference.
As a resident, you will need to register with CWaC via the web-link before you can add pins but this is a fairly straightforward process. You can be assured that your email addresses will not be in the public domain and if you wish you can also use a pseudonym. I have added ‘Cycle North Cheshire member’ to mine to help maintain CNC’s profile.
It would also help if you could ask friends, neighbours and other groups with whom you have links to participate themselves. Over to you!
Posted 21.07.20 : Prepared by Ashley McCraight
23rd June 2020 : Local Cycling & Walking Infrastructure Plan
The Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan (LCWIP) is a key project for the borough. All authorities need to have developed and approved such a plan for their locality detailed capital investment projects that will enable residents to walk or ride more than current levels. The national objective, (made in 2016) is to double the number of journeys made by walking or cycling by 2025, and by 2040 for this to exceed 50% of all such journeys.
There are many drivers for this but principally it is seen as a way of increasing levels of physical activity with the associated health benefits and savings on health care costs. In addition there are improvements in both air quality and greenhouse gas emissions which add to the need to drive this plan for us all.
Originally it was envisaged that people might walk about 2km and ride maybe 5km. The growth in E-bikes is extending this horizon as is the increase in cycling as a leisure pursuit. However the exercise is centred on walking and riding as a means of getting to work, school, shops and stations as the primary goal. The leisure benefits, whilst welcome, are secondary in this exercise.
The Department for Transport (DfT) has produced exact technical guidelines on how such a document is to be developed.
Cycle North Cheshire is a member of the Cheshire West and Chester Active Travel Forum. This body was set up in 2018 specifically to work with the Council in developing better facilities in the borough for cyclists and walkers. In 2019 a subgroup was established to work with council officers, councillors and the consultants to create a LCWIP for the borough, Cycle North Cheshire was invited to join this group representing the area on the plans our community would like to be developed, clearly within the overall brief of the key objectives outlined above.
The draft report was issued in December 2019 for consultation. Delayed by the general election then subsequently further delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic this draft is in its final stages after consultation and we expect it to be adopted in July 2020. This will then position the Council to apply for funding for the projects identified.
For the plan the borough was split into 5 areas:-
Ellesmere Port and Neston
Frodsham and Helsby
Each of these areas has projects that will help those communities improve facilities and hence more people might opt to walk or ride rather than use the car as the paths will offer a simple safe alternative.
The draft report highlighted the link between Helsby and Frodsham as the priority for our area, with the valuable benefit of enabling pupils and staff at Helsby High School to walk or ride there in safety. The draft also listed investigating how this path could be further extended to link up wit the Chester Greenway at Mickle Trafford and also linked to the employment zones in Ince/Elton/Stanlow for workers to walk or ride there.
Posted June 23.06.20 : Prepared by Steve Pemberton
18th October 2018. Cycle Strategy for the Frodsham Neighbourhood Plan.
A cycle strategy has been developed for the draft Frodsham Neighbourhood Plan. It can be downloaded here: A Cycle Strategy for Frodsham.pdf. Details and information about the Frodsham Neighbourhood Plan can be found here: http://frodshamplan.org.uk/the-plan/
Posted 6th October 2018
15th March 2018. Free download - a new map for Helsby, and an updated Frodsham map
A new map of family-friendly cycle routes from Helsby was produced. See ‘Maps’ section to download both the Helsby & Frodsham maps.
14th December 2017 : meeting with Local MP, Mike Amesbury : archived.
16th November 2017 : Helsby HIgh School. New bike shelter installed : Archived