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News Report Page 12 of 17
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News reports located on this page = 3.

Dangerous Cycling on Merseyside
Report by Hana Kelly.

RECENTLY, many of our readers have reported that the Southport and Formby areas have seen an increase in the number of cyclists riding their bikes dangerously.  In August 2018, the Government proposed to introduce a new offense for cyclists: causing death or serious injury by dangerous or unsafe cycling. By introducing this, the Government believes it will create more parity between cyclists and drivers.This legislation is already in place in Scotland, and whilst it is still under consideration in England. It is unknown as to whether it will be the same as Scotland or whether or not Northern Ireland or Wales will also follow the change.

Speaking to the charity, Cycling UK, they believe that in road traffic collisions involving cyclists, it is mostly the other road users who are at fault. The spokesperson said that this is because cyclists are:- 'aware of how vulnerable they are' and that other road users are:- 'unaware of how to overtake safely.'

When questioned about why many cyclists choose not to use the cycle lanes already in place across the country, Cycling UK suggested that the purpose built lanes are not fit for purpose and cited a Forbes article which, from the Accident analysis and prevention journal, says the white line lanes actually seem to allow drivers to drive closer.

When asked about cyclists who run red lights, Cycling UK said that they didn't support it, but that it could be dealt with better. They also suggested the need for more visible road policing, as this would also deter people from using mobile phones whilst driving.

Finally, Cycling UK suggested an update to the highway code to include new measures for cycle safety. The highway code does include 23 cycling specific rules. However, many of them relating to road safety are not stipulated as:- 'musts,' instead many are advisory. Whilst it is necessary to have a front white light, a back red light, and a back red reflector. It is not a legal requirement to wear a helmet, or any reflective clothing.

It is, however, against the law to cycle in a:- 'dangerous, careless or inconsiderate manner.' The ambiguity of this rule ensures that any dangerous or unsafe cycling, such as passing through a red light or cycling across a one-way system is accounted for. Our recent Twitter poll overwhelmingly says that cyclists should be prosecuted for going through:- red lights, cycling the wrong way down roads on the wrong side, pulling wheelies in busy traffic or on pavements and also cycling without lights at night.

Also a recent Facebook Poll, suggested that the majority of readers of the Southport and Mersey Reporters, believe that it should be a legal requirement for cyclists to use cycle lanes. However, comments also suggested, similar to Cycling UK, that the cycle lanes are simply not safe enough.

This, therefore suggests that what is lacking if perhaps policing of roads where cycle related crimes and collisions occur. Many cyclists are aware of the dangers involved with cycling on roads built for cars, whereas many drivers are not aware of the dangers involved with cyclists.

It is important to consider the type of society that we live in. At the moment, Britain is very much a car society. According to, as of March 2018, there were 37.9 million licensed and registered motor vehicles in the UK. In the UK, according to Cycling UK's data, there are over 6.1 million cyclists out every week. That equals to nearly 12% of the population cycling in a society that is designed for cars.

So whilst there probably should be an update to the highway code, regarding cyclists. There should also be more awareness from drivers towards cyclists, but the approach to drivers must not single them out and over look cyclists who are increasingly being highlighted by both pedestrians and drivers as an increasingly over looked danger.

Last week we ran a report about Merseyside Cycle Campaign:- 'Made to Move,' that has been launched in the Liverpool City Region, that will look at the Region's walking and cycling infrastructure. But as many have highlighted, if the investment follows, more should be done to encourage cyclist to ride, within the law as well. So how can this be done and is the Government unfairly demonising drivers, as they can be easily identified and fine? What are your views on this issue? Please email us to:- News24@SouthportReporter.Com.

Job creation plans grow as North West firms confidence rises

BUSINESS confidence in the North West rose 8 points during April to 20%, making it the 2nd most confident Region in the UK, according to the latest Business Barometer from Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking. Companies in the Region report higher confidence in their own business prospects, up 3 points to 27%, and higher economic optimism, up 11 points to 13%. Together, this gives an overall confidence of 20%, which is 2nd only to the West Midlands (28%.) Businesses' hiring intentions show that a net balance of 19% of firms in the Region now expect to hire more staff during the next year, up 8 points on on March 2019.

The Business Barometer questions 1,200 businesses monthly and provides early signals about UK economic trends both Regionally and nationwide. Martyn Kendrick, Regional director for the North West at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, said:- "It's great to see the North West bouncing back after the fall in confidence experienced earlier on in the year. Despite facing into a number of headwinds, it's encouraging to see firms in the Region feeling optimistic about their growth and planning to increase their headcount and capaCity as a result. Whatever challenges and opportunities lie ahead for businesses in the North West, we'll be standing firmly by their side. As well as offering practical support and advice we have committed to lending ₤1.3 billion to North West firms in 2019."

Across the UK, overall confidence climbed 4 points to 14% as both firms' optimism about the economy and their confidence in their own prospects continued to climb from lows recorded earlier this year. Companies' economic optimism rose to 4%, while confidence in their own business prospects climbed 3 points to 23%. After the West Midlands and the North West, London had the next highest overall confidence at 19%. Those in Wales were the least confident, with an overall confidence of -1%, 15 points below the national average. The overall confidence of UK firms in:- manufacturing, construction and services all improved; but retail sector confidence fell. Manufacturing and construction confidence rose for the 1st time in 3  months, increasing 6 points to 16% and 2 points to 15% respectively. Services confidence increased by 5 points to 12%. Meanwhile, the retail sector; which posted the highest confidence in March 2019; felling in April by 6 points, placing it on a par with the manufacturing sector at 16%.

Hann-Ju Ho, Senior Economist, Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, said:- "While business confidence remains low when viewed against the historic average, it is certainly encouraging to see an increase in overall optimism for the 2nd month in a row.  Firms appear more positive about both their own trading prospects and the broader economy, although their assessment of the potential impact of the UK leaving the EU remains unchanged. We will have to wait and see whether this partial rise converts into a sustained recovery."

A North West Shop Worker is abused, threatened or assaulted over 20 times a year on average

SHOP Worker's Trade Union Usdaw has released shocking statistics from their annual survey which shows that on average North West shop workers were verbally abused, threatened or assaulted 24 times last year, which is nearly once a fortnight. While not all shop workers suffer to this extent, some experience much higher levels of abuse, threats and violence. Usdaw's Freedom From Fear Survey shows that during 2018:-

65% of North West shopworkers experienced verbal abuse (which is above the national average,)

39% were threatened by a customer, with 32 assaulted every day.

The Government has opened a:- 'Call For Evidence' on this growing issue, following pressure from Usdaw, employers like the Co-op and retailers' representative organisations like the Association of Convenience Stores, British Retail Consortium and National Federation of Retail Newsagents. The Government is seeking the views of organisations and individuals who wish to contribute to their understanding of the problem of violence and abuse toward shop staff in England and Wales. This consultation closes at 11pm on 28 June 2019 and submissions can be made online.  Usdaw is running their own survey, which will feed into the Home Office:- 'Call For Evidence' and can be completed online.

Paddy Lillis - Usdaw General Secretary says:- "Violence, threats and abuse against workers are amongst the great scourges of our society. The statistics are shocking and show that urgent action is required. On average a North West shop worker can end up on the wrong side of a verbal or physical assault nearly once a fortnight. Our message is clear, abuse is not a part of the job. Life on the frontline of retail can be pretty tough for many shop workers and there is still a lot to do to help protect them. We launched our Freedom From Fear Campaign in the face of growing concerns amongst retail staff about violence, threats and abuse. The campaign works with employers to promote respect and make shops safer for staff and customers alike. So there needs to be action to help protect staff. We want the Government to provide stiffer penalties for those who assault workers; a simple stand alone offence that is widely recognised and understood by the public, Police, CPS, the judiciary and most importantly criminals. Usdaw welcomes the Government opening a 'call for evidence' and we encourage everyone concerned with this issue to make their voices heard by contributing to the Home Office online consultation or visiting the Usdaw website to complete our survey, which we will submit to the Government. Retail staff have a crucial role in our communities and that role must be valued and respected, they deserve the protection of the law."

Jeff Smith MP (Labour, Manchester Withington) says:- "All workers have the right to be safe at work, to be free from fear while working, and to be treated with respect. So it's really worrying to hear of the level of abuse that shop workers in the North West continue to face. I'm thankful for the fantastic work Usdaw has done to highlight the risks to retail staff, and to push the Government to introduce greater protections. It's vital that the concerns raised by representative organisations and individuals are now taken seriously and acted on. I'd encourage any shop workers to share their views and experiences by submitting evidence to the Government or taking Usdaw's survey."

Voices from the North West frontline: As part of Usdaw's survey of violence, threats and abuse against shopworkers, respondents have the opportunity to feed back their experiences, here are some examples from the North West:-

Bromborough:- "Home delivery driver: I was called a f***ing prick for waking a customer up at 7.30 in the morning even though he had booked that delivery slot himself."

Eccles:- "Armed robbery - crow bar to my head / verbal threats."

Liverpool:- "Shoplifters girlfriend bit me on the shoulder while trying to stop him."

Warrington:- "Armed robbery. I was threatened with a knife. I was on my own on shop floor when it happened. The supervisor was in the back office. They smashed the till with a hammer. I never felt so alone, no matter how loud I screamed no one came."

Wigan:- "I was told by a 13/14 year old girl that she would break my nose, then she called me a f***ing c**t."

Wallasey:- "Customers hate the self serve tills so we get the abuse from them."

Poynton:- "I was sworn at by a customer recently because the cash machine didn't dispense the customer's money and took their bankcard."

News Report Audio Copy
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