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Cycling -

UK police services to launch national cycle crime partnership while pushing theft prevention

Bike theft is a perennial problem – and a pandemic-induced cycling boom inevitably means more targets for thieves.

However, last year there was a 16.3% drop in cycle theft, according to police data from Opal (the serious organised crime unit), partly because more people and their cycles were at home. Across the transport network theft dropped by 60%. Perversely, the main exception seems to be thefts from key workers such as hospital staff.

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Commuting, Cycling, Technology -

We look at four e-bikes, from the hi-tech to the conventional, to see which offers the best experience

It’s fair to say I learned two main things in trying to test out a series of commuter-type e-bikes over the past few months. One was more of a rediscovery: they’re fantastic fun. The other was a surprise: at the moment, they’re really hard to get hold of.

The coronavirus pandemic changed the UK in many ways, and one of the minor impacts was to spark an explosion of interest in e-bikes, as people sought out ways to return to work while avoiding public transport and traffic jams.

Firstly, for any newcomers to this world, let me explain what we mean here by an e-bike. Under UK laws, this means an electric-assist bike – ie, the power-boost only kicks in when you start pedalling – and where the power switches off at about 15mph. Faster and more powerful electric machines exist, but cannot be ridden legally without all the legal paraphernalia needed for a moped.

The second point is to stress that an e-bike is still a bike, and is not cheating. Plenty of studies have shown that e-bike users often get as much life-enhancing physical activity as riders of conventional bikes, with the lower exertion often factored out by more miles ridden.

Finally, e-bikes can be transformative, especially for those uncertain that cycling or cycle-commuting is for them, whether because of a lack of experience, or because of hills, or perhaps fitness.

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Cycling, Environment, Life and style, Nigel Farage, Politics, Transport, Transport policy, UK news -

Bike-friendly measures introduced during lockdown have led rightwing populists to revive much-disproved myths

If you’re a fan of the historical notion that progress doesn’t move as a straight, upward line but tends to be a bit more wiggly, then there was an article about cycling in this week’s Mail on Sunday that very much proved the point.

Anti-cyclist pieces in the Mail are not exactly uncommon, but this one was notable because its key argument was that cyclists should “pay road tax”.

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Cycling, Environment, Life and style, Politics, Road transport, Transport, Transport policy, UK news -

YouGov poll found positive views on LTNs are three times higher than negative ones

They are not purely, or even mainly, about cycling, but the row about low-traffic neighbourhoods (LTNs), – where some residential streets are closed to through motor traffic – epitomises broader attitudes in the UK towards safer, more human-friendly streets.

And amid the daily froth of sometimes entirely false stories about LTNs closing roads, or slowing emergency service response times, one thing is often forgotten: these schemes tend to be very popular.

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Cycling, Environment, Law, Life and style, Media, Road safety, Road transport, UK news -

Language and accuracy matter, as they can contribute to making the roads less safe for non-motorists and how the law is applied

There’s a problem with how we talk about our roads. From news reports on “accidents” to who gets blamed for road danger in comment pieces, our media sources sometimes flip the sources of death and injury on their head.

Language and accuracy matter, and too often reporting contributes to making the roads less safe.

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